IndiGo has found itself in hot water with select politicians after it asked a passenger to move from an emergency exit seat to the row behind him due to the language barrier. The passenger on the Hyderabad flight spoke only Telegu, not English or Hindi, the language spoken by the crew during the flight. For safety reasons, the passenger was moved one row behind him to a non-emergency exit seat. The incident occurred on IndiGo flight 6E 7297 from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh to Hyderabad, Telangana airport. The 65-minute ATR 72 flight took place on 16 September, taking off at 18:22 and arriving at 19:07 local time. For one passenger on the flight, a woman in seat 2A, an emergency row seat, was asked to move to 3C because she could not speak English or Hindi, only Telegu. IndiGo’s decision to move the passenger has drawn the ire of state politicians, reports Business Standard. Some are particularly furious that those who only speak a local language such as Telegu have to give up their seats on flights to or from their home state. This view was also echoed by Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao who urged IndiGo to add more crew from the region. What are the requirements?
Each country sets its own requirements for who can sit in the emergency exit row. India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), states that passengers must be:
15 years of age or older,Has no disability,Individual should be able to reach and understand instructions related to emergency evacuation provided by the operator in printed, handwritten or graphic form or ability to understand verbal commands of the crew,Be able and willing to follow all required safety protocols
While foreign regulators such as the FAA state that all emergency seat occupants must speak English, the DGCA does not specify any specific languages. This is due to the diversity of languages spoken across India, with the constitution listing 22 official languages. To address this, regulators said passengers sitting in exit rows must be able to understand the crew’s commands in whatever language they are issued.
Reacting to the incident, IndiGo said,
“We employ crew from all regions and speak a variety of languages that are an integral part of the diversity of our vast country. As standard operating procedure, our crew issue notices informing our customers of the languages the crew can speak and understand.” specific flight.” Due to the way crew scheduling works with specific bases around the country, it is difficult to ensure that all crew on a specific route can speak the regional language of the arriving and departing city. Since emergency orders can be issued by any crew member , English and Hindi are usually the default options on Indian flights, this is unlikely to change anytime soon, cases where passengers don’t speak are usually rare. However, as travel across India becomes more regional, especially under the government’s UDAN-RCS scheme, airlines may have to consider adding state crew to cater to all passengers.