An award-winning artist with special needs said she was recently banned from boarding an Alliance Air flight from Bengaluru to Kochi as she was unwilling to leave her battery-operated wheelchair.
The only option the airline gave the woman, Sarita Dwivedi, was to leave her wheelchair or book a flight on another airline, she said in a conversation with PTI on Monday.
Alliance Air did not even reimburse the amount of approximately Rs 8,000 it had spent on tickets for itself and for her friend who had come from Kochi to Bengaluru. He also accused a staff member of hostile behavior towards him.
A statement from the airline on the matter was expected.
Hello Mrs. Dwivedi,
We apologize for any inconvenience caused. The affected team is looking into this and will update as soon as possible. Please accept our assurance that this information will be considered and used in our ongoing effort to improve our services.
– Alliance Air (@allianceair) June 20, 2022
Ms. Dwivedi said she subsequently had to shell out around Rs 14,000 to travel on another private carrier to reach Kochi with her friend. The airline also transported her wheelchair into the plane’s cargo without a hitch, she said.
However, what happened on Saturday at the Alliance Air counter at Kempegowda International Airport was a bad experience, he said.
Asked if she intends to sue the airline or take any other action, she said she wasn’t sure how to proceed.
Giving details of her ordeal, Ms. Dwivedi said she reached the check-in desk around 8:00 am, one hour before the flight departure, in accordance with the one-hour rule.
“Seeing me, the first thing the airline person said was that if you are traveling in a motorized wheelchair, you should come a little earlier. Then I got a little angry and said I was on time. I told him to take the scanning the person to scan the wheelchair so that I can go. Again he said I was late. Then he said “lady can’t travel with the motorized wheelchair because it runs on battery”. Asked if the airline official had provided a reason not to allow the wheelchair, he said that “they said there are some guidelines against it. But these guidelines are present in every airline. “” They said that given the guidelines, I couldn’t take my wheelchair. So either I had to leave it behind or I couldn’t travel on the flight. That’s how they talked to me. I felt so bad, “she said.
He previously tweeted about the incident, tagging Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiradita Scindia.
@JM_Scindia Dear sir, I need help regarding @allianceair behavior. I am traveling Divyang with my motorized wheelchair but have since been stuck at Bangalore airport @allianceair not allowing me to board my flight along with my wheelchair. I missed my flight. #RPWD Law 2016 pic.twitter.com/GGvTJqZXMT
– Sarita Dwivedi (@ SARITADWIVEDI7) June 18, 2022
Asked if the airline offered alternatives, she said, “they weren’t willing to do anything for me. I was ready to leave the wheelchair there, provided they could ship it to my home in Kochi. I’m not from Bangalore. I’m a humble person. I didn’t want to argue, so I asked them what they can do to help me, “he said. They said they can’t do anything but they can refund the amount of your ticket.
However, “they did not refund the amount of the ticket. I had spent around Rs 8,000 for two tickets for me and my friend .. even my friend could not travel because I was not allowed to travel. Not only did they not reimburse l ‘amount, I later had to spend around Rs 14,000 for two tickets to Kochi, “he said with another airline.
Ms. Dwivedi reached Kochi on Saturday afternoon instead of in the morning as she had originally planned.
When asked if Alliance Air contacted her later to refund the amount, Ms. Dwivedi said, “Nothing. They don’t have facilities. They don’t know how to talk to people. They just keep arguing and screaming. . It was annoying. “He stated that initially the airline did not allow them to get boarding passes and then they said their manager was coming and to wait for him because after he arrives, only they can do anything.
After a long wait, a person arrived who was a senior supervisor at Alliance Air and not the manager. “So I asked the person at the counter who stopped me from boarding earlier if she was the same person he was talking about. But he didn’t give an adequate answer.” She said the man started yelling at her that he was the person in charge and that he would make the decisions in the absence of the manager who wasn’t here. Ms. Dwivedi said she asked him why she was forced to wait so long at the airport if the manager wasn’t coming.
“Later I calmly asked them to send me to Kochi. I said I didn’t want a refund … they said we can’t do that and I can only get a refund. They said I should book a flight on another airline “That’s how they responded. Then they said I could travel with their airline, but the wheelchair cannot be taken with you, “she added.
For Ms. Dwivedi who had traveled the long distance from Indiranagar to Bangalore at the airport, everything had been “ruined” at that point and she subsequently asked the airline to provide in writing why she was not allowed to board the its flight.
“After traveling so far alone and handling everything physically, mentally and financially, they ruined everything for me. For a person like me it is difficult. It is in my nature that I softly talk to people and talk to them calmly at the airport to find a solution. They are the ones who started arguing and then yelling at me, “he said.
Indian Airport Authority staff were present there and provided her with food and water and comforted her. They even tried to reason with the airline official, but in vain. “So I asked him to give me in writing why I missed my flight, why I wasn’t allowed to board,” he said.
Subsequently, for the sake of formality, the official wrote about why she was not allowed to board and also agreed to get a refund for booking tickets on another flight as she was delayed, Ms. Dwivedi said. . However, when the official realized that he would be flying on another airline, he said he would not give anything in writing and walked away with the document, he claimed.
About what the experience was with the other carrier she flew with afterwards, she said: “They never bothered me. They were fast and they provided great service. My wheelchair has a battery. dry. The rule is you can’t travel with a wet battery on an airline. ” “I just removed the battery and gave it to the airline and they put the wheelchair in the luggage,” she said.
“I travel a lot and wherever I go, I have never encountered this problem. This time the travel agent booked the tickets on Alliance Air. He did not mention that I was disabled or in a wheelchair when booking the ticket. This is necessary if I need a wheelchair. But I bring my own wheelchair, so where is the need to put it (when booking a ticket)? ” “Even otherwise, imagine if I travel with a prosthesis and suddenly something happens to me and I can’t walk. I will definitely be carrying my wheelchair without any information. Are they so unprofessional that they can’t handle such a situation?” asked.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and is posted by a syndicated feed.)