Sunday, October 08, 2017

Indian American journalist suffers ‘severe’ burns aboard Air India after steward spills hot tea

Chicago-based journalist Vandana Jhingan says she suffered severe burns when an Air India steward spilled a “full cup of very hot tea” on her abdomen.

In a letter sent to Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal, Jhingan wrote that after the plane landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, she “virtually had to drag” herself “off the plane as there was no help from the airline staff” though she “was in no condition to walk from the burn injury and deep pain.”

A copy of the letter is posted on the journalist’s Facebook wall. 

The Chicago resident boarded the flight from the O’Hare International Airport on September 27. Jhingan, who is the Midwest Bureau Chief of the Indian American cable network TV Asia, said the incident happened about two hours before the nonstop flight’s scheduled arrival in Delhi.

She said she was fasting because of Navrātri opted only soft drinks and tea for in-flight food.

In the letter, she accused Air India of negligence. “The in-flight server did not use a saucer with the very hot tea cup and he definitely didn’t use any common sense or appropriate steward training on how to serve hot drinks to in-flight passengers,” she wrote. “He spilled this full cup of very hot tea on my abdomen while keeping it on the tray table. He said sorry and got ice. He indicated he can arrange for an ambulance as soon as the flight lands but I declined knowing the pathetic transport scene of ambulances in Delhi or anywhere in India. I told him that I need to see a doctor at the Air Port as soon as the plane lands. No doctor was arranged at the airport nor was any further help provided or offered by the in-flight staff before landing or after landing.”

Jhingan also wrote that safety protocols were also not followed after the incident.

“Virtually most of the things that are necessary for safety of the passengers and those one expects to function in any long haul flights aren’t working on this flight – no established safety protocols for minor to major in-flight accidents and/or emergencies, no trained on-board airline staff nor off-board staff available for in-flight accidents and/or emergencies, no first aid kits on the plane, broken seats, non working USB ports, in-flight TVs are not working, toilets are not working, and the list of these lack of safety and non functioning items is long,” she wrote.

Jhingan, a US citizen, wrote that, as a result of the incident, “now I carry an indelible scar on my body and mind of this horrible and avoidable accident while not counting the costs of treatments, burden on myself and my family. My whole short trip to India is almost completely ruined.”

She asked Bansal: “How is AIR INDIA going to even help me recoup my health and this wasted trip? What is AIR INDIA going to do to restore the wrong done to my body and life? How long it is going to take to do the above? I, my family and friends and the world are waiting to see your truthful answers and deeds.”

Along with the letter, Jhingan attached two photos showing her injury, saying that they “indicative of” the airline’s “apathy and inhumanness towards its passengers.”
She wrote: “They are for you and the world to see and know how horrible travel by AIR INDIA is and can be. It is definitely one of the most shameless things for a national carrier and the nation whose façade is ‘Incredible India.’ She added, rather sarcastically, “What an ‘Incredible India’!”
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