Thursday, February 06, 2020

Air India almost stopped the wrong Kunal Kamra from flying

New Delhi: High school reunions are magical and this one has made “Kunal Kamra” board an Air India flight followed by another one on IndiGo in the last three days. Before you think these airlines have lifted their controversial ban on the standup comedian, the person who flew — with some difficulty to be sure — is his NRI namesake who is in India to attend his reunion.
“I was booked on Air India’s Jaipur-Mumbai flight this Monday. At the airport check-in counter, I was told my PNR had been cancelled as I was on their blacklist,” Boston-based Kamra told TOI. Once he convinced AI that he is not the Kunal Kamra banned by them, the airline issued him a boarding card for Mumbai on AI 612.
AI spokesman Dhananjay Kumar said: “(Standup comedian) Kunal Kamra is barred from flying Air India. That is mentioned in our system. Due to this, (NRI) Kunal Kamra’s name was automatically rejected (for issuance of boarding card). After we verified credentials of this passenger (to ensure he is not the comedian Kamra), we allowed him board to board the flight.”
Having learnt his lesson, “Kamra” went to IndiGo counter at Jaipur airport itself as he had booked Wednesday’s 6E 174 from Mumbai to Delhi. “I told them that the same thing should not happen in Mumbai with me as I am not that Kunal Kamra,” he told TOI after flying into Delhi on the IndiGo flight.
In fact when standup comedian Kamra confronted TV anchor Arnab Goswami on IndiGo’s Mumbai-Lucknow flight last Tuesday and then got banned from flying by IndiGo, AI, SpiceJet and GoAir, this NRI namesake was preparing for the upcoming India trip. “My friends told me to be careful as I could be mistaken for the other Kunal Kamra since I had booked flights on these airlines. But I felt airlines would know how to differentiate between two people with same name,” Kamra, an insurance professional in Boston, said.
His first flight on the India trip was from Jaipur to Mumbai on Monday when he realised what it is to be Kunal Kamra booked on an airlines that have banned the comedian.
06/02/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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