Earlier on, it came to light that in November 2022, there was an incident where a passenger (later) identified as Shankar Mishra had relieved himself on the seat of a fellow passenger while she was sleeping there. The incident happened on board Air India’s flight AI102 from New York JFK to Delhi in the business class cabin.
At first, we did not know much about the incident, and there was a lot of he said, she said going around about this specific case. While Mr Mishra’s lawyer tried to protect him by stating there was no case, she also released screen grabs of their WhatsApp chats where there is proof that he paid the lady and got her dry-cleaning done for her personal effects. Anyhow, I digress.
Air India feels regret for the incident.
There were two separate statements issued once the airline started getting the heat for not properly handling the issue. In a statement attributable to CEO Campbell Wilson, the airline said,
Air India is deeply concerned about the in-flight instances where customers have suffered due to the condemnable acts of their co-passengers on our aircraft. We regret and are pained about these experiences.
Air India acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground and is committed to taking action.
Also, the Tata sons Chairman, Mr N. Chandrasekaran, made a statement along similar lines.
The incident on Air India flight AI102 on November 26th, 2022, has been a matter of personal anguish to me and my colleagues at Air India.
Air India’s response should have been much swifter. We fell short of addressing this situation the way it should have been.
The Tata Group and Air India stand by the safety and well-being of our passengers and crew with full conviction. We will review and repair every process to prevent or address any incidents of such unruly nature.
Air India de-rostered the crew pending an investigation.
Shankar Mishra gets fired by Wells Fargo.
The accused, Shankar Mishra, was sacked by his employer, the American financial institution Wells Fargo. In a statement issued by Wells Fargo, they clarified that they are cooperating with Indian law enforcement agencies.
Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards of professional and personal behavior and we find these allegations deeply disturbing. This individual has been terminated from Wells Fargo. We are cooperating with law enforcement and ask that any additional inquiries be directed to them.
Air India took to task by National Commission for Women.
The National Commission for Women stepped in. They wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to immediately register FIR in the matter under relevant provisions of law and to take strict action against the culprit for causing mental trauma to an elderly woman. The Commission also wrote to the Chairman, Air India Limited, to intervene in the matter and to take appropriate action against the culprit for the horrendous behaviour to an elderly woman on a flight and violating her right to live a life of dignity and safety.
Shankar Mishra arrested.
Once the issue caught wind of the media, a First Information Report was lodged against the passenger by the airline, and Delhi Police went all around looking for him. He was eventually arrested from Bengaluru. He is currently under 14-day Judicial Custody.
Air India slaps a 4-month ban on the accused.
Air India, on Thursday, January 19, 2022, banned Mr Mishra from flying with the airline for four months after an internal committee determined that he was an unruly passenger who allegedly urinated on a co-passenger. As per a statement from Air India Spokesperson,
The independent 3-member Internal Committee under the chairmanship of an ex-District Judge has concluded that Shankar Mishra is covered under the definition of “unruly passenger” and banned from flying for four months as per relevant provisions of Civil Aviation Requirements.
Mr Mishra’s legal representatives have disagreed with the findings of the committee and intend to appeal this decision.
As per the description in the public discourse, the person concerned committed a Level 2 Unruly behaviour. On the basis of Air India’s decision, other airlines can now put Mr Mishra on their no-fly list for up to six months as well.
Air India fined heavily by India’s aviation regulator, DGCA.
The DGCA issued Show Cause notices to the Accountable Manager of M/s Air India, the Director, In-flight services of M/s Air India and all the pilots and cabin crew members of that flight as to why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations. After examining their reply, the DGCA came up with the following enforcement actions:
- A Financial Penalty of INR 30,00,000/- (Rupees Thirty Lakh only) has been imposed on Air India for violation of the applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements.
- License Suspension of the Pilot-In-Command of the said flight for a period of three months (03 months) for failing to discharge his duties as per Rule 141 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 and applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements.
- A Financial Penalty of INR 3,00,000/- (Rupees Three Lakh only) has been imposed on the Director-in-flight services of M/s Air India for failing to discharge her duties as per applicable DGCA Civil Aviation Requirements.
Air India made a statement where they acknowledged the gaps in their reporting and stated that they are taking relevant steps to ensure that the same are addressed. The airline added that it is strengthening its crew awareness and compliance with policies on the handling of incidents involving unruly passengers.
It is interesting that, in this case, there are different takes with everyone involved. In spite of today’s day and age where every small scuffle on board an aircraft is supported with a video on social media, this incident, which is a pretty big one, I must say, is a version of he said, she said, where the narrative by different people seems different. So, what beats me is the DGCA steps which sound like they were taken too soon. Since the matter was sub-judice, in my view, the court should have first pronounced him guilty, and then DGCA should have then taken that into account for their decision-making as well.
What do you make of this incident, and how various parties acted in this case?
Liked our articles and our efforts? Please pay an amount you are comfortable with; an amount you believe is the fair price for the content you have consumed. Please enter an amount in the box below and click on the button to pay; you can use Netbanking, Debit/Credit Cards, UPI, QR codes, or any Wallet to pay. Every contribution helps cover the cost of the content generated for your benefit.
(Important: to receive confirmation and details of your transaction, please enter a valid email address in the pop-up form that will appear after you click the ‘Pay Now’ button. For international transactions, use Paypal to process the transaction.)
We are not putting our articles behind any paywall where you are asked to pay before you read an article. We are asking you to pay after you have read the article if you are satisfied with the quality and our efforts.