Last minute flight cancellations are always exasperating, and it hurts even more if you have an important meeting or conference to attend. But who do you blame if you find yourself in such a situation? The airline or the air aggregator, where you booked the ticket?
A passenger who found himself in a similar situation held the air aggregator responsible and dragged the website to the consumer court. Theconsumer forum, in a landmark judgment, held the book firm responsible for the fiasco.
Prakash Nadahalli, a resident of Mangaluru and a faculty at the Corporation Bank Staff Training College, Mangaluru, booked a ticket on Air India's Mumbai-New Delhi flight scheduled to fly on Oct 12, 2014, on the well-known Haryana-based airfare aggregator goibibo.com. The reservation was made on Sept 27, 2014.
But when Nadahalli went to the Mumbai airport terminal, Air India officials informed him that there was no such flight scheduled for the day. Officials gave an endorsement stating "AI888 No OPS Full Refund in order' to the client. But since no other alternative arrangements were made, Nadahalli was forced to stay in Mumbai and spent Rs3,000 towards taxi and food. Subsequently, he booked another flight to Delhi at a cost of Rs7,804. Worse, he missed the morning session of the programme scheduled at staff training centre in New Delhi.
Angered over the cancellation, Nadahallli filed a complaint against goibibo at the Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, which in turn served a notice to goibibo.com.
But the air aggregator neither appeared to argue its side nor contested the claims made by Nadadalli, following which the forum, after examining the documents, held goibibo guilty of deficiency of service.
The forum stated that booking of flight ticket from Mumbai to Delhi was confirmed in the website but later the flight was cancelled without intimating the passenger, forcing Nadahalli to incur additional expenses. As the opposite party goibibo failed to intimate Nadahalli about the cancellation of flight well in advance, it is liable to pay for the inconvenience caused to him, said the forum.
In its order, Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed goibibo to pay Rs 14,804 as compensation to Nadahalli and Rs3,000 towards the cost of litigation.