AI grounds 193-kg excess bags of 3 MPs

The airline allows 25 kg per economy class passenger

Written by Mihir Mishra | New Delhi | Published: October 12, 2012 1:45 am

Three Lok Sabha MPs flying Air India from Guwahati to Delhi this week demanded the airline waive charges for 193 kg of excess baggage they were carrying together. They apparently even tried to pull strings but failed to get the state-run airline to fly the extra luggage free. The excess baggage was charged and flown as cargo on the next flight.

Sources said the MPs — Congress MP from Faizabad and UP Congress chief Nirmal Khatri,Congress MP from Almora Pradeep Tamta,and BJP MP from Meerut Rajendra Agrawal — were flying on AI 9612 on Tuesday and wanted to check in together with 268 kg of baggage. The airline allows 25 kg per economy class passenger.

The MPs,members of Parliament’s Rajbhasha panel,wanted the airline’s station manager to waive the excess baggage charge. When told that the airport staff did not have the power to do so following Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh’s August order banning free excess baggage allowance to ministers and bureaucrats,the MPs allegedly tried to push their case with higher-ups,including possibly aviation ministry and Air India officials,a source said.

Tamta confirmed he and the two other MPs were carrying 193 kg of excess baggage but denied pressuring authorities to clear it for free. “We were on an official trip. When we were informed the station manager does not have the authority to waive it,we accepted it. None of us got in touch with anyone. The under secretary of our committee did that,” Tamta said. The baggage included luggage of members who had left early,he said. Khatri and Agrawal did not respond to messages seeking their comment.

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