Disability Rights Alliance


Saturday, 13 August 2011

2011, Keshavji Shah

Jet Airways leaves senior citizen at Mumbai airport boarding gate

A senior citizen booked on a Jet Airways (JA) Mumbai-Bhuj flight was quick to retaliate after he allegedly missed his flight because of the airline’s negligence.

The passenger, who was wheelchair-bound, alleged that the airline staff abandoned him near the boarding gate and later refused to rebook him on another flight or give him a refund.

It was only after he lodged a non-cognisable (NC) offence with the airport police that the airline offered him a refund. The airline, however, maintained that the passenger was missing from the wheelchair when the boarding started and it was not their fault.

On August 11, Kandivli resident Keshavji A Shah, 80, was to fly by Jet Airways (JA) flight 9W 2533 from the Santa Cruz terminal of Mumbai airport.The flight was to leave at 1.10pm and the passenger, accompanied by his son Rupesh Shah, 39, reached the airport at 10.45am.

“My father is old and ailing so we had requested the airline for a wheelchair,” said Rupesh who had come to see him off.

The airline’s staff took Keshavji inside in a wheelchair, completed all the formalities and took him to the boarding gate. “After that, the loader left my father there and disappeared.I had told my father to give me a call once he boarded the flight.I was waiting outside when at 1.15pm he called me and said that he was still sitting inside the terminal and that his flight has left,” he said.

Rupesh informed the airline staff and Keshavji was brought outside the terminal.“We requested the airline to book him on the next flight to Bhuj but they refused. We asked for a refund and they denied it,” he says.

Angry with such treatment the Shahs lodged an NC under section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian penal code at Santa Cruz airport police station.“After we lodged the police complaint, the airline agreed to offer us a refund. If they are going to treat senior citizens like this, what is the point of even informing them?” asked Rupesh.