Italian woman 'punched and spat' on India flight

February 1, 2023 8:27 am

[Source: The Indian Times]

The crew of an Indian airline tied an Italian woman to her seat during a flight after she allegedly punched one member of staff and spat on another.

The woman, who was travelling on a Vistara flight from Abu Dhabi, was arrested in Mumbai on Monday and later released on police bail.

Her lawyer has denied the allegations, saying it is a “false story”.

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But Vistara said its staff had to restrain the woman for “continued unruly conduct and violent behaviour”.

The Times of India newspaper reported that a Vistara staff member alleged in a police complaint that the passenger punched them and spat on their colleague.

According to the complaint, the crew member had objected after the woman left her economy class seat to sit in business class.

The complaint also accuses the woman of “stripping and littering the plane”.

Vistara said in a statement that the flight’s captain “issued a warning card and made a decision to restrain the customer” because of her behaviour.

The woman’s lawyer, Prabhakar Tripathi, told the BBC that she was “uncomfortable” in her allotted seat and “requested to be moved to a vacant seat” and that caused a “disagreement” with the crew. He said she was also allegedly not allowed to use the bathroom due to turbulence.

“She was later allowed to go to the washroom but was tied up on return,” Mr Tripathi said. He also denied media reports which quoted police officers as saying that the woman was drunk.

A senior Mumbai police official told reporters that the woman was “booked for misbehaving”.

“We served her a notice and produced her before the court, following which she was allowed to go,” said Dikshit Gedam, a deputy commissioner of police.

Scrutiny of misconduct by air passengers has increased in India after a man was arrested in January for allegedly urinating on a female passenger – the incident sparked criticism of how the airline, Air India, had handled the incident.

Since then, several cases of alleged unruly behaviour have been reported on board other Indian flights.