The plight of air travellers in India seems to be never -ending, but the consumer court came to the rescue of a 72-year-old cardiologist and ex-defence officer who had filed a complaint against Jet Airways Ltd. for rescheduling his flight without informing him. The consumer court has ordered the airline to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation and return the booking amount with 9 per cent interest from the date of payment.
The complainant, Dr Nautej Singh, originally from Jammu and Kashmir, visits Srinagar frequently. Owing to his old age, it is not possible for him to undertake long distance travel; therefore, he used air travel considering the convenience.
On February 27, 2016, the complainant had booked a 7.35 am flight from Pune to Delhi leaving on June 15, 2016. He had a connecting flight to Srinagar at 10.30 am.
Singh paid Rs 14,249 for the ticket and Jet Airways confirmed his booking. He later started receiving messages about changes in the flight timing.
When the complainant asked for a clarification, the company replied that his flight from Pune to Delhi has been rescheduled and the complainant was asked to travel by another flight which left early morning at 5.30 am.
As it was not possible for Singh to reach the airport that early, he refused to take the flight. He argued that his flight of 7.35 am was confirmed on February 27, and Jet Airways had suddenly changed his flight without taking permission Speaking to Mirror, Singh said, “I had requested the company to accommodate me in another flight but my request was refused. Considering the changed approach, I had booked a flight with Go Air from Pune to Shrinagar at a higher cost. As I was not traveling by the Jet Airways flight, I demanded a refund for the ticket. On June 8, I received a message from the Jet, informing that my original booking had been restored. However, it was too late as I had already booked my ticket with another airline.”
“Despite repeated requests, Jet Airways refused to refund me the money, therefore I had to file a complaint in the consumer court,” the doctor added.
Jet Airways claimed that rescheduling of flight timing does not amount to deficiency in service. The ticket of the complainant from Pune to Delhi and from Delhi to Srinagar was kept open for utilization and an option to claim refund of the air fare of the flight was provided.
Advocate Pradeep Yadav who represented Singh told Pune Mirror “There is a deficiency in the service offered by the airline which caused mental agony to a senior citizen. We had claimed an amount of Rs 10,190 for the flight and compensation of Rs 15,000 for mental agony with an interest on the same of Rs 60,190.”
The consumer court, while passing the order, clarified, “Rescheduling a confirmed ticket without prior permission of the individual amounts to negligence on part of the company. It caused him inconvenience which also amounts to mental harassment of the senior citizen, for which the complainant is entitled to a compensation.”