Leaving several passengers in a fix, checked-in baggage on “a few” of IndiGo’s Delhi-Istanbul flights was left behind on account of “exceptionally heavy headwinds” on the route.
The Gurgaon-based airline operates two daily flights from Delhi to the Turkish capital — one of which is on the Airbus A320neo aircraft with 180/186 seats and the other is on the larger A321neo with seating capacity of 222.
“Unfortunately, due to the exceptionally heavy headwind, we had certain payload restrictions on a few flights to Istanbul which led to offloading of a limited number of checked-in baggage. In light of these limitations, we have upgraded our aircraft and adjusted the payload as long as the prevailing wind conditions remain, so all the left behind baggage will be carried today. We regret the inconvenience caused to our passengers,” IndiGo said in a statement Monday.
The issue came to light Monday after a Twitter user, Chinmay Dabke, posted his plight on the microblogging site. “Just flew in on @IndiGo6E flight 6E 11 from Delhi to Istanbul last evening. We received this piece of paper when we were waiting for our luggage at the belt. The airline did not load the luggage of the ENTIRE FLIGHT. Not a single passenger got their luggage… My father has his necessary medication in his luggage. He is a diabetes patient who needs his daily dose. Some other travelers were on connecting flights to their end destinations in different countries. What do these folks do?”
Typically, when aircraft fly into headwinds, they consume more fuel. To operate a non-stop flight on a route with heavy headwinds, an aircraft needs to carry higher amount of fuel, especially for those with a distance that is on the higher end of the aircraft’s flying range. Notably, the flight Dabke said he was on — 6E11 — is operated on the A321neo plane, the largest in IndiGo’s fleet.
Ameya Joshi, a former aviation industry professional dealing with network planning and founder of the aviation analysis blog NetworkThoughts, said: “As the airline plans to expand with its A321neo, this is one factor which could make or break customer loyalty. At low fares, customers still want their baggage with them. And in a country where customers don’t know an Airbus from a Boeing, explaining that headwinds caused their luggage to be offloaded may not be taken kindly at all.”