Air India to slap up to Rs15 lakh fine on unruly flyers for delaying flights

Fed up with constant delays in flights caused by increased unruly behaviour by passengers, including lawmakers, national flag carrier Air India has decided to impose fines on such passengers causing flight delays.

Unruly passengers delaying Air India flights will soon have to pay hefty fees and face immediate registering of police complaints.

The airline is planning to fine Rs5 lakh for delaying a flight up to an hour; Rs10 lakh for delay between one and two hours and Rs15 lakh for delaying beyond two hours.

The decision comes after three cases of high-handedness by members of Parliament, including the one last month involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad.

Last month, Shiv Sena's Ravindra Gaikwad beat up a 60-year-old staffer with sandals and since then a Trinamool Congress MP delayed a flight as she wanted her wheelchair-bound mother to be shifted to an emergency row.

In November 2015, a YSR Congress MP had assaulted an AI officer at Tirupati when the lawmaker who reported late at the airport had to be denied boarding as check-in for the flight was supposed to close.

These VVIP incidents have adversely affected the morale of AI employees as unlike common unruly flyers, the lawmakers get away scot free.

The airline management led by chairman Ashwani Lohani is keen to protect the interests of employees and is working on a number of steps to tackle unruly passengers.

The airline also lays down the protocol to be followed by employees for filing complaints. They will have to first inform the airport manager without any delay and then the complaint will go right up to the chairman's office.

FIR / police complaint will be filed immediately under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. The property damaged will be assed and claimed as damages from the unruly flyer.