Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Frankfurt-Bengaluru flight delayed by 36 hours, flyers gear up for legal action

Some passengers who flew Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Bengaluru on October 18 are readying for a legal action as they arrived 36 hours late, and after a long ordeal.

German airline Lufthansa’s flight LH 754 was diverted to Istanbul, Turkey, because of a medical emergency shortly after it took off. About four hours later, passengers were deboarded at the Istanbul airport in Turkey. The flight was then postponed three times, and landed in Bengaluru on the afternoon of October 20. Fliers are upset because they did not get enough on-ground assistance about accommodation and flight status.

About 380 people were on the flight, including two-time Grammy-award winner Ricky Kej from Bengaluru. “No hotel, no staff, no explanation” — He accused the airline of taking “Indian customers for granted” on Twitter.  

Of them, 171 are united on a WhatsApp group, and are discussing options to claim a refund and how to seek legal redressal, says Vasishta Jayanti. He decided to fly out of Istanbul via Muscat on another airline, spending Rs 54,000, in addition to the Rs 73,000 he had paid Lufthansa for the round trip. “Almost everybody in the group has filled out the feedback form we sourced from the Lufthansa website. Maybe one or two have received a response. I haven’t received any,” says the businessman. The Lufthansa website talks of “the right to compensation if your arrival at the destination airport is delayed by more than three hours and the delay cannot be attributed to extraordinary circumstances”.

Together with his brother and three friends, Vasishta plans to file a consumer rights case after the Deepavali holidays. “Since we bought the tickets in India, we hope our laws have something to compensate us not just for the expenses but also the distress,” he says.

Since he had taken a travel policy covering flight delays, he is also talking to the insurance company to see if he can get back the money he spent on the additional ticket.

Unlike Vasishta, Reshmy Prasad has received an email from Lufthansa, offering “payment” in response to her complaint. But she is not satisfied. “They haven’t defined how the compensation would be calculated,” the electrical engineer from Hebbal, who was on a work and holiday trip to Norway, explained.

She is also mulling a consumer case “for the deficiency of services”, including the lack of vegetarian meals on the six-and-a-half-hour flight from Istanbul. “I just ate bread and butter,” she says.

26/10/22 Barkha Kumari/Deccan Herald

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