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Notice to airline for delay in luggage delivery

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, MARCH 27. A resident of Kilpauk here, at present living in the United States, has moved a consumer forum seeking a direction to British Airways (BA) to pay him Rs. 1.65 lakhs with 18 per cent interest for "deficiency in service" in luggage delivery.

Taking the complaint on file, the forum ordered notice to the respondents.

In his complaint to the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (South), Kartik S. Natarajan, represented by a power of attorney, submitted that he and his wife travelled by a BA flight from Boston to London in July last.

At Heathrow, he found that due to a strike by the ground staff, their flight to Chennai had been cancelled. No airlines official was present to provide information.

After great difficulty and incurring expenses and by their efforts they found hotel accommodation in London for their stay. They took a flight to Colombo the next day. Later they flew to Chennai. He and his wife arrived in the clothes they were wearing at the start of the journey. No British Airways official was present to give information regarding their checked-in luggage.

They visited the airline's office on Anna Salai (represented by its manager, cited as the first opposite party) and gave a letter. The staff was "extremely unhelpful." They had no idea when the luggage would arrive. When the airline's office in London was contacted, the official was courteous and expressed regret for his predicament. She said they were entitled to immediate compensation and payment on a daily basis till such time their luggage arrived. Six days after their arrival they were informed about the arrival of the luggage and it was collected. Since he did not hear anything from the airline regarding compensation, he issued a legal notice.

The British Airways sent a letter offering Rs. 27,854 towards final settlement of "first-needs expenditure" incurred by them. He wrote back saying he was prepared to accept the offer in settlement of his claim alone. He suggested a separate offer regarding claims by his wife. The reply notice did not deal with any issue raised by him and made an offer of 190. He again sent another notice by registered post and courier. The postal acknowledgement was returned without signature and the envelope sent by courier was returned undelivered.

The airline's managers at the Anna International Airport and on Barakamba Road, New Delhi, have been cited as the two opposite parties.

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