New Delhi, February 15: The aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told the Delhi High Court that airlines that accept bookings more than they could afford to accommodate and deny boarding to flyers despite having confirmed tickets should pay up immediately.
The DGCA told the court that its policy does not allow airlines to overbook flights.
Air India also conceded before the court that not permitting a passenger holding confirmed tickets to board a flight would amount to deficiency of service and the consumer has the right to seek compensation for it.
DGCA and Air India’s response came on a petition filed by a person, questioning a 2010 Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) issued by DGCA, that recognises the concept of overbooking by airlines. The petitioner claimed that that the CAR allows overbooking of flights which cannot be permitted.
The court said a plain reading of the CAR provision relating to denied boarding indicates that the DGCA has recognised that certain airlines follow the practice of overbooking. However, it cannot be read to mean that the aviation regulator permits the airlines to do so, it said.
“It certainly cannot mean that such practice has the sanction of law,” it said.
The Air India’s counsel supported the DGCA’s stand that said the passenger’s right to claim compensation was not restricted by the CAR and the petitioner had not made any claim from Air India for not being permitted to travel from Delhi to Patna on December 12, 2015.
The man had claimed that he was scheduled to travel from Delhi to Patna on December 12, 2005 and was due to return on the next day. He booked tickets with Air India in advance on October 28, 2015.
He claimed that when he reached the airport on time on December 12, 2005, he was denied boarding by the airlines on account of overbooking of flights, despite having confirmed tickets and could not reach Patna as scheduled.
The court disposed of the petition after the passenger did not seek to press any further relief.
With inputs from PTI