Unruly passengers beware. You can be barred from flying for a period ranging from three months to two years depending upon the level of unruly behaviour while on a flight.
Following the incident involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who hit an Air India personnel with a slipper for not being allowed to fly business class in an all-economy plane, the civil aviation ministry proposed a national no-fly list, which will comprise passengers identified as unruly after an inquiry by a committee constituted by that particular airline.
A person identified as a threat by security agencies will also be included in this list.
While the list is characterised as national and will compile data on disruptive passengers from all airlines, the ban recommended by the committee is not mandatory for all airlines to follow.
The ministry has recommended three levels of unruly behaviour, each with a corresponding duration of flying ban.
The first level of misdemeanour includes disruptive behaviour such as physical gestures, verbal harassment and unruly behaviour because of inebriation. This level of offence will carry a flying ban of three months.
The second level comprises physically abusive behaviour such as pushing, hitting, grabbing, inappropriate touching or sexual harassment. This degree of misconduct will carry a ban of six months.
You may also like to watch:
third category consists of life-threatening behaviour such as damage to aircraft operating system, physical violence such as choking or murderous assault and attempted breach of the flight crew compartment. This will carry a flying ban of two years or more without limit.
If a passenger repeats the same degree of offence he/she will be banned for twice the period of the previous ban.
“This no fly list should not be looked only from a single perspective. We have come out with a strong framework to make operations of airlines more efficient and reduce such incidents in future,” civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said.
“It is open to other airlines to use that list and simultaneously prohibit that person from flying for that period. It is not mandatory for other airlines,” civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said.
The nature of misdemeanour and the punishment will be decided by a standing committee constituted by an airline. The committee will have to come out with its findings within 10 days during which the passenger will not be allowed to fly with the airline.
It will be a three-member committee comprising a retired district/sessions judge, a representative of a different airline and a member from the passengers’ association/consumer association/a retired consumer forum official.
A passenger can also challenge the ban and approach an appeals committee that will be set up by the civil aviation ministry and headed by a high court judge. However, passengers blacklisted from flying because of a security threat do not have the provision of approaching this committee.
The government is also examining ways to track passengers recognised as unruly through an identity document. There is, however, a lack of consensus on whether an Aadhaar card will be used for this purpose.
These proposals are being placed in the public domain for 30 days for comments and feedback from stakeholders, following which the government will come out with final amendments by June 30.