Air India has been fined after it was concluded that the airline served meat to a vegetarian passenger who requested a meat-free meal.
Air India passenger Chander Mohan Pathak, a vegetarian, was on a flight from Chicago to Delhi in November 2016, The Tribune reported.
Pathak said he instructed the airline to provide him with a vegetarian meal at the time the booking was made.
At a hearing in front of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, a consumer protection agency, Pathak argued that the airline did not label his meal in order to indicate whether it was vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
The state-owned airline argued that it is not guilty of engaging in any unfair trade practices, asking for the case to be dismissed.
However, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum determined that the airline’s cabin crew was responsible for verifying whether the passenger had ordered a vegetarian meal.
“Since there is no evidence of any such enquiry having been made before serving meals to the complainant, we hold that it was a gross deficiency on the part of the airline,” the forum said.
Air India was found guilty of deficiency in service, causing mental agony and harassment to the complainant.
The airline was ordered to pay Pathak Rs 10,000 ($140) in compensation, as well as an additional 7,000 ($100) to cover his legal fees.
Air India was ordered to make the payment within 30 days.
Air India is not the first company in India to be fined for serving meat to vegetarians.
An IKEA furniture store in Hyderabad resumed selling vegetarian biryani this year after being fined Rs 11,500 ($160) due to a customer discovering a caterpillar in the dish.