Home / News / Female cancer patient offloaded from American Airlines flight after seeking crew's help with her handbag

On 30 January, an incident occurred aboard an American Airlines flight bound for New York from Delhi airport, where a female cancer patient was allegedly offloaded from the plane.

The woman, identified as Meenakshi Sengupta, recently underwent surgery and required assistance from a flight attendant to keep her hand-bag, weighing over 5 pounds, in the overhead cabin. In her complaint to the Delhi Police and the Civil Air, Sengupta stated that the flight attendant refused to help her, despite her request for assistance due to her weak limbs and the visible brace she was wearing.

In her complaint to the Delhi Police and the Civil Air, Meenakshi Sengupta said that she had also requested for wheelchair assistance to her seat, "I was also wearing a brace which was visible to everyone and they would know that I have some discomfort...because I CANNOT carry any weight in my hands at all and I'm weak from the surgery and don't need to strain myself by walking a lot."

According to Sengupta, the ground staff were supportive and assisted her in getting onto the plane and placing her hand-bag at the side of her seat. However, once inside the flight, Sengupta explained her health condition to the air hostess, who failed to offer any assistance in putting the hand-bag in the overhead compartment.

When the cabin lights were dimmed and an air hostess approached to put the hand-bag away, Sengupta requested help, but was rudely declined by the hostess who told her that it was not their job to assist. Despite repeatedly asking for help, the hostess refused and walked away, leaving Sengupta to handle the bag on her own.

Sengupta alleged that the air hostess was "extremely rude and arrogant" in her response to her request for assistance. When Sengupta sought to raise the issue with other crew members, they were "largely indifferent" and told her she should de-board the flight if she was uncomfortable, according to Sengupta's account.

The incident has drawn widespread attention on social media, with many calling for action from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Delhi Commission for Women.

The DGCA has taken notice of the case and requested American Airlines to provide a report. The airline issued a statement, saying that its customer relations team has reached out to Sengupta to reimburse her for the unused portion of her ticket.

The statement read, "On Jan. 30, a passenger was removed from American Airlines flight 293 from Delhi (DEL) to New York (JFK) prior to takeoff for not following crew member instructions. Our customer relations team has contacted the customer to refund the unused portion of their ticket and an investigation into the matter is underway."

(With inputs from ANI)

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