Thursday, February 16, 2017

Airline fined for denying entry on overbooked flight

Mumbai: In a landmark order safeguarding the interest of fliers, the National Consumer Commission has raised the flag on overbooking by airlines and urged civil aviation ministry and director general of civil aviation (DGCA) to evolve guidelines to prevent harassment of passengers refused boarding despite having confirmed seats. The ruling came in a case in which the commission awarded compensation to a passenger who was denied travel on an international flight.
"The policy to take care of such passengers and make arrangements to book them on alternative flights in the shortest possible time is opaque and no clear-cut guidelines are available on the subject," the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said on Monday.
It directed that a copy of the order be sent to the secretary, department of civil aviation, as well as the DGCA to deliberate on the issue and evolve guidelines.
Kolkata-based Radha Kejriwal who was studying in the UK was denied boarding on a London-Delhi Jet Airways flight on December 9, 2009 on grounds that she arrived 70 minutes before departure instead of the stipulated 75 minutes. The commission, however, observed that the flight was overbooked and two others who arrived after her were accommodated.
The commission ordered the airline to pay the flier a compensation of 600 euros (Rs 42,300) under guidelines applicable to the European Union. The commission also directed it to reimburse Rs 82,000, the amount spent on booking an alternate flight. The total compensation will also attract nine per cent interest per annum from 2010, the year Kejriwal had first filed the complaint before a district forum.
16/02/17 Rebecca Samervel/Times of India