The airline’s ground staff claimed that his cane exceeded the allowable limit by three centimeters and collected Rs 1,500 from the Olympian.
Sources at Bengaluru airport said the incident involving the hockey star, who was the former captain of the Indian team, happened around 7pm before boarding IndiGo Airlines flight 6E 382 from Bengaluru to Kochi. The airline ground staff at KIA forced him to pay extra for the hockey stick he carried as part of his equipment after claiming he was allowed to carry a stick that was up to 38 centimeters long and the piece he was holding was three centimeters longer.
However, 34-year-old Sreejesh paid the amount, but wrote his disappointment on Twitter by posting “FIH (Fédération Internationale de Hockey) allow me to play with a 41-inch hockey stick, but @IndiGo6E will never let me wear anything bigger is then 38″. What to do? Pay 1500 rupees extra for handling the keeper’s luggage.”
FIH allows me to play with a 41″ hockey stick, but @IndiGo6E will never let me wear anything larger than 38″. What to do… https://t.co/v73IVBjvkE
— sreejesh pr (@16Sreejesh) 1663944643000
The tweet went viral shortly afterwards with many internet users, including celebrities berating the airline for raising money for the star player’s hockey stick, with some saying that aviation rules apply despite someone being a star athlete. Information about the allowed limit to carry something like a hockey stick on an airplane, however, remains unclear.
The goalkeeper was in Bengaluru as part of the Indian hockey team’s training camp for the upcoming FIH Pro League 22-23 to be held in Odisha at the end of October. Sreejesh had boarded the flight to Kochi that departed from KIA at 9:38 p.m. Friday and was said to have gone to his home in Ernakulam, Kerala. He could not be reached for comment on the matter.
TOI contacted IndiGo airlines about collecting fees from the hockey star at Bengaluru Airport over his hockey stick over two inches long, but received no response until Friday night.