A journalist has lashed out on the IndiGo airline for alleged mistreatment of her, while travelling on one of its domestic flights.
Rishika Baruah, a journalist working with NDTV has written a blog, sharing her ordeal while travelling with her child, an infant on a Goa-Delhi flight. She alleges that three male cabin crew members of the India’s airline asked her to vacate her seat, while she was breastfeeding her infant.
The journalist was sitting on the front row seat, which she booked for extra legroom, and was asked to move to the back of the plane.
As per the blog, Baruah was travelling back from Goa to Delhi with her child, when the incident took place. She booked the Seat 1F on the flight, same as her flight to Goa from Delhi 5 days before, by paying extra for an additional legroom. She says that the “customer relations staff confirmed that infant services have been added to my seat and sent me a payment link.”
Further, she says that the Delhi-Goa flight was an unadventurous one, with no issue whatsoever. Since Baruah faced no such issue on her onward flight, she decided to book the exact same seat, on the return flight. However, to her surprise, just before take-off, three male employees approached and ordered her to move to the back. “They threatened to hold the flight until I vacated my seat,” she wrote.
“The men argued with me while I was feeding. They refused to look at my previous boarding pass and said they couldn’t possibly allow me to fly in the front row because – you guessed it – no oxygen masks for infants and it is “dangerous”,” writes Baruah in her blog.
“My baby started wailing and I didn’t have the energy to fight. So, I buttoned up and went to the back rows. With hardly any leg room, my feeding pillow and my baby, I sat there, seething about being forced to get up while breastfeeding, angry at the incessant misinformation, and overwhelmed that my baby was crying,” she adds.
Baruah says she understands if there’s a quiet zone for infants in the flight and “I may even book it when I am traveling without my son”. According to media reports from 2016, IndiGo took a decision to not offer extra leg room seats to passengers travelling with infants or young children. However, as per Baruah, they don’t declare the terms in their infant travel policy or anywhere on their website.
“I am not judging the merits of the policy. I am questioning IndiGo’s decision to be ambiguous, vague and misleading to people travelling with young children. Why is the airline training its staff to mislead and misinform?” she mentioned in her blog.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time she has faced the similar problem with the IndiGo airline. She started her blog by narrating an incident from December last year, when she was flying with her 40 days old infant out of Delhi. “I chose IndiGo after carefully reading the infant travel policies of different airlines and checking for the most convenient flights,” she wrote.
However, IndiGo gave her the last row seat as the speakers are too loud at the front and air pressure is “dangerous” for a baby at the front, she was told by the airline. “After I tweeted about IndiGo’s infant travel policy, customer relations apologized for what they called a “misunderstanding”. Not only were we given the front row, but we were greeted with a handmade card and a bouquet at the airport by the airline’s staff,” Baruah mentions.