You Won’t Believe This: Air India Claims To Be A Good Airline In Their Latest Ad

I’ll be honest. I don’t follow India’s aviation market too much, aside from reading the amusing Indian aviation stories which seem to go viral every couple of weeks. Live from a Lounge covers more of the Indian aviation market, and wrote about Air India’s latest TV commercial today. He calls the commercial lame and unmemorable.

I have a slightly different take. I think it’s actually quite memorable and incomparably cheesy, because the commercial suggests that Air India actually offers good service. I mean, Air India is an airline which can’t even get pilots to fly for them voluntarily, let alone passengers.

Here’s the commercial, which I think speaks for itself:

Yup, so the commercial features a guy who “loves India,” exclusively from flying on Air India between other countries (goodness, he needs a new employer if they’re flying him on Air India to/from non-Indian destinations).

Well done, Air India! Next we can expect commercials from Spirit talking about how they’re a full service airline, and from United about how they’re flyer friendly (oh wait)!

At least American is honest with their “going for great” slogan.

Bottom line

You’d think Air India would instead focus on how they’re by far the most global Indian airline and will take you where you need to go, rather than suggesting that you should fly them because their service is so great.

Speaking of which, I do still need to fly Air India sometime soon

Comments

  1. Sigh, Ben, if you think American’s being honest with “going for great” rather than “going for profitable,” well…

  2. I flew Air India, Jet and Indigo last month (SpiceJet canceled our flight our we would have flown them as well). Air India felt like being on an old United plane. Surly flight attendants who couldn’t bother to care. We had three flights and the seat back pockets were ripped apart on all of them even though the planes seemed fairly new (what are people doing with those!).

    Jet and Indigo both had pleasant and smiling crews, nice planes, reasonably comfortable seats (for the short flights).

    I would avoid Air India unless it was the only nonstop…

  3. I have flown Jet Airways and they are probabilly the best Indian carrier. However, you should still do Air India. Probabilly the only major airline you havent reviewed yet. Do It!

  4. Air India really is in a class of its own.

    I wouldn’t call it a “good” class though. I am amazed Star held its nose long enough to finally let AI slither in, lack of Indian coverage or not. But I do have to admit, more than one of my all-time best personal travel eff-up stories come from flying AI’s domestic service (before it was Star). In hindsight, that’s worth something—it’s all about experiences, right?

    Maybe that should be their new commercial: Travel Experiences You Won’t Forget.

  5. Oopsie! My comment was meant for the “best” 10 first class products post. You may delete me! 🙂

  6. Air India would make an excellent review – could be titled the “slumming it series.” I’ve never seen your reviews of Philippine Air, Aeroflot, Olympic Air, etc. in the 3 stars Skytrax rating (which includes American Airlines). As long as you fly First. Bet you’d even enjoy some Indian films:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq–g4zIuNA

  7. I flew first class on air India from London-Bombay, it is the best service you can ever have. On-board service was exceptionally unbelievable. Also when I landed in India, an air India rep came to escort me and got me out from immigration and customs in no time. I truly believe air India is underrated. I wouldn’t compare to emirates or etihad first class, but it is among the top class business a first class product.

  8. I would fly Garuda before Air India

    I read somewhere that seventy percent of their revenues comes from the employees of the Indian government that has to date spent over $10 billion propping this airline when 800 million Indians live in a dollar a day.
    They cannot lose business this the surly employees and poor service.
    I would not fly them if you paid me.

  9. Hi Ben and to all,

    We recently had 5 Air India flights in economy and business after our recent trip to the Maldives.

    In brief, the planes are filthy. Lots of dirt and stained carpets with newspapers and other surprises left on the seats between segments. Probably the dirtiest planes ever. Catering was safe with everything cello wrapped.

    I can’t comment for their international runs, but I was really surprised to see that all the domestic flights and lounges were dry! This included the Air India Marahaja International Lounge in Chennai and includes business and economy segments. So don’t look forward to drinks on board unless it’s mango juice.

    These commercials are running on state television during the news hour in New Delhi.

    Overall, not an experience I’d soon want to repeat.

  10. OMG have you ever tried making an international-to-international connection in India? It can be done but when you turn up immigration acts as though you were the first passenger ever to try it. (Which, come to think of it…)

  11. @Gary – did not know that you have to clear immigration in India for an intl-to-intl connection… that’s weird! I know I’d be fine coz I am an Indian and I simply talk to them in local language and they “get it” – moreover, what can they say to an Indian passport holder 🙂

  12. Lucky et al
    I am not here to laud Air india for their service, it surely needs improvement. But dont agree that the US airlines are all having great service either. I have come across rude staff/ service and dirty bathrooms in the US as well. Similarly in europe. So I take exception to your condemning Indian aviation as a whole.

    And Gary, international connections are a pain in a lot of countries. Have you tried making a connection in isarel/ the US;without a Local passport though. Each country have their immigration rules and they are an outcome of the vulnerabilities and threats in their respective countries and i guess it doesn’t to be a little considerate before bashing any country.

  13. @Ben – Enjoy your blog and miss it hardly any day. I feel this observation & comments are harsh even without experiencing AI. I do agree that they are at the bottom but would like something First Hand from you rather than being judgmental like this. Whilst definitely AI are not up to the mark, but the kind of improvements there have been in last 3 years are significant. And trust me they are far better than some of the top US carriers like US/United any day. I usually travel AI 144/191 from AMD-EWR once a month in J and this month on return somehow I missed it by few minutes so had to board United 48 to BOM and it was a sheer disgrace. Aircraft even filthier than AI and crew I guess the most snobbish I have come across. Even in J they were throwing food plates as if obliging us.

    @Worldtraveller73 – It’s the Indian Government policy to not allow sale of alcohol in domestic flights, however almost every major Indian Lounge serves it.

  14. I am indain and have flown various airlines both economy and business. I would fly AI any day anytime. I have seen AI crew clean the restrooms mid flight so passangers could be comfortable, can you tell me one us crew that would do that. I have flown delta non stop to india and my seat wouldn’t recline and the tv didn’t work…

  15. I’ve only flown a HKG-ICN rt on Air India’s Y cabin 5 months ago, and I have to say that they were indeed a “good airline” they claimed to be. At least better than my experience with CX’s Y product… This video is really awkward though…

  16. Air India international transfer desk is awfully ineffiency and unprofessional. The staff are not well trained as they usually have you wait a long time at the waiting area and customer service was not never up to expectation. There’s a feeling that they want to make money from passengers who pay fees in cash rather than by credit cards.

  17. Ha, speaking of international to international transfer in India. I recently did this last month when I flew AUH-DEL EY J and DEL-HKG CX J. At DEL I definitely got the impression it was extremely rare for international connections… at 8pm I was the only one at the international transfers desk at arrivals and was escorted by a CX DEL agent through an empty transfer security queue (literally 6+ security guards sitting around bored).

    Quite the experience.

  18. I flew Air India in 2013 from Delhi to NY solely because I missed my flight and needed to get back that day; I knew absolutely nothing about the airline. It was the worst plane ride of my life (and I fly at least 10 times a year). I will NEVER fly with them again, even if they paid me to!

  19. hah lucky, you do need to fly AI… and after that just for comparison sake you need to fly Pakistan’s PIA 😀

    I very much look forward to those TRs because there will be pure comedy gold there, regardless of whether you’re drunk or not.

  20. I recently flew AI in J from LHR-DEL-MEL-SYD flight. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It was nothing spectacular but the seating full flat, the service was very pleasant and attentive, and the food was individually plated and very tasty. It’s not CX or SQ but it’s also ½ the cost when paying with dollars.

  21. Being an Indian, I can vouch for Air India’s ineptness. Even though I’ve only flown them once, horror stories of Air India and it’s now defunct domestic carrier Indian Airlines have been part of growing up since the 90s! My one and only trip with them turned out to be an absolute disaster. The only reason we’d chosen Air India for a DEL-DXB flight was because Emirates did not have an afternoon flight from Delhi back then. Long story short, a scheduled afternoon take off at 2:30pm eventually led to an actual take off time at 1:25am. That day onwards we vowed never to fly them again. Emirates is the tried and tested airline which we prefer to fly to LAX/JFK.

  22. @Gary – A lot of Europeans travel to Australia & vice versa via Delhi .. Ive even seen some South east asians transiting Delhi on their way to Europe.

  23. With their hands tied due political interference and looting, you must appreciate the survival of AIRINDIA. No bloody bilateral,all lucrative sectors are given away to Arab countries. Middle east countries are giving Indian employees their airlines tickets instead of money to travel by any airlines of their choice and have taken away due share of revenue. Indian politicians on cover of open sky killed their own airline. Corruption is killing this country,man.

  24. Flew to London by Air India…… Really wanted to go via emirates but reluctantly took Air India….
    A Big reason is Cost …. emirates n otha Gulf carriers cost approx 8000 rs or 120 $ more ( isnt dt fleecing )
    N i was Pleasantly surprised that the Jet was Spanking New Boeing Dreamliner !!!!! 🙂
    Overall , had a EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE ! Food , cute hostesses n hospitality were great …..
    Will fly again with MAHARAJA !!

  25. You will never know how awful it is to travel as a “brown guy(Indian)” In American and European carriers. The attitude of support crew is very different towards non-white people. It’s so sad to see that it still exists in 2016.

  26. I started flying Air India three or so years ago since they started flying direct Birmingham (England) to Delhi.

    The flight timings are the best. You can do a full days work in England and leave at 9.30 at night to reach Delhi at 10.30 and do a full days work there too. This means effectively no time wasted travelling. The return flights times are just as good. Leave Delhi after lunch and reach early evening in Birmingham for a good night’s sleep, ready for work the next day. I did a full days work on Friday and was able to complete the sale formalities and money transactions for my property in Delhi on Saturday, and in my Hotel pool with a drink by the evening!

    The aircraft was new and everything was clean and swish on each flight. They had reasonable entertainment with a very wide choice of AV material. We were served drinks with a smile and this is the ONLY airline which still gives real peanuts rather than some measly biscuit alternative. I was gracious enough to point this out to the staff, who have a thankless task. The meals were so so on the Birmingham to Delhi flight, which were obviously prepared in England. The meals on the return leg from Delhi to Birmingham was excellent. Service was good and timely and there was lots of it.

    The flights were on time and I have only praise. I have flown most of the popular airlines and choose Air India as my first choice now for the reasons mentioned above.
    Those who know me class me as an extremely awkward and pineckety customer, lost in the finest detail and eager to complain about everything. am not easy to please and I have lately grudgingly started to agree with this assessment.

    I am surprised to hear of those who ‘would not travel AI if they were paid’. I assume they are in employment and by definition are therefore ‘servants doing a job for money’, and would do what might be somewhat unpleasant to them for the money.

  27. Air India is not the worst but definately not the best its just a three star airline like United,Delta,American,Ethiopian,Kenyan etc. As rated by Skytrax.
    But definately it has better fleet of 787s,777s n 747s,320s,321s,319s etc and have a wide range of network which is growing day by day.
    They operate to NY,Newark,Chicago,San francisco and very soon Washington,Boston and houston which are on the charts.

    Also the only south asian cariee to fly direct to Melbourne ad Sydney.
    Very soon also flying to Madrid

    And just need a flight to Africa and South Africa.

    Oh and yes its a member of Star alliance which proves it isn that bad either and having travelled it just once i remember it was a good flight not really that bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *