Nobody knows whose fault was there and why Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad had manhandled Air India staff. It’s the minister who has confessed that he had assaulted the staff. After domestic airlines unitedly “banned” him from flying on their aircraft for assaulting an Air India officer, one video surfaced on a Marathi channel showing how minister was assaulted by Air India team. Emphasizing that Air India was trying to misguide everyone as to what actually caused the altercation on board the aircraft. Gaikwad stated that he had never demanded a Business Class seat, but had instead requested a complaint book to address his grievance about ‘substandard service’. Gaikwad submitted a complaint against Air India before the Delhi Police alleging that he was pushed and yelled on. In his complaint, Gaikwad, who manhandled Air India staffer, said he was made to travel by Air India on economy class even as he had business class ticket.
There are many normal people like me at time get so frustrated with Air India staff that they actually feel like thrashing them. The staff is not only arrogant but irresponsible and inefficient too. The airhostesses are at times in their old age nearing retirement, men have typical attitude, may be because they know they are government servants and need not bother about the business.
Air India was listed as the third worst performing airline in the world in a recent survey by flight data firm FlightStats, the national carrier has responded with indignation. The Portland-headquartered firm’s survey highlighted issues over cabins, service quality and flight delays. According to a Bloomberg report, taking a wrong carrier can delay travel by 55%, and the right one can reduce travel time by 11% — a good reason to choose one airline over the other. Air India has been struggling to get back to profitability. It is already chasing an unattainable operating profit target of Rs. 1,086 crore by March 2017, which means that the company will have to make Rs. 11 crore of daily operating profits. The airline’s operating loss was Rs. 161 crore in the first three quarters of 2016-17 — reducing the daily loss from Rs. 4 crore every day to Rs. 58 lakh. The company also has been set a target to earn its first net profit by 2022.
The MP also said the same thing that while travelling in the flight. He noticed “carelessness and substandard” service of Air India and requested for a complaint book, but despite his frequent requests, he was not provided with it and instead the staff member misbehaved with him. If we carefully look at the video published by Zee Marathi news channel, he was literally dragged, pulled and hit by the crew members. One senior airhostess was yelling at him by doing all sorts of moral policing. If this is the attitude of Air India staff, how one can expect decency from everyone travelling on the plane. One day one will lose his mind, yes this time it was a MP, who is teacher by profession and he has disciplined many students all his life.
He was demanding proper facilities not the business class seat. Moreover, he paid for the services. He was not travelling for free. But just to hide their careless attitude and cheating towards lakhs of Air India passengers, they tried to create a picture that he was continuously demanding for a business class seat.
There were many passengers in the flight who were equally bugged by the staff and their attitude, they also agreed that Gaikwad was ill-treated and there were many passengers who were fuming with anger but did not interfere in the matter as they felt happy when MP acted upon them. Violence of any kind can be a disaster for airlines. Humiliation and misbehaviour to traveller is just not justified. Instead of resolving the matter, it is illogical to impose a ban on his air travel. If this kind of behaviour is encouraged then tomorrow it will become really difficult for common man to travel in these airlines. It is illogical that the other four airlines have also put Gaikwad on a no-fly list. He is not a criminal.
Gaikwad is not some unruly passenger or doesn’t have track record of such behaviour. The way he is being framed by the media, he is not an illegitimate. Authorities should have called for a thorough inquiry in to the whole matter, instead of giving matter for media trial. No one should subscribe to such behaviour by an elected representative. But at the same time, there should be a thorough inquiry into this whole matter as to what actually instigated him, many things are surfacing. The only fault of Gaikwad is that he himself has proudly and openly admitted of having slapped the Air India staff 25 times with his footwear. It is media who played with words by instigating him to make such statements.
Ravindra Gaikwad was a two time MLA from Osmanabad constituency. He has also been the Chairman of Killari Sugar Factory. His major work has been construction of lakes to overcome the drought problem in the area. He has also contributed majorly in setting up numerous substations in the constituency to overcome the electricity problems. He is a director on the agriculture board committee in the Central Government of India. When Osmanabad was witnessing severe drought and farmer suicides were on high, he voluntarily went door to door helping people of his constituency to a large extent. He defeated sitting MP Padamsinha Bajirao Patil who contested from Nationalist Congress Party by 235325 votes by securing 607699 votes against 373374. He is one of the leaders who are known for his humanity and sincere work for his people. Being a professor, he has mentored generations of students who today hold responsible positions in India.
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