BENGALURU: A city-based consumer forum has ordered Air India to compensate a senior citizen for making him stand for more than two hours in a shuttle bus used to take passengers to the flight, without providing any basic necessities. According to the order passed by 4th Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum recently, Air India has to pay Rs 15,000 to Dr VS Ramakrishna Nair (76), a resident of Jayanagar 9th Block, in Bengaluru.
Allowing the complaint filed by Nair in part, the forum comprising president RK Prathibha and members D Suresh and NR Roopa noted that Air India cannot expect an aged person having diabetes, to stand in a bus for more than an hour, without providing any basic necessities.
‘’The complainant suffered inconvenience and mental agony due to deficiency in service on the part of Air India. Therefore, we feel it is appropriate to award compensation of Rs 10,000 together with litigation cost of Rs 5,000,” the forum said in its order.
However, the forum turned down the request of the complainant to direct Air India to refund the flight ticket cost and other charges of Rs 23,596, as he couldn’t produce material evidence to prove that he had suffered ill-health for about eight days due to the inconvenience caused by Air India, and hence, couldn’t complete darshan at Shirdi.
According to the order, Nair had booked a flight from Shirdi to Hyderabad, and Hyderabad to Bengaluru on March 14, 2018. The complainant boarded the bus at 2pm on the scheduled date but the passengers were kept waiting in it for almost 150 minutes. They were later brought back to the arrival lounge where they had to wait till 6pm. Later, an announcement said the flight was cancelled and they were asked to go home. The complainant had to make alternative arrangements to return to Bengaluru.
The complainant alleged that they were not even offered a glass of water, and were not permitted to use the toilet. “Being a senior citizen, I underwent unbearable physical and mental trauma during that period,” he pleaded.
In its defence, Air India said the flight could not be operated as a technical snag was detected in the aircraft, just when the passengers were ready to board. They could have contacted the boarding staff for help, AI said. “We had made alternative arrangements for passengers and also refunded Rs 7,919 for the ticket, to the complainant. We are not responsible for other charges like room rent, taxi fare, darshan etc,” Air India claimed.