Denied boarding by AI, two families forced to shell out Rs 1.25L for tickets

Nov 23, 2015, 09:25 IST | Neha LM Tripathi

For two families returning from their dream holiday in Bangkok, the journey home quickly turned into a nightmare after Air India did not allow them to board their connecting flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, as it had allegedly been overbooked. Eventually, the family was forced to shell out Rs 1.25 lakh for tickets on another airline.

Maitry Jain said the national carrier had refused to even accommodate them on the next flight out
Maitry Jain said the national carrier had refused to even accommodate them on the next flight out

On November 17, Maitry Jain, her family and another family (also named Jain) arrived in Mumbai around 10 pm via a Thai Airways flight. They were to catch an Air India flight to Ahmedabad (AI 331, departing Mumbai at 1.45 am), but received a rude shock when the airline staff told them they couldn’t check in as the flight had been overbooked.

“We had confirmed our tickets two months ago, but to our surprise, the staff didn’t let us board, saying the flight was overbooked. There was another Air India flight to Ahmedabad scheduled to take off at 5.30 am, but they didn’t let us board that either, giving the same reason of overbooking,” said Maitry, adding, “I am extremely disappointed with the national airline’s sloppiness and negligence towards customers. Isn’t it the airline’s responsibility to give priority boarding in the very next flight to the passengers denied boarding?”

Senior officials informed them that Air India had a tie up with Jet Airways, and the eight passengers would be accommodated on a Jet flight. The Jains found out that there were business class seats available, but suddenly, Air India officials said they would not be able to book those seats. Frustrated, the Jains shelled out Rs 1.25 lakh for the tickets themselves, and flew home on Jet Airways flight 9W7065.

The Jains lodged a written complaint with the national carrier, but are yet to receive a refund for their tickets.

Sudhakar Reddy D, founder and national president of the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), said, “How could the airline overbook so many seats? They should have ensured the fliers were accommodated on the next flight itself, or at least paid for the Jet Airways tickets. This is greed and mismanagement on the airline’s part.”

The Other Side

When mid-day contacted the national carrier, a spokesperson said, “Air India is investigating the matter and will revert to the passenger at the earliest.”

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