Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri responded to the abuse by an IndiGo pilot (Representational)
An IndiGo pilot has been accused of horrific verbal abuse and threatening a passenger and her elderly, wheelchair-bound mother on a Chennai-Bengaluru flight yesterday. In a deeply disturbing and shocking incident that took place after the plane landed at Bengaluru airport, the pilot - Jayakrishna - told the passenger - Supriya Unni Nair, a journalist - "we will teach you some manners... will ensure you are detained and spend a night in jail". The altercation broke out inside the plane after Ms Nair asked for wheelchair assistance for her mother, a service she said "I always ask for... and remind staff when we land" and one concerning which "all airlines have always been helpful".
The harassment and threats went unchecked onboard the plane despite the presence of other passengers and flight attendants. It continued even though there were security personnel who rushed to the scene and in the presence of IndiGo ground staff and even into the arrival lounge of the airport.
In a detailed thread posted on Twitter early this morning, Ms Nair detailed the disturbing incident as it happened, providing a detailed account of what happened. She also said the captain had threatened her with "dire consequences" if she posted this story on social media.
"Your captain on 6E-806 from Chennai to Bengaluru on January 13, Jayakrishna, threatened and prevent me and my 75-year-old diabetic mom from disembarking... threatened to arrest us because we asked for wheelchair assistance," she wrote.
Ms Nair said she initially rang for assistance and, when it was not forthcoming, approached a flight attendant, who claimed a wheelchair could not be provided despite confirmation of the service being availed was printed on the ticket.
At this point, Ms Nair wrote, the pilot came charging out and attacked her.
"Taken aback I tell him not to yell at me... then threat starts. The wheelchair guys arrive and he points at mom and says you're not going anywhere... prevents wheelchair people from taking my mom out of the aircraft... says he will ensure we spend a night in jail," she wrote.
The pilot's rage-fueled tirade continued with more threats aimed at Ms Nair, who wrote that he said: "Shut up... Who do you think I am? I'll get my CEO to make sure you spend a night in jail".
By this time, Ms Nair, wrote that her mother feared physical abuse and the flight attendant, fearing that the entire incident was being recorded, urged Jayakrishna to stop.
"When I tell him he can't threaten us like this, he says, 'Yes I will threaten you. I am a captain. You can't touch us (again alluding to Indigo top brass)," she said, adding that he once again threatened her mother and her with jail.
When Ms Nair and her mother finally managed to get off the plane, security personnel and IndiGo ground staff rushed to help and protect them from the captain, who had followed the women off the flight and stopped their bus from driving away.
He even followed them into the airport's arrival lounge where continued shouting and ranting that he would ensure an FIR would be filed against Ms Nair and her mother.
In her comments Ms Nair expressed disappointment over the fact that none of the other passengers, reacted to the incident and also called out the other crew members of her flight for their "misogynistic" behaviour.
The Twitter thread was noticed by Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who promptly instructed his office to take necessary action.
"I requested my office to contact as soon as I saw the tweet by Ms Supriya Unni Nair about the pilot's behaviour with her & her 75 yr old mother in need of wheelchair assistance. The airline has informed @MoCA_GoI that the pilot has been off-rostered pending full enquiry," a tweet by Mr Puri read.
In her parting comments Ms Nair also recognised the fact that some IndiGo employees were "amazing" in their attempts to protect her mother and her and had apologised "profusely".