Another Politician Delays a Flight: Insists Wheelchair-Bound Woman Sit in Exit Row

The Indian government official who assaulted an Air India employee because he was seated in coach on an all-coach aircraft — and by the way he declared he’d doing it again, “I beat him with my sandal 25 times…I can try to make someone understand something 10 times but if they don’t, then I will beat them” — was banned from flying by the country’s airlines.

He kept trying to travel under fake names and getting caught (his travel agent may have been tipping off the airlines).

However he obtained a government order requiring airlines to allow him to fly again. As I (and Mel Brooks) say, it’s good to be the king.

What is the exact thing you’d expect to happen, when government officials are told there are no consequences for bad behavior on an airline? Yup.

[A] parliamentarian from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress delayed a flight by nearly 40 minutes because she was not given the exit row seat she had booked and paid for, after which she “shouted and screamed” at the cabin crew.

She wasn’t allowed to sit in the exit row on the Delhi – Kolkata flight because she was traveling with her wheelchair-bound mother who, for safety reasons, isn’t exit row-qualified.

Yes, she had reserved an exit row seat. But she didn’t reserve a wheelchair for her mother at the same time on the same reservation.

Oh, but it gets worse.

  • The airline offered her mother a business class seat in hopes of mollifying the member of parliament. This was refused.

  • So the woman in a wheelchair was permitted to sit in the exit row, so the the MP could keep her exit row seat and they could sit together.

The official then demanded a statement that she was reasonable, asking the airline “to collect the signatures of all her co-passengers to state that it was not she who led to the flight being delayed.”

Government officials run amok, of course, run contrary to the image Air India is trying to project, being Global and all.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The flight attendant should have beaten her wheelchair-bound mother with a sandal for raising such a daughter.

  2. No, BUT . . . and the “but” is that they permit it. On a US airline, they would not have caved to allowing a woman in a wheelchair in an exit row; if offers to reseat them were not accepted, the pilot would have exercised his authority and thrown them off the flight! Same thing with the idiot who thwacked the FA 25 times . . . the airline would ban him for life, and NO order from the government would save his —

  3. I agree I would not want to travel that airline, with government official that retarded and the airlines caves into them, the government official may actually me more retarded than Pelosi or Reid? Now that’s the amazing part, I never thought that could happen.

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