Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The relationship between airlines and their passengers has sunk lower than the relationship between Kendall Jenner and world peace.
Passengers are suspicious of airlines’ (profit) motives, while airlines insist that all passengers should just enjoy the flight and shut up.
Unless, that is, an airline employee needs their seat, in which case passengers should just shut up and get off or the police will be called.
One airline, though, wants to remind you that passengers can, on occasion be unpleasant, unruly and unbearable.
So it’s decided to start fining them if their behavior delays a flight.
Air India is instituting fines ranging between 5 lakh rupees (around $ 7,500) to 15 lakh rupees (around $ 22,500).
The minimum fine is for causing less than a one-hour delay. The maximum, for causing a more than two-hour delay.
The fines aren’t, though, being introduced because ordinary passengers have become especially unbearable.
Instead, it’s India’s lawmakers who have behaved beyond the boundaries of human acceptability.
These privileged preeners have been assaulting the patience of Air India’s own staff. In at least one case, it was assault of the physical kind.
This was in March and involved Ravindra Gaikwad of the Shiv Sena party.
He insisted on a business class seat. He was flying, however, on an all-economy class flight. So he began to beat a 60-year-old duty manager with sandals, as footage obtained by the Times of India showed. He even tried to push the duty manager off the plane. (The police case is still active.)
He was banned from flying on any Indian airline. It took him two weeks to apologize and now he’s allowed to fly on Air India again — thanks to government intervention.
But, as the Times of India reports, two other lawmakers behaved so badly — another case also involved assault of an airline employee — that Air India wanted to show support for its own employees by instituting these fines.
There’s also the small matter that Air India was recently named the third-worst airline in the world for on-time performance.
In the US, of course, such a rule would stir joy and horror in equal measure.
Just as airlines behave badly, so do passengers. Passengers seem to have limited ability to get much from an airline when its people behave badly — except in the now-famous case of Dr. David Dao, that is.
Still, some passenger misbehavior might not be helped by planes becoming ever more crowded and seats and planes becoming ever smaller.
Some of it is undoubtedly caused by the boorish and self-absorption of human beings.
One question exalted philosophers might like to ask, though, is this: Should the fine money go to the airline? Or should it be shared among the other passengers on the delayed flight?