Indian passengers flying Air France allege racial bias

Courtesy: Press Trust Of India

Mumbai, May 12, 2009

First Published: 11:34 IST(12/5/2009), Last Updated: 14:04 IST(12/5/2009)

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

The passengers, who spent 28 hours in Paris, said they were confined to a lounge at the airport there from 10 pm on Sunday till 7 am the next morning and given “hardly any food and water”.

The passengers, on their way to Mumbai from the US via Paris, said while the foreigners were taken to hotels shortly after their plane returned to the Paris airport due to apparent technical problem following a four-hour flight, they were taken to the lounge and given just a bottle of water and a sandwich.

Giving details of their “harrowing” time, one of the travellers, Vineeta Sengupta said, “No foreigner would have been treated like the way we were treated. People were lying down on the floor over there (at a place at the airport) where immigration takes place”.

Accusing Air France of “racial” profiling, a girl passenger said that the officials there even had threatened that they would be handed over to the police if they did not stop protesting.

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 hotel.

No reason has officially been given for the delay.

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