Missed connecting flight? Airlines to bear the brunt

In a relief to fliers, the nationalconsumer commission has held that it is the airline’s responsibility to schedule your itinerary in such a way that you don’t miss connecting flights on the same airline. The national commission directed Jet Airways to pay Rs 75,000 and refund the tickets’ cost to a senior citizen couple who missed their connecting flight from Mumbai to Hong Kong in 2010. The couple had flown on the airline’s flight from Jaipur to Mumbai.

“If Jet Airways schedules a flight to land at one airport at a particular time and another connecting flight to take off at a particular time, it must provide for time required in all functions, including security, immigration and air traffic management, which are necessarily concerned with or mandated for such landing and departure. The travelling public is in no way responsible for delay caused by any of them,” stated the National Consumer Disputes Commission.

In January 2010, Vandana Jain (58) and Subhash Bhatnagar (64) were to arrive at Mumbai at 10.20pm after which they were to board another flight on the same airline at 1.50am. However, the flight from Jaipur was delayed and it reached Mumbai at 11.40pm. They were assured by the airline that the connecting flight would be available and they would get all assistance at the Mumbai airport from their staff.

The couple was issued boarding passes for the Hong Kong flight at Jaipur itself. They alleged that on reaching Mumbai, no assistance was provided to them and the shuttle for the international airport was delayed by 30-45 minutes. The couple said that due to long queues at immigration and security checks, they missed the flight to Hong Kong.

The airline staff then got the immigration stamp and security check stamp cancelled and refused to board them on the next flight. They had to buy fresh tickets on another airline at 5.30am.

They filed a complaint in the state commission, which passed an order in their favour in January 2013. Aggrieved, the airline filed an appeal in the national commission.

The commission refuted the airline’s contention that two other passengers were successfully boarded and the couple were to blame for missing their flight. The commission further denied the argument that the delay in arrival of the Mumbai bound flight due to air traffic congestion at Mumbai airport resulted in delay in landing of the flight.

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