Winner in the Outstanding Compact Case Category, at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2019

Turbulence on the Tarmac

Turbulence on the Tarmac
Case Code: MKTG392
Case Length: 5 Pages
Period: 2017
Pub Date: 2019
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.150
Organization: Indigo Airlines
Industry: Airlines
Countries: India
Themes: Services Marketing, Service Recovery, Crisis Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Management
Turbulence on the Tarmac


This case is about an incident in which a passenger of Indigo Airlines, a private carrier in India, was assaulted and manhandled by the airline’s staff in October 2017. There was a public backlash against the company when a video clip was telecast across the national media on November 7 showing the passenger being manhandled by the airline’s staff. The video was filmed by an IndiGo staffer who was later fired. But the harm had already been done. The video clip found its way to media houses and was also widely shared across various social media channels. Following this, there was a huge public outcry over the incident that left the company and its President and Wholetime Director, Aditya Ghosh, red-faced. IndiGo went into damage control mode and suspended the two ground staff directly involved in the manhandling incident. The company also apologized for their action. It also sacked the cargo staff member who had filmed the incident, reportedly for instigating the others. But this failed to pacify the other passengers and the general public who called for a boycott of IndiGo, saying that its market leadership in India had made it complacent and there had been many incidents of employees behaving harshly toward passengers. The challenge before Ghosh was how to manage the crisis, regain customer confidence, and ensure that such incidents were not repeated in the future.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand the issues and challenges in services marketing in relation to the incident that occurred at IndiGo
  • Identify the factors that led to the incident at IndiGo and how this could affect the airline
  • Develop strategies (external and internal) to regain customer confidence in the airline
  • Examine actions airline staff should take when faced with an irate or dysfunctional customer


Consumer behaviour in services; Service provision as drama; Service roles and scripts; Servicescape; Emotions and moods in services; Positive and negative biases; Brand loyalty; Customer expectations; Service encounters; Service recovery; Crisis management; Airlines; India; IndiGo

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