Woman Slapped Air India Staffer In India Because She Was Refused To Board A Flight
In this photo, Air India's Dreamliner taxi on the tarmac upon arriving in Sydney on Aug. 30, 2013. Getty Images / Saeed Khan

Air India got caught up in another controversy Tuesday when a woman passenger and an airline staff slapped each other at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), Delhi, India.

The woman was supposedly displeased after she was denied boarding because she reported late for the flight at the gate, according to a report in the Indian Express. Reports stated the passenger was booked on an Air India Delhi-Ahmedabad flight that was scheduled to depart at 5 a.m. local time (6:30 p.m. EST) Tuesday.

The passenger, who has not been identified yet, reportedly showed up 40 minutes before the flight instead of the mandatory 75 minutes, because of which she was not allowed to board. This led to her slapping an Air India duty manager, who slapped her back. The passenger is supposedly the wife of a bureaucrat and a resident of North Indian state Haryana's Panchkula district, an Air India source claimed.

An Air India spokesperson said, “A lady passenger was told by a counter staff that she will not be able to check-in because she was late for the flight. This led to an argument and the staff directed her to the duty manager who was also a lady and there were an argument and an altercation,” according to a website named Janta Ka Reporter.

Sanjay Bhatia, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Airport, spoke about the incident and said both the women had an argument, which led to an altercation.

“A lady passenger had to board Air India Flight No AI 019 to Ahmedabad at 0500 hrs. She reported at 0418 hrs for check-in and was denied boarding. An argument started between her and the Air India lady staff. The passenger then slapped her. The lady staff in retaliation also slapped her,” Bhatia said, the Indian Express reported.

Reports suggested the passenger then also called authorities and went to the police station to lodge a complaint. However, according to the spokesperson, both the passenger and the staff member later apologized to each other and the matter was resolved harmoniously.

This incident is one in the string of reports of discourteous behavior by passengers on flights. The most prominent case involved Indian far-right regional political party Shiv Sena’s Member of Parliament (MP), Ravindra Gaikwad, who prompted the Civil Aviation Ministry to introduce a 'No Fly List' in September after he beat up a senior Air India employee in March.

MP Gaikwad apparently misbehaved with the staffer after he was refused a business class seat despite having an economy class ticket.

Another altercation took place in January this year when an onboard passenger reportedly molested an air hostess in Air India's Muscat-Delhi flight, according to a report in Business Today.

Reports also mentioned another incident from February when an IndiGo passenger, who was seated in an emergency exit row on a Mumbai-Chandigarh flight, opened the emergency door, which not only injured a co-passenger but also risked 176 lives on board.