Sunday, July 31, 2022

Bengaluru: Man sues airline for not loading bag with power bank, loses case

Bengaluru: A Bengaluru man sued IndiGo Airlines after his check-in bag carrying his scouts uniform, which he was to wear representing Karntaka government at an awards ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan, was not loaded on the plane because of the presence of a power bank. But he lost the case as a consumer court ruled that travelling with a power bank in check-in luggage instead of cabin bag was a violation of aviation rules.

On December 5, 2016, AN Mahesh, 46, then chairman of Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd in Bengaluru, boarded the IndiGo airlines flight at Kempegowda International Airport to fly to Delhi. He was scheduled to attend a ceremony organised by the Indian government at Rashtrapati Bhavan as he was a special invitee to scouts, guides, rovers, rangers and adult leaders’ award presentation. As per protocol, he was supposed to attend the ceremony in his scouts uniform.

After landing in Delhi, Mahesh realised his checked-in bag hadn’t arrived from Bengaluru and questioned the IndiGo staff, who told him the bag wasn’t loaded as it had a power bank inside. He couldn’t attend the event at Rashtrapati Bhavan the following day as purchasing a new uniform on such a short notice was next to impossible. Mahesh told IndiGo he was flying back to Bengaluru the same day and asked them to retain his bag at KIA, from where he would collect it. But by the time he arrived in Bengaluru, the airline staff had sent it to Delhi after removing the power bank.

Extremely frustrated over the episode, he sent a legal notice to InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, operator of IndiGo Airlines, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and Bangalore International Airport Ltd. He lodged a complaint of negligence against the airline with the Bengaluru Rural and Urban 1st Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in May 2018 and sought a compensation of over Rs 10 lakh.

The IndiGo attorney argued that alerts reading “power banks allowed only in hand baggage” were sent to all passengers, including the complainant, and despite that he had carried the device in his check-in luggage. He also stated that the airline ground staff at KIA tried to reach him soon after spotting the power bank in the scanner but the passenger had boarded the flight already and therefore, as per aviation rules, the bag with the power bank couldn’t be loaded as it was a safety hazard.

In court proceedings lasting over four years and two months, the judges noted that it was indeed the passenger’s fault and he was careless about following airline rules. Ruling that there was no service deficiency on IndiGo’s part as they were merely following aviation rules set by the Central Industrial Security Force, the judges dismissed the case on July 26.

31/07/22 Times of India

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