Lufthansa to pay over Rs 1 lakh to flier for denying boarding

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

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s (NCDRC) ordered Lufthansa to pay the sum, dismissing its plea challenging a 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 airlines’ revision petition saying ‘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 in his complaint to the district forum had said he was not allowed to board the return flight to India on 8 February 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 had alleged he had to undergo additional expense to return to India. The airline in its defence had contended the incident occurred due to miscommunication between immigration officials and its partner airline, United Airlines, which had denied boarding to Kothari.

It had also said that on realising the mistake, Kothari had been booked on the very next day’s flight. However, the information regarding the re-booking could not be communicated to him, it had said.
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