India misses G20 reception as AI mislays minister’s baggage

20 Sep 2014


India had to miss out on the dinner-reception for the G20 meet of finance ministers and central bank governors on Friday, thanks to a case of lost baggage by national carrier Air India.

As a result of the goof-up by the state-owned airline, Nirmala Sitharaman, union minister of state for commerce and industry, found herself without appropriate clothing for the reception.

Air India took off her checked-in luggage in Melbourne, although she was booked for Sydney. With her formal saris and other necessaries in the missing bags, Sitharaman spent Friday evening in her hotel.

Sitharaman boarded the AI Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney flight on Thursday afternoon. She was supposed to take a connecting local flight from Sydney to Cairns, where the G20 summit is taking place to represent India.

On landing in Sydney on Friday morning, the BJP leader discovered to her horror that her checked-in bags had gone missing.

"Landed in Sydney to take a connecting flight to Cairns. My checked-in luggage not traceable. :( :(... On board my connecting flight to Cairns. All my formal wear in the lost suitcase! Not sure I can buy saris in Cairns! Situation precarious!... Hopefully, you (AI) will get it in time for me," she said in a series of tweets.

The minister then flew on to Cairns. The airline then made frantic attempts to fly the bags to Cairns, but it was too late.

"Sorry to miss the evening reception at the Palm Cove, Cairns. Staying put in the room. No word yet on my lost luggage," another tweet from her said.

When the bags reached her, Sitharaman was more cheerful. "At last, my lost luggage arrives. Thanks every one for your wishes. Thanks #Air India. Oh yes, relief first to get the phone & iPad chargers!" she tweeted.

AI has initiated an internal inquiry into why Sydney-bound Sitharaman's bags were taken off at Melbourne, even though tags would have the destination along with the 'priority' status that business class passengers get.

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