Cox and Kings and Srilankan Airline to pay Rs 2L to couple

Tour and travel firm Cox & Kings Ltd (CKL) and Srilankan Airlines (SLA) have been asked by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs two lakh to a couple for issuing them 'OK' status air tickets, which turned out to be unconfirmed at last minute.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) also asked CKL to pay Rs 19,000 as reimbursement of extra expenses incurred by Delhi residents Prashant Aggarwal and his wife Jyoti Bansal for extending their stay and as cost of litigation.

The NCDRC direction came on travel firm CKL's petition against the Delhi State Consumer Commission's verdict, which had upheld a district consumer forum's order holding CKL and the airline guilty of rendering deficient services and asking them to pay Rs one lakh each to the husband and wife.

The NCDRC gave its order relying on the photocopies of the tickets issued to the couple by CKL and said in the face of the documentary evidence, it "is not possible to accept" the the argument of the travel company. There were no faults in the orders passed by the fora below, it added.

Travel company CKL had argued that though the air tickets issued to the couple showed 'OK' status, they were actually wait-listed.

"In the face of this clear documentary evidence, it is simply not possible to accept the long-winded explanation of CKL that though the tickets showed 'OK' status, they were actually not so...

"In such a situation, it has to be held that the district forum's finding of deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties as affirmed by the State Commission cannot be faulted," said an NCDRC bench of its members Anupam Dasgupta and Suresh Chandra.

The couple in their complaint had said they had booked through CKL a 10-day tour to Malaysia and Singapore from June 1, 2005 to June 11, 2005 and had paid for the air tickets, visa processing fees, hotel stay, meals, sightseeing etc.

Acting as Srilankan Airlines (SLA) agent, the CKL had booked flights from Delhi to Singapore and back, via Colombo, for them, the couple had said.

They were both issued 'OK' status tickets for the onward and return journey but on their way back, Aggarwal's ticket from Colombo to Delhi was not confirmed while his wife's was, the couple had said adding they had to extend their stay in Colombo by two more days at additional expenses.

Aggarwal had also alleged that the airline had asked him to pay extra for a first class ticket if he wanted to travel on that very day as no other ticket was available.
The CKL in its defence had contended before the district forum that the couple was aware that their tickets were not confirmed for the whole trip, yet they had chosen to go ahead on the tour.

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