Cabin crew gives pushback to (harassing) passenger on board Istanbul – Delhi flight

The patience of customers and airlines with each other seems to run thin nowadays. In the US, United called the cops on a passenger, Dr Dao, and had him physically removed from the plane. On the other hand, many incidents of passengers assaulting passengers are becoming common. I’m not sure of the point they are trying to drive home, though, or is it that there is too much rage going around on airplanes? However, in this age of smartphones, every minor incident is documented, meaning it gets out more often than not. And this time, there was an IndiGo flight fight between a crew member and a passenger.

Fight breaks on board IndiGo flight between passenger and Cabin Crew Member

A video has emerged today of a cabin crew member engaging in a shouting match with a passenger on board a flight between Istanbul and Delhi, being operated by IndiGo recently. Before you think about who is right or wrong, please have a look at this clip.

The incident reportedly happened on the Istanbul – Delhi flight over the food ordered by the passenger. In the video, the cabin crew member tells the passenger that he cannot talk to her colleague without respect. Some of the exchanges include:

  • “Why are you yelling?” the passenger asked her. The air hostess responded: ” “Because you are yelling on us.”
  • “I am so sorry, sir, but you cannot talk to the crew like that. I am peacefully listening to you with all due respect, but you have to respect the crew as well,” the crew member is heard telling the passenger, who then asks her to “shut up.”
  • She said, “Sir, you cannot talk to me like that. I am also an employee here.” To this, he referred to her as a “servant.”
  • “I am an employee; I am not your servant,” she hits back at him.

We do not know what transpired between the earlier crew, who seems to be in tears after this exchange, and which is when her colleague steps in. The conversation started around a meal, and the passenger changed to IndiGo, flying in from somewhere else on Turkish Airlines. While it is not very obvious, he expected a full-service meal, while his boarding pass states a specific sandwich, which he did not expect.

Reading into the crew’s body language, when she sat down to talk to the passenger, to ensure she did not “talk down” to him,  it seems she came around to make him understand. But he was too enraged to give her a patient listen until she gave it back to him.

Update: here is an Instagram post from a co-passenger who was on the plane and explains that the passenger was not in the right here.

a screenshot of a video


My thoughts

It could be possible that the passenger was misguided or did not get into the details of what he was booking as a narrow body codeshare rather than a full-service Turkish Airlines flight. But to unload on a crew member for no fault was totally uncalled for.

He seems to think of the crew member as someone beneath himself, referring to her as a servant, but that is far from the truth. Remember, the primary duty of a cabin crew member is your safety and security on a flight. To serve you a meal / sell you a drink is a part of their job but not their primary responsibility. So to tell them to “Shut Up” and make them feel as if they are “servants” is just plain being an ass.

IndiGo’s statement on the issue, though, tries to play down the situation,

We are aware of the incident that took place on flight 6E 12 from Istanbul to Delhi on December 16, 2022. The issue was related to meals chosen by certain passengers travelling via a codeshare connection. IndiGo is cognisant of the needs of its customers and it is our constant endeavour to provide a courteous and hassle-free experience to our customers. We are looking into the incident and would like to assure that customers’ comfort has always been our top priority. We are committed to providing the best experience at all times.

In this case, again, I can’t side up with the crew as well since there is no complete playback of the situation, but it does come across as a rude passenger, and for once, a cabin crew member giving it back to him rather than taking his dressing down. If that is the case, IndiGo gives the crew a raise rather than leave her out to dry. She stood up for her crew member, which deserves appreciation.


A confrontation between an IndiGo cabin crew member and a passenger flying between Istanbul and Delhi turned into a shouting match. The customer expected a different meal than what was uplifted for him on the plane. To my interpretation, the passenger was uncouth and did not expect a crew member to not give up on his temper tantrums on board.

What do you make of this IndiGo flight fight?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I have traveled by flight ,I could say in considerable numbers and have come across rude passengers and at the same time unreasonable cabin crew. Once I saw a passenger being drunk and staying very close to cabin crew , she could not move and was in a very awkward situation ..but handled him wisely and very few passengers came to know about it .we had to intervene in time but she managed to avoid a noisy scene on flight.later on there was a complaint lodged against the passenger.

    On another case on a European airlines I came across cabin crew serving all the whites first and avoiding an African American passenger. To her bad luck he was a US marine who was very tired and hungry and she had to listen to all including glorified servant.

    So for this video commenting without knowing the full story is not very right. On first view it may look the cabin crew is right. But there are few flaws on her side.To be incharge is to manage or handle things. Hospitality industry is a very difficult segment. Sometimes u come across very difficult clients. She is seen bending down which is not required at first place. That gives an impression she is servant. She should convey the difficulty in a low tone and give a possible solution and convey she is sorry for any inconvenience. She is loud from beginning which is already creating a scene there and will trigger the guy even more. For Any difficulty they have procedure to report and take action or even police custody later without affecting the moral on such long flight. Sadly such incidents are rare on emirates or Qatar or Lufthansa flights and more with budget airlines . The training given to cabin crew also is not ample enough with budget airlines, I have felt , they are too eager at times. Cruise ships, Luxury airlines are on peak and hospitality industry in one among the most important and sensitive aspect.

    I see few comments as to they are only safety and security , then might as well have some fire fighting dept on flight than cabin crew. I see cabin crew also as managers. Quality is also a part of it , and they are directly in touch with clients. Handle with care or atleast avoid things getting viral and showing as if it’s a noisy and lousy flight a peace preferring person should avoid.

  2. Even when the customer is rude, the flight attendant should behave professional. Because it’s her job. She should handle him better than what we have see in the vedio.
    I can understand that some time passenger are very rude but still she should know how to handle him in a better way. That’s my opinion.

  3. Of course the crew members are not “servants”, but they are at the service of the passengers, for the security of course, but exactly to the same extent also for the service on board. We don’t know what the passenger said exactly (we don’t hear him shouting in the clip), but my opinion is that a flight attendant should never loose the control of her nerves like this girl. Even if the passenger was impolite and had a condemnable behavior, I can imagine that he became rude after the hostess began to show an arrogant attitude. Passengers must be polite, but in case a conflict happens, it is the duty of employees (males or females) to disregard their pride and self-esteem in order to avoid such a scandal, even if the passenger is wrong.
    As a frequent traveller, I flew many times with IndiGo and I was always shocked by the fact that the (only female !) attendants are wearing a ridiculous “girl power” badge on their uniform. I never had any problem with them, but I believe that with such a mentality, nice girls can easily become female tigers.

      • For security reasons flight attendants must have strong nerves whatever her/his gender. If she already loses the control of her nerves in a so unimportant case, how would be her behavior in case of a crash ? If I were airline manager, this hysterical and unprofessionnal girl would be fired at once. It has nothing to do with sexism. Professionalism and safety must take precedence over ideology.

  4. Clearly the passenger thought he is travelling onboard a TK flight when in reality he was traveling on a TK marketed flight which was code shared and operated by 6E.

    And this led to the misleading impression (to the passenger it was misleading as he isn’t aware of codeshares marketing / operating carriers) that he was actually supposed to be travelling on a TK operating flight which has a full service meal.

    Having said that, the conduct of this passenger onboard should be condemned in it’s entirety.

    The crew could have easily reported the law enforcement agencies once the aircraft reached the ground. He is lucky if they didn’t do that.

    Or else he could find himself on 6E’s no flying list soon in the future.

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