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Last Updated : Jul 23, 2018 03:48 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Air India denies boarding to Indian TT squad; apologises later

"This was a very unfortunate incident, we apologise to the players and we are arranging next available flights," Air India said in a statement.

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On Sunday, Manika Batra, India's star table tennis star player, along with six other paddlers, were left stranded at the Indira Gandhi International Airport as they were not allowed to board a Melbourne-bound Air-India flight. Air India later apologised to the players after facing criticism.

"This was a very unfortunate incident, we apologise to the players and we are arranging next available flights," Air India said in a statement.

The contingent, including 17 players and officials, was travelling to Melbourne to participate at the ITTF World Tour Australian Open starting today in Melbourne.

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Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra took to Twitter, asking Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and PMO to look into the matter.

Air India, initially, however, put the blame of the incident on the players claiming they arrived late for the boarding, and that the bookings were done under different PNRs. Manika Batra said that only 10 team members were allowed boarding and the national carrier informed them that that the flight was overbooked. "On reaching Air India counter we were told that the flight is overbooked and only 10 members of TT team can fly which left us in a shock. Seven of us are still unable to fly," Manika said.


Following the backlash, the airline said contrary to the regular practice, this time they were not informed beforehand about the players’ travel plans, adding that Air India has the highest respect for sportspersons. Neelam Kapur, Director General of Sports India (earlier Sports Authority of India) resolved the issue and tweeted that the “TT team have been booked on an alternate flight leaving later tonight."

Batra later shared a photograph of herself with the boarding pass in hand on Twitter, thanking Kapur, for her prompt action.



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First Published on Jul 23, 2018 03:44 pm
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