India’s “District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum of South Chennai” has ordered Singapore Airlines to pay 35,000 rupees (S$735) to compensate Indian businessman Mr G.R.K. Reddy, for downgrading his business class seat to economy class without informing him.
According to Indian media, Reddy had flown on an SIA flight from Chennai to Singapore on 19th April 2011 but although Reddy booked a business class seat, he was told at the check-in counter that he had to fly economy class as business was overbooked and he was the last person to make the booking and arrived last for check-in. As part of a good will gesture, SIA offered Reddy a S$600 cash voucher, which is the difference between the business and economy class ticket price, and an S$150 in-flight voucher.
Unhappy that he had been downgraded, Reddy went on to sue SIA for S$41,000 for causing him “mental agony and hardship”. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum of South Chennai ruled in favor of Reddy, stating that the downgrade, without prior notification, had amounted to defiency in service.
“Considering the situation where Reddy was compelled to travel in economy class it is acceptable that he underwent mental agony and hardship,” the forum said.
Singapore Airlines was thus directed to pay 30,000 rupees (S$630) to compensate for mental agony and hardship, and to pay 5,000 rupees (S$105) for the cost of the proceedings within six weeks, or face a 9 per cent interest rate on the compensation amount after.
According to its spokesperson, SIA has made the compensation to Reddy.