Air India told to pay Rs 51,000 for cancelling flight without information
CHANDIGARH, Aug 17: The district consumer disputes redressal forum has directed Air India to pay Rs 22,000 as compensation for failing to refund the amount sent on booking tickets which they had cancelled without prior information. They were also directed to refund Rs 29,332 as cost of the tickets.
Complainant Sanjay Jain, a resident of Sector 18, Chandigarh, stated in his complaint that he had booked four tickets of Air India from Leh to Chandigarh on May 8, 2018. The complainant and his family reached the airport on time and got their boarding passes. They were waiting to board the plane and it was announced that the said Air India flight from Leh to Chandigarh was cancelled due to bad weather at Leh.
It was averred that the weather was clear at Leh and all other airlines, except Air India, were operating their flights. It was stated that when the complainant sought information about the said cancelled flight from Air India under the RTI Act, it was informed that the flight was cancelled due to "operational reasons".
The complainant and his family members had to stay back. They booked a fresh room for stay and travelled the next day on fresh air tickets of Vistara Airlines from Leh to New Delhi for Rs 16,856. They also had to hire a taxi from Delhi to Chandigarh for Rs 4,000. It was stated that the complainant and his family suffered harassment.
The airline stated in its reply that there were three flights that had got cancelled on May 8, 2018, and all these flights were cancelled due to bad weather in Leh. It was submitted that the cancellation had been conveyed by the station manager, Air
India, Chandigarh, that the flight was cancelled due to bad weather which was also categorized as 'operational reasons' and that does not amount to wrong information.
It was submitted that the flight cancelled due to bad weather falls under the category of beyond the control of the airline and in such cases the airline was not liable to pay any compensation.
The forum after hearing both the sides held that: "It is evident on record that the complainant was not informed in advance about the cancellation of the said booked flight and was made aware only when they reached the airport."
The forum pointed out that nowhere, Air India by any evidence, have justified their decision to cancel the flight on that particular date and only averred in the written statement that the flight was canceled due to bad weather and claimed that the reason was covered under 'operational reasons' and therefore they were not liable to refund the ticket charges. -TNN