Air India does not allow wheelchair-bound professor to board flight

Majumdar said Air India wanted him to remove all the wires from his wheelchair battery (which would have ruined it) when just disconnecting the battery would have been enough. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 19, 2017, 04.37 PM (IST)

Air India refused to allow a wheelchair-bound passenger to board a flight reportedly because he did not remove the wires from the battery of his wheelchair. 

Kaushik Majumdar, an Associate Professor at the Indian Statistical Institute in Bengaluru was travelling from the city to Kolkata on December 17. 

Majumdar told PTI that each time he travels by air, his disconnects the battery from his wheelchair. 

"Some weird staff, however, insisted on removing all the wires from the battery, which would have completely ruined the equipment, on which I depend," PTI reported him as saying. 

Majumdar added that he refused to do so. 

PTI reported Majumdar as saying that in all airlines, including Air India, disconnecting the battery from the wheelchair joystick controller is enough.

"Why then an exception was made in AI 776 on December 17? Who are responsible? I want an answer," he said.

Majumdar added that even the CISF had smoothly cleared the chair but right before boarding, some Air India staff had raised security issues with the battery.

PTI reported Air India General Manager for Corporate Communications GP Rao as saying no passenger can violate Directorate General of Civil Aviation norms. 

PTI reported Rao as saying that Majumdar had promised to remove the battery at the boarding gate, but refused to do it when he got there.

Subsequently, Rao added, the pilot was informed and he took a call not to allow the passenger on the aircraft.