A passenger, who was offloaded from a British Airways flight last month along with his wife and child, has written to Union Ministers Suresh Prabhu and Sushma Swaraj alleging racial discrimination. A P Pathak, a senior bureaucrat of the government, says he and his wife were made to deplane minutes before takeoff because their three-year-old son started crying onboard. An Indian couple sitting behind them was also made to leave because they offered the child biscuits, he added.
According to Pathak, a steward yelled at them saying, “You bloody keep quite, otherwise, you would be thrown out of the window.”
On receiving the complaint, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered probe in the British Airways issue. Pathak, a joint secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said the incident took place on July 23 when they were flying from Berlin to London. He claimed their boarding passes were taken away and no reason was provided for offloading them, reported news agency PTI. He has demanded an apology and strict action against the airline.
“With this unusual behaviour of the male crew member, my son got terrified and started crying intensively. My wife again put the boy on his designated seat and fastened the seat-belt, even though he kept on crying intensively being in a terrified state of mind due to the scolding by the male crew member,” Pathak said, in a letter to the Union Minister, reported PTI.
“We had to make our own arrangements for staying and travelling to Berlin the next day by paying a very hefty amount,” he said, adding that the other Indian family was given tickets for a flight the next day, without any accommodation though,” he added.
In a statement, British Airways said it was in touch with passenger and is investigating the incident. “We take such claims very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” it added.