A goof-up by ground handlers at New Delhi airport saw an Air India (AI) flight from the national capital land in Kolkata on Monday night without 48 pieces of baggage.
The baggage mishandling affected at least 32 of the 123 passengers — many of them NRIs, and residents of Delhi — on the flight.
An AI spokesperson said, "The goof-up took place at T3 terminal when our ground handlers were sorting the baggage. It is a hectic job. Apart from passengers booked from Delhi, the flight also had passengers who originated from New York."
The spokesperson said efforts were being made to return the misplaced baggage to their owners within the stipulated 48-hour tracing period. "We flew a large portion of the misplaced baggage in the flights on Tuesday. Rest will reach soon."
According to norms, in case of baggage mishandling, the airline involved should pay 'interim compensation' to passengers who are not residents of the terminating city (a flight's destination).
While a passenger on the domestic sector gets Rs 2,000 compensation, a passenger booked on the international sector is entitled to get $125 (Rs 5,570).
According to an AI source, in June the airline misplaced 426 pieces of baggage on the two flights from New Delhi, which land at Kolkata's international terminal.
Both these flights work under the hub-and-spoke system, which assists international passengers in transit. Apart from passengers from Delhi, these flights have passengers even from New York, Newark and Heathrow airports.
"Several of the unfortunate fliers were not Kolkata residents and some of them were booked on international flights. We ended up paying 'interim compensation' running into lakhs," said an AI official who did not want to be named.