AirAsia Ordered to Pay RM9.3k for Serving Chicken Sandwich to Vegetarian Passenger

Vegetarians sacrifice their gastronomic indulgence for a less cruel world while protecting the environment, yet some food servers would look past their dietary preference despite a detailed remark.

The case in point is AirAsia who had served a chicken sandwich to an Indian national passenger during his return flight from Kuala Lumpur to Amritsar, Business Today India reported. Due to that, an Indian consumer court has recently ordered the budget airline to pay RM9,300 (or Rs 1.54 lakh) as compensation.

The 61-year-old passenger, Vijay Trehan, is a vegetarian and also a Hindu-faith practitioner under the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) sect. Together with his family of five adults and three children, Trehan flew to-and-fro between India and Malaysia via AirAsia on October 7 and October 13, 2018 respectively.

Source: Shutterstock

For illustration only. Source: Twitter | JuliusUK

Before the flight attendant messed up his meal in his return flight, Trehan and his family were faced with a hurdle at the immigration counter in klia2.

The family arrived at the airport to get their boarding passes and bags checked in at 5.15pm, two hours earlier than the departure time at 7.20pm.

However, the immigration counter gave them a hard time which the security check took them about one hour and 15 minutes to get a clearance.

With the time ticking, they tried their best to rush to the boarding gate but their terminal was located 1km away from the immigration counter.


Couple that with the lack of helpful signages or any guidance from any airport personnel, the family arrived 10 minutes late to the boarding gate. The ground staff refused to let them board despite, in Tehran’s words, that the plane was still on the runway and yet to rev the engine for takeoff.

In Trehan’s complaint to the court, he also said the airport did not make any announcements to call for his family’s arrival.

Left with no option, Trehan was forced to purchase new flight tickets that added up to RM6,200 (or Rs 1.03 lakh) and lodged into a hotel for a layover. Both of which had severely increased his expenses.

For illustration only. Source: Shu Travelographer

The cherry on top of his ordeal was when the flight attendant mistakenly served him a chicken sandwich during his flight back to India despite he had asked for a cheese sandwich, China Press reported.

The family filed a complaint with the Panchkula Consumer Forum and a notice was issued to AirAsia.

The airline failed to respond to the notice either served or unserved within 30 days, thus it was proceeded ex-parte.

Source: Lowyat Forum

The forum held that, “despite reaching the Airport in time, getting their boarding passes in time, they were not allowed to board the flight, we find deficiency in service on the part of the OP (Air Asia). It may be mentioned here that serving of non-vegetarian food to a vegetarian person is also a gross deficiency in service…

“as it not only hurts religious sentiments but also thrust upon in the mind of the concerned person a sense of guilt and even physical problems like vomiting etc.”

The consumer court ordered AirAsia to pay RM9,300 as compensation to the expenses incurred on Trehan.

The payment included new flight tickets, hotel room fees, food expenses along with interest at 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing of complaint till realisation. It also included RM1,700 as compensation for physical harassment, pain and mental agony as well as RM330 for legal fees.

Only RM1,700 as damage fees?

What are your thoughts on this? AirAsia not only challenged Trehan’s faith by offering a non-vegetarian sandwich but also put his family through unnecessary distress.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment below. 



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