Videos of the heated conversation on 6E-12 of December 16 suggest that one passenger first spoke to an airhostess (perhaps the one serving meals as pre-booked or purchased on the flight) in a manner that left the cabin crew member in tears. Then her senior intervened.
The passenger and this senior crew member got into a heated argument, with the latter saying she wasn’t his “servant.”
It is learnt that this group of four passengers had booked their tickets on full service Turkish Airlines which has a code share with budget IndiGo on flights between Istanbul and Delhi and Mumbai.
Hot meals: IndiGo flyer & cabin crew have a heated argument on #Istanbul-#Delhi flight https://t.co/nKhmeG8lFp
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1671626620000
“They had pre-ordered meals but wanted a hot meal on the flight. While the difference in expectations when booking on a full service airline and then flying a budget airline that does not have ovens on board (to heat meals) is understandable, getting into an argument with the crew is not acceptable or desirable. The crew can only serve what the airline makes available on board as per the airlne’s menu. Passengers could have filed a complain on arrival, but arguing with crew — who are responsible for your safety in case, God forbid, something goes wrong — is just not the right thing to do,” say people in the know.
Video of the argument show the senior crew member telling the passenger that pre-counted meals are uploaded on flights: “(Stop) pointing finger at me. My crew member is crying because of you. Please try to understand pre-counted meals are uploaded.” The crew member and the passenger accused each other of yelling.
This soon degenerated into a slanging match with the man asking her to “shut up” and the crew responding likewise. “I am sorry but you cannot talk to the crew like that. I am peacefully listening to you with all due respect but you have to respect the crew as well… she is seen telling the passenger.
The man asks, “Where have I disrespected the crew?” When he retorts “you are (a) servant),” she clarifies being an employee (of IndiGo) and that she is not his “servant.”
Sensing that things are getting way too heated, a third cabin crew is seen escorting her colleague from the row of this passenger.
In a statement on this issue, IndiGo said: “We are aware of the incident that took place on flight 6E 12 from Istanbul to Delhi on December 16, 2022. The issue was related to meals chosen by certain passengers traveling via a codeshare connection. IndiGo is cognisant of the needs of its customers and it is our constant endeavor to provide a courteous and hassle-free experience to our customers. We are looking into the incident and would like to assure that customers’ comfort has always been our top priority. We are committed to providing the best experience at all times.”
IndiGo has code shares with a large number of international full service airlines like Qatar Airways and Turkish. The flights between India and these airlines’ hubs in Doha and Istanbul are IndiGo budget flights. Flights between those hubs and other places (not in India) are on the full service airlines’ aircraft.
Industry insiders say as IndiGo is ramping up its international network through such code shares, managing passenger expectations becomes crucial. Not everyone realises that while they have booked their trips on a full service airline, some legs will be on budget IndiGo.
But whatever the case, arguing and fighting with cabin crew who serve/sell onboard meals as per airline menu is definitely not the correct thing to do.
Istanbul -Delhi/Mumbai is the longest flight of IndiGo at over five hours. The airline’s current fleet of close to 300 aircraft does not have ovens to heat meals. IndiGo Airbus A321 XLR that will join its fleet from mid-2024 are likely to have ovens, in-seat chargers and perhaps even a business class as these planes will be used for over 6-hour flights.