Cancer patient reportedly deplaned for seeking help with handbag
A female cancer patient was allegedly offloaded from a New York City-bound flight of American Airlines at Delhi airport after she asked for assistance from a flight attendant to keep her handbag in the overhead cabin. The passenger reportedly underwent surgery recently. The incident occurred on January 30, but it came to light when the woman lodged a complaint against the flight attendant.
What does offloading mean?
For the uninitiated, offloading a passenger refers to a situation where the individual is denied boarding on an aircraft because the flight has been overbooked, or when the said individual is removed from the plane after the boarding process.
She couldn't lift the bag due to 'weak limbs'
The United States-based traveler, identified as Meenakshi Sengupta, accused the flight attendant of refusing to help her put the handbag in the overhead cabin. According to her, she was unable to lift the handbag, which weighed less than 2.5 kg, because of weak limbs. Meanwhile, American Airlines has said that she was a disruptive passenger and hence had to be removed from the aircraft.
I am weak from the surgery: Meenakshi Sengupta
Meenakshi Sengupta filed her complaint to Delhi Police and Civil Air. In her complaint, she wrote, "I was also wearing a brace which was visible to everyone and they would know that I have some discomfort...because I CANNOT carry any weight in my hands at all and I'm weak from the surgery and don't need to strain myself by walking a lot."
The flight attendant refused, saying it was not her job
Before boarding the flight, the ground staff helped her with the bags. Meenakshi said, "After the flight was about to take off, cabin lights were dimmed. At that time an air hostess came to put my handbag in the overhead compartment. I requested her to help me but she refused to do so and told me it's not her job to do it."
Flight attendant repeatedly refused Meenakshi's request
Sengupta mentioned that she "repeatedly" asked her to assist in putting her bag up. However, according to her, the flight attendant rudely declined her request and asked her to do it on her own, and walked away. "She was extremely rude and arrogant with her words," Sengupta alleged. She also alleged that the aircraft members were "largely indifferent" when she lodged a complaint.
Customer relations to refund the unused ticket amount
American Airlines has been requested to submit its report by India's regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). According to the airline's official statement, the customer relations department has contacted Sengupta to reimburse her for the unused portion of her ticket. An investigation is underway. No official statement has been made by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on the incident yet.