Discrimination in Indigo flight: Woman forced to change seat for not knowing Hindi, English

Usually, the exit row seats are preferably given to pregnant women or elderly people who cannot sit in the regular seats. The woman passenger may have also paid for the XL seat.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  18 Sep 2022 10:07 AM GMT
Discrimination in Indigo flight: Woman forced to change seat for not knowing Hindi, English

Hyderabad: On 16 September, Devasmitha Chakraverty, an assistant professor of education at IIM Ahmedabad, was flying from Vijayawada to Hyderabad on Indigo flight 6E 7297 when she witnessed the airline crew force a woman to change seats because she did not understand Hindi or English, which they said was a "security" issue.

She tweeted about the incident and said the woman was sitting in seat 2A but was forced to move to 3C because she understood only Telugu and not English or Hindi. "The attendant said it's a security issue," she tweeted. Stating that Indigo has no instructions in Telugu, she wrote, "Flight from AP to Telangana has no instructions in Telugu, attendant said it's a safety issue that she doesn't understand English/Hindi. If unhappy, we (not she) should complain. No dignity, non-Hindi treated as second class citizens in their own state."

She asked Indigo officials to take up the issue and make changes.

Usually, the exit row seats are preferably given to pregnant women or elderly people who cannot sit in the regular seats. The woman passenger may have also paid for the XL seat. As she did not understand Hindi or English and hence would not understand the emergency instructions, she was forced to change her seat. The woman, however, did not understand why she was asked to change her seat.

According to Devasmitha, the solution is simple. "Emirates and other international airlines do it, but IndiGo airlines doesn't. The flight attendant couldn't even understand why this was discrimination. Not a single Telugu-speaking crew or recording was on the flight," she said. She also tagged Union minister for civil aviation Jyotiraditya M. Scindia in her tweet and asked him to ensure that flights have safety instructions available in all languages, not just Hindi and English. "Even Emirates from Dubai to Kolkata gives instructions in English and Bangla," added Devasmitha.

While many people supported her saying discrimination is not a good thing, some also shared their experiences during flight journeys. A few users, however, did not agree with Devasmitha.

KTR responds

Responding to the incident, Telangana minister for IT and industries K.T Rama Rao tweeted and tagged IndiGo6E Management requesting them to start respecting local languages and passengers who may not be well conversant in English or Hindi. He asked the airline to recruit more staff who can speak the local language like Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada on regional routes.


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