San Francisco- Bengaluru Air India flight lands without luggage; airline cites safety reasons

Passengers on flight were not informed about this beforehand and discovered the issue about an hour after reaching Terminal 2, where they waited at the baggage carousel.
Representational image.
Representational image.File photo

BENGALURU: Passengers arriving groggily at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) around 3:20 am on Air India’s direct flight from San Francisco were met with a shock. Their baggage had been left behind at the San Francisco airport, forcing them to leave the airport with only their cabin baggage.

Passengers on flight AI 176 were not informed about this beforehand and discovered the issue about an hour after reaching Terminal 2, where they waited at the baggage carousel. Families with infants and young children were particularly affected.

Among them were Vaishnavi Vel and Aneeshwar Danda, techies from San Francisco, traveling with their 11-month-old baby boy. They had chosen a bassinet seat for the flight.

Vaishnavi was impressed with the hospitality and journey but discovered upon landing that the cover of her baby’s stroller was missing.

“A significant number of passengers did not receive their luggage. We hired a porter and waited for nearly 40 minutes before realizing something was amiss. At the AI counter, we found other passengers also inquiring about their luggage, and only then did we learn it hadn’t been loaded onto the flight.”

There were arguments at the counter, with one woman refusing to leave the airport without her luggage, she added.

“We were told the baggage would be sent to our house the following day, and we finally left around 5 am. My child was restless after being confined for so long. Now, we are stepping out to shop for baby food and other items, as we had only a few essentials due to cabin baggage weight restrictions,” Vaishnavi added.

Anagha, whose sister Archana was on the flight with her infant, said, “My sister’s two pieces of luggage are missing. She’s resting now but has been assured by the airline that her luggage will be sent on the next flight from San Francisco.”

An airline source explained, “We did not forget the luggage. It was a decision made for passenger safety. Due to payload restrictions at San Francisco because of weather conditions, we had to limit the load on the aircraft. The baggage will be sent later.”

Last month, the Aviation Ministry issued a show-cause notice to Air India for a 20-hour delay on a Delhi to San Francisco flight, where passengers were seated without air conditioning.

Representational image.
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