India Imposes 'Flying Ban' on Unruly Passengers; VIPs Too Not Spared

India Imposes 'Flying Ban' on Unruly Passengers; VIPs Too Not Spared

Domestic as well as international carriers have been directed to comply with the rules that recommend proscribing passengers who commit offenses like verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassment and actions that threaten the lives of crew and co-passengers.

To tame unruly passengers on board aircrafts, the Indian government has come up with a 'No Fly' list according to a new rule that prescribes prohibiting a person from air travel for periods ranging from three months to life time, depending on the degree of offense committed by the flyer.

The move by India’s civil aviation regulator was largely prompted by recurrent controversies involving misbehavior with cabin crew and co-passengers by celebrities by notorious flyers including some parliamentarians.

The guidelines proposed three levels of ban on unruly passengers — three months for verbal fight, six months for physically abusive behavior such as pushing, kicking and sexual harassment and minimum of two years to lifetime ban for life-threatening behavior. The ban would be twice the period of previous ban in case of subsequent offence. Additionally, the Ministry of Home Affairs can put individuals who are identified as "national security threat" on the proposed national No-Fly List.

The Civil Aviation Ministry said it consulted with foreign airlines before coming up with the rules in order to make sure that a person does not circumvent the domestic fly ban by flying to a nearby foreign country.

In last two years, a total of 455 unruly behaviors have been registered by civil aviation regulator of India including those by a Member of Parliament Ravindra Gaekwad who allegedly thrashed an Air India ground staff 25 times with his slippers earlier this year. “Passengers can appeal against the ban if they feel the need to do so. The government has nothing to do with relaxation. We have to ensure safety and we will ensure safety,” Ashok Gajpati Raju, India’s Minister of Civil Aviation told Sputnik in response to a question on whether the rule would be relaxed for members of parliament or other public figures on the request of the Parliament or other constitutional bodies.

He said that the government has established a mechanism to hear the appeal; if any, of aggrieved passengers. “Internal committee of concerned airline which constitutes of judge, member of different airline will decide the matter in 30 days along with duration of ban on unruly passenger. Till such time, airline may impose ban on passenger from flying for 30 days. In case the Internal Committee fails to take a decision in 30 days, passenger will be free to fly,” No fly rules document says