Air India penalised for unfair trade practice

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has set aside an earlier judgement of the UT District Consumer Forum against Kingfisher Airlines in a case of unfair trade practice. Air India, however, has been penalised for causing mental agony and harassment to passenger after a delayed flight.

The complainant, Parminder Kwatra from Chandigarh, had booked a Kingfisher Airline flight to Bengaluru in November 2011. However, the flight was delayed by three hours and she was, instead, accommodated in an Air India flight that went via Delhi.

According to the complaint, in Delhi, she was moved to the another Air India flight to Bengaluru that was running late by two hours.

Kwatra alleged that when she reached Bengaluru, Air India officials informed he that her baggage was being transported by the next flight and she had to wait for another two hours for its arrival. She stated that despite her repeated requests to be accommodated in a lounge or a nearby hotel, the airline officials did not oblige.

In its written reply, officials at Kingfisher Airline submitted that she was informed of the flight delay much in advance and was transferred to another flight by Air India without any extra charges. Air India officials stated that all courtesies were extended to her for the duration of her wait, which were declined by her.

"One can well imagine the plight of a passenger, especially a lady, who reached Bengaluru Airport at about 9.15 pm and had to wait for her baggage which had not been brought in the same flight, on account of the acts of omission and commission of the officials of Air India," observed the consumer commission.

The order by the commission stated that the district forum was wrong in not touching this aspect of the matter of the mental agony and harassment experienced by the complainant. Air India was, thus, directed to compensate Kwatra with Rs 10,000 and bear litigation costs of Rs 5,000.

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