Senior airline official physically assaulted by passenger on flight to Delhi

Vytautas Kielaitis /

A senior management official of Air India was physically assaulted by a passenger on a flight from Sydney International Airport (SYD) to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL).

The Hindustan Times reported that Sandeep Verma, Air India’s head of inflight services, was on flight AI 301 on July 9, 2023, when the incident took place.

Verma was originally booked in business class, but had to be downgraded to economy due to a seat malfunction. 

During the flight, Verma tried to call out a fellow passenger for speaking noisily. It was at this point that the loud-mouthed passenger allegedly attacked Verma. The assault included Verma being hit in the head.

Five cabin crew tried to contain the unruly passenger, and Verma was transferred to the rear of the aircraft. 

An Air India spokesperson confirmed the incident, and released a press statement published by local media.

“A passenger on board AI301 operating Sydney-Delhi on July 9 behaved in an unacceptable manner during the flight, despite verbal and written warnings, causing distress to other passengers, which included one of our employees,” the statement read.

“Upon the flight’s safe landing at Delhi, the passenger was handed over to the security agency, and the passenger later apologized in writing. The DGCA was duly informed of the incident. Air India will take a firm stand against misbehavior. We will pursue this to the full extent of the law,” the statement continued. 

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