January 15, 2008

Indian Airline Continues to Embarrass the Nation

Jet Airways enters the spotlight as another company with a Stone Age customer service policy in an era of jet-set technology. Once again the morally bankrupt policy of discrimination causes severe damage to an airline's public image (and thus profitability). Note that the airline's apology specifies that "allowing" Ms. Jindal to fly is an aberration from their standard of discrimination but only "in her case."

Let's examine the case: She cannot walk. She cannot stand. The airline does not provide even the basic cabin equipment such as an aisle chair. Her husband had to drag her to her seat (which, presumably, did not have a movable armrest.) Her net worth is $1 billion dollars.

Take away: With a net worth greater than some small countries you too can be humiliated by Jet Airways while they are allowed to continue discriminatory practices. Perhaps not if Ms. Jindal's important complaint is dealt with justly by the DGCA - http://www.svayam.com/?q=node/411. The DGCA notice to Jet Airways on their practices of discrimination: Download file

She may be fit enough to run a $1 billion business empire, but Jet Airways found the wheel chair ridden Jindal family scion Sminu so unsafe to fly that it asked her recently to either sign an indemnity bond or deplane. The incident — which again highlights airlines’ apathetic attitude towards physically-challenged passengers — happened when 34-year-old Sminu Jindal, who heads Jindal Saw, was travelling from Delhi to Bangkok on Christmas with her husband Indresh Batra on Jet’s business class.

from TNN:

"Jet apologizes to Jindal Saw chief over harassment"

‘I have been travelling all over the world but for the first time an airline asked me to sign a bond saying that I would not hold them responsible for any harm to me during the flight before being allowed to fly. I threw a fit and tore the bond they were waving at me. I told them unless they make every heart patient and pregnant woman to sign a similar thing, I refused to be treated differently,’’ Jindal said. She firmly told the airline that she was of a firm mind and the only problem was that she could not stand on her own as a road accident at the age of 11 left her paraplegic.

On its part, Jet Airways accepted its mistake and apologised to Jindal. ‘‘Sminu Jindal travelled on our flight 9W064 on December 25 from Delhi to Bangkok. Our airport staff at Delhi had requested her to sign a letter of indemnity as she was a wheelchair bound passenger. This was unnecessary in her case. I sincerely regret the mistake that happened and the inconvenience it caused to her,’’ said Jet’s EVP (commercial) Sudheer Raghavan.

Jindal’s problem did not end there. On the Delhi-Bangkok and return sector flight on January 1, she said the airline did not provide any aisle chair (a small wheelchair that can be used inside the aircraft). ‘‘My husband had to drag me to the seat on the flight. The issue is not about me being treated like this, but how airlines still refuse to provide basic assistance and dignity to physically-challenged passengers,’’ she said.

Raghavan said there was a tussle over allowing Jindal to take her wheelchair on the aircraft. But more shockingly, he admitted that ‘‘Jet Airways does not currently provide aisle chairs to special need passengers. We are examining the possibility of providing such services.’’

Posted by rollingrains at January 15, 2008 03:22 PM