The consumer Forum of Chandigarh has directed Air India to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 to a Mohali woman for causing harassment to her as her luggage was exchanged with another person’s, due to which she also lost Rs 15,000 kept in the bag. The forum also directed the airlines to pay Rs 5,000 as litigation charges.
Manjula Wadhwa, in her complaint, stated that on November 2, 2017, she travelled through Air India from Lucknow to Chandigarh. She had a luggage weighing 10 kg. After reaching Chandigarh airport, she collected her baggage, which had her tag number and name, but on reaching home when she opened the luggage, she was shocked to see that it was not her.
Wadhwa stated that then she had to go back to the Chandigarh airport to report the matter to the manager. The whole process took at least four hours. Thereafter, she returned the baggage, which also belonged to some other woman, on November 3. The complainant received her baggage only on November 5 at her residence. Wadhwa said that she also lost Rs 15,000, which was kept in the pocket of the bag and spent extra money on taxi fare to and from the airport, besides she had to take a day’s leave.
For the harassment and financial loss suffered by her due to their deficient act, the airline offered her a meagre amount of Rs 3,200 as compensation, which she refused and moved a complaint at the consumer forum.
The Air India, in reply, stated that since the baggage of the complainant and that of another passenger on the same flight were identical, being of same make, size and colour, the slips were mistakenly affixed on wrong luggage. “As soon as the complainant reported the matter…, it was rectified. Her original baggage was made available to her at the earliest,” read the reply.
It was submitted that as per the advisory of the airline, which is also printed on the ticket itinerary receipt and displayed at all the airports, all valuable items, including cash should be carried in hand bag to avoid any damage, loss or delay. “Moreover, the contents of the baggage of the complainant, on her advice, was checked to her satisfaction at Jodhpur airport, while accepting it from another passenger.”
After hearing the arguments, the forum observed that being the custodian of the handed-over baggage, it is required from the concerned staff of the airlines to be more vigilant and careful while affixing the slips to avoid any untoward incident, which the staff failed to.
“.the complainant undertook all the troubles to hand over the wrong baggage delivered to her by the Opposite Parties due to mistake/negligence of wrong tagging done by their officials at the given point of time. However, despite her sincere efforts she was not even considered for reasonable compensation for the harassment suffered due to the mistake/negligence of the Ops.,” the forum observed.