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Blog: Dear IndiGo, You Are A Nightmare For A New Mother

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As a new mother to a four-month-old, finding the time and brain space to write this blog is a testament to how overwhelmed I am with my recent travel nightmares with IndiGo Airlines.

I booked IndiGo to fly out of Delhi with my 40-day-old son. I chose IndiGo after carefully reading the infant travel policies of different airlines and examining the most convenient flights.

When I called the airline to book infant travel and block the front row seats, I learnt that IndiGo only allows passengers with infants to sit in the back rows, that too 23rd and beyond. But I need the extra leg room with a baby, I argued.

I was told the speakers are too loud at the front and that the air pressure is “dangerous” for a baby in the front rows. I called other airlines to crosscheck and learnt that these were just excuses to deny me the seats I wanted.

After I tweeted about IndiGo’s infant travel policy, customer relations apologized for what they called a “misunderstanding”. I was not only given the front row, but we were greeted with a handmade card and a bouquet at the airport by young staff. I tweeted to thank them, hoping that these courtesies are not just extended to a journalist who called them out and that this is their gesture for any woman travelling with an infant.

But this was not meant to be the happy end.

I once again booked an IndiGo flight to Goa with my baby son. Counting on the airline to keep its promise, I booked, paid, and confirmed front row seats. The customer relations staff confirmed that infant services have been added to my seat and sent me a payment link. I had an unadventurous flight on seat 1F.

Five days later, on the flight back from Goa, I was seated on the same 1F seat. But just before take-off, three male employees approached me and ordered me to go at the back. They threatened that the flight would not take off if I didn’t vacate my seat.

The men argued with me while I was feeding. They refused to look at my previous boarding pass and said they couldn’t allow me to fly in the front row as there are no oxygen masks for infants and it is ‘dangerous’.

When my baby started wailing, I had to relent. So I buttoned up and went to the back rows. With no leg room for me, my feeding pillow, and my baby, I sat there, seething at the men for forcing me to get up while I was breastfeeding, angry over the incessant misinformation, and overwhelmed that my baby was crying.

A card and a bouquet were waiting for me at the airport, and again, an apologetic airline employee. This time, I did not accept the apology.

According to many news articles dated 2016, IndiGo took a decision to not offer extra leg room seats to passengers traveling with infants or young children, but they don’t declare that in their infant travel policy or anywhere on their website.

I reached out to IndiGo with specific questions on whether the airline has a quiet zone or child-free zone. And if so, why it doesn’t specify this on the website under infant travel. So far, I have no response.

I am not judging the merits of the policy. I am questioning IndiGo’s decision to be ambiguous, vague and misleading to people travelling with infants and children. Why is the airline training its staff to mislead and misinform? “Too loud, no air pressure and no oxygen masks” – these are terrifying scenarios to casually hand out to people.

Why can’t the airline be transparent and let people make informed choices?

If you have a quiet zone, own it and advertise it.

I may even book it when I am traveling without my son.

(Rishika Baruah is News Editor & Senior Anchor, String Reveals.)

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.