Wrong meal proves costly for airline


Jain man was served meat by Swiss

New Delhi: The apex consumer commission has directed a foreign airline to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 to a customer and upgrade his economy class ticket to business class if he travelled in future, as a penalty for serving him non-vegetarian food instead of a Jain meal he had opted for.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) upheld the district forum’s order also directing Swiss International Airlines, to pay Rs 10,000 towards litigation cost and dismissed the revision petition filed by Mumbai resident Amit Jay Kumar Jain to enhance the compensation.

“The opposite party (airlines) shall be bound by its commitment to upgrade economy class to business class in one flight booked by the complainant from India to Europe or Europe to India with a rider that the complainant must undertake that flight within one year,” the bench presided by Justice Ajit Bharihoke said.

The bench, which also comprised member S M Kantikar, noted that the complainant was alerted by a co-passenger before he could eat the non-vegetarian food served to him.

“It cannot be said with certainty that the complainant consumed a morsel of non-vegetarian food. Thus, under the circumstances, the compensation awarded to the complainant seem to be reasonable and there is no cause for interfering with it,” the bench added.

According to the complaint, on May 6, 2011, while flying from Zurich to Mumbai, Jain was served with a non-vegetarian meal whereas he had opted for a special vegetarian Jain meal.

When he approached the district forum in Mumbai, the airline said the mistake was human error and offered that in future any one economy class ticket booked by the complainant from India to Europe or from Europe to India would be upgraded to business class and an apology was also tendered in writing.

The forum had also granted a compensation of Rs 20,000 and Rs 10,000 as cost towards the litigation to Jain.

Jain’s appeal for enhancing the compensation was rejected by the state commission after which he approached NCDRC.