Singapore Airlines to pay business class passenger £2,000 for ‘mental agony’ after seat fails to recline

Ravi Gupta alleges he and his wife were treated as ‘economy class passengers’ except for extra legroom

Maroosha Muzaffar
Monday 29 April 2024 10:36 BST
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Singapore Airlines has been ordered to pay an Indian couple more than £2,040 (INR 213,585) for “mental agony” after their business class seats failed to recline on a flight from India to Singapore.

Anjali and Ravi Gupta’s seats malfunctioned and did not recline, causing them to stay awake through their 4 hours and 50 minutes-long journey from Hyderabad to Singapore, India Today reported.

The couple had paid about £638 (INR 66,750) for each ticket from India to Australia, with a stopover in Singapore. This was about £460 (INR 48,750) more than the equivalent economy class ticket of £172 [INR 18,000].

The Guptas were reportedly offered 10,000 Kris Flyer miles per person for the inconvenience caused to them but they declined. Kris Flyer miles are the frequent flyer miles or loyalty points earned by members of the Singapore Airlines frequent flyer programme.

Mr Gupta is the director general of police in the southern Indian state of Telangana.

Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines (Singapore Airlines)

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Hyderabad city in Telangana ruled in favour of the Guptas and ordered the airline to refund £460 (INR 48,750) to each complainant, totalling £931 (INR 97,500) along with 12 per cent interest from 23 May 2023 until realisation.

The airline was also instructed to pay £955 (INR 100,000) for causing the Guptas mental agony and physical suffering as well as £94 (INR 10,000) to cover the expenses related to the complaint.

Mr Gupta alleged in his complaint that he and his wife were treated as “economy class passengers” except for the extra legroom, according to Deccan Chronicle.

Singapore Airlines said it “acknowledges the decision of Hyderabad’s District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission”.

“SIA can confirm that while the automatic recline function on Mr and Mrs Gupta’s seats was faulty, the manual recline function was working on their flight from Hyderabad to Singapore,” a spokesperson told The Independent. “There were no issues on their connecting flight from Singapore to Perth.

“The flight duration from Hyderabad to Singapore is typically around four hours. As it was a full flight, SIA staff unfortunately could not reseat the customers elsewhere in the Business Class cabin. Our crew proactively checked in on these customers regularly and offered to manually recline the seat when needed. We apologise to Mr and Mrs Gupta for the inconvenience caused by this mechanical issue.”

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