14 Aug Court tells Air India to pay for flight delay
Court tells Air India to pay for flight delay
Air India has been asked to pay Rs 40,000 to a Vadodara-based NRI whose flight was delayed due to death of a passenger at the Heathrow Airport in London in 2008.
A consumer court in Vadodara asked the airline company to pay compensation of Rs 35,000 for mental agony and Rs 5,000 for legal expenditure to Kinjal Patel, who was returning to India on January 25, 2008 to celebrate her birthday and her sister’s wedding.
Patel booked her ticket in Air India’s London-Ahmedabad flight on January 23, 2008. The flight, which was scheduled to depart at 8.30pm got delayed after a passenger died of cardiac respiratory problem. The passengers were made to wait till midnight. The flight was ultimately cancelled, and the passengers were flown to Ahmedabad the next day.
After reaching India, Patel sued the airlines with the Vadodara District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum on the ground that the flight was unnecessarily delayed for 20 hours, and that she was not given accommodation and evening meal at the airport. Her request to return the ticket fare and baggage was also rejected.
The airlines defended its case by raising an issue of jurisdiction by the Vadodara consumer court. It submitted that a passenger had died in the last minute. Police was called and it took a very long time to remove the body. The situation was beyond the control for the airline staff. It was also claimed that the passengers were shifted to a hotel nearby and were taken care of after the flight was delayed and later cancelled.
The consumer court, however, refused to accept the arguments of the airline. It said that London is a developed city and all facilities of transportation and medical care are available. If the airport authority called the ambulance, it should reach within an hour. It further said that the reasons put forth by the airline did not appear genuine.