Lufthansa ordered to pay compensation

Lufthansa Airlines has been asked by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs 1 lakh to a traveller for not allowing him to board a flight from Tusan to New Delhi via Frankfurt. He did not have transit visa for Germany.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal commission ordered Lufthansa to pay the sum, dismissing its plea challenging the Rajasthan state consumer commission’s decision, which had upheld a district forum order asking the airline to pay the damages and the air fare to the traveller.

The bench presided by Justice J M Malik rejected the German airline’s revision petition, saying “the decision of the state commission in the impugned order is based on correct appreciation of evidence on record. No interference is called for. Consequently, revision petition is dismissed.”

The state commission had upheld the forum’s order relying on a letter written by Lufthansa to the traveller, Jaipur resident Sunil Kothari, admitting the visa was demanded due to some confusion and apologising for the same.

Kothari had said he was not allowed to board the flight to India on February 8, 2005 on the ground that he did not have transit visa for Germany, whereas no such problem had occurred in his journey from New Delhi to Tusan via Munich earlier that month. He said he had to undergo additional expense to return to India.

The airline contended that the incident occurred due to miscommunication between immigration officials and its partner airline, United Airlines, which had denied boarding to Kothari. It also said that on realising the mistake, Kothari had been booked on the very next day’s flight. But he could not be contacted then.

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