Terror alert: Air India flyers must report to airport 3 hours early

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Old 12-Jan-2016
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Terror alert: Air India flyers must report to airport 3 hours early

Travellers will have to report much earlier for their flights because of enhanced security at airports following the Pathankot terror attack. On Monday, Air India 'requested' all its passengers to report three hours before the scheduled departure time of flights.

"Though the minimum reporting time for domestic flights is 75 minutes and for international flights it is 150 minutes before the scheduled departure of flights, it is advised that to avoid inconvenience, passengers may report three hours before the scheduled departure of flight," a statement issued by AI said.

It also gave the reason for this request. "In view of the recent security alert in the country, passengers/baggage may have to undergo more stringent checks at airports," the statement said. "To avoid any delays to the flight departures owing to these procedures, AI has requested passengers to report at the counter well in time for check-in."

Other Indian airlines have not issued a formal request but senior officials of some carriers said they have asked passengers to report in advance for flights. The enhanced security is likely to remain in place at least till Republic Day.

"Screening has been enhanced," said an airline official. "Earlier some cabin bags were randomly opened for checking at security frisking counters. Now, either all bags or anything even remotely suspicious is being thoroughly scrutinised. This has meant more time at security checks and serpentine queues. Ladder-point security checks (where passengers and their cabin bags are checked just before boarding aircraft) have also been enhanced. Therefore, it is better for people to come earlier than usual to the airport to avoid missing flights and also ensure flights leave on time despite enhanced security."

However, in recent days, AI flights have been delayed due to crew shortage. On Monday, for instance, a Delhi-Bhubaneswar flight was delayed for two hours reportedly due to pilot shortage.

"Luckily, there have been very few spells of fog during this exceptionally mild winter," said an official. "Had it been foggy like previous years, coupled with the enhanced security, flight delays could have been a big problem."

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