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'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal

Viral video shows tense exchange as airline investigates the incident and calls for respectful treatment of crew.

Flying can be a stressful experience, and tensions can sometimes reach a boiling point 20,000 feet in the air. A recent incident aboard an IndiGo flight from Istanbul to Delhi became a viral sensation when a passenger and a crew member engaged in a heated argument over the airline's meal options.

As reported by The Indian Express, the altercation occurred on Flight 6E 12 on December 16, prompting widespread attention on social media. According to the British tabloid Daily Mail, the passenger had requested a sandwich, and the crew member informed him that they would check on its availability. However, the man grew increasingly agitated and began shouting, leading to a distressing situation for the crew member, who even ended up in tears.

A video of the encounter, shared on Twitter, captured the air stewardess remonstrating with the passenger, visibly upset by his behavior. "You pointed a finger at me, and you are yelling at me," she asserted. She explained that the availability of meals is limited as they are uplifted on a cart, and they can only serve what has been accounted for during boarding.

Despite the crew member's efforts to explain, the passenger's agitation persisted, prompting her to raise her voice in response. She firmly stated, "Because you are yelling at us," in an attempt to address his disrespect towards the crew. Demonstrating professionalism, she emphasized the importance of mutual respect, saying, "I am so sorry sir, but you do not 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."

Despite the crew's attempts to defuse the situation, the argument continued to escalate, with the passenger telling the crew member to "shut up." In a powerful retort, she asserted, "You shut up. I'm sorry you cannot talk to me like that ... I'm an employee, I'm not your servant," standing up for the dignity and respect that all crew members deserve.

The incident drew mixed reactions from social media users, with some lauding the crew member's composure and patience, while others debated the passenger's perspective. Jet Airways CEO Sanjiv Kapoor expressed empathy towards the stewardess, acknowledging the pressures and challenges that crew members face during flights. He condemned any form of physical or verbal abuse and emphasized that customers must be treated with respect unless their behavior crosses boundaries.

A spokesperson for IndiGo assured the public that the airline is investigating the incident. They clarified that the issue arose from meals chosen by passengers traveling via a codeshare connection, where airlines book passengers on partner carriers to reach destinations they do not serve directly. The airline reaffirmed its commitment to providing a courteous and hassle-free experience for its customers.

Meanwhile, India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation has also taken note of the incident and stated that appropriate action will be taken. The regulatory body is likely to examine the situation further to ensure the safety and well-being of both passengers and airline staff.
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