IndiGo faces backlash over offloading passengers from near-empty flight

With no available flights to Chennai that night, six stranded passengers were compelled to spend the night in Bengaluru after IndiGo offloaded them from a near-empty craft

An IndiGo readying for takeoff (photo: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
An IndiGo readying for takeoff (photo: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

NH Business Bureau

In a bizarre incident that unfolded on the night of Sunday, 21 November, six passengers aboard a Chennai-bound IndiGo flight claimed they were allegedly coerced into disembarking at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru under a false pretext.

Allegedly, the airline was reluctant to fly with just six passengers on board.

Their ordeal began at approximately 9.30 pm after the IndiGo flight 6E478, originating from Amritsar and en route to Chennai via Bengaluru, landed at KIA. According to a report by the Times of India, passengers claim they were duped into leaving the aircraft under the pretext of being transferred to an alternative flight that was supposedly ready to depart for Chennai.

"I received a call from an IndiGo ground crew member who instructed me to exit the plane, claiming my boarding pass for another Chennai-bound flight was ready inside the airport," revealed one of the passengers, echoing the experiences of the other five individuals involved.

The passengers maintain that IndiGo assured them that they would promptly be accommodated on an alternative flight. However, they were left stranded as the airline allegedly reneged on its commitment, refusing to fly with just six passengers.

With no available flights to Chennai that night, the stranded passengers were left with no choice but to spend the night in Bengaluru, departing for their intended destination the following day.

IndiGo sources at Bengaluru airport confirmed the incident, explaining that two passengers were provided accommodation in a hotel 13 km from the airport, while the rest opted to stay in the airport lounge. The Times of India quoted an airline official as saying, "All were accommodated on flights on Monday morning and flown to Chennai."

IndiGo responded to the controversy by explaining, "On 19 November 2023, flight 6E 478 was operating from Amritsar to Chennai via Bengaluru with eight transit passengers on board. Due to the delay of the incoming aircraft from Amritsar, these passengers could not board the onward flight to Chennai at the Bengaluru Airport."

The incident has sparked debate about passenger rights and airline responsibility, with many questioning the airline's decision to offload passengers without a clear alternative plan.

IndiGo's handling of the situation will likely come under scrutiny from the civil aviation regulator, the DGCA, in the days ahead.

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