MULTAN: A consumer court judge has directed the management of a foreign airline and a travel agency to pay Rs5.26 million as a refund and damages to a passenger for providing faulty services.

Amna Javed, of Karimabad Housing Society, filed a complaint with the court under Section 25 of the Punjab Consumer Protection Act 2005 while stating that she was a chartered accountant and was invited to attend the diamond jubilee celebrations of Prince Karim Aga Khan in Lisbon, Portugal, on July 10 and 11, 2018. She also was assigned some tasks at the event over which she planned to travel to the destination along with her father.

She stated that she was also offered a meeting with Prince Karim Aga Khan which was a very rare opportunity as such celebrations come only once in one’s life.

She stated she along with the required documents asked the Karim Rahim Travelers to book her ticket over which she was issued a ticket for Qatar Airways and July 9, 2018, was fixed as travelling date.

She stated the flight was Multan to Doha, then Doha to Barcelona and finally Barcelona to Lisbon against which she was issued three different boarding cards.

She stated that in Doha, she was not allowed to board the connected flight to Barcelona, saying she had no visa for Spain while her father was allowed to take the connected flight as he was having a Schengen visa (a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area which covers 26 countries) which also is valid for Spain.

She stated she requested the provision of an alternate flight but in vain and ultimately she was forced to travel back to Pakistan.

She held responsible both the travel agent and the airlines for missing the ceremony by her due to their irresponsible and incompetency as they planned an incorrect route.

Additional District and Sessions Judge/Presiding Officer of the District Consumer Court Mahmood Haroon Khan in his decision stated that both respondents in their written statements termed the claim ‘not maintainable’, saying a false and frivolous complaint was filed by the complainant.

“I’m of the considered view that petitioner has suffered a great religious and social loss and missed a very rare scared gathering (according to her belief) due to negligence, carelessness and non-professional behaviour of the respondents,” the judge wrote.

He directed the respondents to refund Rs125,500 of the ticket price, Rs12,000 of visa fee, Rs20,000 of travelling expenses and Rs100,000 for legal expenses besides Rs5 million (Rs2.5 million by each respondent) to the petitioner within 30 days.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021

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