Hyderabad: At a time when Indians are reluctant to approach courts for justice, a South African reached out to the city district consumer forum for a flight delay that costed him the last minutes with his ailing grandmother.
Sepamo Motlalepula Ishmael, 33, a student of law at Osmania University had booked a flight from Hyderabad to Mumbai from where he was to fly to Johannesburg to meet his ailing grandmother.
But the Air India flight was rescheduled and delayed by two hours due to which the student missed all connecting flights to Addis Ababa and then to Johannesburg.
Stuck at the Mumbai airport, the student had no other option but wait for 65 gruelling hours with no alternative for the next flight. During this time he lost his grandmother and missed a chance to attend her funeral.
It was then that the student decided to file a case against the airlines for abruptly delaying the flight and for the mental agony and damage. The airline, however, contested that they had rescheduled the flight the night before and had informed the student via SMS and a call.
However, he had failed to respond to the call. With no email address of the student available, they used the point made by DGCA in its civil aviation requirements rule made in August 2015 that no consumer is entitled to refund on delayed flights if they fail to provide valid communication addresses.
The court, however, observed that the student had been duly informed about the delay the previous night.
Moreover, the court noted that in no way could the airlines has known where he was headed to as Air India reservations were only for domestic flights and the international flight was by Ethiopian Airways. On these ground the district consumer forum of Hyderabad rejected the case.
The Supreme Court, however, has taken note of the increasing number of cases and has asked DGCA why no ticket refunds can be initiated if the delay is from their end.
The hearing was based on a petition by Nanita Sharma, who was left stranded at the airport for four hours in 2007 due to unjust delays by the airlines....