Malaysia Airlines does U-turn on suitcase ban
January 06 2016 01:18 PM
Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines is now allowing passengers to carry the normal amount of luggage.

AFP/Kuala Lumpur

Less than 24 hours after telling Europe-bound passengers they were not allowed to take check-in baggage because of "unseasonably strong headwinds", Malaysian Airlines did a sudden U-turn on Wednesday.

The troubled carrier, whose MH370 flight went missing in 2014 on its way to Beijing and has still not been found, had said it was limiting baggage to reduce weight.

It cited concerns about its planes being able to carry enough fuel as they had to fly a longer and different route due to its own "risk assessment" and handle strong headwinds "in excess of 200 knots".

The airline did not specify what the risk specifically was.

Economy class passengers flying from Kuala Lumpur to London, Paris and Amsterdam would only be allowed to take one small piece of hand luggage with them, the company announced on Tuesday. Those in business class could carry two.

Suitcases could be checked in on other flights, but would arrive much later than their owners, the company had said.

The move was blasted as "ludicrous" and "strange" by industry analysts.

But in a sudden about-face on Wednesday, Malaysia Airlines ditched its baggage rules and said passengers could carry the normal amount of luggage.

The carrier, still reeling from the loss of two Boeing 777-200 aircraft in separate incidents in 2014, defended the temporary restriction, saying that "safety was of utmost priority" in its operations.

The airline ended 2015 on a disastrous note when a Christmas Day mix-up sent one of its planes flying in the wrong direction after it left New Zealand.

In March 2014 Flight MH370 disappeared after inexplicably deviating from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight path with 239 passengers and crew aboard.

In July 2014 Flight MH17 was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.

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