NCDRC Condemns Practice of Overbooking Flights by Airlines

April 05, 2018

Case name: Air France v. O.P. Srivastava

In this recent case, a concern was raised about practice of Airlines companies to overbook flight. The National Consumer Dispute redressal Commission (NCDRC) elaborated on the issue whether such a practice is without prejudice to the interest of the travelers/consumers?

While condemning this prevalent practice among Airlines, the NCDRC observed that if a free hand practice of overbooking is approved, it may cause havoc against the interest of the ticket holders as the airlines may invoke the malpractice of overbooking indiscriminately and beyond reasonable dimensions.

The NCDRC stated that the Airlines instead of taking recourse to this sort of policy must impose stringent conditions for the eventuality of cancellation of tickets. To be specific it may be mentioned that the airlines may lay down a condition that in the case of long journey like the one in hand if a passenger does not report for boarding upto a certain time before departure, his ticket would be cancelled or refund would be permissible to a minimal extent.

That refunding of money equivalent to the entire price of the ticket or with minor deductions to a passenger under contemplation of earning profit by overbooking of the tickets to large number of passengers would create an instability, indiscipline and unfair trade practice.

Well accepted terms and conditions of booking a ticket may be of multi facet dimensions but by no stretch of reasoning excessive overbooking at the cost, convenience and comfort of the passengers to whom the boarding is denied should and would be acceptable.

Read the order here.