Indian Oil Corporation Executive Director (West Bengal) Dipankar Ray who was travelling on an AirAsia India flight from Kolkata to Bagdogra has complained of very “unprofessional and rude” behaviour from the airline staff after a few passengers reportedly got into an altercation with them. The incident took place when these passengers were deplaned after the flight was delayed by over four hours. “The flight was scheduled to depart at 9 am and was initially delayed by 30 minutes. After boarding, we kept sitting inside the aircraft for one-and-a-half hours with no food or water at all,” Ray said.
He added that the flight captain asked all passengers to de-board without any explanation even though it was raining outside. Ray alleged that as the passengers refused, the captain started the air-conditioning blower on full blast to force the passengers out.
“When passengers refused to deboard due to heavy rains outside, the captain put the air-conditioning blower on full blast to hound the passengers out. It created a scary scene as heavy fog was created inside the plane and it was very suffocating,” he added.
The situation got so bad that a few women passengers started vomiting and children started crying. A video of the incident was uploaded on the Facebook profile by the Indian Oil Corporation Executive Director. In this video, the passengers can be seen arguing with on-board staff for switching off the blower.
“This is the way Aviation industry works in India. This #AirAsiaservice was particularly scary … Avoid Air Asia,” Mr Ray said in the video post on Facebook.
AirAisa accepted that the flight was delayed and issued a statement regretting the incident. It said that the delay was due to a technical requirement. “AirAsia India would like to confirm that flight i5583 from Kolkata to Bagdogra was delayed by 4.5 hours due to a technical requirement. AirAsia regrets the inconvenience caused to guests on account of this disruption and would like to reinstate that the airline always prioritises safety above all,” the company said.
It further said that there was no danger to any of the occupants on-board the aircraft as the cool conditioned air being circulated was condensing. “This is a normal occurrence on-board all aircraft when the air conditioning is operated in high humidity conditions,” the statement read.
Even though the company claimed that it had offered refreshments to the passengers, Ray said that they were asked to go to the food court in the airport and show the boarding passes to get food.
“When we reached the food court, they refused us. There was no communication from AirAsia at all. We had to pay. When we were boarding the flight the second time, then they gave us one sandwich and a 250 ml water bottle. This is an unacceptable treatment,” he said.