The airline ground staff claimed his stick exceeded the permissible limit by three inches and collected Rs 1,500 from the Olympian.
Sources with the Bengaluru Airport said the incident with the hockey star who was the former Indian team captain unfolded around 7 pm before he was scheduled to board IndiGo airlines flight 6E 382 from Bengaluru to Kochi. The airline’s ground staff at KIA forced him into paying extra for the hockey stick he was carrying as part of his kit after allegedly stating that he was permitted to carry a stick stretching only upto 38 inches and the piece he was holding was three inches longer.
However, 34-year-old Sreejesh paid the sum but recorded his disappointment on twitter by posting “FIH (Fédération Internationale de Hockey) allow me to play with a 41inch hockey stick, but @IndiGo6E never allow me to carry anything over 38inch.What to do? Pay extra Rs,1500 for handling the goalkeeper baggage.”
FIH allow me to play with a 41inch hockeystick, but @IndiGo6E never allow me to carry anything over 38inch.What to… https://t.co/v73IVBjvkE
— sreejesh p r (@16Sreejesh) 1663944643000
The tweet has gone viral soon after with many netizens including celebrities slamming the airline over collecting money for the star player’s hockey stick while some said aviation rules apply despite one being a star athlete. However, information on the permissible limit to carry something like a hockey stick on a plane remains unclear.
The goalie was in Bengaluru as part of the Indian field hockey team’s training camp for the upcoming FIH Pro League 22-23 scheduled to be held at Odisha in end October. Sreejesh had boarded the flight to Kochi that departed KIA at 9.38 pm on Friday and is believed to have headed to his home in Ernakulam, Kerala. He was not available for comment on the matter.
TOI reached out to IndiGo airlines on collecting fees from the hockey star at Bengaluru Airport over his hockey stick exceeding a mere three inches but was yet to receive a response till Friday night.