Hyderabad: The consumer dispute redressal commission has asked Air India to pay Rs. 25,000 as compensation to a customer for a delay during layover.

M. Ravindranath Reddy, a resident of Himayatnagar, and his wife booked an Air India flight from Stockholm, Sweden, to Hyderabad interconnecting at Delhi. His flight was schedule to depart at 8:40 p.m from Stockholm and reach Delhi by 7:20 a.m. Then they were to board a flight at 11:55 a.m from Delhi and reach Hyderabad which meant a layover of 4.35 hours.

Mr. Reddy received an email from the airline stating that his flight was delayed and would depart at 11 p.m. He was issued two boarding passes when he reached the airport - one for the Stockholm to Delhi flight and another for the Delhi to Hyderabad flight.

However, he was shocked to notice that the flight from Delhi to Hyderabad would depart at 9.10 p.m which meant a layover of 11 hours 20 minutes at the Delhi airport.

After reaching Delhi, the complainant approached the airline staff and requested them to accommodate him and his wife on any other earlier flight. "After inquiring with my friends I came to know that one flight was departing at 1.05 p.m. I requested the airline staff to put us on that flight but they failed to do so," he said.

Following this, he sat down on the floor to protest after which the airline staff finally found seats for the couple on a flight that departed at 5.15 p.m. "Such negligent and careless attitude of the airline caused us mental agony and inconvenience," Mr. Reddy said.

Air India meanwhile said that when flights are rescheduled the revenue retention team re-books the passengers on the first available Air India flight subject to availability of seats. "On the said date, there were only two flights from Delhi to Hyderabad. One was scheduled to depart from Delhi at 5:15 p.m and another at 9:10 p.m. As seats were available on another flight the same were booked for the complainant. The 1:05 p.m flight, as alleged by the complainant, was not available as the same runs only on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The day being a Saturday, the said flight was not available," it said.

They were accommodated on the 5:15 p.m flight with great difficulty, it added.

After going through all the documents and evidence, the commission observed that there was no such flight at 1:05 p.m. "However, in view of the admissions by the airline and based on the records it is certain and proved that the complainants had to wait from 10 a.m to 5:15 p.m at the Delhi airport. As such, the same might have certainly caused inconvenience and hardship to the complainants which cannot be overlooked," said the commission.

Keeping in view the principles of natural justice for the inconvenience caused, the commission asked Air India to pay Rs. 25, 000 for causing inconvenience, hardship, and mental agony to the complainants and Rs. 10,000 towards the cost of litigation.

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