An Air India Airbus A320 plane is seen at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kiev
An Air India Airbus A320 plane is seen at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kiev Reuters


  • The Air India senior management official was moved from business class to economy due to faulty seats
  • The unruly passenger allegedly slapped him, twisted his head and abused him during the flight
  • The accused passenger was handed over to security upon the flight's landing in Delhi

A senior management official of an Indian airline was allegedly assaulted while traveling on a flight from Syndey to New Delhi.

Despite an uptick in incidents involving unruly passengers on flights, no official action was immediately taken against the flyer who was accused of assaulting the Air India official, identified as Sandeep Verma.

Verma, a frequent flier to Australia, was traveling aboard the AI301 flight on July 9 when a passenger allegedly assaulted him.

"The airline's head of inflight services department, Sandeep Verma, who was flying from Sydney to Delhi on AI 301 was hit by a Delhi-based passenger. However, no action was taken against him," an official aware of the matter told the Indian newspaper Hindustan Times.

The senior Air India employee had a business class ticket for his flight back to New Delhi but was moved to economy class because of faulty seats.

"Verma accepted the downgrade and was then allotted seat 30C. He, however, later moved to row 25 since it was vacant. After shifting, Verma began correcting his co-passenger (who was freely walking around in the galley and also picked up a few alcohol bottles for no reason) and had a loud voice. This is when the passenger slapped Verma and twisted his head and abused him," the official said.

Sources cited by the daily said that Verma rushed to the back of the plane, prompting the cabin crew to intervene.

"The male cabin supervisor from the business class had to be called in to control the situation. The passenger was issued a verbal and a written warning after which the situation was brought under control," a second official told the outlet.

The accused passenger was handed over to security upon the flight's landing in Delhi, and he offered a written apology.

"The crew did not use restraining devices (that are available onboard flights operating on Australian sector) on the request of Verma and no police complaint was filed," the second official added.

It is unclear whether further action will be taken against the passenger. International Business Times reached out to the airline as well as the Delhi police but did not receive an update.

"If the airline could take strict action against all the previous passengers despite getting written apologies from them, then they should have ensured strict action against this passenger too," a former Air India official told Hindustan Times.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that every 568 flights in 2022 had one incident involving an unruly passenger, marking an increase compared to the figures in 2021, which saw one such incident per 835 flights.

In a string of incidents reporting disruptive passengers, one such case this year involved a drunk passenger causing a ruckus and being removed from a Southwest Airlines flight.

Another incident was reported after a United Airlines flight attendant was attacked for telling a 47-year-old man and his wife that they were in the wrong seats.