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Pragya in row over flight seat

Wheelchair confusion
Pragya, an accused in the Malegaon blasts, had pre-booked seat 1A on Flight SG2489 and had come to Delhi airport in her own wheelchair on Saturday.

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 22.12.19, 09:06 PM

SpiceJet on Sunday clarified that BJP MP Pragya Thakur was asked by the crew on a Delhi-Bhopal flight to move to a non-emergency row seat as she was in a wheelchair but she refused, causing the flight to be delayed by nearly 45 minutes.

The SpiceJet clarification came a day after the BJP leader complained that the private airline had denied her the seat she had booked on the flight.

Pragya, an accused in the Malegaon blasts, had pre-booked seat 1A on Flight SG2489 and had come to Delhi airport in her own wheelchair on Saturday.

A SpiceJet spokesperson said: “The Delhi-Bhopal flight is operated by Bombardier Q400 aircraft (78 seater). On this aircraft, the first row is the emergency row seat and is not allocated to passengers on wheelchairs.

“As the BJP MP had come with her own wheelchair and had not booked through the airline, the staff weren’t aware of this fact that she was a wheelchair passenger.

“She was requested by the crew to shift to 2 A/B (non-emergency row) due to safety reasons but she refused. The duty manager and other staff also requested her to move to another seat,” the spokesperson said.

Some passengers also requested Pragya to change her seat from the emergency row, which is not allocated to passengers in wheelchairs, to a non-emergency row. Others requested the crew to offload her as she was refusing to change the seat, the spokesperson said.

She asked for the safety instruction document where the exit door policy is mentioned and it was shown to her to provide clarity, the spokesperson said.

Ultimately, the BJP MP from Bhopal agreed and moved to a seat on a non-emergency row. 

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