After an impatient passenger was allegedly assaulted at the hands of an Indigo Airlines worker, public backlash resulted in a boycott of the airline in support of the manhandled flyer and a fired whistleblower.
A viral video that appears to show an Indigo Air ramp agent manhandling a passenger at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) has sparked outrage among the flying public in India. The altercation recorded by another employee who appears not to have been involved in the incident, shows the passenger being assaulted and pinned to the ground by a uniform-wearing worker.
According to The Times of India, the customer service issue turned violent last month after a passenger complained that a shuttle bus to the terminal was taking too long to arrive. At one point in the seemingly incriminating video, a worker can be heard egging on coworkers, announcing, “Isko rok yahan par, isko yahin sikhaate hai” – “Stop this man here; Let us teach him a lesson,” as a brutal struggle ensued.
The airline had remained silent about the violent incident for weeks, but when the video of the disturbing attack became public this week, company officials were quick to issue an official mea culpa.
“We condemn the actions of our staff & have taken stern action,” Indigo President Aditya Ghosh said in a Twitter statement on Wednesday. “We truly apologize for this. Such behavior is unacceptable.”
Those “stern actions” included firing the employee who released the video to the public in the first place. Although the worker who exposed the incident describes himself as a whistleblower, airline officials say that the man behind the camera was the one who instigated the whole unfortunate affair.
Now a campaign to boycott India’s largest airline is gaining steam on social media. According to the Economic Times, Twitter has seen millions of posts calling for an outright passenger boycott with the hashtag #BoycottIndigo trending across the country. Stock values at Indigo’s parent company reportedly dropped by more than two percent as public outrage mounted on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, rival Air India steeped into the fray, using social media to poke fun at Indigo’s public relations fiasco. Air India posted a still image from the brutal tarmac fracas along with a caption reading, “Air India, we raise our hands only to say ‘namaste.’”