Indian passengers allege racial bias at Air France

Over 50 Indian passengers flying Air France had a “harrowing” time at Paris airport after their aircraft developed a technical problem and on reaching Mumbai, complained bitterly that they were victims of “racial” profiling.

The passengers were flying from Boston to Mumbai via Paris in an Airbus A330-200 aircraft registration F-GZCL. AF-218 was en-route from Paris Charles de Gaulle, France, to Mumbai CSIA, India with 169 passengers and 12 crew. About 3:45 hours into the flight overhead the Black Sea, the crew decided to return Paris due to undisclosed technical trouble. The airplane landed safely in Paris 7.5 hours after departure at around 20:15.

The passengers, claim they were confined to a lounge at the airport there from 22:00 (10pm) on Sunday till 07:00 (7am) Monday and given “hardly any food and water”. The Indian passengers said while the foreign passengers were taken to hotels shortly after their plane returned to the Paris the Indian passengers were taken to the lounge and given just a bottle of water and a sandwich.

One of the passengers Vineeta Sengupta said

“No foreigner would have been treated like the way we were treated. People were lying down on the floor over there where immigration takes place”.

Accusing Air France of “racial” profiling, a teenage girl passenger said that the officials there even had threatened to handed over passengers to the police if they did not stop protesting. To be fair to Air France, other news reports claimed that passengers started screaming at Air France staffers.

Sengupta said the 53 to 54 Indian passengers were later “huddled out” of the airport on a “group visa”, which the authorities could have provided much earlier, and taken to a dormitory hotel.

Most definitely a situation that has been handled very badly.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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