Booking firm, Airline to pay Rs 17K for serving non-veg meal to vegetarian passenger

Thai Airways and a Chandigarh private ticket booking firm have been directed by the Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to pay Rs 17,000 after a vegetarian Panchkula resident was served a non-vegetarian meal. According to Ashok Kumar Vig, he had booked an air flight ticket through the firm to travel from Delhi to Melbourne on September 21, 2018, which had a layover in Bangkok. He added that the ticket specifically mentioned that he was to receive a vegetarian meal but after having a few bites, he realised that something was wrong and when he asked the fight staff, he was told that the food served was a non-veg meal. Vig said that he was deeply hurt because of his religious sentiments and then filed a complaint at the Consumer Commission of Chandigarh against the airlines.

Thai Airways International in its reply submitted that the complainant’s booking included an option for an Asian Vegetarian Meal and as per the request made to the crew of airlines, he was informed duly that the Hindu Meal was not a vegetarian meal. According to the feedback from the concerned crew member, the complainant was not upset but rather pleased at being served the meal. It pleaded that there is no deficiency in service or unfair trade practice on its part and the airlines prayed for the dismissal of the consumer complaint.

The booking firm Kanwal Travel in question replied to the complaint by submitting that they had booked the ticket with an option for the vegetarian meal and were not at fault.

After the matter was heard, the Commission bench held that the airlines admitted that the complainant had booked an Asian Vegetarian Meal as it is evident from the boarding pass, however when the complainant was served this opted meal he told that he wanted a Hindu Vegetarian Meal, instead of the Asian Vegetarian Meal. With this communication gap, the complainant was served the Hindu Non-Veg Meal.

In such types of cases, there cannot be actual compensation but there was a gross deficiency on the part of Opposite Parties which includes the airlines and ticket booking firm, in serving the meal to the complainant.