Dubai - Air India and Air India Express passengers from the UAE will face stricter rules on carry-on baggage from July 1.
The free allowance for hand luggage will be strictly restricted to 8kg and 7kg respectively on these airlines inclusive of duty free items. Also, the carry-on bags will be weighed at the gates before passengers board the flights, a senior airline official told Khaleej Times on Sunday.
If the hand baggage — including duty free items — weighs more than the free allowance, a fee of Dh60 per excess kilo will be charged at the gate, said Prem Sagar, manager of Air India and Air India Express Dubai and Sharjah.
So far, UAE passengers flying on India’s national carrier and its budget airline used to enjoy the luxury of carrying duty free items above the free allowance of carry-on baggage for free. However, very often this used to go up to several kilos and had become a concern in overloading the aircraft, the official said.
The baggage weighing at the gates policy will begin with flights from Sharjah on July 1. “There could be a delay of a few more days to start it in Dubai,” he said.“Officially, the allowances are the same, which we have already published on our website and our tickets,” said Sagar. “Now, we are going to strictly implement it by checking the hand baggage after the passengers purchase products from the duty free shops as well.”
Justifying the move that is introduced at the peak time of summer travel from the UAE, Sagar said most other airlines flying to India have already been charging excess carry-on baggage at the gates.
“Passenger hand baggage is usually assumed as 7 or 8 kgs whereas there are people who sometimes carry 10-15kgs extra. Imagine an aircraft overweighed by two tonnes. That’s not something good for the aircraft’s safety,” he said.
“It is basically to dissuade people from carrying too much of excess weight and ensure that the weight is properly recorded for the safety of the aircraft.”
“It’s not that we are not in favour of passengers buying duty free items. If the passengers are planning to buy more duty free items, it is better not to keep many items in their hand baggage and end up paying extra.”
He claimed that the airlines were not looking at making money out of the new policy. “In fact, we are also spending money to take the facility from our ground handlers.”
“We have sent advisories to the travel agents and we are trying to spread awareness to the passengers. Notices will be prominently displayed at the check-in counters. Check-in agents will also remind passengers about the strict implementation of the rules,” he added.
Subject to security regulations, some add-ons are exempted from carry-on baggage weighing. These include ladies’ hand bag, overcoat or wrap, rug or blanket, camera or binoculars, books, infant feeding items and carrying basket, collapsible wheelchair or a pair of crutches or braces for passengers dependent on them, walking stick, foldable umbrella, laptop and medicines required during flight. -firstname.lastname@example.org
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