THOU SHALT NOT REFUSE ‘VALID’ FLYERS!

The Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed JetKonnect to pay Rs 40,000 compensation to a Mumbai resident, who was not allowed to board a Bagdogra-Kolkata flight in 2010 due to overbooking. The forum observed that the airline should have accommodated the flyer on the flight, as he had a valid ticket. In the forum’s view, the airline’s behavior amounted to deficiency in service. Abhishek Agarwal was scheduled to travel from Bagdogra to Mumbai via Kolkata on April 4, 2010. He had booked a ticket through an agent for Rs 5,700. On the day of the journey, Agarwal said he arrived at the airport ahead of the schedule, but was told that all the seats were full and that he could not board the flight.

Agarwal had to go back and could only take a via-Delhi flight the next day. He said he was forced to spend money to book a hotel in Bagdogra. When Agarwal returned to Mumbai, he wrote a letter to the airline and sought compensation. The airline offered him a domestic flight ticket, which he rejected. Aggrieved, he filed a complaint before the forum. The airline did not respond to the forum’s notices. The forum then decided to pass an ex parte order. Taking into consideration the e-mail correspondence between
Agarwal and the airline, the forum said it was evident that the airline had accepted Agarwal’s version. It pointed out that the airline cannot shirk off its responsibilities simply by offering another ticket.

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