Singapore Airlines Ordered to Pay $2,600 to Indian Couple After Causing 'Mental Agony' After Seats Fail to Recline Automatically

By Madz Dizon

Apr 29, 2024 08:18 AM EDT

Singapore Airlines OIrdered to Pay $3,500 to Indian Couple After Causing 'Mental Agony' After Seats Fail to Recline Automatically
A Singapore Airlines plane plies along the tarmac of Singapore Changi Airport in Singapore on May 13, 2022.
(Photo : ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has been forced to pay $2,632 plus additional charges to two passengers who filed a complaint about reclining seats on a flight from Hyderabad to Singapore.

Ravi Gupta, the director-general of police of India's Telengana state, was traveling with his wife in business class on May 23, 2023, when they discovered that their seats could not recline automatically.

Indian Couple to be Paid by Singapore Airlines Over Defective Reclining Seats

Gupta stated that the problem inconvenienced them, and he had to stay awake for the nearly four-hour journey despite spending  $1590 in total for the plane tickets.

He filed a complaint with the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission-III in Hyderabad, which ordered SIA to return $1,048 to the couple, plus a 12% interest charge from the date of complaint.

In addition, the airline would have to pay 100,000 rupees for the duo's "mental agony and physical suffering," as well as $119 to cover the expense of the complaint.

The total comes to roughly $2690. According to India Today, roughly half of that was for the cost of the seats, with the remainder going toward compensating for "mental agony and physical suffering."

The airline had offered the pair 10,000 KrisFlyer miles each, which they declined. The seats in business class are designed to recline automatically using electronic controls. The couple complained that they felt like economy class passengers, but with more legroom.

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Defective Reclining Seats Were Not Rare Issues Even Among Leading Airlines

"SIA can confirm that while the automatic recline function on Mr and Mrs Gupta's seats was faulty, the manual recline function was working. We apologise to Mr. and Mrs. Gupta for the inconvenience caused by this mechanical issue," said the airline, according to The Independent.

The airline declined to answer questions about whether it would pay the couple as directed or appeal the ruling.

Skytrax ranks Singapore Airlines as one of the world's few five-star carriers. Last year, it was ranked second best in the world for business class, just after Qatar Airways.

However, defective reclining features are not uncommon, even among the leading airlines. Last year, Emirates, which placed third, was sued for $3,300 by a 20-year-old passenger who said his business class seat did not recline and was dirty, Business Insider reported.

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