AirAsia: Woman says AirAsia staff ‘abused, manhandled her’, airline cries foul | India News

BENGALURU: Three AirAsia employees have been booked for allegedly misbehaving with a 28-year-old woman travelling from Ranchi to Bengaluru on November 3.

Sanmit Karandikar, Kaizad Suntoke and Jitin Ravindran face charges of wrongful restraint, sexual harassment, and gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

The airline, however, has accused the passenger of misbehaving with the cabin crew and even abusing a senior staffer.

Police said the woman, a resident of New BEL Road in Central Bengaluru, filed the complaint on Tuesday, four days after the incident.

She boarded AirAsia flight (1585) around 9.15pm on November 3 at Ranchi, and reached Bengaluru a little after midnight on November 4. According to her complaint, the staffers harassed her throughout the journey after she complained about the toilet being dirty, including when the flight halted at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

“I found the aircraft washroom dirty and I informed the cabin crew. The steward, Sanmit Karandikar, yelled at me and said they had already cleaned it and ordered me to return to my seat. Upset with his behaviour, I tried calling my sister just before the flight was to take off, as I wanted to inform her about the incident. Then Sanmit abused me,” the woman said.

Later, when she confronted him about his behaviour when he arrived to serve tea, he allegedly replied rudely and said “the flight belonged to him and that she should just follow his orders”. The passenger said the staff dragged her onto the runway at Bengaluru and detained her illegally until she apologised.

In a statement about the incident, AirAsia said: “We filed a complaint with the airport police and reported the matter to the DGCA the next day, following all laid-down civil aviation requirement by the regulator…. When the aircraft was taxiing for takeoff from the Ranchi airport, the senior cabin crew operating the flight, following the pre-takeoff safety and security procedures, noticed the lady passenger… speaking on the phone and requested her to switch off her mobile phone as this is against prescribed safety procedures….”

The airline said the crew had to repeatedly request her to switch off the phone. “The passenger resorted to verbal abuse against the senior cabin crew, who then managed to calm the passenger down and resume his duties. However the passenger continued to be abusive,” the statement read.

The case will be transferred to airport police, which has jurisdiction over the matter.

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