IndiGo, AAI get ₹1.35lakh sting over mosquitoes in plane
AMRITSAR: The district consumer disputes redressal forum here has fined Gurgaon-based private airline IndiGo and Airport Authority of India (AAI) ₹1.35 lakh for posing risk to the health of passengers due to the presence of mosquitoes in aircraft.
Pronouncing the judgment under sections 12 and 13 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, on complaints by three city-based lawyers, the forum has directed both the parties (IndiGo and AAI) to pay ₹30,000 and litigation expenses of ₹10,000 to each of the complainants. Also, they have also been directed to deposit ₹5,000 for each complaint in the consumer legal aid account of the forum.
A panel of presiding member Anoop Sharma and member Rachna Arora pronounced the judgment on September 5.
Advocate Deepinder Singh, one of the complainants, said they lodged the complaint with the forum on May 29 through their counsel. Other complainants are Sukhandeep Singh and Updip Singh, who were troubled by mosquitoes on April 4 this year while travelling from Delhi to Amritsar on an IndiGo flight.
“Indigo claims to provide best and efficient services to its customers, and AAI keeps a check on the hygiene and safety of the passengers inside the planes as well as on the airports. They charge airport fee which is part of air ticket price,” said Deepinder.
He said, “We boarded the Indigo plane (flight No. 6E 2894) from T2 Terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. While entering the aircraft, we spotted a number of mosquitoes. When we complained to the staff, they showed helplessness. Instead of taking any remedial measures, they said it was a minor issue and flies or mosquitoes inside the flight were a routine affair. They said fumigation of the plane is not possible everytime it takes off.”
He said other passengers also complained but it was of no use. “We immediately wrote an email to the customer care of the company citing that mosquitoes were a danger to passengers’ health. After reaching Amritsar, we, along with other passengers, complained to the airport authority, but nobody took cognisance,” he said.
IndiGo in its statement before the forum had said, “While all reasonable steps are undertaken to avoid such instances, the entry of insects or flies cannot be completely guarded against”.
On the other hand, the AAI did not opt to appear despite notice. The forum didn’t find the response satisfactory, observing “gross deficiency in the service to passengers and unfair trade practice that caused lot of agony and harassment to the complainants”.