Disabled Passenger Claims She Was Forced To Crawl Off Flight With Air India-Run Airline Alliance Air
A disabled passenger claims she was forced to crawl off a plane and onto the tarmac at India’s busiest airport after no one provided a wheelchair.
Anita Ghai said she was left shocked and embarrassed by the way she was treated by Alliance Air, a regional carrier operated by Air India, at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
The 53-year-old claims she had to crawl off the plane and onto a bus that took her to the terminal after she waited half an hour for a wheelchair that never arrived.
Anita Ghai claims she had to crawl down the stairs and onto a bus that took her to a terminal (file photo)
Ghai, who uses a wheelchair after suffering polio as a child, told DNA India she stayed behind after the other passengers had disembarked.
She said: ‘They [the flight attendants] told me that the wheelchair will come, but it did not. The door of the plane is narrow so I knew the chair could not be brought inside, but they did not even have an aisle chair.
‘I can’t stand as I have polio, so I crawled down the steps waiting for the chair.’
Ghai, a disability rights advocate and associate professor at Delhi University, said a wheelchair was provided once she reached the arrival hall after the bus ride.
She said the incident occurred after she arrived in New Delhi from Dehradun on Saturday night. She said she told staff before arriving that she would need a wheelchair.
MailOnline Travel has contacted Air India for comment.
In a statement given to India’s national press, Air India denied the woman’s claims.
The airline said: ‘Since the flight was parked at a distant bay it took some time to bring the wheelchair. Since passengers were getting down from the aircraft, our support staff actively helped the passenger to come out of the aircraft ensuring any inconvenience and the wheelchair was provided at aircraft doorstep.
‘We deeply regret any inconvenience caused to the passenger. However, we strongly deny the statement appearing in media.
‘We at Air India give utmost importance to passenger safety and comfort.’
Ghai shot back at the airline, telling DNA India that it was ‘blatantly lying’ and she is considering legal action.