India men’s hockey team’s star goalkeeper PR Sreejesh slammed domestic airlines IndiGo on Friday expressing his displeasure for charging him extra for his “goalkeeper luggage”.

According to reports, Sreejesh was set to board IndiGo aircraft 6E 382 from Bengaluru to Kochi, when the airline’s ground crew at Karnataka International Airport asked him to pay extra charges for the hockey stick he was carrying as part of his gear. The flight officials claimed that Sreejesh was only permitted to carry a hockey stick of below 38 inches and the one he was holding was three inches long and as a result, he was entitled to pay the charges.

Though Sreejesh paid the extra charges, he expressed his discontentment on Twitter. The veteran goalkeeper explained that the FIH (Fédération Internationale de Hockey) permitted him to carry a 41-inch hockey stick yet the IndiGo airlines always charged him extra for carrying anything over 38 inches. Apparently, the Indian goalie had to pay an extra amount of Rs.1,500 for carrying his goalkeeper kit.

Sreejesh shared a photo of his receipt of the extra charged baggage and wrote: “FIH allows me to play with a 41-inch hockey stick, but IndiGo never allows me to carry anything over 38 inches. What to do? Pay extra Rs, 1500 for handling the goalkeeper baggage.” A seemingly frustrated Sreejesh also added the hashtag “Loot” to his caption.

The post quickly went viral, and many netizens, including celebrities, had divided opinions on the matter. While some celebrities like Tehseen Poonawala criticized the airline for charging extra money for the star player’s hockey stick, others like prominent India cricketer Virender Sehwag said that the aviation laws apply to even great players and all sports athletes should abide the laws.

Sreejesh was in Bengaluru as a part of the Indian hockey team’s training camp for the forthcoming FIH Pro League 2022-23, which will be contested in Odisha in late October.

The Olympic Bronze medallist has been a vital cog of the Indian hockey side and has been instrumental in their recent triumphs. He is generally a calm campaigner between the sticks but was enraged by IndiGo’s behavior and lashed out at the airlines.

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By Dipak

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