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Air India ordered to refund cancellation fee to passenger when flights were banned in 2020

The Second Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Bengaluru has directed Air India to refund Rs 44,029 to a passenger whose flight from Bengaluru to London was cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown.

While refunding the Rs 1,35,143 ticket price to the passenger Milin Jagdishbhai Parekh, the airlines had deducted Rs 44,029 as ‘cancellation fee’.

The ‘incidental charge’ of Rs 5,000 which got deducted was also ordered to be paid back within 45 days.

The Commission’s recent order came after a two-year fight by Parekh who had filed his complaint in March 2020.

Parekh had booked a flight to London in January 2020 and he was to fly from Bengaluru in April that year. However in March that year, the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed which banned all international flights.

The Air India flight he had booked on online booking portal MakeMyTrip was also cancelled. The booking website did not come to the aid of Parekh whose efforts to approach the airlines also did not yield results. He therefore lodged a complaint with the Commission.

The airlines did not bother to represent the case and an ex-parte order was passed by the Commission.

The Commission noted that the airlines had declared Parekh as a ‘no-show’ meaning he did not turn up for the flight and offered him an alternate ticket on another flight before September 30, 2020.

The Commission noted that Air India could not declare the passenger as a ‘no-show’ and deduct cancellation charges as the flight ban due to COVID was well-known. (Source FE)

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