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Pay damages to flier, says court

Aeroflot, a Russian airline, will have to pay city resident Dhunji Dadachanji Rs 50,000 as compensation for poor service, the city consumer court has ruled. HT reports

mumbai Updated: Jul 31, 2010 01:07 IST
Vignesh Iye

Aeroflot, a Russian airline, will have to pay city resident Dhunji Dadachanji Rs 50,000 as compensation for poor service, the city consumer court has ruled.

The order gives hope to city fliers who have to suffer frequent flight delays and cancellations.

Currently Indian air passengers can do little more than complain to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has no law in place to protect their interests. The DGCA is working on a policy that will allow fliers to seek damages in case of delays.

The Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on Tuesday held the carrier guilty of deficiency in service for not providing information on Dadachanji's whereabouts to his daughter.

Dadachanji, a city resident, had filed the case saying he had purchased a ticket from Aeroflot to fly from Mumbai to London, via Moscow, and back.

His reached London without incident, but on the way back, on October 20, 2007, the flight from London to Moscow was diverted to St. Petersburg.

The aircraft was at the St. Petersburg airport for two hours after which it took off to Moscow, but Dadachanji, in his complaint, said by the time the flight reached Moscow he had missed his connecting flight to Mumbai.

Dadachanji alleged that he was not allowed to make even a telephone call to his daughters at the carrier’s counter.

He had also alleged that Aeroflot did not make any arrangements to accommodate him and that he was compelled to spend the night at the airport cafeteria.

In the complaint, Dadachanji claimed that when his daughter called the airline office in London, officials there refused to give information concerning the passengers and asked his daughter to produce proof that she was his daughter.

Aeroflot, in its response to the Forum, denied the allegations and said Dadachanji had been given vouchers for breakfast, lunch and dinner and was given a business class ticket for his journey from Moscow to Mumbai.

However, the bench comprising president JL Deshpande, and members D.S. Bidnurkar and VG Joshi said, “Merely by issuance of such vouchers, the airline is not absolved from its responsibility of taking care of its passengers. If placed in such a situation at an unknown place, courtesy should be shown and robust treatment should be given.”