Barred from flying by domestic airlines and booked by police for assaulting an Air India staffer, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad has tried at least thrice to book a seat on the national carrier, using a new alias each time.
Earlier this week, a staff member of the Sena politician dialled Air India’s call centre to book flight AI 806 from Mumbai to Delhi for the following day, i.e. Wednesday, and dictated the passenger’s name as Ravindra Gaikwad. The ticket was promptly cancelled, an airline source said.
Thereafter, a seat was booked on flight AI 551 from Hyderabad to Delhi in the name of Professor V Ravindra Gaikwad. This ticket was cancelled too.
A third attempt was made the next day for travel from Nagpur to Delhi via Mumbai when the MP’s staff contacted a travel agent to book a flight for “Professor Ravindra Gaikwad”.
The travel agent immediately contacted the local station manager and the information was forwarded to Air India’s headquarters here, the source said.
The airline had earlier issued a “non-acceptance order” to all its station managers and booking offices, instructing them to ensure that “restriction on acceptance and travel of potentially unruly and unsafe passengers is being followed on Air India flights for Mr Ravindra Gaikwad”.
In an unprecedented step in Indian aviation history, the Sena MP was earlier barred from flying by all major domestic airlines for assaulting an elderly Air India employee last Thursday.
The MP was angry at not being given a business class seat though he had boarded an-economy flight.