Air carrier SpiceJet on Sunday issued a clarification after BJP MP Pragya Thakur filed a complaint against private airline SpiceJet for allegedly denying the seat she had booked during a Delhi-Bhopal flight.
SpiceJet, in its clarification, said Pragya Thakur was not allowed to sit on the pre-allotted seat as rules do not allow a "passenger on wheelchair" to be seated in the emergency row due to safety reasons.
"SpiceJet had the privilege to have Pragya Thakur on board SpiceJet flight SG 2498 (Delhi-Bhopal) on December 21. She had pre-booked seat 1A and had come to the airport in her own wheelchair. The Delhi-Bhopal flight is operated by Bombardier Q400 aircraft (78 seats). On this aircraft, the first row is the emergency row seat and is not allocated to passengers on the wheelchairs," the statement by SpiceJet read.
It went on to add, "As Pragya Thakur had come with her own wheelchair and had not booked through the airline, the staff wasn't aware of the fact that she was a wheelchair passenger. She was requested by the crew to shift to 2 A/B (non-emergency row) due to safety reasons, but she refused. The duty manager and other staff also requested her to move to another seat. She asked for the safety instruction document wherein the exit door policy is mentioned and the same was shown to her to provide clarity."
According to the statement, this had led to a delay in the operation of the flight and aafter persuasion from the crew and co-passengers the Bhopal MP had "agreed to change her seat from 1A to 2B" after which the flight took off as planned.
The statement ended with the expression of regret over the inconvenience caused to the BJP leader but also added that passenger safety is a major concern for SpiceJet.
Pragya Thakur had on Saturday filed a complaint with the Bhopal Airport Director alleging that she was not allotted the seat that she had booked in the Spicejet flight and the conduct of the airline crew with her was not right.
"I informed the authorities that the SpiceJet crew had misbehaved with me. This had happened once before as well and this time I was not even given the seat which was booked by me," Pragya Thakur was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"I approached the Airport Director and filed a written complaint with him regarding the same. Trains, flights are for the convenience of the public, as public representatives we are responsible for the treatment common people will get. Therefore, it was my responsibility to file a complaint regarding this," she added.