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Kerala widow's family protests outside airline office, seeks compensation

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NewsDrum Desk
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Thiruvananthapuram, May 16 (PTI) Relatives of a woman, who was unable to see her husband one last time before his death in Oman due to the Air India Express cabin crew strike that resulted in cancellation of her flight, protested with the body of the deceased outside the AISATS office in the Kerala capital on Thursday.

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The body of the man was brought to Kerala in the morning and the relatives went with it directly to the Air India SATS (AISATS) office here.

The relatives kept the body in front of the steps of the building housing the AISATS office and silently stood around it, according to visuals shown on TV channels.

The woman's father alleged that he lost his son-in-law due to the airline's indifference.

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Later, he went and sat inside the main doors of the airline office and said he will not budge from there till Air India Express takes a decision with regard to what happened.

"Let the last rites and rituals be held, but I will not leave here till they make a decision. This should not happen to anyone else in the future.

"They have to take care of my grandkids and my daughter. They need to compensate us for the loss. Till they take a decision on that, I will not go from here," he said.

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He also claimed that till now the airline has not even refunded the cancelled tickets amount.

"But refund is not our main concern," he added.

The husband of the woman, Amrita, was hospitalised in Muscat in Oman due to heart problems and was in the ICU, leading to her decision to book tickets on an AI Express flight for May 8.

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However, she along with hundreds were in for a rude shock when they reached airports across the state when they were informed that all flights were cancelled.

Her protest at the airport earned her a ticket for the next day on another Air India Express flight, but unfortunately, that too was cancelled and she had to abandon her travel plans altogether.

On May 13, her husband died in Muscat.

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Amrita's family had said it was unfair that she could not see her husband for one last time.

They claimed that they had begged the airline to accommodate her on some other flight so that she could see him for one last time, but AI Express did not do anything.

Her husband was hospitalised following a massive heart attack.

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Air India Express had cancelled "scores of flights" last week due to a shortage of cabin crew members as a section of them reported sick to protest against alleged mismanagement at the Tata Group-owned airline.

Discontent has been brewing among a section of the cabin crew at the low-cost carrier for some time now, especially after the start of the process of merger of AIX Connect, formerly AirAsia India, with itself.

Later, on May 10, the strike by a section of the cabin crew was called off and the airline also withdrew termination letters issued to 25 striking cabin crew.

From May 8 to May 10, Air India Express had to cancel over 260 flights due to cabin crew shortage, an airline source had said.

The airline on May 12 had said that it was slowly restoring its flights and stabilising the network and that full normalcy was expected by Tuesday. The same day, the cabin crew union had said that all members who had reported sick had joined duty by May 11. PTI HMP HMP ROH

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