Thursday, February 24, 2022

Student barred from taking pet cat on flight at last minute

A research student’s frantic efforts to ferry his pet cat from Bengaluru to Patna failed after an Air India pilot reportedly refused to allow it inside the cabin on Wednesday afternoon. Eventually, he had to wait another 13 hours to board the next flight.  For Lakhanlal, a junior research fellow at the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, the ordeal started on Wednesday morning. “I booked a flight from Bengaluru to Patna through Air India so that I can take my cat with me. I came from Mangalore by cab,” he said in a tweet. 

The flight was at 12.50 pm, but he reached the airline counter at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) at 9.45 am. “They checked the vet certificate and vaccination record of the cat. They also weighed the cage which was around less than 5 kg,” he recalled.

He had researched well in advance to understand all the Air India rules on pet carriage. But that did not help him. “After making payment and doing all the formalities, just before 50 minutes of the flight, the officials informed me that the captain is not allowing the pet,” Lakhanlal tweeted.

An Air India spokesperson said the final decision whether to allow the pet inside the cabin is left to the pilot’s discretion. Rules mandate that only two pets can be inside at a time, and the pilot can take a call, the official explained.

24/02/22 Rasheed Kappan/Deccan Herald

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