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Delay in baggage claim leaves fliers angry

There seems to be no letting up in problems at Terminal 3 of the IGI airport. After domestic operations were shifted to the terminal last month, the latest problem to hit the passengers is delay in baggage claim. Sidhartha Roy and Faizan Haider reports

delhi Updated: Dec 14, 2010 01:03 IST

There seems to be no letting up in problems at Terminal 3 of the IGI airport. After domestic operations were shifted to the terminal last month, the latest problem to hit the passengers is delay in baggage claim.

Gun Nidhi Dalmia, a city-based businessman, recently had a nightmarish experience at T3 after arriving in an Air France flight (AF 226) from Paris on December 9.

"The flight was two hours late, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, it took me two more hours just to collect my baggage,” said Dalmia. “The amount of time it took me to claim my baggage and get out of the terminal, I could have utilised it to fly to Mumbai from Delhi in another flight," he said.

However, he was not the only passenger to complain. Dalmia, whose baggage arrived at conveyor belt 14, said passengers of other flights, too, were forced to wait for a long time to claim their baggage.
"The delay was caused due to operations at the baggage handling end besides multiple flights arriving at the same time," Air France said in a statement. "Due to the new systems in place at the T3 terminal, the sensors on the belt only feed the baggage depending on the available weight or empty position on the assigned belt.” The airline said the same is applicable to all flights landing at T3.

The airline said the flight landed at 1.17 am and the last baggage arrived on the belt at 2.50 am.

"There are huge baggage delays with most flights arriving at T3, and the problem has only aggravated after domestic operations began," said a senior official of another international airline. He didn’t wish to be named.

"The sensors at the conveyor belt don’t let on the baggage of one flight when the baggage of another one is running on it," he said. "Sometimes baggage of several airlines comes to one belt and passengers have to wait for their turn."

"Compared to the old international terminal, T3 is huge and it takes a lot of time to take the baggage from the aircraft to the belt," said a baggage handler requesting anonymity.

There are no separate belts for domestic flights. So, domestic passengers have to wait longer for their luggage.

Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), however, claimed that the terminal’s baggage handling system is in perfect condition.