Deepak Kumar, a city resident, had booked an air ticket of IndiGo through website MakeMyTrip for travelling from Mumbai to Chandigarh on January 16, 2017. But, when he reached Mumbai airport, he was shocked to find that there was no such flight plying for nearly two months. This led him to lodge a complaint with the Chandigarh consumer forum, which on July 30 fined both the private airline and the online travel booking portal for the deficiency in service. It has directed them to jointly pay Rs 15,000, including the litigation cost of Rs 5,000, to Kumar.
Kumar, a resident of Sector 33, Chandigarh, said that on November 18, 2016, he had booked the ticket. On the date of departure, when he reached the Mumbai airport, he was informed that there was no such flight plying for nearly two months, due to which Kumar had to purchase another ticket for Rs 6,821. But, without any request made by Kumar, MakeMyTrip refunded the amount of his cancelled flight to his account. However, he moved a complaint against the online portal for the harassment he faced at the airport.
In reply, MakeMyTrip pleaded that it merely acted as a facilitator for booking the ticket. If at all the flights are non-operational, the concerned airline should report the same to them, therefore the sole responsibility was of the IndiGo Airline, pleaded MakeMyTrip. It was asserted that on account of the flight being non-operational, they duly refunded the booking amount after receiving the same from the airline.
The IndiGo, in reply, pleaded that the flight in question was cancelled on December 17, 2016, approximately one month after the issuance of the ticket, due to bad weather, which was beyond their control. On account of cancellation, they offered Kumar a refund of Rs 2,269, the fare difference between the ticket originally booked by him and the fresh one and that the offer was accepted. Meanwhile, by processing the refund, they ensured that the complainant had effectively been rebooked onto an alternative flight of his choice at no additional cost, the airline replied.
The forum, after hearing the argument, however, observed that even after a lapse of one month, that is till the scheduled date of the flight, January 16, 2017, the airline never approached the complainant for the refund of the amount of the ticket and rather refunded the fare difference at the airport itself when he was stuck with no other alternative mode of journey.
‘“Thus, both the online firm and the airline’s act of non-informing the complainant about the cancellation of the flight and thereafter non-refunding the amount of the cancelled flight without asking is certainly deficiency in service and their indulgence into unfair trade practice, which has certainly caused unprecedented mental agony and harassment to the complainant,” observed the forum.