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Airline, travel agency told to pay Rs.30,000 as damages
The Hindu, June 6, 2019

A District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here has directed Qatar Airways and a private travel agency to compensate two complainants by paying over Rs.30,000 after it was alleged that the tourists were served non-vegetarian meals on the flight despite booking vegetarian meals.

Holding the airline and the SOTC, Kuoni Travel (India) deficient in services, the consumer panel held, “The non-provision of the vegetarian food does have an impact on the religious aspect of vegetarians. We are of the considered view that [both the opposite parties] are jointly and severely guilty of deficiency in services.”

The directions came when the panel was hearing a complaint moved by a city resident Gurnam Singh Randhawa alleging deficiency in services on the part of the travel agency and the airline.

“It was alleged that while on board the flight from Doha to London, the air hostess conveyed to the complainants that they could get vegetarian food only in case if there is surplus as it was not endorsed in their air tickets and she was doing a favour to the complainants by providing vegetarian food,” the consumer panel observed.

Also, it was alleged that they were refused vegetarian meals in the flight from Frankfurt to Doha as well.

While the travel agency contended that the complainants’ request for vegetarian meals were “uploaded on the system,” the airline argued that the tickets had no “endorsement of vegetarian meals.”

However, the consumer panel observed, “Considering the facts and circumstances of the case where vegetarian meal was not provided despite clear communication to the [booking agency], the deficiency is clearly reflected. Any communication gap between the [booking agent and airline] as alleged by them does not absolve them from their responsibilities and liabilities towards the tourist in the flight.”

“Both the [opposite parties] shall pay Rs.5,000 as litigation expenses to each of the complainants,” the Bench added.

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