Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tourists lose Rs 15 lakh as airline fails to provide alternative Brussels flight

Mumbai: In the list of things that could go wrong on a holiday, a flight cancellation should be up there as you could end up buying last-minute tickets not just for the onward journey, but also for the return leg.
A group of 17 passengers from Mumbai lost Rs 14 lakh and three others from Pune lost Rs 1.30 lakh towards air tickets, hotel bookings and other expenses after Brussels Airlines cancelled a flight and failed to put them on an alternative flight within 48 hours.
A Brussels Airlines spokesperson said they had taken note of the complaint and will start an in-depth investigation.
On October 21, around 1am, Brussels Airlines cancelled flight SN602 as the aircraft developed a technical problem. "Brussels Airlines told us they don't have any alternative for next 48 hours and later too, they couldn't guarantee one for all the 17 people," said Pradeep Shanklesha Mutha, one of the flyers from the group. They have taken the grievance up with minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha. "Cancelling our pre-paid holiday would have cost us Rs 15 lakh," he said.
The group brought fresh tickets, arrived at their destination 15 hours late. The next day their agent informed them they should cancel the Zurich-Mumbai return tickets too and go for the entire ticket refund as with partial refund one can't be sure about the quantum of money the airline would return.
Here is where the difference between passengers who were provided accommodation by Brussels and those who weren't come into play. Those put on other carriers would have got their same return flights reissued by Brussels airline at no cost. But if you make your own arrangements, then the airline refunds part fare—Mumbai-Brussels-Zurich in this case. Since airfares aren't split down the middle, there was no knowing how much of the Rs 8.31 lakh they spent on the return ticket would be refunded.
19/11/17 Manju V/Times of India