Differently-abled woman forgotten, neglected, and left stranded on IndiGo flight

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Sumana | Date 07-12-2023
Disability rights activist, Virali Modi
Disability rights activist, Virali Modi


New Delhi

A 32-year-old disability rights activist, paralysed from the waist down, took to social media to express her dismay and frustration after the cabin crew of IndiGo Airlines allegedly forgetting about her presence on a Delhi to Mumbai flight.

The activist, Virali Modi, who relies on a wheelchair for mobility, narrated her ordeal in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

According to her account, after all passengers had disembarked at Mumbai airport, the cabin crew appeared to have overlooked her on IndiGo Flight 6E-864.

It wasn't until the cleaning crew arrived that she had to inform them of her presence, leading to a 40-minute delay before an aisle wheelchair was provided for her to deplane.

"I couldn’t alert the cabin crew because the call button was out of reach, like on all of their flights," she noted in her tweet, expressing frustration over the lack of accessible amenities. She also highlighted that she had informed the airline that she required her wheelchair at the gate but was not provided with one.

Her troubles continued as she described the helper provided by IndiGo as negligent, pushing the aisle chair without proper care. Upon reaching the baggage claim, her personal wheelchair was missing, causing an additional 30-minute wait. The situation escalated when she discovered her wheelchair cushion, crucial for her comfort, was also missing.

The activist claimed that despite her efforts to seek assistance, the airline offered little support. In a phone call to IndiGo's customer care, she was allegedly kept on hold for 55 minutes before being told to send an email to report the issue. The lack of empathy and resolution from the airline left her feeling stranded and her independence compromised.

Her husband visited the IndiGo counter seeking resolution, but the airline allegedly downplayed the incident, directing them to the airport authorities for CCTV footage and even suggesting filing a police report.

In a scathing social media post, the activist accused IndiGo of prioritising profits over passenger needs, highlighting the challenges faced by disabled individuals during air travel. She emphasised the necessity for accessible facilities, especially during emergencies, and criticised the airline's alleged disregard for her specific needs.

As a motivational speaker and disability rights advocate, the activist claimed that the incident not only affected her personal well-being but also hindered her ability to work and earn a living.

IndiGo Airlines was yet to respond publicly to the accusations, leaving many to question the airline's commitment to inclusivity and passenger welfare

“With regard to the incident involving a passenger requiring wheelchair assistance on flight 6E 864 from Delhi to Mumbai, we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience faced. Our team is in touch with the customer and we are in the process of providing her with a replacement cushion on priority,” the airline said in a statement