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AIR India v. Geetika Sachdeva, 2015
COURTNational Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), New Delhi
RESPONDENTMs. Geetika Sachdeva


A harassed woman passenger, in possession of an open air confirmed ticket, was denied boarding a London-Delhi flight on the grounds that her ticket had expired. The case of AIR India v. Geetika Sachdeva centres on the NCDRC’s directive to Air India to reimburse her one lakh in addition to the cost of the ticket. Previous to this, the complainant had bought an open air ticket for Delhi-London-Toronto-London-Delhi from Air India through its agent, and she had received a confirmed status. She was going to fly from London to Delhi on December 7, 2001, and she told Air India as much on November 2, 2001. They also confirmed that she had a ticket for that day. Nevertheless, because her ticket had expired, she was unable to join the aeroplane when she was going back. Her only option was to borrow the money from another traveller because she did not have enough money for another ticket. After that, she went to Consumer Forum to complain about a service failure and to get paid for being subjected to physical and mental abuse. In addition to ordering Air India to pay the full amount of the air ticket, plus interest at the rate of 9% per annum, from December 7, 2001, to the payment date, the Forum accepted the case and awarded compensation. In this case, the State Commission also rejected an appeal that Air India had submitted. Since Air Canada is not Air India’s agency and the complainant should have included it as a party in the proceedings, Air India argued in its revision appeal before the NCDRC that the complainant suffered as a result of Air Canada’s inadequate service. In rejecting the aforementioned argument, the commission pointed out that Air India and Air Canada always have agreements for similar flights, and that Air India may pursue reimbursement from Air Canada in the event that Air Canada commits any negligence or omission. The NCDRC chastised Air India for its haughtiness, conceit, and dictatorial demeanour. It also pointed out that, rather than owning up to its error, Air India squandered valuable time by putting off the parties’ and forums’ pursuit of this futile issue for almost ten years. Air India was additionally fined Rs. 25,000 by the NCDRC in addition to the petition being dismissed.


During the Air India trip Delhi-London-Toronto-London-Delhi in September 2002, Sachdeva purchased an open ticket from a travel agency. Upon notifying Air India of her plan to fly from London to Delhi two months later, she was informed that her ticket had been verified for that route.

Then, from Toronto, she took an Air Canada aircraft to London. She was informed at the airport, however, that she could not board the aircraft since her ticket had expired. Sachdeva had no money to purchase an additional ticket and was travelling alone. Following several hours of waiting at the airport, she ran with another Indian traveller who was from Chicago and had also been turned away from boarding for the same reason. She travelled to Delhi with the assistance of him, having bought a Virgin Atlantic Airlines ticket. She was charged an extra Rs 650 for the additional week that Air India took to transfer her luggage.

Defending its position, Air India said that the customer had purchased an open ticket for the Toronto–Delhi route, which required confirmation ahead of time; since she neglected to do so, she was not eligible for accommodations.

The consumer’s claim that there was no confirmation was rejected by the court because it was shown that she had informed Air India’s Toronto equivalent in advance of her intention to fly from London to Delhi.

The young woman travelling alone must have been extremely distressed to be refused a seat. The Commissioner President, Justice J D Kapoor, stated that the airline had a “duty to make all possible arrangements” to accommodate Sachdeva on the flight that was departing for London.

Moreover, Justice Kapoor declared that no airline, especially when seats are still available, can deny boarding to a passenger holding a confirmed status ticket, even if the passenger hasn’t reconfirmed the reservation 72 hours prior.


Whether there was negligence on the part of Air India?


  1. The appellant defended its decision by arguing that the respondent had purchased an open ticket for the Toronto–Delhi route, which necessitated prior confirmation before departure. Because the respondent had neglected to do this, the appellant could not accommodate her on the flight from London to Delhi on July 12, 2001. Because the respondent suffered due to her own fault, the appellant claims that Air Canada, not its employees, confirmed her seat on flight A1-120. As a result, Air Canada was not accountable.
  1. Furthermore, that the respondent booked an open ticket that required prior re-confirmation from Air India authorities, and that Air Canada cannot be considered its agent. The respondent took a Virgin Atlantic flight without filing a complaint or claim with Air India in London, and even that the ticket was booked using a credit card of a third party that was not on file.
  1. An airline must bear the consequences of the actions of other airlines when it enters into a contract with them or with an agency to get tickets for passengers. As a result, the appellant airline was constrained by the approval that Air Canada gave the reply.
  1. Foregoing reasons persuade us to dismiss the appeal being wholly devoid of merits. Impugned Order shall be complied with within one month from the date of receipt of a copy of this Order.
  1. Copy of Order, as per statutory requirement be forwarded to the parties and to the concerned District Forum and thereafter the file be consigned to record.
  1.  FDR/Bank Guarantee, if any, be released under proper receipt.


  1. Vide contested According to an order dated 06-10-2005 issued by the District Forum, the appellant airline has been ordered to reimburse Rs. 40,000/-, which is the cost of the ticket plus interest at the rate of 9%, as well as Rs. 1.00 Lac as compensation for mental suffering and harassment caused by the appellant airline’s poor service, which forced the passenger to catch another flight, which also delayed the delivery of her luggage, and Rs. 5,000/-for litigation costs. The appellant has chosen this appeal because they feel wronged.
  1. In summary, the respondent’s case before the District Forum concerned her purchase of an appellant Air India flight ticket for the route Delhi-London-Toronto-London-Delhi through its agent International Students Travels Pvt Ltd, for which she was granted a confirmed status. On 7-9-2001, she left for Toronto with the intention of returning to Delhi on 6-12-2001. She told the appellant on November 2, 2001, that she intended to travel from London to Delhi on December 7, 2001. She then received confirmation that her ticket was confirmed for December 7, 2001, by Flight No. AI 120 from London to Delhi.
  1. The appellant had received notification from the respondent via Air Canada over a month before her planned departure. From our perspective, verbal confirmation is adequate, and confirmation from an airline representative satisfies the criteria. Notifying the agent of the confirmation is considered notification to the airlines after the airlines implement a ticket sales process through their agents or sub-agents.
  1. The aforementioned approach has been implemented in order to reduce costs and eliminate the need for several locations to sell tickets. The airlines are therefore directly responsible for any act of conduct or omission on the part of the agent or sub-agent that results in a service shortfall.
  1. For the sake of argument, even if we assume that the respondent did not provide a re-confirmation, the airline did not have the right to deny the respondent boarding on the grounds that the seat was assumed to have been cancelled. Airlines had no authority to reject plane boarding if the seats were available and hadn’t been assigned to another passenger. The damage would already be done when the traveller tries to show that he reaffirmed 72 hours earlier. The customer has already experienced trauma, mental anguish, and harassment as a result of the service provider’s unjust and wrongdoing. It is unfair to engage in such trading practices.
  1. Whatever the case, the fact remains that the respondent arrived at the airport to board the appellant’s trip, but was turned away on the grounds that the ticket had expired.
  1. Regarding the present instance, it is hard to accept that there was no such confirmation because the respondent had informed the appellant’s counterpart in Toronto beforehand of her intention to fly from London to Delhi on December 7, 2002. The respondent, a young lady travelling alone, must have gone through a great deal of difficulty when her request to board was turned down. It would be unrealistic to expect someone to travel in such a circumstance without possessing a sizable amount of money. People rarely carry large amounts of cash, thus in the event that their boarding is refused and they are left stranded abroad, they won’t have enough cash to purchase another ticket or, for that matter, to remain at the airport, hotel, etc., especially in a pricey city like London.
  1. As a passenger in transit, it was the appellant airline’s responsibility to make every effort to accommodate her on its aircraft out of London, whether that meant finding an appropriate place to stay or finding another arrangement.


For almost fifteen years, the complainant has been involved in legal proceedings. As a result, we dismiss the revision petition together with costs of Rs. 25,000, which will be paid directly to the complaint by the Petitioner/OP via a demand draft made out in the complainant’s favour. Should the specified amount not be paid within ninety days after receiving a copy of this order, interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum will be applied until the order is realised.


It is against the law for businesses that offer goods or services to intentionally mislead consumers about such goods or services in order to protect their interests. This practice is known as mis-selling. All vendors on marketplace e-commerce entities and inventory e-commerce entities must provide the best before or use before date to customers so they can make an informed purchasing decision. This is done to guarantee that customers are aware of the expiration date of the products they are purchasing on internet.

In order to guarantee equitable treatment for domestic manufacturers and suppliers on the e-commerce platform, it has been mandated that e-commerce entities that offer imported goods or services should integrate a filter mechanism that identifies goods based on their country of origin and suggests alternatives to ensure that domestic goods are given a fair chance.

After receiving a complaint from a customer, it must be recognised within 48 hours and remedied within a month. To address client complaints, they would also need to appoint a grievance officer. Sellers cannot decline to accept returns, cancel services, or withhold reimbursements in the event that the products or services are subpar, flawed, delivered late, or do not match the description on the platform. In addition, the regulations forbid online retailers from altering product or service prices with the intention of reaping excessive financial gain.

The Consumer Protection Act was amended in 2019 after thirty-three years of its passage. Technology has advanced significantly during this time, and although the previous act attempted to keep up with minor revisions, the repeal of the previous act and the creation of the 2019 act were greatly needed. According to Y.V. Chandrachud, J., “The interest of the consumer has to be kept in the forefront and the prime consideration that an essential commodity ought to be made available to the common man at a fair price must rank in priority over every other consideration.”


In summary, consumer protection is a type of social action that aims to improve the welfare of an individual or group within the community. It encourages accurate product information. so that customers can choose wisely when making purchases of goods and services. After the passage of the Consumer Protection Act in 1986, the consumer markets saw a significant upheaval. A new Act is the result of the growth of international trade, the creation of global supply chains, and the quick development of e-commerce. A development that is greatly appreciated by customers is the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. Since people engage with one another in their position as consumers in practically every aspect of our society—including banking, food, housing, travel, insurance, medical, education, postal services, electricity, and e-commerce—consumer protection is one of the most comprehensive areas of the law. Its main goals are the prompt and efficient administration of consumer dispute settlement and interest protection. They might potentially expedite the resolution of their problems by taking use of the clearly stated rights and dispute resolution mechanism that it offers. A big step towards improved digital governance, the Consumer Protection regulations level the playing field for all e-commerce companies.

Written by Shristi an intern under legal vidhiya.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are intended solely for informational purposes. Accessing or using the site or the materials does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information presented on this site is not to be construed as legal or professional advice, and it should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Additionally, the viewpoint presented by the author is of a personal nature.


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