For failing to inform the passengers about the change of departure terminal at Heathrow International Airport in London, the district consumer disputer redressal forum, Chandigarh, the Air India and a Ludhiana-based travel agent have been directed to pay `20,000 as compensation to a Rupnagar couple who missed their flight to Amritsar.
"Due to lack of information, the complainants had to rush from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport wasting much time in the transit and ultimately, missing the flight…The complainants were definitely harassed and their agony was aggravated due to the uncertainty of their travel till they finally departed from England and reached India, almost 12 hours after the scheduled time of their actual arrival," held the consumer forum presided over by Rajan Dewan, while holding the airlines and the travel agent deficient in giving proper service on January 20.
The forum also directed the Air India and Ludhiana-based Gurmukh Travels from whom the couple had purchased air tickets from Amritsar to London and back, to pay refund in rupees equivalent to £235 (`24,000) to the couple who paid extra to buy return tickets, along with paying `10,000 as cost of litigation.
Rupnagar-based couple Kirti Verma and his wife Anju Verma were to fly back from London to Amritsar on August 22, 2011."In the ticket, it has been shown that the departure was from Terminal 3 at Heathrow International Airport and we reached there as per schedule. But we were told that the take off of all Air India flights have been shifted to Terminal 4, which was over one hour drive from Terminal 3. By the time, they reached Terminal 4, the flight had taken off," Kirti alleged.
Denying any negligence, the Air India said it was the responsibility of the travel agent to inform the complainants about the change in departure terminal. The airline also maintained that the Gurmukh Travels was not an authorised agent of Air India.
The airline claimed that an authorised agent had the obligation to convey Air India's instructions issued from time to time to passengers in whose favour he might have arranged services on behalf of the airlines.
The travel agent was proceeded ex parte as none appeared despite summons.Unimpressed by the reply of Air India, the forum held, "A personal intimation to the complainants was necessary in the case, as they were neither in India nor connected to their office in any manner."