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Air India

Air India Issues Ban On Holy Water

Air India Issues Ban On Holy Water
Jackie Reddy

Air India has issued a ban that will prevent passengers returning from the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah from carrying holy water or Zamzam on certain routes. The ban will be in place until mid-September and will impact Hajj pilgrims using the airline’s Jeddah-Hyderabad-Mumbai and Jeddah-Kochi routes.

India’s flag carrier has said that it is banning passengers returning from the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah from carrying holy water – known in Islam as Zamzam – on certain routes, The Times of India reports. This ban will affect those using Air India’s Jeddah-Hyderabad-Mumbai and Jeddah-Kocchi routes until September 15th.

A notice of this ban was issued on July 4th via the carrier’s office in Jeddah, which is the gateway to Mecca, one of Islam’s holiest cities and site of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. It is common for many returning pilgrims to bring water from the Well of Zamzam – which is located in Mecca – back to friends and relatives who are unable to make the journey to the city.

This year, the Hajj is to be performed in the middle of August.

According to the outlet, the notice explains that because of a change in aircraft and a subsequent limitation on seats, Zamzam cans – the vessels traditionally used to transport the holy water – will not be permitted on Air India Flight 966 and Air India Flight 964. The former serves Jeddah-Hyderabad-Mumbai while the latter serves Jeddah-Kochi.

The outlet further reports that concerned relatives have approached a member of India’s Congress, who has made contact with Air India regarding the issue.

Commenting on this ban, an unidentified source explained that, “Zamzam has been banned on flights operated by Airbus aircraft due to payload restrictions. We are forced to reduce the weight each passenger is allowed to carry.”

Update: Passengers returning from Hajj and carrying Zamzam will be given additional baggage allowance of five kilograms. Air India said the baggage allowance on flights operating out of Saudia Arabia is 40 kg, and the additional allowance is exclusively for passengers with Zamzam.

[Featured Image: Airbus]

View Comments (5)


  1. Counsellor

    July 12, 2019 at 5:25 am

    When I read the headline, I said to myself, “Isn’t this a bit late for April Fools?”

    Having read the story, I see the point. However, I guess it depend on how much they’re bringing back (and how much the “special container” weighs). Water weighs a pound for a pint, or about 2 pounds per liter.

  2. pdsales

    July 12, 2019 at 6:14 am

    At least check to see if the five-day-old article is still current before posting.

    Passengers travelling on all Air India flights can now travel with Zamzam water providing it fits within permissible baggage allowances. This can vary depending on fare type booked. Several Indian passengers, especially from Kerala and Hyderabad expressed happiness at AI’s decision to revert the ‘ban’.

  3. RandyN

    July 14, 2019 at 11:10 am

    I don’t see why any airline should be required to cater to a passenger’s superstitions.

  4. mvoight

    July 14, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Superstition or not, I fail to see what difference it makes as long as it within the weight limits. I don’t know why they need an extra 5 KGs added to the limit. 40 KG of baggage is plenty.

  5. stanian

    July 17, 2019 at 4:30 am

    I can’t take a 500ml bottle of mineral water on a flight, if not purchased after security, why should this be allowed.

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