Cancer patient offloaded from flight after ‘repeatedly asking for help with bag’

The Indian passenger was travelling with American Airlines  (Getty Images)
The Indian passenger was travelling with American Airlines (Getty Images)

A woman has claimed that American Airlines offloaded her from a flight in Delhi after she could not place her own cabin bag in the overhead lockers.

Meenakshi Sengupta has lodged a complaint with the US airline, telling police and aviation authorities that she has no strength in her arms following surgery and treatment for cancer, and accusing an AA crew member of “extremely rude and arrogant” behaviour.

The airline confirmed that a “disruptive customer” had been removed from Flight 293 from Delhi to New York on 30 January.

In a complaint to Delhi Police seen by NDTV, Ms Sengupta said she had notified airline staff of her condition and received wheelchair assistance to reach the plane.

“I was also wearing a brace which was visible to everyone and they would know that I have some discomfort... because I cannot carry any weight in my hands at all and I’m weak from the surgery and don’t need to strain myself by walking a lot.”

“The ground staff was very supportive and helped me get into the aircraft and put my handbag on the side of the seat. Once inside the flight, I had a conversation with the air hostess and I explained my health condition to them,” she went on.

“None of them mentioned about putting my handbag away. After the flight was about to take off, cabin lights were dimmed. At that time an air hostess came to put my hand bag in the overhead compartment. I requested her to help me put it but she refused to do so and told me it’s not her job to do it.”

Ms Sengupta alleges she “repeatedly” asked the crew member in question to help her by lifting her case into the overhead locker.

The passenger claims that the female staff member “was extremely rude and arrogant with her words,” with other people onboard “largely indifferent” to her predicament.

“[American staff] said that if I’m so uncomfortable I should just de-board the flight. They were collective in their decision to deboard me,” she alleged.

An American Airlines spokesperson told The Independent: “On 30 January, prior to the departure of American Airlines flight 293 from Delhi (DEL) to New York (JFK), a disruptive customer was removed from the aircraft for failure to follow crew member instructions.

“Our Customer Relations team has reached out to the customer to refund the unused portion of their ticket,” the airline said, adding that a probe into the matter is “underway.”