A consumer court on Tuesday awarded four petitioners Rs50,000 each on a suit seeking total damages of Rs40 million from Shaheen Air International over a lengthy delay in a Dubai-Lahore flight.
Saleem Mehmood, Shahid Mughal, Amir Qadeer and Zubair Amed Ijaz submitted that they had paid Rs26,284 each for return tickets to the UAE, with their return journeys due to take off at 2am on August 8, 2010.
They said that their flight was repeatedly delayed and they did not take off until 8am on August 9. They said the delay resulted in them missing important meetings as well as a funeral. One of them fell ill because of substandard food served to them during their wait, they said. They also had to wait the entire time in the departure lounge and were not accommodated in a hotel.
The petitioners had asked for Rs10 million each in damages due to “mental agony” and business loss.
The respondents argued that the matter did not fall in the jurisdiction of the consumer court. They said that assessment of damages required a factual inquiry, which was the domain of the civil court. They said that the incident had occurred in Dubai, and that was where the claim should have been filed.
They submitted that the passengers were kept informed throughout of the flight delay, information about which was shown on the display board at the departure lounge. They said that a technical fault had occurred in the aircraft and another plane had to be flown in from Karachi, which departed at 5:45am on August 9. They said that the petitioners could not be put up in a hotel as they had only single-entry visas. They said that the airline had paid for 209 dinners, 45 breakfasts, 38 lunches and 14 refreshments for the passengers because of the flight delay.
After hearing detailed arguments from both side, Judge Mehar Muhammad Nawaz directed the respondent to pay each petitioner Rs30,000 on account of physical discomfort and compensation due to negligence and defective services, and Rs20,000 each on account of litigation charges.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2012.