Mumbai: IAS Officer Ashwini Bhide Calls British Airways 'Racist' After Company Downgrades Premium Economy Ticket Without Compensation

Mumbai: IAS Officer Ashwini Bhide Calls British Airways 'Racist' After Company Downgrades Premium Economy Ticket Without Compensation

When she recently reached the check-in counter at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) she was told by the BA staff that her ticket has been downgraded because of "overbooking."

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Saturday, January 13, 2024, 09:53 PM IST
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Mumbai: IAS Officer Ashwini Bhide Calls British Airways 'Racist' After Company Downgrades Premium Economy Ticket Without Compensation |

Senior IAS officer and additional municipal commissioner Ashwini Bhide has accused British Airways (BA) of "following discriminatory/racist policies." Ms Bhide had booked a flight to London on a confirmed premium economy ticket. However, when she recently reached the check-in counter at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) she was told by the BA staff that her ticket has been downgraded because of "overbooking."

Bhide posts experience on X

Bhide said in a X post that it was a "false pretext." She said there was no compensation. She was not even given the difference in fare. ``I am told that this is a common practice by BA at CSMIA," she added.

Bhide's son had faced similar experiences

Bhide told the FPJ that a couple of months ago her son Malhar too had a similar bitter experience with BA. She said Malhar was booked to fly premium economy to London from where he was scheduled to go to Chicago. He had done web check-in in advance, but at the airport counter he was denied the seat for which he had paid for on the same pretext of "overbooking." The price difference was almost 300 to 400 British Pounds. He was offered a piddling 75 pounds and that too without any explanation. 

Bhide said she had dropped Malhar at the airport and gone back home.  Later when Malhar narrated his ordeal, she contacted airport protocol to check with BA and the airline staff said had they know he was the son of a senior government officer they would have considered his case. 

"They are taking common passengers for granted"

"This is very rude and discriminatory. They are taking common passengers for granted. Besides, their policies for European passengers are different," Ms Bhide said. "I am told this has become a common practice for many airlines to deliberately overbook specially during peak season when many tourists and students travel and (the airlines) arbitrarily downgrade passengers or shift them to next day flights," Ms Bhide observed.

BA's customer care office was closed. A recorded message said they will be available only on Monday.

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