Compensation options for airline passengers facing not-up-to-par services

SIA flight Image Credits:

There were around 375 complaints against airlines last year, mostly about stuff like issues with booking systems, double bookings, and lost or damaged luggage.

But what do you do if the compensation they offer isn’t good enough, or you feel like your problem wasn’t addressed properly?

A real-life issue with seats

It was reported in the news recently about this couple from India who were flying from Hyderabad to Australia with a stop in Singapore on Singapore Airlines.

Their business class seats, which were supposed to recline electronically, ended up not working so they had to sit upright the whole flight.

And they said other than the extra legroom, they felt like they got treated like economy passengers even though they paid slightly over $1,000 each for business class tickets.

Anyway, the guy who filed the complaint is actually the director general of police for Telangana.

After going to court in Hyderabad, SIA ended up having to pay them over $3,500 in compensation.

One lawyer noted that if the airline doesn’t fulfill its obligations based on the contract you have with them, you may be able to take legal action against them.

Airlines usually will offer some kind of compensation when problems arise.

In this case, SIA first offered each person 10,000 KrisFlyer miles but they didn’t accept that.

What happens if negotiations with the airline fail?

If you can’t work it out directly with the airline, an expert shared that you could file a complaint with the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE).

They help resolve disputes between companies in Singapore and customers, and any agreement would be legally binding.

You do have to pay a small fee to CASE since they need to cover costs for helping with the dispute.

But it only applies to companies registered in Singapore, though CASE may work with similar groups in other countries too.

About 70% of the time, they’re able to help the two sides come to a mediation.

If mediation doesn’t work, you can take the airline to court.

That’s what this couple from India did in Hyderabad, and the court there ordered SIA to refund a portion of their ticket costs plus offer them extra compensation for things like “mental agony.”

It ended up being slightly over $3,500 total that the airline had to pay.

Here in Singapore, you could go through the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT), which are meant to resolve smaller disputes cheaper and faster than regular courts.

So in the end, the lawyers are saying you should only really go to court as a last resort, and trying to settle it directly or through CASE first would usually be better since dealing with a legal claim can take a lot of time and money that might not be worth it compared to what you could get awarded.

Alternatively, you could try taking it to social media and letting the potential virality do you justice.

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