National consumer commission directs Air India to pay Rs 2 lakh to 4 passengers; here's why
In a ruling dated December 6, the NCDRC emphasized that airlines are obligated to attend to stranded passengers, particularly those missing connecting flights, especially if these flights are with the same carrier, as in this instance.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has directed Air India to compensate four passengers a total of Rs 2 lakh due to a flight delay dating back to 2003. The commission held Air India responsible for neglecting its duties during cancellations or extended delays, failing to provide essential services such as hospitality, food, accommodation, and transport according to established protocols.
In a ruling dated December 6, the NCDRC emphasized that airlines are obligated to attend to stranded passengers, particularly those missing connecting flights, especially if these flights are with the same carrier, as in this instance. Passengers experiencing flight cancellations or substantial delays are entitled to necessary services as per established airline norms.
The commission found Air India at fault for not meeting these obligations and augmented the compensation to Rs. 1.75 lakhs for all four complainants, additionally awarding a litigation cost of Rs 25,000 to be paid by Air India.
The incident, dated December 13, 2003, involved the purchase of four individual air tickets for a journey from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai, Chennai to Kolkata, and then Kolkata to Dibrugarh, with the intention to return. Delays and diversions during the Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai flight resulted in missed connections. The subsequent flights faced unexpected schedule changes, leading to prolonged discomfort for the passengers.
The complainants also alleged inadequate arrangements for food and lodging by the airline, further exacerbated by a canceled connecting flight from Delhi to Dibrugarh, causing significant distress. Despite the offer of free tickets by the airline, the aggrieved passengers proceeded to file a case before the district forum to address their grievances.