Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Air India fined for failing to serve flyer meal of choice

Kolkata: A district consumer court has asked Air India to refund the air fare to a flyer and also compensate him Rs 5,000 as litigation cost within 30 days for failing to serve the passenger the meal of his choice. The order was issued ex-parte.

The airline said it was unaware of the case, perhaps because the notices had been served to an earlier address from which it has moved to a new one.

Utpal Roy, a human rights activist travelling to the city from Kathmandu on April 14, 2022, was served a vegetable sandwich and a tetra pack drink on the flight instead of a major meal and liquor as displayed on the airline website. He said he had written to the Air India CMD and the civil aviation ministry for redressal of his grievance in April 2022.

According to Roy, he had initially received a reply from an AI official, who said the matter was being investigated and regretted that the onboard service was not as per Roy's expectation. The official pointed out that the airline was unable to provide full meal service, including liquor during the short flight due to turbulence and safety protocols. The airline also issued unconditional apology to Roy with an assurance of an enhanced experience next time he took a fight.

Roy again travelled by AI on the same route on June 18, 2022 and found that the same menu was served. This time, there was no turbulence during the journey. He then moved district consumer dispute redressal commission, Kolkata Unit III, with a plaint under Consumer Protection Act, claiming service deficiency. When an AI representative did not turn up, an ex-parte hearing was held.

Roy who appeared in person before the consumer court said the airline's website states that the carrier will provide one major meal and liquor on board international flights with duration up to six hours. But he did not get either.

17/05/2023 Debashis Konar/Times of India

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