Unruly travellers could end up on Air-India’s no-fly list
September 9, 2017 | 9:48 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan/[email protected]
The news comes after Air India decided to tighten its rules for travel, in the wake of several complaints.

Muscat: Residents in Oman flying on Air India could face bans of up to two years, if they are found behaving in an unruly and disorderly fashion at airports, or on-board the aircraft.

The news comes after Air India decided to tighten its rules for travel, in the wake of several complaints made to India’s national carrier about several passengers refusing to respect the rules on-board planes. “To ensure safety and check unruly and disruptive behaviour on aircraft, we will put in place, a mechanism for the country’s first No-fly list today,” said Ashok Gajapathi Raju, India’s union minister for Civil Aviation.

“Decisions will be taken by an independent committee under a retired district judge within a period of 30 days of alleged offence.”

“The No-fly ban will be in addition to any statutory legal action that can be taken against the offender under existing laws,” he added. “It goes without saying, but since many have asked, let me reply—the No-fly list provisions are applicable to every passenger. No exemptions.”

There are three levels of misdemeanours for which passengers could face a ban and end up on the no-fly list.

Level 1 misdemeanours include unruly physical gestures, verbal harassment and unruly inebriation, and those who engage in the above will be slapped with a three-month ban.

A six-month ban is on the cards for those, who engage in physically abusive behaviour, such as hitting or pushing other passengers, or touching them inappropriately. The most serious of acts, though, which could include grievous bodily assault of fellow passengers, or an attempt to damage the aircraft’s flight systems, could be met with a two-year ban from flying.

Officials from Air India were also quick to shed some light on this matter. “The draft guidelines have a provision for seeking financial compensation from any such passenger for the loss of revenue if the flight is held up due to such incidents,” said an Air India official, adding that the guidelines had been prepared with the help of the airline’s legal team.

P. Bhaskaran, convener of the Indian Social Club’s Malayali Wing in Oman, hailed Air India’s efforts.

“We must learn to behave wherever we are, because if we do not, these actions will follow us wherever we go,” he told the Times of Oman. “Whichever country we are in, we must learn to follow the laws, rules and regulations, whether we are in our home country or abroad.”

“I have seen many people behave poorly because they believe Air India is their national carrier so that makes it okay to act in any way, but this is completely unacceptable,” he added. “This is a good move that will remind people to behave in a mature manner.”

With the summer holiday season in Oman just ending, many residents in the country were only too willing to come forward with personal accounts of misdemeanours they’d witnessed on-board Air India flights.

“I was travelling with my young son back from India last month, and there were these three very unruly people in front of me,” said one housewife. “They kept calling the stewards and stewardesses rude names and made both them and everyone around them very uncomfortable.”

“I wanted to tell them something myself, but how could I?” she added. “I don’t know if these people will harm me.”

“There were these people who were constantly arguing with each other in their native language throughout the four-hour flight,” added another expat worker in Oman. “It was extremely irritating and when other passengers asked them to calm down, they would only shout at them even louder. It took one of the senior members of staff to handle the situation and it was a very poor experience for all of us.”

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