Paralympic silver medalist Deepa Malik has complained of "poor handling" of wheelchair-bound passengers and "rude and ill-mannered" behaviour from a crew member while travelling on an Air Vistara flight from Mumbai to Delhi on 4 October.
Malik, who is an Arjuna Award winner and became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio last month, said that the cabin crew were not trained to shift a person from a wheelchair to the cabin seat.
"The entire staff stands and looks at each other for 10 minutes. No action," she wrote in a complaint to the airlines. She also noted that a cabin attendant was rude to her when she was informing her mother about the delay in the flight. When Malik objected, the attendant allegedly said, "sweetheart, chill."
In a series of tweets, Malik asked for more dignity for the physically-challenged passengers.
Pathetic treatment of wheelchair passenger handling by #vistara airlines. Very sad to note lack of training of crew Flight UK902— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) October 4, 2016
Air Vistara, a joint venture between Tata sons and Singapore Airlines, later apologised to the athlete on Twitter and said that it was investigating the incident and taking corrective action "to ensure something like this never occurs again". A team from the airlines also visited the athlete at her home to apologise for the experience.
Thank you for visiting in person and resolving with an amazing zeal to work more towards handling of specially abled passengers. https://t.co/HgA09SiVkI— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) October 5, 2016
This is the latest in a series of incidents reflecting the challenges and insensitivity faced by differently-abled passengers while travelling in India. Last month, two-time paralympic medalist Aditya Mehta was asked to strip and remove his prosthetic leg as part of security checks.
With inputs from PTI.