Imagine sitting next to the stinking toilet for a 6 hours flight.
This happened to businessman Amit Kejriwal when he planned a holiday trip with his family and other relatives to Singapore.What was supposed to be a dream journey turned out to be a nightmare.
The terrible experience led Kejriwal and his family to drag the national air carrier to a consumer court.Five years later, the judges pronounced Air India guilty of ‘deficiency in service’ and ordered Rs 15,000 be paid to each member of the Kejriwal family, nine in total, for ‘mental agony’.
They had also complained about inadequate food, lack of basic amenities, refusal to give consecutive seats for the entire group despite booking seats much earlier, and rude staff.But Air India denied these allegations and admitted only to locking up of one of the jammed toilets and opening it later due to demand from desperate passengers.
Ordering the compensation, judges N K Goel and Naina Bakshi too took a serious view of the stinking toilet.
The court said:’It is a six-hour journey. During this period, travellers may feel the need to use the facility of toilet in the aircraft frequently.
‘A toilet can never be blocked within the short span period of six hours.’
‘Therefore, the probable cause for it is that the aircraft had been brought in re-use for undertaking air journey from Delhi to Singapore after it had completed its first journey from one destination to IGI Airport and for that reason the airline could not clean the toilets at IGI airport,’ the court further observed.
‘Apparently the passengers, including the complainants, were bound to undertake a journey from Delhi to Singapore in an aircraft that was in fact not ready for re-use,’ the judges added.
‘It was for that reason that crew members of the aircraft had locked the rear toilet from outside and when there became a rush of passengers to use the toilet, the door was unlocked with the instruction that the tap should not be turned on,’ the court noted.
‘If the passengers were not allowed to use the tap, intolerable stinking smell was bound to be there in the toilet and ultimately in the whole aircraft,’ the court said.
‘The journey was not a charity from their side. We had paid for the journey and all the facilities. We felt harassed and disgusted at the low standard of services,’ Kejriwal, the complainant, told Mail Today.