The airline’s ground staff claimed that his stick exceeded the allowed limit by three inches and collected Rs 1,500 from the Olympian.
Sources at Bengaluru airport said the incident with the hockey star who was the former captain of the Indian team happened around 7 p.m. before he was due to board flight 6E 382 d ‘IndiGo Airlines from Bengaluru to Kochi. Airline ground staff at KIA forced him to pay extra for the hockey stick he was carrying as part of his kit after he allegedly said he was allowed to carry a stick extending up to ‘at 38 inches and the piece he was holding was three inches longer.
However, Sreejesh, 34, paid the fee but expressed his disappointment on Twitter, posting “The FIH (International Hockey Federation) allows me to play with a 41 inch hockey stick, but @IndiGo6E does not allow me never to carry anything over 38 inches. TO DO? Pay an additional 1,500 rupees for the goalkeeper’s luggage management.
FIH allows me to play with a 41 inch hockey stick, but @IndiGo6E never allows me to carry anything over 38 inches.
— sreejesh pr (@16Sreejesh) 1663944643000
The tweet went viral soon after, with many netizens including celebrities criticizing the airline for raising money for the star player’s hockey stick, while some said the rules of the aviation applied despite one being a star athlete. However, information about the allowed limit for carrying something like a hockey stick on a plane remains unclear.
The goalkeeper was in Bengaluru as part of Team India’s field hockey training camp for the upcoming FIH Pro League 22-23 to be held in Odisha at the end of October. Sreejesh had boarded the Kochi-bound flight which left KIA at 9.38pm on Friday and was said to be heading for his home in Ernakulam, Kerala. He was not available to comment on the matter.
TOI has contacted IndiGo airlines to collect the hockey star’s fee at Bengaluru airport for his hockey stick just over three inches tall, but has yet to receive a response until Friday evening.