Airline’s report to National Commission for Women acknowledges delay in reporting incident to regulator
Air India has said its cabin crew and ground staff made an error of judgment in handling the urination incident on a New York-Delhi flight on November 27. The incident could have been handled better, said the airline in an action-taken report to the National Commission of Women (NCW)
The airline acknowledged that it failed to quickly report the incident to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and an internal committee dealing with unruly passenger behavior.
Shankar Mishra, the now-sacked executive of US-headquartered Wells Fargo, urinated on a co-passenger in the aircraft’s business class cabin. The incident remained under wraps for over a month, and a media report led to a DGCA probe. On January 4, the NCW sought an action taken report from the airline. Mishra has been charged with outraging modesty of the fellow co- passenger and has denied charges.
Air India did not immediately respond to an email query.
In its submission to the NCW, the airline has narrated the incident, action taken post the incident and its plans to prevent recurrence.
The airline admitted that as alleged by the woman passenger, the cabin crew should not have asked her to return to the soiled seat. The passenger should have been upgraded to first class or accommodated in another business class seat–it was eventually done– without asking for it. Apart from reporting the incident to authorities, the crew should have documented and secured signed copies from both the accused and victim of their mutual settlement.
Air India also acknowledged the crew should have handed over Mishra to the Central Industrial Security Force on arrival at Delhi and asked the ground staff to provide the woman passenger adequate support.
The airline also said proactive refund to the victim and continuous communication with the victim and family should have been carried out. Also it said show cause notices to staff should have been issued immediately.
The airline has informed the commission that it has commenced a comprehensive education programme to strengthen crews’ awareness on handling of unruly passenger behavior and will better equip them to empathetically assist those affected. It has initiated a review of policy on serving alcohol on board aircraft.
The airline has signed a letter of intent to get incident management software for better reporting and is giving its pilots and senior crew iPads that will help in filing voyage and incident reports.