Saturday, July 30, 2011

Air India flight sheds woman after row over baggage

AHMEDABAD: Lata Bhatt had hoped to fly to Delhi from Ahmedabad on Saturday morning, but instead landed in a disagreeable situation. Bhatt had booked a ticket on Air India IC817 Ahmedabad-Delhi flight that departs at 8.10 am. However, she was unable to board the aircraft after she got into an argument over excess baggage with airline officials. Bhatt moved to Osaka, in Japan, from Ahmedabad 10 years ago and had booked a connecting flight to Osaka from Delhi on Saturday night.

Bhatt said that she was carrying around 15 kg more than permitted, for which airline officials asked for more than Rs 10,000. "I am a frequent flier with Air India and am allowed to carry 10 kg extra and was ready to pay for the additional 5 kg," she said. "But they made an unreasonable demand of Rs 10,000. I told them I had a connecting Air India flight from Delhi to Osaka at 10 pm on Saturday. But they refused to heed my concerns and didn't allow me to board the flight."

"I contacted airport manager R Bagde who got a ticket on an Indigo Airlines flight that departs at 10.30 am. I paid Rs 1,500 to Indigo Airlines for the 15 kg extra baggage," Bhatt said.

Bhatt, who runs a restaurant with her husband in Osaka, added that she would never fly Air India again. "I have never faced such problems in Japan. Airline officials treat passengers politely and listen to their concerns. But in India, even the basic courtesy is lacking," she said. However, Air India officials said that Bhatt had created unnecessary ruckus and was carrying 20 kg of extra baggage. Passengers flying on Air India from Ahmedabad and having connecting flight to Japan from Delhi are allowed to carry 20 kg as check-in luggage and 7 kg in hand.

"She can carry only one suitcase and a handbag, but had three suitcases and two handbags weighing more than 40 kg," said an Air India official. "She began arguing with the ground staff when she was asked to pay for the excess luggage. When she refused to pay, we cancelled her ticket and gave her a complete refund."


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