“Bro, I’m In Trouble,” Man Said After Peeing On Woman On Flight

A co-passenger on the Air India New York-Delhi flight where an inebriated passenger urinated on an elderly woman, told NDTV today that Shankar Mishra was drinking heavily and was “incoherent” during lunch. His alcohol supply wasn’t cut off even when the matter was flagged. Sobering up later, Shankar Mishra had said, “Bro, I think I’m in trouble,” Dr Sugata Bhattacharjee, who sat next to him on the flight, told NDTV.  

Dr Bhattacharjee, an US-based doctor of audiology, said he had alerted the cabin crew about the passenger, who seemed unable to handle his drink.

“We were served lunch about an hour after take-off and he had downed four drinks in 40 minutes,” said Dr Bhattacharjee. During lunch, “he asked me questions like you have kid and what do they do, repeatedly. I figured he can’t hold up due to alcohol. I flagged it to the staff – the staff just smiled,” Dr Bhattacharjee said. The man was served at least one more drink after that.

There was “fault at multiple levels” in the handling of the incident, added Dr Bhattacharjee, who had filed a complaint about the matter the same day, November 26.

“My two-page complaint — it was just tossed off… No one would have known about this if the media didn’t take it up… My complaint was not about drunk passenger. It was on poor judgement by the pilot over the incident,” he said.

Dr Bhattacharjee said he did not witness the man urinating on the elderly woman passenger and woke only when Mishra returned to his seat.

The woman, who was completely drenched in urine, was given pajamas and was left standing at the galley for around 20 minutes. After that, the cabin crew made her sit on the same seat, after piling some blankets on it. “I advocated that they give her another seat. I said ‘aapka char seat khali hai (Your four seats are empty)’. And they won’t budge,” Dr Bhattacharjee said.

“The staff said it was the pilot’s decision,” Dr Bhattacharjee said.  That decision came two hours later and she was given a fresh seat.

The crew also left the two passengers to settle the matter, which should not have happened, Dr Bhattacharjee said. Asked if the woman was coerced into having an “understanding” with Shankar Mishra, he said “Yes”.

“I did not like the fact that they made them sit across each other… you don’t bring the aggressor and the victim face to face… The crew and captain can’t mediate in such issue. It is a crime and their job is to complain about crime,” he said.

Asked about the perpetrator’s reaction when he woke — whether he was scared or apologetic — Dr Bhattarcharjee said when he woke, Shankar Mishra had sobered up. “He said ‘Bro I think I’m in trouble’. I said ‘Yes, you are’.”

Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran today admitted that Air India’s response should have been swifter. “We fell short of addressing this situation the way it should have been,” Mr Chandrasekaran said in a statement.

Shankar Mishra was arrested by the Delhi Police on Friday, six weeks after the incident, and placed in judicial custody for a fortnight.

Air India CEO Campbell Wilson has apologised and said four cabin crew and a pilot have been de-rostered and the airline is reviewing its “policy on service of alcohol in flight”.