CHENNAI: Air Asia was directed to pay compensation to a passenger from Tiruchy who was forced to carry a quarter of his luggage as hand baggage despite booking it as check-in luggage well in advance.
K Rajasekaran, an insurance advisor from Tiruchy, had booked tickets on Air Asia for a family trip to Malaysia and Singapore along with his wife and children. The family had made use of a promotional offer in September 2012, and booked tickets from Tiruchy to Kuala Lumpur and from there to Singapore in July 2013.
Two months before the trip, Rajasekaran received an e-mail from the airliner informing him about a short-time, promotional offer that would enable them to carry an additional 5 kg luggage free of cost if they booked 15 kg in advance.
As he was travelling with his wife and two children aged 8 and 2 years, Rajasekaran decided to avail of the offer. His repeated efforts to convince the airliner staff about the promotional offer that he had availed of failed. Even the customer care section maintained that he was eligble only for 15 kg, forcing the family to carry the additional luggage.
In his complaint, Rajasekaran said his misery continued even after landing at the Kuala Lumpur airport where he had to carry the baggage for a long way till the immigration counter.
Just a day after returning to Tiruchy from the trip, he filed a complaint with the Air Asia through their website. But a standard apology informed him that they had not charged him for the excess luggage. He first sent a legal notice in August 2013, but the company did not respond leading to another complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai seeking Rs 5 lakh as compensation.
Pointing out that the promotional offer that Air Asia extended turned out to be “empty promise”, the forum comprising its president K Jayabalan and members L Deendayalan and K Amala ruled that Rajasekaran was entitled for compensation due to deficiency. The company did not present its version despite notice being issued, prompting the forum to deliver the order exparte. The airliner and its agent in Chennai were directed to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation and Rs 3,000 towards cost.