New Delhi: Unruly passengers delaying Air India flights will soon have to pay hefty fees apart from facing criminal action. The airline is planning to fine Rs 5 lakh for delaying a flight up to an hour; Rs 10 lakh for delay between one and two hours and Rs 15 lakh for delaying beyond two hours.
“Recent incidents of unruly behaviour and assault on AI employees by passengers (whether VVIP or otherwise) have caused severe damage to the morale of employees. Even a hotel has right of admission reserved. AI must have a procedure for handling unruly passengers,” said an official.
The airline took this step after three cases of high-handedness by MPs in past one year. In November 2015, a YSR Congress MP assaulted an AI officer at Tirupati when the law-maker came late to the airport and had to be denied boarding as check-in for his flight was closed. Last month Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad bet up a 60-year-old staffer with sandals and then a Trinamool Congress MP delayed a flight as her wheelchair-bound mother was requested to shift from emergency row as per rules.
These VVIP episodes saw AI employees morale taking a hit as unlike common unruly flyers, the maw-makers got away scot free. But the airline management led by chairman Ashwani Lohani is keen to protect the interests of employees and is working n a number of steps to tackle unruly passengers.