The pilot of the November 26 Air India flight from New York to Delhi that witnessed the unsavoury event of an inebriated man urinating on an elderly female co-passenger, made the traumatised flyer wait for nearly two hours before allotting her a fresh seat, a co-flyer has said in his complaint.
Sugata Bhattacharjee, a US-based doctor of audiology who was seated next to the accused in the business class on the flight, in a handwritten complaint to the airlines said the distressed passenger was made to go back to her soiled seat despite four seats in the first class being vacant.
In the complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by Press Trust of India, Bhattacharjee said he was seated on 8A (window) in the first row of business class, next to the accused Shankar Misra who was in seat 8C.
Shortly after lunch was served and the lights were dimmed on board AI 102 of November 26 (JFK New York to IGIA, New Delhi), the drunk male passenger seated in the business class seat walked to the woman’s seat (9A), unzipped his trousers and urinated on her.
The lavatory was four rows behind his seat.
Bhattacharjee said he was woken up midflight when Shankar fell on him. “I initially thought he lost his balance due to a rough flight. However, as I was going to the restroom, I saw my two fellow passengers of 9A and 9C in distress,” he said, adding the woman of 9A came to the gallery area, she was all wet.
“We were shocked to realise that my co-passenger (8C) was so intoxicated that he went to the next row and urinated on her,” he wrote.
All this while, two air hostesses helped clean her up, change her clothes and sanitised her belongings and seat.
“The incidence has a multifaceted part to it. A senior citizen was subjected to trauma due to indecency of a passenger. She being a female had no idea how to cope with the obscenity,” he wrote.
“I personally am bothered by the fact that the captain waited close to two hours before allotting her a fresh seat.”
According to the victim’s complaint, she was made to stand for 20 minutes and offered a small seat used by airline staff as no seat was vacant in the business class.
She sat on the small seat for about two hours and was asked to return to her own seat which was still damp and reeking of urine.
When she refused, the victim was offered the steward’s seat for the rest of the journey, the complaint stated.
Bhattacherjee was all praise for the two cabin crew members who helped the woman clean up.
The non-pilot crew, he said, went above and beyond their call of duty “but when you have four first class seats vacant, you don’t make a distressed passenger go back to her (soiled) seat with human remains and wait for a crew seat to be vacant to move her.”
This, according to him, was “a poor judgement call by the captain”.
Bhattacherjee reportedly asked the crew for a complaint book to note down his protest against the handling of the situation but was provided a piece of paper. He wrote his complaint on that paper.