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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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Airline issues apology after stopping teenager with special needs from boarding flight

File photo: The airline has also offered an electric wheelchair to the teenager. Picture: AP

File photo: The airline has also offered an electric wheelchair to the teenager. Picture: AP

Published May 9, 2022

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New Delhi–IndiGo airline on Monday issued an apology and “sincere regrets” to the family of a teenager with special needs who was barred from boarding a plane along with his parents at the Ranchi airport on Saturday.

The airline said that it had reviewed the situation and "made the best possible decision under difficult circumstances".

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The airline has also offered an electric wheelchair to the teenager.

The statement has been issued on behalf of Ronojoy Dutta, Whole Time director and chief executive Officer of IndiGo.

"We had a very unfortunate incident at Ranchi airport on May 7, 2022, when a specially-abled teenager and his parents could not board their scheduled flight to Hyderabad," the statement read.

It further said that all the staff at IndiGo were truly distressed by this particular incident.

"All of us at IndiGo are truly distressed by this particular incident. Since April 2022 we have carried over 75k specially-abled passengers aboard our airline and our crew and airport staff are trained to serve such passengers sensitively," the statement further read.

The airline said that the airport staff in line with the safety guidelines were forced to make a difficult decision as to whether this commotion would carry forward aboard the aircraft.

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"Throughout the check-in and boarding process, our intent of course was to carry the family, however, at the boarding area, the teenager was visibly in panic.

“While providing courteous and compassionate service to our customers is of paramount importance to us, the airport staff, in line with the safety guidelines, were forced to make a difficult decision as to whether this commotion would carry forward aboard the aircraft.

“Having reviewed all aspects of this incident, we as an organization are of the view that we made the best possible decision under difficult circumstances," it said.

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The airline added that it would like to offer to purchase an electric wheelchair for their son.

"We recognise too well that parents who dedicate their lives to the caring of physically challenged persons are the true heroes of our society. We offer our sincere regrets to the affected family for the unfortunate experience and as a small token of our appreciation of their lifelong dedication would like to offer to purchase an electric wheelchair for their son," the statement read.

Earlier in the day, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he was personally looking into the matter and that "appropriate action" would be taken.

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The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation has also sought a report from IndiGo on the matter.

There was outrage after a social media post on Sunday described the incident that took place on Saturday.

"The IndiGo staff announced that the child would not be allowed to take the flight. That he was a risk to other passengers. That he would have to become 'normal' before he could be travel-worthy,“ read the post.

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