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Airline halts infant's bid to fly, despite having ticket

It was a tumultuous introduction into the turbulent Indian aviation arena for nine-month-old Reem Kazi. The infant from Hyderabad was the victim of a communication gap between a leading ticket-booking portal and an airline. Despite the baby’s name appearing on the e-ticket, the carrier refused to board her, holding the portal responsible for not making full payment. The family accused the airline staff of unprofessional and abusive conduct.

Reem, along with mother Diba Fazal (30), was booked with IndiGo airline’s Hyderabad-Mumbai flight 6E 263 on May 25 by Yatra.com. The ticket (copy with MiD DAY) clearly reflects the names of the mother and the baby with a common PNR number. “We reported for boarding as per the scheduled time. But the airline’s counter informed me that the ticket amount for my baby had not been paid by Yatra.com, so it cannot let her board. I got upset because I was supposed to attend an office conference in Mumbai and I knew this way I would miss it,” Hyderabad resident Diba, who is a senior corporate manager, told MiD DAY.

No kid gloves
The woman tried to convince the officials and was even ready to pay the fare for the infant in cash but the airline refused to entertain the request. “It was not my mistake. It was the mistake of a leading portal that is authorised by this airline to book tickets on its behalf. They could have easily sorted out the issue. I missed my flight due to them, for no fault of mine,” she added.

Diba also maintained that the behaviour of the airline staff was highly unprofessional and rude. “The airline representatives with whom I was interacting were very discourteous and slack. They did not even assist me regarding what was to be done next. They behaved as if the carrier had nothing to do with the matter,” she added

The family is all set to approach aviation authorities for redressal of their grievances. “We do not know whom to contact, but we definitely want to take up the matter with the regulatory body concerned very soon. We are in the process of filing a complaint with government authorities and we want full compensation as well as refund. We also want to ensure that such boorish behaviour of airline staff is not repeated again,” Diba said.

The other side
When contacted, the Yatra.com spokesperson said, “We are investigating the matter to find out what transpired.” The airline too maintained that the matter was being probed. “We are inquiring into the issue,” the IndiGo airline’s spokesperson told MiD DAY. 

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