Indian Airlines has been asked by the top consumer commission to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to a man and his daughter for delay in informing them about cancellation of their flight due to which they could not make any alternative arrangements.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) gave the direction while dismissing the airline's plea against the orders of the state and district of Kerala which had held Indian Airlines deficient in service.
While the district forum had awarded Rs 29,000 as total compensation to the two passengers, the state commission had enhanced it to Rs 50,000.
The NCDRC while upholding the decision of its subordinate said the focus of the airline in the whole matter has been to justify the delay and cancellation of flight and not on how they handled the affected passengers.
"Even at this stage the focus of the petitioner (airline) is primarily and substantially on justification of the delay and eventual cancellation of the flight... "Petitioner has failed to focus on the evidence which could show that conscious and sufficient efforts were made to understand the impact of this delay from about 4 pm to 10 pm on the passengers and eventual cancellation of the flight.
Petitioner has instead sought to exonerate itself on basis of rules," a bench presided by Justice JM Malik said.
Indian Airlines, in its plea, contended the take-off was delayed as they were trying to rectify a technical problem in the aircraft and finally in the interests of passenger safety, the flight was cancelled.
Kerala-based K Balachandran Thampi in his complaint before the district forum had said that due to the delay and eventual cancellation of the flight to Bangalore on May 19, 2006, his daughter missed an entrance exam held the next day for admission to a post-graduate course and lost an academic year as a result.
He claimed that had the airline informed them earlier that the flight would be cancelled; they could have made alternative arrangements to go to Bangalore.