Monday, November 13, 2017

Misplaced expectation of entitlement – and a total disregard for rules which is uniquely Indian

The last couple of months have been a public relations nightmare for Indigo Airlines ever since a Bollywood singer’s 30-year-old son shouted at the staff in an airport in Chhattisgarh. “Let me reach Mumbai. If I don’t strip you, my name is not Aditya Narayan,” he screamed hysterically on camera, wrongly assuming anybody knew who Aditya Narayan is. The provocation: Indigo was charging him Rs 13,000 for 40 kg excess baggage. Later, badminton superstar PV Sindhu, who carries much more heft, tweeted that she had a terrible experience with Indigo on a flight to Mumbai. The airline said Sindhu had boarded a flight to Mumbai last, carrying hand baggage that didn’t fit in the overhead storage space and they had to move it to cargo last minute. But the final nail in Indigo’s proverbial coffin is the video of their ground staff manhandling a passenger, who had disembarked at the Delhi airport. After it became prime time news on TV, Indigo apologised and has taken action against the staff.
The power of the footage, which has since gone viral, is indeed shocking, and on the face of it paints Indigo in a dismal light. A greying, bespectacled, entirely sane-looking gentleman, pushed to a scorching floor held down by a second staffer in a stiff grip. The later part of the video, almost brutal, completely obscures the fact that before the scuffle began, the passenger’s tone was all wrong, contemptuous and abusive for being made to wait for the bus. Post 9/11 and more recently the attack at the Brussels airport, personnel working in high security areas are trained to keep a watchful eye on their surroundings. They have to strictly follow protocol, and react, keeping passenger safety as top priority. That means de-escalating a conflict and not responding aggressively to an obnoxious passenger — but acting swiftly if things are getting out of hand. In this case the Indigo staff, maybe, could have shown more restraint. However, one has to wonder if the Indian traveller has simply not evolved to keep up with airport etiquette in a post-terrorism world.
13/11/17 Leher Kala/Indian Express