The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed British Airways and Lufthansa Airlines to pay Rs 24,000 as compensation to a complainant for not refunding the claimed loss of the baggage of a Jalandhar-based customer.
Jai Paul Mahindru, a resident of Jalandhar, had submitted that he had a return ticket of Lufthansa Airlines that was scheduled to leave Chicago on July 29, 2012. However, the flight was cancelled and he was shifted to a British Airways flight, which left on the same day. It was alleged that as per the rules, in case of a delay of more than four hours or due to a change in flight, senior citizens are provided a place to stay at along with food allowances. But none of this was provided.
When Mahindru landed in India on July 31, 2012, he found out that his luggage had not reached. On enquiry, officers of Lufthansa Airlines told him that the luggage must have been delayed due to the change in flight and would reach within 24 hours. Mahindru did not receive any intimation about the same. Each time he enquired or checked on the net for the luggage, the status would show ‘tracing’.
After three days, both airlines failed to return his luggage. Feeling cheated, he filed a complaint at the consumer court. The airlines, in their written version, stated that the staff at the arrival destination had no way of knowing the whereabouts of a missing bag (which can only be ascertained after an investigation) and may have advised the complainants of the possibility of their baggage having been delayed on account of last minute accommodation.
It was stated that upon registration of a complaint with respect to the allegedly missing baggage, efforts were being made to trace the same, which could not be located either at Chicago or London. It was later revealed that the bags had in fact been loaded on the same flight on which the complainant travelled from London to New Delhi. British Airways, meanwhile, denied the complainant’s claim of it being deficient in service.
None of the contentions raised by both airlines were accepted. The consumer forum then directed them to give Mahindru the compensation and litigation costs.