Announcing a big gift for Indian soldiers, Air India, from Tuesday, started allowing priority boarding to soldiers as a mark of respect for them. AI chairman Ashwani Lohani said announcements at boarding gates will now invite security forces personnel to board the aircraft first. “They will be requested to board before first and business class passengers,“ Lohani said.
The decision applies to personnel of the Army , Air Force and Navy. The airline also gives discounted air fares to armed forces personnel in the domestic sector. A senior AI pilot who flies long-haul routes said Indian airports should open the doors of VIP lounges to soldiers. “At many American airports, announcements are made inviting soldiers to the lounges. Indian airport operators should emulate what happens in the US,“ the pilot said, while welcoming AI's move. AI pilots often make inflight announcements welcoming soldiers onboard when they know about their presence. “Passengers often clap and salute when soldiers board planes in their uniform,“ said another AI pilot.
News24 Bureau/ inputs from ANI