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Broken Business Class Seats on Air India Flight: Consumer Court Awards Rs 50,000 to Elderly Couple

As per the complaint, the couple booked air tickets from New York to New Delhi and paid Rs 8,24,964 to Air India. (File photo for representation)

The order was passed in a consumer complaint filed by two senior citizens, Rajesh Chopra and Gamini Chopra, under Section 34 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 against M/s Air India Ltd

In a recent ruling, the Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed Air India to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to two senior citizens for the discomfort they endured due to broken seats on a New York to Delhi flight.

A coram of President Pawanjit Singh and member Suresh Kumar Sardana noted that the evidence indicated the seats were faulty, leading to physical discomfort for the complainants which resulted in mental agony and harassment to them.

The order was passed in a consumer complaint filed by two senior citizens, Rajesh Chopra and Gamini Chopra, under Section 34 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 against M/s Air India Ltd.

As per the complaint, the couple booked air tickets from New York to New Delhi and paid Rs 8,24,964 to Air India. As Rajesh Chopra is a brain stroke patient and handicapped who had gone to America to undergo physiotherapy sessions, the couple booked business class tickets considering that they could travel comfortably without any hassle. However, they alleged, that they were forced to sit on broken seats, having the support of stools in front portion to their feet for the 14-hour journey.

The complainants could not recline their seats for the overnight journey which resulted in excessive swelling and pain in the feet of Rajesh Chopra. With the complaint, photos of flight seat having deficiency had been annexed.

When the complainants sent an email to Air India regarding the issue, it was replied to with no result except that Air India regretted the inconvenience caused to the complainants. Moreover, when a legal notice was issued to the company, it replied that the complainant should have been and vigilant with respect of the seats they chose for the journey.

The Commission narrowed the matter to the issue as to whether Air India was deficient in providing service and whether the complainants were entitled for the relief they prayed for.

It noted that the documents on record clearly showed that the seats allotted to the complainants were defective as they did not slide or move forward.

Therefore, the Commission held that since the complainants admittedly suffered physical inconvenience and mental agony because of defective seats for the long air journey, the airline was bound to compensate the complainants for its deficiency in providing service.

“…the complainants had travelled and completed their journey from New York to Delhi, but the OP could not remove the deficiency in the seat. The said act of OP amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on its part,” it said.

Accordingly, while partly allowing the complaint, the Commission awarded Rs 50,000 compensation to the couple along with Rs 10,000 litigation cost to be paid by the airline.

Source: News18