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Para-tennis player Madhu Bagri ill-treated, off-loaded by airline

International para-tennis player Madhu Bagri was allegedly ill-treated and then offloaded from the SpiceJet morning flight when she was on her way back to Hyderabad.

other sports Updated: Aug 14, 2017 23:25 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Madhu Bagri,para tennis,tennis
A para-athlete Madhu Bagri has alleged that she was offloaded from a SpiceJet flight.(AFP)

On a mission to raise funds for para-athletes, Madhu Bagri had just “hand bicycled” 600km from Hyderabad to Tirupati. But her triumph soon turned into dismay as the international para-tennis player was allegedly ill-treated and then offloaded from the SpiceJet morning flight when she was on her way back to Hyderabad. She also missed the connecting flight to her hometown Ahmedabad.

Madhu alleged that she was on time for her 8:25am flight but was unable to reach her seat as the wheelchair didn’t fit the aisle which led to argument with the crew and eventually she was offloaded and was left on her own at the airport.

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“As the aisle was not wide enough for the movement of the wheelchair, I requested the crew to accommodate me in the first row, but they refused saying that they cannot accommodate disabled person in the first row. Then two crew persons lifted me along with the wheelchair and in the process my head banged on the roof. This upset me and eventually this led to an argument and offloading,” said Madhu.

“I was even asked to crawl to my seat in the third row. This is not the way to treat a disabled person,” added 42-year-old.

The airline, however, denied any manhandling and ill treatment of the sports person.

“On reaching the aircraft, the passenger insisted on having the front row seat. All front row seats in Q400 Bombardier aircraft are emergency exit rows and hence, passengers with any kind of disability are not allowed to sit on these seats as per the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rules,” a SpiceJet spokesperson said in a statement.

The airline said Madhu was offloaded as the plane was getting delayed, adding that “at no point was she manhandled or mistreated and the SpiceJet women staff assisted her out”.

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When Madhu threatened to lodge a complaint with the airport director, the SpiceJet ground staff reacted and agreed to accommodate her the next day or refund the ticket.

“I have got an email from the airline regarding refund of the ticket. They have stated that they have started the refund process of the ticket. But till now I have not responded,” said Madhu.

“Now I will travel tomorrow most probably by road to Hyderabad and from there I will fly to my hometown.”

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Aug 14, 2017 23:02 IST