Consumer forum dismisses complaint over delay of Kingfisher flight
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Finding no deficiency in services on the part of Kingfisher Airlines Limited, as per a complaint filed by a resident of Mohali, the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has dismissed a claim for compensation stating "reasons beyond control" of the aircraft in a case of flight delay.
Rupinder Singh had sought compensation for a delayed Kingfisher flight from Chandigarh to Mumbai, leaving no time for him and his family to board another flight from Mumbai to Nandel within a time margin of 1.45 hours. In his complaint, Singh alleged that he had to cancel his bookings and rebook his flight and accommodation as he missed the second flight, causing him mental tension and forcing him to extend his leave at work and his brother to miss an examination.
In its reply, the airline attributed the heavy rush at Delhi and Mumbai airport and the passengers not keeping 'sufficient time margin' between flights leading to missing a flight. The airline submitted that since Singh had booked two different flights, it was his responsibility to keep sufficient time margin between arrival of one and departure of the other.
The airline had also stated, "in view of poor infrastructure in the Indian Civil Aviation sector, there is heavy traffic congestion at the Indian Airports particularly at Mumbai and Delhi, where most of the time the aircraft keep hovering over the city for 30-45 minutes awaiting clearance from the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) for landing".
ATC has laid down rules for payment of compensation only if there is delay of 2 hours or more, as per block times of the flights, submitted the airline in its reply.
Referring to an earlier judgment by the Supreme Court in 2011, where it was ruled that "compensation cannot be granted merely because there was inconvenience or hardship or on grounds of sympathy," Singh's complaint was dismissed by the forum for "reasons beyond the control of the aircraft". The forum stated that the complainant missed the flight due to his own tight schedule for which the airline could not be held responsible.
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