A businessman is suing Cathay Pacific for HKD 1.94 million (AUD 333,000), alleging that his 12-year-old son, travelling as an unaccompanied minor with the airline’s assistance, was met at an Indian airport not by a Cathay staffer but by a stranger who took the boy away.
The boy was later found safe and well at the airport, but only after some frightening confusion, the writ alleges.
Ram Prasad Poosaala, a dried seafood trader, filed his claim against Cathay on 14 June 2016 and wants to know why the process is taking so long, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.
The trader states in a court document that his son Raja Ram Poosaala, 12, was travelling alone from Hong Kong to visit his grandmother in Telangana, India, on 31 October 2015. The family says it asked for Cathay Pacific to provide its customary assistance for an unaccompanied minor.
After the flight landed at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, however, the boy’s uncle, due to meet him, could not find the boy in the arrivals hall. The uncle then received a phone call from an unknown caller at the airport, “who promptly hung up after just saying the boy was with him”, the paper reported.
The boy emerged two hours after the plane landed, allegedly accompanied by a man who left as soon as he saw the uncle. The boy, described as frightened, told his uncle the man had asked him to follow him upon landing, and that airline staff members did not provide the “meet and assist” service as requested.
In his claim, Poosaala says he asked for travel assistance because his son was not familiar with India and understood only Chinese and English. The boy wore a badge indicating he required assistance. The boy’s uncle said the airline did not call him upon landing, or give him his nephew’s whereabouts.
Poosala is suing the airline for “deficiency of service and gross negligence” and he asked Hong Kong’s High Court why the airline was taking so long to respond to the suit.
The court granted Cathay Pacific an extension until 30 September 2016 to prepare its defence, the paper reported.
Written by Peter Needham