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In WhatsApp message, Air India chief tells staff to carry their own bags

As the government tries to put an end to VIP culture, the national carrier is doing away with the practice of having porters carry the hand baggage of its staff, according to a report in Hindustan Times.

May 11, 2017 / 05:37 PM IST

Senior Air India officers recently received a WhatsApp message from their boss: Carry your own bags!

As the government tries to put an end to VIP culture, the national carrier is doing away with the practice of having porters carry the hand baggage of its staff, according to a report in Hindustan Times.

“In line with the PM’s drive towards simplicity in public life let us to begin with shun the use of porters for carrying our hand baggage that our own hands should rightfully carry,” read the message from Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani.

Baggage handling is looked after by AISATS, a private joint venture between Air India and SATS Limited. Some staff are tasked with assisting VIPs and airline staff and these porters carry luggage from the entry gate to the boarding point.

An Air India official was quoted as saying most airline staff used to avail of this service. Henceforth, however, only MPs and unwell staff can ask for their bags to be carried. Lohani, too, will carry his own bags.

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The directive comes weeks after the government banned the long-standing and much abused practice of sporting red beacons atop VVIP vehicles. Top officials including the Prime Minister, President and Vice President are also not allowed to use the beacon, with PM Narendra Modi saying "every Indian is a VIP".

Correction: An earlier version of this story implied that AISATS employees are clubbed with Air India staff. The error is regretted.
first published: May 11, 2017 10:22 am

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