A woman passenger was not allowed to board an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to New Delhi on Monday morning as staff members of the private airline found her “inappropriately dressed”. According to co-passengers, the woman, who was wearing a dress, missed her flight, though she was accommodated on a later flight after she reportedly changed into trousers.
While IndiGo confirmed the incident, it said the woman was stopped in accordance with a “specific dress code” that applies to its employees and their family members when they travel using the “staff leisure travel privileges” offered by the airline. While the woman is a former IndiGo employee, her brother is a current employee of the airline.
According to a co-passenger, Purabi Das, who was on the same Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Mumbai, the woman was scheduled to catch a connecting flight to New Delhi at 6:20 am. The Qatar Airways flight landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 2:40 am on Monday.
“While I was waiting for my connecting flight, I heard a commotion and found her (the woman passenger) crying. There were three IndiGo employees who had refused to let her board her flight. They said she was not wearing appropriate clothes,” said Das.
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“Nobody raised any objection at the Doha airport. She was not indecently dressed. She was wearng a frock that ended above her knee,” added Das.
Another passenger, Devyadutt Sahu, alleged that the airline staff told him that he would not be allowed to board his flight if he tried to intervene in the matter. “When we took up the matter with officials at the check-in counter, an employee attempted to harass me, saying my hand luggage was beyond the permissible limit, and that I could carry only one bag for check in,” he said.
Later, the woman passenger reportedly changed into trousers. Sahu and Das lodged a complaint with the airline’s customer service department, but were reportedly told that the staffers were following protocol.
In an e-mail reply to The Indian Express, IndiGo said the woman passenger was familiar with the policy. “We regret that an IndiGo passenger (who happens to be an ex IndiGo employee and a family member of a current employee) experienced an untoward behaviour at the Mumbai airport… As per the guidelines outlined, employees and the nominated family members are required to maintain a specific dress code, as and when they fly with the airline under the staff leisure travel privileges. Keeping in mind this policy, the Mumbai ground staff followed the protocol to brief this passenger on the dress code policy,” said the airline.
The airline said its senior managers in Delhi and Mumbai took the woman’s feedback. “This matter will be thoroughly investigated and the staff will be further sensitised via focused learning workshops,” it said.