Air India, the flagship carrier of the TATA Group, is under scrutiny as it has been asked to pay compensation to two parties for a total of Rs 26.85 lakh in separate cases due to poor service. The most shocking part is that one of these incidents traces back to 2003.
Air India: Compensation after 20 Years
In December 2003, a bank manager along with his family were scheduled to fly with Air India. They were traveling from Thiruvananthapuram to Dibrugarh via Chennai & Kolkata. At that time, Indian Airlines was operational and these flights were being operated under the callsign of Indian Airlines.
The first leg of the flight was delayed by more than 1 hour and 45 minutes. As a result, the family missed their connecting flights to Kolkata. Air India made arrangements for the family by providing accommodation and rescheduling them for the next day’s morning flight. They reached Kolkata Airport the next day.
Another bad news is their flight to Dibrugarh got canceled after a long delay. The airline again provided accommodation and rescheduled them for the next day’s flight. The family was not happy with this service and hence, they served a legal notice to the airline in January 2004.
The fight at the Consumer Forum started and went on for more than 10 years. The airline consistently argued that it did everything as per the Civil Aviation Requirements set by the DGCA.
Now, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has said that Air India must compensate a senior citizen customer and three family members with Rs 1.75 lakh, in addition to Rs 25,000 for litigation expenses. Furthermore, the airline is required to pay 6% simple interest from the date of the complaint. This means the total fine will be Rs 3.85 lakh. After a fight of 20 years, the passengers finally received compensation. The Bank Manager has retired now.
Retired Judge Awarded Compensation of Rs 23 lakh
The State Consumer Commission issued a fine of 23 lakh rupees on Air India. Within 45 days, Air India has to pay retired Justice Rajesh Chandra a compensation of 23 lakh rupees.
Mr Rajesh Chandra had purchased two Economy class seats for himself and his wife Rekha Agrawal from Delhi to San Francisco for Rs. 1.89 lakh. They paid an extra amount to upgrade their seat from Economy to Business class. However, upon boarding, they found that the In-Flight Entertainment Screens were broken. Along with this, the seats were broken and defective, causing inconvenience to the couple.
They filed a complaint with the State Consumer Commission, which then ruled that passengers have the right to change seats. The Consumer Commission ordered that the airline refund 1.69 lakh rupees, the additional price for Business class, plus a 10% interest rate. They also awarded a compensation of 20 lakh rupees for emotional and physical pain, as well as 20 thousand rupees in legal fees.
Passengers and Their Rights
Recently, the fog season caused huge disruptions in Indian aviation. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and delayed. In such a scenario, passengers should be aware of their rights. They should be aware of what they can expect from the airline.
Recently, a video surfaced on social media in which a woman can be seen arguing with an IndiGo cabin crew that she is liable for accommodation when a flight delay is beyond three hours. But as per the rules, if the flight is delayed due to fog, airlines are not liable for an accommodation.
If you are unsatisfied with the airline service, knocking the legal doors is always the best option. You can file a complaint with the local consumer commission. Make a strong case and you will get your compensation.