IndiGo Airlines Denies A Child With Disability To Board Flight, Facebook Post Goes Viral

Not once, but several times certain airlines have faced the anger of people online for their negligent acts. Earlier, filmmaker Vipul Shah and his wife ‘Delhi Crime’ actor Shefali Shah slammed an airline that made an injured 80-year-old woman wait for a wheelchair.

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Now, it’s IndiGo airlines who have gotten themselves in soup for denying a child with a disability to board a flight with his family at the Ranchi airport.

Sharing about the ordeal, Facebook user Manisha Gupta, who was present at the incident spot, penned how the family was not allowed to board the flight to Hyderabad by an IndiGo staff claiming that the kid was a ‘risk to other passengers’.

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She wrote:

“Yesterday, at the Ranchi airport, an adolescent with special needs, was in great distress. He had had a very uncomfortable car ride to the airport. By the time he had gone through security check and reached the gate (almost an hour ahead of boarding), he seemed to be in the throes of hunger, thirst, anxiety and confusion.
His parents obviously knew how to handle his meltdown – with patience, some cajoling, some stern-ness, many hugs etc. And the other passengers were stopping by to ask if they needed any help or support.”

When an IndiGo airlines staff saw the parents and kid, he walked towards them and warned them that he would not let them board the flight if the child did not calm down and become ‘normal’.

“By the time the boarding began, the child had been fed. He had had many sips of juice and water. His parents had successfully given him his medicine and he seemed ready except for some big displays of general teenage assertiveness. Then we witnessed the full display of brute authority and power.”

Despite that, the staff announced that the child would not be allowed to take the flight claiming that he was ‘a risk to other passengers’. The co-passengers also came to their rescue saying that they had no objection to the child and his parents boarding the flight. However, nothing seemed to be working.

“This child is in uncontrollable. He is in a state of panic,” the Indigo manager kept shouting and telling everyone. But all we could see was a young adolescent, sitting very quietly on a wheel chair, terror-striken by how he was being called out as a risk to the normal world. “The only person who is in panic is you,” a woman passenger retorted. “I am a government official and I can tell you that it is this child’s right to travel. You cannot discriminate against him,” a senior passenger said. “This is my decision and you cannot do anything about it,” the manager said very sharply.
‘Why don’t you confer with the captain?’ ‘ Please call your manager’. ‘His normal is not the same as your normal’. ‘Look, he has travelled many times before on flights. He was a just having a bad day, he is fine now.’ ‘ Yes, please let him travel'”

 

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Everyone tried everything they could but in vain. And finally, the flight from Ranchi to Hyderabad departed, leaving behind the kid and his parents at the boarding terminal.

“It was late night. Ours was probably the last flight out. As I stepped on the chute to board, I caught a last glimpse of this family – a father, mother and child on a wheelchair, standing alone in a large, empty and deserted terminal, ring-fenced by airport staff, guards and police. In those 45 minutes of argument, temper, rage and contestation, not once did the parents lose their dignity or got enraged or spoke one irrational word.”

The user concluded her post by writing:

“Do you know what it means to be a parent to a special child,” the mother had asked the airline manager in a very fraught moment. “Do you think as a mother, I would ever let my child harm himself or anyone?” This was the most gut-wrenching statement we could have heard on the eve of #mothersday Truth is, India is no country for mothers or children. No country for mothers who are different, No country for mothers who are raising children who are different. #indigoairline – you are a disgrace to this country.”

Read the Facebook post here:

AN INCIDENT OF DISCRIMINATION AND SHAME AT THE RANCHI AIRPORT

Yesterday, at the Ranchi airport, an adolescent with…

Posted by Manisha Gupta on Saturday, May 7, 2022

Her post was extensively shared online with a lot of people slamming the airline staff for being insensitive and discriminatory against the child and his parents.

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However, there were also some who were with the airline staff and said the protocols need to be followed for the safety of the other passengers on board.

In their defense, the airline issued a statement saying that the staff waited for the kid to calm down, reported The New Indian Express.

“In view of the safety of passengers, a specially-abled child could not board the flight with his family on May 7, as he was in a state of panic. The ground staff waited for him to calm down till the last minute but to no avail. The airline made the family comfortable by providing them a hotel stay and the family flew the next morning to their destination. We regret the inconvenience caused to the passengers. IndiGo prides itself on being an inclusive organization, be it for employees or its customers; and over 75k specially-abled passengers fly with IndiGo every month,” the statement read.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he will personally look into the matter.

The incident is definitely unfortunate. Having said that, the crew must follow strict guidelines for the safety of all the passengers on board. We hope a thorough investigation is done into the matter before coming to any conclusions.

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