Wheelchair Shortage on Air India Flight Forces Elderly Passenger to Walk, Resulting in Heart Attack

A 80 years Elderly man suffers heart attack on Air India flight, dies in Nanavati Hospital. Indian descent, US passport holders, opted for economy class with wheelchair assistance.

On Sunday a 80-year-old man and his wife were traveling from New York to Mumbai on an Air India flight AI-116. The couple had booked in economy class as wheelchair passengers, but due to a shortage, they were given only one wheelchair.

The old man seated his wife in the chair, and while an assistant pushed her, he walked behind them. He must have covered at least 1.5 km from there to the immigration counter.

flight (Representational Image)
flight (Representational Image) pixabay

The situation unfolded when the elderly man suffered a sudden heart attack and required urgent medical attention.

He was swiftly transported to Mumbai airport for treatment and subsequently transferred to Nanavati Hospital, where regrettably, he passed away during the course of treatment.

The individuals involved were of Indian descent and held US passports. They had opted for economy class tickets with wheelchair assistance.


On the flight, there were 32 passengers requiring wheelchairs, but only 15 wheelchairs were readily available.

Tragically, the elderly man lost his life while attempting to walk without the aid of a wheelchair.

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An Air India spokesperson clarified, "This is indeed an unfortunate incident. There was a high demand for wheelchairs, and we advised passengers to await wheelchair assistance. However, the individual chose to walk with his wife. We are currently in contact with the grieving family members and are committed to providing them with the necessary support and assistance."

According to reports, the flight from New York to Mumbai landed at 2:10 PM instead of the scheduled 11:30 AM on Monday.

Additionally, there has been an observed trend of passengers, even those without mobility issues, requesting wheelchair assistance nowadays.

"A decade ago, other airlines, including Air India, required passengers to pay a fee and provide a medical certificate for wheelchair usage. However, in response to protests from various groups, airlines have since abolished the requirement for medical certification," stated a senior airline official.

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