Remember the story of how a man urinated on a woman in business class on a long haul Air India flight? Well, Air India is now finally being held accountable. However, the punishment is a real head-scratcher…
Indian regulators fine Air India, punish captain
India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), has made a ruling regarding how Air India will be punished for the viral incident that happened in November 2022:
- Air India will be fined three million rupees (~$37,000) for how it handled this situation
- Air India’s director of inflight service will be fined 300,000 rupees (~$3,700) for poor training procedures
- The flying license of the captain of the flight will be suspended temporarily
As a reminder, earlier this month a story went viral about what allegedly happened in business class on a November 2022 Air India flight from New York to Delhi. According to a woman seated in business class, shortly after the initial lunch service and after the lights were switched off, another passenger walked to her seat inebriated, unzipped his pants, “relieved himself,” and “continued to expose his private parts.”
While the incident as such was bad, what was even worse was how the airline handled it. The crew allegedly just put a blanket on the seat and advised the passenger to continue sitting there for the rest of the flight. Furthermore, the airline didn’t call authorities, or attempt to punish the man for what he did.
The story only went viral weeks after the fact, because the woman reportedly wasn’t getting anywhere by contacting Air India, so she went to the media. Pretty quickly, the person behind the incident was identified as a Wells Fargo employee, and he was terminated. Not only that, but he was arrested and is facing criminal charges.
My take on Air India’s punishment for this incident
I think it’s totally fair for the DGCA to punish Air India for this incident. $37,000 doesn’t seem like a major fine for an airline of Air India’s size, but then again, I imagine the bad publicity Air India has received will be enough to make the carrier change its protocols.
What I find ridiculous is that the DGCA is suspending the flying license of the captain of the flight… really?! Imagine spending your whole career working your way up to being a Boeing 777 captain, only to have your license suspended temporarily because of something that happened in the cabin on one of your flights.
Furthermore, fining the actual head of inflight service seems extreme as well. At the end of the day they’re following the instructions of higher leadership, so it seems to me like if anyone should be held accountable, it should be those higher up.
It seems like the DGCA is just trying to do anything it can to make it seem like the situation is being taken seriously, even if the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
Air India is being punished by India’s aviation regulators over the November 2022 inflight urination incident. While I think it’s fair to fine the airline $37,000, what I find ridiculous is that the captain’s flying license has been revoked.
What do you make of this punishment for Air India?