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Airlines revise cabin curbs

Calcutta, Aug. 19: British Airways has relaxed its restrictions on cabin baggage but Air-India hasn’t and Singapore Airlines has just about.

With the airlines issuing their own guidelines, confusion prevails among passengers from Calcutta over items that can be carried inside the cabin on international flights.

“A lot of passengers are confused over the different sets of rules. Many of them are calling us to find out what exactly they can carry as hand baggage. We need to have a standard guideline for all carriers,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman (east) of the Travel Agents’ Federation of India.

Nine days after British police foiled a terrorist bid to blow up 10 planes flying to the US from London, the airlines appear to be assessing their threat perceptions differently.

Singapore Airlines is allowing either a hand baggage or a laptop in the cabin.

British Airways, which was earlier not allowing any cabin baggage on its flights, has revised the rule. A passenger boarding a BA flight can now carry one cabin baggage through the airport security point. However, the maximum size of the bag has been set.

All liquids other than essential medicines such as diabetes kits and baby milk and baby food are still on the “not allowed” list.

The airline is now allowing laptops, I-pods and mobile phones inside the cabin.

“But electronic gadgets must be taken out of the bag for screening at the security check. Mobile phones may be carried on the person or in one piece of hand baggage,” a BA official said.

There is no longer any restriction on keys, glasses and books.

Air-India is still not allowing cabin baggage on its Calcutta-London flights. Passengers can carry a transparent plastic bag instead. “Liquids or gels in any form are a big no,” an official added.

Laptops and mobile phones have to be carried along with luggage.

“We are going according to the directives of the UK and US governments,” said A.K. Tirkey, Air-India’s eastern India manager.

“Once we get fresh directives from there about relaxing the regulations, we will do so.”

A Singapore Airlines official said: “We are allowing mobile phones but not liquids and gels.”

Business-class passengers of some of the airlines are not being allowed the lounge check-in facility.

Singapore Airlines announced today that it is withdrawing its facility. “The security at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International airport has been heightened. Owing to this, our lounge-check-in facility to passengers will be withdrawn until further notice,” the airline informed tour operators here today.

Under normal circumstances, airline employees complete the formalities for business and first-class passengers and hand them the boarding pass as they wait in the lounge.

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