Thai Airways fined for spoiling couple’s honeymoon, told to pay ₹3.85 lakh
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered Thai Airways Limited to pay a couple ₹3.85 lakh for spoiling their honeymoon trip to Auckland in New Zealand because of a miscommunication by the airlines in 2013.
The couple had scheduled the visit to Auckland for their honeymoon in 2013 and had booked tickets, obtained visas and other relevant travel documents for their flight from Mumbai to Auckland via Bangkok.
But on December 19, 2013, when the couple reached the airport, the airlines gave them boarding passes for their journey to Bangkok, but refused to give them boarding passes from Bangkok to Auckland. The couple alleged that they were not given any reason and they had to cancel their trip and return home.
The couple then lodged a complaint with the airlines. The airline communicated to them that they had received a message ‘Not Ok to Board’ in their system for the woman traveller from New Zealand immigration because of which boarding passes to the couple from Bangkok to Auckland were not issued. Further it came to light that the remark was mentioned as the woman did not have a return ticket and was travelling on a one way ticket.
The couple had contended that the impediment if any for onward journey from Bangkok to Auckland could have been rectified by them if they were informed in advance.
The couple had first approached the district forum in 2014. Their plea was rejected by the forum in December 2017 after which they approached the commission in 2018.
The commission observed that when it was not possible for the opponent to arrange for appellants’ travel from Mumbai to Auckland via Bangkok they could have refused to issue air tickets to appellants but once they had issued air tickets the obligation was upon the opponent to make necessary arrangements in advance before the scheduled flight the couple intended to take.
The commission held that the airlines could have obtained the information well in advance and informed the couple earlier if their travel had issues so that the couple could have made alternative arrangements.
The commission has directed the airlines to pay ₹2.14 lakh for the loss suffered by the couple for cancellation of the trip, along with refund of ticket prices of ₹46,532. The commission has further ordered the airlines to pay the couple ₹1 lakh towards mental harassment and ₹25,000 for cost of litigation.
K Jagose, lawyer for Thai Airlines Limited, said that they are yet to receive a copy of the detailed order. “Only after studying the order we would be able to decide what to do next,” Jagose said.