Consumer Court Rules in Favor of Passenger and Against British Airways

LI Network

Published on: January 15, 2024 at 00:20 IST

In a recent verdict by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission-I in U.T. Chandigarh, British Airways has been directed to refund the ticket amount and compensate a passenger for mental agony and litigation costs.

The consumer complaint, filed by Ms. Toshaani Goel, accused British Airways of deficiency in service and unfair trade practices, stemming from the cancellation of her return airline ticket for travel from Delhi to Charlotte, USA, with layovers in London and Chicago.

Commission President Shri Pawanjit Singh and Member Mrs. Surjeet Kaur noted that the case hinges on whether British Airways is unjustified in not refunding the amount when the complainant had booked the return ticket for her specified travel dates. The airline, invoking COVID-19 guidelines from the U.K. government, issued an E-voucher to Ms. Goel instead of a refund, despite her reluctance to travel in the future due to the pandemic.

The Commission emphasized that even when the complainant expressed her unwillingness to travel under COVID-19 guidelines, British Airways should have refunded the amount, and passengers cannot be compelled to use a voucher against their will.

The Commission’s order directed British Airways to:

  1. Refund ₹78,131 to the complainant with 9% per annum interest from January 13, 2022.
  2. Pay an additional ₹10,000 as compensation for causing mental agony.
  3. Pay ₹10,000 as litigation costs.

The Commission deemed the airline’s actions as deficiency in service and engaging in unfair trade practices. The ruling specified that compliance with the order is required within 45 days from the date of receipt of its certified copy; otherwise, interest at 12% per annum will be applied from the order date until realization.

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