IF YOU are flying out of India to any destination in Europe or the US, expect tedious security checks and delays. You are also advised to carry the minimum amount of hand baggage, that too in a transparent plastic carry bag.
All flights from London to India will be delayed between two and six hours. With these flights landing late in India, they will inevitably depart late as well. Some flights, particularly to Heathrow airport, may be cancelled. Heavy security checks in Delhi and Mumbai, similar to the ones after the Mumbai serial bomb blasts, will add to the delays. For instance, aerobridge checks have been re-introduced.
On Thursday, minutes after the uncovering of the terrorist plot to blow up passenger aircraft in the UK, security was beefed up to the highest level at all international airports in India.
At the Indira Gandhi International Airport, light-machine-gun-toting CISF men patrolled the premises. Dustbins were being emptied every 30 minutes and the contents checked. Nearly a dozen suspicious-looking persons were picked up for questioning. They turned out to be touts. Delhi airport was already on high alert over the past two days because of an intelligence alert about a terrorist plot to bomb a particular airline. Another reason for the alert was a Ministry of Home Affairs directive in view of the Independence Day.
Security agencies in London have already banned hand baggage on all airlines leaving UK airports.The checks have led to spiralling delays. Air-India's New York-London-Delhi flight took off from Heathrow after a six-hour delay due to the rechecking of hand baggage. Another flight, AI 101, which took off from Mumbai and landed at Heathrow, took two hours to get a bay.
While no ban on hand baggage has been enforced in India, airlines advised passengers to carry the minimum amount of hand baggage if travelling to Europe.