Hajj 2019: Air India changes policy so pilgrims can bring Zamzam water home

India's national carrier has removed recently introduced restrictions on the transportation of water from Makkah

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Pilgrims travelling from Jeddah to India on selected Air India flights can bring holy water from Makkah home with them.

Air India took to Twitter to retract previous restrictions put in place to prevent the carrying of Zamzam cans of water on flight numbers AI966 and AI964. The national carrier of India tweeted: “Passengers are allowed to carry Zamzam cans within their permissible baggage allowance. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused.”

The original advisory, which only applied to specific flights between Jeddah and Hyderabad, Mumbai and Cochin, was thought to have been issued over space concerns. The aircraft used to service both of these flight numbers are narrow-body planes.

Passengers travelling on all Air India flights can now travel with Zamzam water providing it fits within permissible baggage allowances, which can vary depending on fare type booked.

What is Zamzam water?

Pilgrims can bring Zamzam water from Makkah on Air India flights after the national carrier retracted restrictions on carrying the water on certain flights. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons / Yousef Madari

Zamzam is the name of a well in Makkah where Allah is said to have brought forth water to give to Ishmael, the son of Abraham.

The water is a popular keepsake for pilgrims returning to their native countries after visiting Makkah for the Hajj. Many believe the water has healing properties.

Other restrictions

India’s Hajj committee has also specified that only official Zamzam cans are allowed onboard aircraft.

These cans must be produced by the project of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and must be wrapped in a plastic cover and travel in the box provided, bearing the logo of the project.

Zamzam water cans that do not comply with the above specifications may not be permitted on flights or on the many buses carrying departing pilgrims from the holy site to airports and hotels.

Makkah’s National Water Company, the custodians of Zamzam water, will this year issue the water in five-litre canisters, rather than the 10-litre containers used in previous years.