Two staff were punished for unprofessional behavior
A Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight finally facilitated the travel of London-bound passenger Jamila Chowdhury, the Bangladeshi-born UK national who missed her previous flight allegedly due to harassment by staff at Sylhet airport on July 28.
The Sylhet-London BG 201 flight left Osmani International Airport at 2:45pm with Jamila Chowdhury and 221 other passengers, confirmed a Biman high official.
On July 31, Biman suspended Moklesur Rahman, a junior ground service officer, and withdrew Kawsar Ali Mandal, ground service supervisor, for unprofessional behavior.
Jamila Chowdhury missed the flight on July 28 due to harassment and non-cooperation by the staffers, and recorded some of the events at the airport on her phone which later went viral on social media.
Subsequently the Civil Aviation Authorities of Bangladesh (CAAB) and the national flag carrier formed two separate committees to investigate the matter.
Biman CEO and Managing Director Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal told Dhaka Tribune: “There is weakness and lack of professionalism [among staff] in handling such situations. We have already taken steps regarding the matter.”
In a press release, Biman earlier claimed that Jamila Chowdhury had requested that she be issued a boarding pass without paying for her additional luggage amounting to 41kg. She missed the flight as she delayed making her decision.
Biman officials later paid a courtesy call at her house, and requested her to fly at her convenience.
What the passenger said
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Jamila Chowdhury said she had come to Bangladesh to look after her critically ill father.
“When I went to the airport to catch the return flight, I faced unprofessional behavior at the airport. They asked me to show a printed copy of the locator form though I showed them a soft copy on my phone. After a long argument, I went to the designated counter at the airport for the printout, but there was a long queue there,” she said.
Jamila Chowdhury also said: “Then the officer demanded a bribe from me for carrying extra goods in my luggage.”
She refused to pay the money and asked the officer to return the overweight luggage and issue her the boarding pass. At this, the officer became furious, threw the passport at her and hurled abuses.
Later, the Biman official drove her away from the queue without giving her a boarding pass, Jamila Chowdhury said.
“They continued to misbehave with me even though I said that I am a human rights activist and social worker in the UK,” she said.
In one of the videos she had recorded on the day, a Biman official was seen asking her to go to the manager, saying that he would not be able to help her since they had no humanity. In another video, an official was seen running away from her as she approached seeking help.
Additional reporting by Sylhet correspondent Serajul Islam.