'Sari' worry for Nirmala Sitharaman after missing luggage on Air India flight

'Sari' worry for Nirmala Sitharaman after missing luggage on Air India flight

Union Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman has become the latest victim of baggage mishandling by airlines, forcing her to restrict herself to a hotel room and miss the reception on Friday for G20 ministers in New Zealand’s Cairns.

She was worried as her formal wear was in the lost suitcase and wondering whether she would be able to buy sari in New Zealand where she was to attend a G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors.

Baggage mishandling by airlines is the most common complaint by fliers and the latest report by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that 22.1 per cent of the 712 complaints from passengers in August are about lost baggages. Air India, in which Sitharaman was travelling, had 31 cases of baggage handling in August.

The minister had flown to Cairns from New Delhi on Thursday and found that her baggage was missing at Sydney airport in Australia late on Thursday night from where she was to catch a connecting flight to the New Zealand city.

“Landed in Sydney to take a connecting flight to Cairns. My checked in luggage not traceable,” she tweeted at 3:26 am IST on Friday. Forty-five minutes later, she followed up with another tweet, “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!”

After reaching Cairns, she again took to Twitter to express her disappointment over the episode saying, “sorry to miss the evening reception at the Palm Cove, Cairns. Staying put in the room. No word yet on my lost luggage.”

However, almost 12 hours later, she got back her luggage. “At last, my lost luggage arrives. Thanks every one for your wishes. Thanks Air India. Oh yes, relief first to get the phone and iPad chargers!”

Despite the hardship by Air India, she also had some kind words for the national carrier, saying she had a word of praise for the music collection onboard. Air India had played renditions by M S Subbulakshmi, which Sitharaman said were her late mother’s favourites.

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