After the Afghan airspace closed on August 16, Air India is lifting an additional 5-8 tonnes of fuel due to change in route.
Air India is leaving behind some 50 bags at the Delhi airport as it flies to the US, reducing what it carries after the closure of Afghanistan’s airspace increased flight time by at least 30 minutes.
Air India flies the Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft to New York, Newark, Chicago, Washington and San Francisco.
While the San Francisco flight takes the eastern routes, the other four usually cross Afghanistan into Central Asia and Russia.
After the Afghan airspace closed on August 16, Air India’s Europe and US bound flights are taking a southern route via Pakistan and Iran into Central Asia.
Air India is lifting an additional 5-8 tonnes of fuel due to change in route.
This has led to payload restriction, contributing to the airline’s reason to leave passenger bags and cargo behind at Delhi.
The problem is acute on the Chicago route, which has a longer flying time than New York and Newark.
Along with the changed route, Air India’s generous baggage policy has become a challenge for the airline.
It allows two bags of 23 kg for economy class passengers and students are allowed a free third bag.
Passengers have taken to Twitter and other social media platform to complain about their luggage.
Students are troubled as they carry household items for their new residences abroad.
Some passengers complained that there was no response from Air India’s customer care number.
An Air India spokesperson did not immediately respond to a query.
A source said bags that are left behind are being sent on the next available flight including those of United Airlines.
The airline is also carrying out a safety assessment risk for a shorter northern route via Pakistan and Tajikistan.
This would cut down the increase in flight duration and reduce fuel burn.
Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters
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