KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia Airlines on Wednesday lifted a much-criticized ban on checking in baggage on flights to Paris and Amsterdam, a day after limiting bags to lighten the plane and save fuel.
The airline had banned check-in baggage for Tuesday and Wednesday flights to the two European cities due to "unseasonably strong headwinds" on a longer flight path it was taking. Passengers slammed the airline on social media and suggested it could have reduced the number of passengers or refused to carry freight instead.
The airline told The Associated Press that it "uniquely has been using a routing (to Europe) via Egypt, which has been up to two hours longer than other carriers" for safety reasons.
Headwinds over the past four days exceeded 200 knots, which can burn up to 15 percent more fuel on its Boeing 777-200 aircraft, it said.
It lifted the ban less than 24 hours after imposing it after concluding it could take a shorter route.
The airline in an e-mail to the AP said it does a daily risk assessment to determine the most optimum route for flights and that currently, it is taking "a more northerly route." It didn't elaborate.
A Malaysia Airlines jet flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by a missile in eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Earlier that year, a Malaysia Airlines flight heading to Beijing disappeared and is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.