The Rangareddy District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed a private airline to pay Rs 90,000 as compensation to a passenger for misplacing his luggage.

B Praveen Kumar was travelling with his wife and child from Hyderabad to Raipur on 22 January 2016 by an Indigo Airlines flight which was scheduled to start at 5.15pm and reach Raipur by 6.25pm. For some reason, the passengers were issued boarding passes twice and even had to undergo security check two times. The flight took off at 11:15pm and reached Raipur at 12:35am.

Upon arrival, Praveen noticed that one of his two bags was missing. After waiting for a long time, he gave a written complaint to the airline staff present at the airport. They responded saying his bag would reach by a 8:30am flight next morning.

Owing to the delay, Praveen said he faced problems getting transportation at midnight and could not reach his sister’s house which was 40 km away from the airport. Out of options, he hired a cab and reached a hotel nearby for a night. With their baggage missing, they did not even have a fresh pair of clothes and were forced to sleep in the same clothes.

Praveen claimed that he made last minute bookings for the flight as he had to attend his niece’s birthday party and as the missing bag contained their clothes, gifts, money, and other necessities worth Rs 64,000, his whole trip turned out to be a disaster. He couldn’t get any clarity regarding his bag till January 25, even after making multiple visits to the airport.

On January 29, the airlines sent an email saying they would pay a compensation of Rs 350 per kg for the 9-kg bag. As the compensation would not even make up for the cost of the bag, Praveen decided to file a complaint. The airlines did not file their written version in spite of being given more than 45 days to respond and even cost of Rs 500 being imposed.

In its judgment given on 22 November 2016, a bench said: “The opposite party did not choose to contest the matter for reasons best known to them. However, as per the version of the complainant, he incurred a total expenditure of Rs 74, 685 and it is reasonable to award a compensation of Rs 10,000 for the mental agony suffered by the complainant and his family members. He is also entitled to claim legal expenses.”

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