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Air India offers ‘waiver’, not ‘refund’ to traveller after picture of bed bug bites goes viral

The New York-based freelance stylist and events manager wrote that she was travelling with three children and was not allowed a change of seat until "thirty minutes before landing" the next day and after complaining twice.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 26, 2018 1:32:25 pm
passenger bed bug bites, air india flights, air india passenger, air india passenger bed bugs Twitter, mother bed bugs photo air india viral, Indian express, Indian express news The complainant said that she was met with a “callous, chalta hai-attitude” every time she reached out on their helpline numbers. (Source: Saumya Shetty/Twitter)

A woman’s tweet on how travelling business class on an Air India flight left her with bed bug bites and pain generated quite a buzz on the Internet. Saumya Shetty took to the micro-blogging site with a picture of reddened lumps on her hands as a result of bed bug bites. Shetty wrote that she was travelling with her three children from Newark, New Jersey to Mumbai on July 18 and was not allowed a change of seat until “thirty minutes before landing” the next day after complaining twice.

Tweeting a follow-up on July 20, Shetty, who is based out of Manhattan, said that Air India was yet to get in touch with her over the inconvenience she had been caused. “What an #airindia #businessclass would do to you? AI still has to get in touch with me in spite if my repeated attempts to get in touch with them,” she wrote.

These are her tweets.

Talking to on phonethe 36-year-old said that she was met with a “callous, chalta hai-attitude” every time she reached out on their helpline numbers. “I called their helpline yesterday and asked for a refund of my tickets. I was given an email ID to write a complaint, but the mail bounced,” she said.  She was asked to go to a nearby office of the carrier to pursue her case. “The lady executive (at Nariman Point.) told me I have been mailing on the wrong email IDs. I asked whose fault was it, in that case,” she said. “The woman said I’d be given a waiver, that is, I’d not be charged the penalty fee for cancelling tickets. When I said I wanted a refund of the tickets, she countered me by saying that I still travelled on those tickets.”

On July 24, Air India sent an email to Shetty but it had “no mention of compensation or refund whatsoever”. “Whilst the source of bedbugs entering the aircraft is being thoroughly investigated, we would like to inform you that the upkeep of our aircraft is now being continuously monitored to ensure that such a situation never recurs,” read a part of the email that Shetty shared with

Air India’s response to Saumya Shetty.

“In this connection, Please be assured Ms Shetty, that the aircraft has been fumigated and temporarily withdrawn from service for special fumigation required for treatment of bedbugs. The seat covers have been replaced and the seat crevices also have been inspected and found satisfactory.” it further read.

In her response to the email, Shetty insisted on getting a full refund, taking into consideration the “emotional turmoil” she had to go through owing to the way her complaint was handled. We have reached out to Air India and are awaiting their response.

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