Recently, the country's apex consumer commission directed Air India to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to its two passengers. Wondering why? The reason is that the airline was found to have changed the passengers' pre-booked seats.
Are you a frequent flier in India? Have you ever had your pre-booked seats on an airline changed without your knowledge or without a proper explanation? Then, here’s an important update for you. Recently, the country’s apex consumer commission directed Air India to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to its two passengers. Wondering why? The reason is that the airline was found to have changed the passengers’ pre-booked seats. Air India was also found to have failed to provide a wheelchair, to one of the passengers, which had earlier been confirmed as per their electronic tickets.
The bench comprising of NCDRC president Justice RK Agarwal and member M Shreesha found that the airline was ‘deficient’ in its service of changing the pre-allotted seat booking without any explanation. Not only did the airline do this on domestic flight but also on the international flight. The NCDRC bench observed that this had caused considerable inconvenience without any explanation to the passengers.
The airline’s claim regarding the paucity of wheel chair at the Delhi airport was rejected by the bench. According to Air India, there were not enough wheelchairs to provide to a passenger waiting in transit at the IGI airport. This claim was rejected. The NCDRC held that the passenger’s electronic ticket clearly indicates the confirmation of a wheelchair. Also, given the fact that their air ticket had been booked at least two months in advance, Air India should have directed the ground staff to ensure and provide a wheelchair to the passengers ahead of the scheduled flight.
The aforementioned order by the NCDRC came in a case filed that had been filed by Air India. The airline had been challenging a 2017 order passed by West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The 2017 order held the airline responsible for deficiency in services to the two passengers, who had booked their tickets from Kolkata to New Delhi and thereafter, from New Delhi to Chicago. In 2014, the tickets had cost Rs.1.45 lakh each. Further, the state commission had also ordered Rs 15 lakh compensation, which was stayed by the NCDRC.
For consumers of any goods and services in India, it is essential to know that the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is the country’s apex consumer commission. The NCDRC was first set up in 1988, with its headquarters in New Delhi and it is usually headed by either a sitting or a retired judge of the Supreme Court.