Soon after India started one of the biggest rescue operations, Vande Bharat, on May 7, a video of passengers confronting the airline staff after they were asked to pay three times the fare is being circulated on social media platforms.
'Vande Bharat' is the massive repatriation operation planned by the Indian government to bring back stranded Indians in different parts of the world amid the coronavirus crisis.
The 45-second long video is being shared claiming that despite charging three times the usual fare the airlines is not following social distancing norms. It is also being claimed that this incident happened in an Air India flight.
A Facebook user shared the video and wrote that there was no provision for an empty seat between two passengers.
"The passengers didn't get even a single seat empty between them," he wrote.
It has been shared over 400 times.
The video has also been shared several times on Facebook and Twitter.
Air india is charging thrice the amount of ticket on the assurance that social distancing will be maintained and only 1 seat per row will be used and look what they got.— Mohammad Ahamad Khan (@Ahmadkn619) May 10, 2020
THIS IS THE REALITY. pic.twitter.com/T90AzBVV1B
Air India flouted social distancing norms and charged passengers three times the usual fare.
The claim is misleading.
Video Is From Pakistan
Breaking the video into individual frames using the tool, InVid, a Google Reverse Image search was done.
This led to a news report by ANI (Asian News International) which was published on April 29.
The report, titled, '"So coronavirus outside but not inside flight?": Amateur video shows Pakistanis complaining about no social distancing in PIA flight' suggested that the flight seen in the viral video is a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight.
A keyword search with "PIA flight social distancing" led to a broadcast on Youtube which was uploaded by a Pakistani news channel, GNN, on 26 April. The video showed the same visuals seen in the viral video.
Further, a news report by Samaa TV, a Pakistani news and entertainment television network, titled, 'PIA passengers protest violation of social distancing rules during flight' talked about the incident.
The report, published on April 26, said that the passengers complained that the airline was charging a whopping $3,000 for flights that previously cost $1,400 but still failed to take apt measures.
"The tickets were overpriced because the flight had to come back from Canada empty," a PIA spokesperson was quoted as saying.
Government Rubbishes Claim
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, PIB fact check team said that the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has said that video that is being circulated is fake. The Ministry has also added that the video is from a neighbouring country's airline.
#PIBFactCheck— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) May 8, 2020
Claim: Video on social media showing passengers on purported @airindiain overseas flight arguing over being charged thrice the normal fare & then packed in, without #SocialDistancing
Fact: #Fake video. @MoCA_GoI says it is from a neighbouring country's airlines pic.twitter.com/Uww1zrHH5m
Air India also tweeted that the video is not of an Air India aircraft.
Dear Pax, The video is not of an Air India aircraft. You are advised not to spread such misinformation in a public domain which may create panic & is a recognised offence. We are compelled to report your tweet for maligning Air India & sparking false anxiety.— Air India (@airindiain) May 8, 2020
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