Air India’s official Instagram apologized in the comments of her viral post about the incident
Popular Bangladeshi model, actor Meghla Mukta, whose recent Telugu film “Sakala Kala Vallabhudu” is running in more than 150 theatres across Hyderabad, has recently accused Air India airport staff of harassment. She posted an official statement from her Facebook and Instagram profiles claiming that a female staff of Air India harassed her before her flight back to Dhaka from Hyderabad on Thursday, February 8. The incident has gone viral among netizens of Bangladesh since Saturday.
The Dhaka Tribune’s Showtime recently contacted Meghla and asked about the recent incident she faced. She said: “I was returning back to Dhaka from Hyderabad onboard the Air India AI780 flight via Kolkata on Thursday. I had an allowance of total 28kg but I weighed in at a total of 29kg. I was ready to pay for the extra weight though I had no cabin luggage with me. Air India Ground Staff Supervisor Kanees Fatima told me to pay the excess luggage fee with a credit card.”
“When I replied that I will pay cash she asked whether I had a credit card or not, and if I didn’t then I should travel by bus. I tried to pay with dollars and she denied to take that in account too. Then my friends asked to share the excess baggage with their total allowance, yet she denied that too. She replied that we can’t do any business or make contracts here and share our luggage ” added Meghla.
She said: “I was astonished by her behaviour. I am a frequent flyer because of my job, and have never faced such a situation. As a passenger, I condemn such behaviour and want the proper authorities to take necessary steps against this sort of service.”
Moreover, she posted the same statement from her official Instagram profile along with the photo of the accused Air India staff member on Friday. Air India’s official Instagram apologized in that post’s comment section and messaged her that they are taking necessary steps for the situation she had to face.
The comment said: “Dear ma'am, we never want our valued passengers to have this kind of experience. We humbly apologise for the inconvenience caused to you. Please be assured that necessary steps will be taken immediately as we are forwarding your remarks to the head of this team for further enquiry against the staff member concerned. Thank you.” [sic]
View this post on Instagram
The Incident happened yesterday in Hydrabad Airport. I was travelling by Air India AI780 to Dhaka from Hyderabad via Kolkata on 7/Feb. I had an allowance of 20KG + 8KG, but I had no cabin and my total was 29KG, so I was ready to pay in spite of no cabin luggage. I was asked by the supervisor of AirIndia Name: Kanees Fatima, (ground stuff,airindia at Hyderabad airport) if I had a credit card and I said will pay by cash. I couldn't believe the sarcasm when she literally said that "You should travel by Bus". I asked that if I could go and exchange dollars and pay, I was bluntly denied by Kanees Fatima. I was offered help with luggage by fellow friends travelling on the same flight, upon which the Supervisor Kanees was adamant that “you can’t do business or make contacts here and share your luggage“. As a busy actress and a frequent traveler of Air India, I wonder what sort of training and message Air India would want to pass on to its frequent flyers and other Star Alliance frequent flyer members. The supervisor Kanees Fatima’s behavior demonstrated that sarcasm and nepotism was of the highest order and it is ACCEPTABLE to Air India. The message was that an employee would like to decide who is ELIGIBLE to fly and who should take the road trip. With due respect, I would request AIRINDIA and its officials to look into this to avoid another distressed and disappointed passenger. No person should feel less privileged as someone in power like Kanees Fatima would like to decide people's eligibility to fly and intimidate me by advising to close off boarding sooner as a special gesture to me. Even after I paid for excess baggage and holding a valid ticket, I still felt that I'm in the same train as Gandhiji who got kicked out of the train Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, South Africa in 1893, in spite of having first class ticket. Is this the new incredible AIR India ? #Airindia #Indianairlines #aviationindia... #airindia #aviationindia #airindiacrew #airindiaregional #airindiaofficial #indianairlines #rajivgandhiinternationalairport @officialairindiaexpress @if_airindiavirtual @airindia.in @eenaduonline @telanganatoday @the_hindu @thetimesofindia @justice_league @
Air India’s official website – including sections on baggage, general conditions of carriage for passengers and baggage, general terms and conditions, and frequently asked questions (FAQs) – state nothing about the payment method for excess baggage. The domestic flights policy only states: “For domestic sectors within India, the excess baggage rate is INR500 plus applicable GST per kg per coupon including Alliance Air.”
The Dhaka Tribune’s Showtime tried to contact Air India authorities in Bangladesh for their statement on the issue. Their Dhaka office’s contact details on their main website reads “Hotel Ruposhi Bangla, Extension Building-1, 2nd floor, 1, Minto Road” but the same hotel does not exist anymore and has been reopened as the InterContinental Dhaka on December 2018. The contact numbers given for their station at Shahjalal International Airport from their official site were unreachable too.
Previously, another Air India service issue reported by USA Today went viral around the globe. A passenger named Rohit Raj Singh Chauhan said he found a large cockroach lurking in a meal on the Air India flight from Bhopal to Mumbai on February 2. A photo of the cockroach in the meal on the plane was shared on Twitter by another passenger, Manoj Khandekar.
Air India issued a public apology for the incident from their official Twitter profile saying: "We sincerely apologise for the incident where our valued passenger had a disappointing experience with the meal served on board our Bhopal-Mumbai flight. Air India always endeavours to ensure our passengers enjoy our services. We have taken serious note of the incident and immediately issued a strong notice to the caterer concerned. Air India has a zero-tolerance policy in this respect and have initiated corrective action internally. Our senior officials are in touch with the aggrieved passenger." [sic]
Meghla also informed Showtime that she has sent an official complaint email to Air India authorities regarding her matter.
The actor has been one of the leading models for major fashion brands in Bangladesh and has starred in numerous music videos. Her debut film was “Ami Shudhu Cheyechi Tomake” back in 2014 and was last seen in a Dhallywood project alongside Shakib Khan in “Nabab” in 2017.
More recently, she is featured in the newly released Telugu film “Sakala Kala Vallabhudu” with South Indian actor Tanishq Reddy, which was written and directed by Shiva Ganesh and produced by Ajay Patnaik.