Airline refuses to let boy with special needs board

RANCHI: An anxious 13-year-old boy in a wheelchair was deemed to be a threat to fellow passengers and denied boarding by IndiGo at Ranchi airport on Saturday, sparking a backlash on social media that prompted the airline to make special arrangements to fly out the teenager and his parents to Hyderabad the next morning.
A doctor who was at the terminal to take a flight to Delhi and saw the episode unravel told TOI that at least one IndiGo employee misbehaved with the boy’s parents after they protested against him being barred from boarding. “The special child was in a wheelchair and everyone, including me and my fellow passengers as well as a delegation of doctors returning to Hyderabad and Delhi, requested the IndiGo employee to allow the boy on the flight,” Dr Sumit Ray said.
According to one social media post, the boy was weary after a long drive to the airport, but became quiet with some patient handling by his parents. But when the time came to board the flight, the IndiGo employee allegedly said the teenager wouldn’t be allowed as his behaviour towards co-passengers could be threatening.
On Sunday, IndiGo issued a statement claiming the child was not allowed to board the aircraft as he was “in a state of panic” and the airline had to take such a decision “in view of the safety of passengers”.
“The ground staff waited for him to calm down till the last minute, but to no avail. The airline had made lodging arrangements for the family by providing them a hotel stay for the night and were flown to their destination on Sunday morning,” the statement read.
The child’s father, Nirmal Kumar, told TOI that he and his wife kept pleading with IndiGo staff to allow them to board the flight, but the person in charge stood his ground. “Our son has flown before, and we never faced such a problem,” he said.

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