Monday, November 13, 2017

Airline to pay if it does not notify flight timing change

Can a passenger who has booked tickets of a non-operational flight claim compensation from the airline?
Case Study: Himanshu Mehta had booked an air ticket through International Travel House for travelling on Jet Airways flight from Srinagar to New Delhi schedule to depart on April 3, 2006 at 8.20 am. He was scheduled to attend a business meeting in Delhi at noon the same day.
When Mehta reached the Srinagar airport at 6.40 am, hefound that the airport door were closed. He was let in at 10.15 am when the airport staff came on duty.
Mehta learnt that his flight was cancelled and he was accommodated on another flight departing at 13.15 hrs. He took the other flight but could not attend the afternoon business meeting as he reached Delhi in the evening. The airline also offered two free air tickets to compensate for the incident, which Mehta accepted.
Subsequently, Mehta filed a consumer complaint before the Mumbai Suburban District Forum contending that he had suffered a loss of Rs 3,37,500 due to cancellation of his business meeting. Jet Airway contested the case. According to the airline, the 8.20 am flight was operative only during the summer. There was no approval for this flight from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) either on the date of booking the ticket or on the date of the journey. The airline claimed that it should not be held liable for the booking on a non-existent and non-operational flight.
The forum allowed the complaint. While the travel agent was let off, Jet Airways was ordered to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation. The airline challenged this order in appeal. Reliance was placed on a Supreme Court judgement that a consumer forum cannot grant compensation on sympathetic grounds, or merely because of inconvenience or hardship faced by the consumer, unless there is deficiency in service. In this case, since the flight was neither approved nor operative, the airline argued that it had wrongly been held liable.
13/11/17 Jehangir B Gai/Times of India