Air India Has *So* Much Potential…

Yesterday I wrote a post entitled “Does This Picture Make You Want To Visit Air India’s Lounge?”

The comments section of this post taught me quite a bit, which I can’t help but reflect on.

Air India gets a lot of bad press. From rats on planes, to having a pilot show up drunk three times, to flying a 787 with only four of the 47 screws installed, the airline is a bit of a disaster.

My post yesterday was about how Air India really doesn’t “get it.” I pointed out how the below was the picture Air India showed to “advertise” their lounge at Newark:

Newark-Lounge-Air-India

It’s one thing if this were a user uploaded photo, but rather this seemed to be an official Air India photoshoot. And that was the picture they decided to use!

But I guess that’s not surprising, since it’s not like their other media is much better.

Their TV are consistently terrible:

The bad ads aren’t just a one off… seriously:

I mean, hell, if you want a perfect example of the airline not “getting it,” they recently changed their Maharajah mascot from something more traditional, to a hipster boy taking a selfie. It’s great they’re trying to transform the brand into something more modern, but that’s not the way to do it.

Maharajah

But here’s the thing — the airline has so much potential. Look at the huge growth of the carriers in the Middle East, like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. They represent tiny markets, but are able to create an amazing hub system where they’re transporting tens of millions of passengers through their respective hubs.

And then you have Air India, which has access to the world’s biggest market, but can’t seem to do anything with it. Outside of the miles & points hobby I hear all the time from Indian people in the US who talk about how much they love flying Emirates to India, and that’s in economy. I haven’t met a single Indian living in the US who says “I love flying Air India to India.”

The irony is that arguably Air India has a far superior economy product. On the 777-200, for example, Air India has just nine seats per row, with 34″ of seat pitch. Our beloved Emirates, on the other hand, has ten seats per row on the 777, with just 32″ of pitch. So the seats on Air India have significantly more legroom and also significantly more seat width, yet no one would ever know that. Because Air India can’t market themselves for the life of them.

But a lot of people don’t get that. In the comment’s section of yesterday’s post, Krish seemed to think everyone was unfairly attacking Air India, but I think AnonCHI summed it up pretty well with this comment:

Think about it like this. We’re in January 2016. Of the BRICS, India is the only one with real economic growth and robustness. Oil is at record lows (and India is a massive importer of oil). Theoretically, the only good place in the world where you can deploy capital into a developing market is India.

India should be getting billions of dollars in FDI right now. But it’s not. The “new, right-wing, Hindu nationalist government” is too busy (a) promoting change but not making any and (b) despite being far less corrupt than the previous government, spending way too much time on “Hindu” issues. The people of India want low corruption and actual progress – not marketing slogans. Air India needs to do the same.

If Air India were well run, EK/EY/QR would have no market. Air India should turn DEL into a massive hub and have LAX/SFO/SEA/DFW/IAH/ORD/ATL/JFK/BOS/IAD/YVR/YYZ-DEL 1-3x daily (run whatever W patterns are needed for optimal a/c utilization) and sap EK/EY/QR of their core traffic while denting TK as well. But it hasn’t.

There’s so much potential. Let’s hope that India actually does something with it.

Amol followed it up with this comment:

@AnonChi – exactly! Ask the Indian diaspora who fly in economy how they like to get to India and the majority will say on Emirates. Yet Air India offers 3-3-3 with 34″ pitch in coach while Emirates 3-4-3 with less pitch. Why do people prefer EK? The optics, the golden halo, the whatever! It just “feels” like a nicer experience. And guess what – Emirates is owned by the UAE government, so it’s not like a privatized company. Air India is well positioned to take advantage of opportunity but seems to squander it.

And to be clear, I’m not taking sides about the new Indian government, as I’m not well informed enough on the topic. But what I’m highlighting above is how much potential the airline has. Rather than being a national pride, which it could easily be, it’s a national disgrace.

But others don’t seem to get that. Instead reader Krish was shaming those of Indian descent who were criticizing Air India and pointing out the potential they have, calling them bigots (while conveniently also referring to those people as “गोरी लोग,” which seems to translate to “white people”):

Amol, then you need to get a sense of self-respect and stop giving fodder to these गोरी लोग who are obviously using you as a front for their bigotry. Please learn how to take a stand for yourself and your country, and respect yourself instead of being a complete sellout. Thanks.

British-Airways-Lounge-Chicago-20

Bottom line

I’m super excited to fly Air India next week, for better or worse. I’ve always been fascinated by the airline. Does Air India sometimes get unfair press? Absolutely. But I think the bigger issue is that the airline has so much potential, which they’re simply squandering. They serve a huge market, and in a parallel universe could be one of the world’s most successful airlines. But they’ve been corrupt and useless for years, and it seems like nothing can change that.

What I learned from yesterday’s post was that Air India probably has the most comfortable economy product on the 777 in the world. But no one would ever know that, given how terrible they are at advertising/promoting themselves.

I hope we’ll see the day where India has a globally competitive airline, as they should.

Comments

  1. Doesn’t EK win awards for their IFE? That’s a big factor when you’re flying for hours and hours and hours…

  2. Air India needs to step up their game majorly. India is a well-emerging market and the ME3 carriers are milking it as much as possible. And the fact that there’s continuously growing affluence in the country, I think they should start focusing on improving premium products, too. Not only the ME3, but Singapore Airlines is also the big winner from the India market flying Indians bound for Singapore, Jakarta, Bali, or further down to Australia/NZ. I haven’t yet flown with Air India, nor do I have any plans to do so anytime in the near future, but I certainly wouldn’t object if given the opportunity. Notice how on Facebook pages of ME3 carriers, it’s mostly Indians who comment on how much they love flying Emirates/Qatar/Etihad (and also, Singapore) praising their services saying it’s the best in the world. Major airports in India such as DEL and BOM are also really nice for a transit airport. Not too overwhelming but definitely not underwhelming. One thing that might prevent some people from flying Air India though, is that they don’t serve beef, whereas Etihad and Emirates (I’m not sure about Qatar) are very accustomed to serving steak on board (at least on F and J. On Y I’m sure they have lighter beef food), so that’s one of their weak points against the ME3 carriers as a stopover-airline. But I guess because they can focus on winning the Indian market then that shouldn’t be too big of a deal?

  3. Did you ever stop and think that possible white males in their mid 20’s who rarely purchase revenue tickets…just maybe…aren’t their target audience?

    For someone who “travels” so often, I get surprised about how little you do know about culture.

  4. @Rafi: If I’m travelling to/from India, absolutely the last thing in the world I would care about in my choice of airline is whether it serves beef. I mean, come on.

  5. @ lopore — Which part of my analysis are you disagreeing with? And I flew 200K+ worth of revenue flights last year…

  6. The government simply needs to learn that they are incapable of building and maintaining facilities that are high in quality. And to an extent they have done that – look at any privatized airport in India, they are stunning (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad). Then look at government controlled airports like Chennai and Kolkata. Both MAA and CCU were rebuilt to ‘modernize’ around the same time as the others, but they look like a complete joke compared to BOM, DEL, BLR etc.

    If the government finally gave up control over Air India and privatized it, the airline would be incredibly successful. While there are still few in government that can actually get things done (think Delhi metro, which is pretty fantastic), Air India doesn’t have any one of them. The government either needs to let Air India die and allow private airlines to flourish, or simply hand over control. ME3 succeed because they offer quality and world-wide access. While 9W (and hopefully Vistara in the future) offers quality, it can’t grow, largely due to limitations placed by the government that protect Air India instead.

  7. As someone who is Indian and lives with India, I have to say sometimes the views of non-Indians towards India are much more reasonable than many of my compatriots think.
    Some of us sadly think that its us v/s the rest of the world and so they have to defend the country against even light hearted, tongue-in-cheek comments.

    People need to get out a little and learn to laugh at themselves sometimes. 🙂

    Hope you get a longer transit next time Ben, would love to have a coffee with you.

  8. EK economy is not just great because of the marketing halo effect of their premium cabins.

    In economy an inch or two or leg room and a seat across is less meaningful when there are lots of things to keep you entertained (distracted). It’s not just markets perception. You have great IFE, drinks with fairly good service you don’t have to wait for an official trolley run just head to the galley or hit the call button, decent food the meal tray has additional extras like chips and dip in the little bites box, almost free WiFi, power sockets and usb. All these factors lend more weight to an economy product than the seat itself.

  9. @Snic everyone has different priorities.. It just might happen to be high up on someone else’s priority list. Even though direct flights to/from India don’t serve beef, transiting passengers coming in from the Mid-East might want to have beef one last time before not having it for quite awhile, or travellers might want to eat beef again after holidaying in India for awhile.. I’m saying that it’s a possibility, but yeah, it shouldn’t be too big of a deciding factor.

  10. The three biggest issues facing Air India are perception, facilities in India, and competition from the M.E. Big Three. Those are three hurdles that will be virtually impossible to ever overtake in a short term – if at all. They would be better off completely restructuring (as we see with MAS) to become a much smaller and leaner airline and to allow them to shed even more the outrageous debt that is a weight on any ability to recover under the current system. It’s easy for some of those analysts to say that they need to provide a more seamless experience a’la Emirates when, in fact, with an airport like DEL that is never going to happen. The Govt will have to step in and also look at long term support in building better facilities for that to happen. The culture, corruption, and infrastructure of transforming the ground product in India will never allow for projects in airports like we see in Dubai or Doha. So, it’s not all Air India’s fault. Who would ever want to change planes in DEL on a BKK-LHR flight? But plenty do on Emirates…as the ground experience is fab. Air India either becomes a small regional carrier with just a few long hauls or it will eventually become a tombstone of the past where plane enthusiasts reminisce about the bygone era of what was once a proud national carrier.

    No amount of Krug or Caviar will save them now. They are surrounded and, sadly, surrender may be the only option.

  11. @Stuart H – I’m sorry but what makes you think the transit facilities in India are poor? Have you been to Delhi/Mumbai recently? The new terminals are on par, if not better than facilities you find in the ME3, particularly because they have character, and are very high in quality. No one wants to transit in India because there IS no airline that offers seamless transits! Air India is a mess, thats why no one wants to fly through DEL. If Jet Airways were able to leverage this, I guarantee you people wouldn’t think twice about flying through DEL / BOM. And now you don’t need to worry about moving from one terminal to another (at least domestically), since all full service domestic and international carriers operate out of the same terminal in DEL, and increasingly so in Mumbai. Based on your comment, I can see that even private entities in India need to do a better job of marketing how good their new facilities are.

  12. It’s a poor country. Hard to justify lavish spending when masses are starving. That said air India does poorly only because of government inefficiency. But who are liberals to complain about government inefficiency. All of the them love riding the government gravy train. Unless of course you are a conservative gay guy.

    Finally Indians are still very, very insecure. They had whites come and treat them as servants. So they either lash out at whites or ass kiss them. To their credit, poverty hasn’t made them go on a killing spree like the Germans during ww2 or cut off people’s heads like the Arabs or land grab like the Chinese.

  13. Here’s a wacky idea, Lucky. Ever stop to consider that India is a wildly over-populated, corrupt, poverty-stricken nation? Maybe, just MAYBE, their freaking airline and its “product” isn’t exactly the top priority for a cash-strapped nation. Perhaps what little money they do have should go to making sure their citizens don’t starve? I suggest you actually tour India, instead of taking Emirates F to India, and riding in a Mercedes to an Aman resort. See the real India, and then maybe you’ll understand why their airline isn’t up to the standards of the oil-rich Gulf nations.

  14. I completely agree to this post Lucky. One of the problems I really see is that AI gets such a bad press and it is hammered into people’s minds again n again, so people just start not liking AI without even trying it. If you have a bad experience and then you don’t like it, fine! But why develop a preconceived notion that AI is pathetic without ever stepping foot on their 777?!

    I feel AI is such a complicated airline and they have to go through a lot. Firstly, the fuel prices and taxes in India are sky high regardless and North Atlantic routes are sooo protected for the American and European carriers that it becomes very difficult for an airline who does not have a sensible government who knows to operate its airline properly. Heck, AI, the national airline of India is just the 3rd largest airline in India. That says a lot. AI is literally forced by bureaucracy to open unwanted routes and suffer losses. And the government won’t even allow AI to convert their 787-8s to 787-9s which they can operate to US way more efficiently.

    On top of that Emirates/Etihad/Qatar/Thai/Singapore/Cathay/Lufthansa/British run their operations to so many cities within India. And people go with them coz of… fascination! And excellent connectivity. Because we hear about the gulf carriers again n again and news portrays them as the best and bloggers keep on writing about how wonderful their product is, well it is.. but in business and first! People tend to forget that they will eventually be travelling in economy which as a matter of fact AI and Jet are almost as equal to everyone else.

    Also, what AI lacks is network management. Such a bad network with poor transit connections. If only they improve than, DEL can become a fortress! And I feel they should focus on BOM too. They have completely ignored it and I don’t know a single person from BOM who wants to transit through DEL. The government definitely needs to remove the red tapes, reduce prices, get rid of the stupidest 5/20 rule and for a change help its own airlines grow and proliferate. Help them improve their products, get better IFEs. They are already better than all US carriers and heck, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar would be in some serious trouble if that happens.

  15. @ Susannah — Take a chill pill. You’re missing the point. I agree with most of what you say, which is why Air India’s current state is so unfortunate. They’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars on their airline. I’m sure you’d agree they can’t afford to do that, right? That’s why I’m suggesting if run properly the airline could be a profit center for the country.

    Or are you suggesting the best India can do is run an embarrassing airline which loses hundreds of millions of dollars?

  16. @AVS I have flown into Delhi a few times over the past three years. I do not transit there. However, my experience is that the facilities are not even remotely close to what is offered in Dubai and Doha. They feel overcrowded, lack the amenities, and seem poorly managed and staffed poorly. Yes, you make a good point in that much of this is a result of the mess and perception of Air India and it’s fragmented network – but to say that the premise of the facilities there is even close to the M.E. airports is a massive stretch.

  17. @Nate
    I kinda disagree with you. I guess their livery, especially on 787s, is just gorgeous. So unique than all the other liveries out there.
    But I don’t know probably I am the only one who likes it!

  18. I flew air india econ JFK-Mumbai i ~2009 because it was the cheapest option and I was a poor college backpacker. To quote Mr. Brown “I experienced India on Air India.” The econ section was crowded and dingy…I expected to see a chicken running through the aisles any minute.
    Of note I was probably the only non-Indian on the plane and most were from India and non American-Indians as many wore sari’s and other traditional clothing.
    Don’t remember anything about the seats but I do remember the extensive IFE choices for both Hollywood and Bollywood films. I don’t think there is a culture that enjoys their movies more than India does! I remember the food being solid for econ as well.

    As for the airport in Bombay, despite it being an international airport it reminded me of a regional US airport. I missed my midnight flight back to the states and had to wait the full 24 hrs until the next flight so I snuck into the pre-security first class “lounge” to spend the night. It was basically an unattended closet with a dirty couch I crashed on since I had no money for a hotel.

    That being said, I hope you actually get to spend some time in India Lucky and aren’t just getting on another flight right when you get there. It is a gorgeous country and the people are very friendly, I loved my 3 months there.

  19. After reading this post, two questions come to mind:

    1. Is Air India’s advertising campaign specifically targeting the Indian national market?
    2. Is Air India”s advertising team out of touch with the international community?

    It seems like the advertising campaign is targeted for the Indian national market. Before the internet, these tv ads would probably only air in India. In present day, These tv ads may still air on broadcast television in India, but eventually someone will upload it to the internet. I think Air India needs to put a advertising team together that specializes in modern international marketing and produce media ads that will entice both the international travelers and the Indian national market.

  20. @Amol

    That guy’s reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, since he’s one of the few reviewers I know who never seems to have a bad experience with any Indian carrier…ever. To say he is a bit biased is an understatement. Not saying there aren’t good reviews of Indian carriers, but maybe a less biased source would be better…

  21. For all the poverty discussions here regarding India and how that relates to Air India I call foul. Yes, poverty is a huge issue in India and is a sad part of the country. However, that is hardly the cause of the eventual demise of Air India. There is a large and growing middle class and, as well, we all know the wealth that has been achieved with many there over the past decade. Clearly an airline can do well in the region and the M.E. Big Three are making a killing on serving the growing middle class and monied in the region. So it can be done despite the unfortunate poverty. As well, proving this, the ability for Air India to become a great carrier like the M.E. big three would be another positive in creating jobs and be another step (albeit small) in providing opportunity in the region.

    Quite frankly, to call out Ben on being insensitive is a bit much….this blog is about the travel industry and, this post, more specifically, about Air India. There is plenty of money in India to make this carrier viable. And, further, if they had been less corrupt over the years would be in a position of strength at this point.

  22. I’ve just flown AI Dreamliner from FRA to DEL (in Business) followed by a domestic return in Economy to ATQ (Amritsar). All on a Dreamliner, in fact the same plane.
    Irrespective of the cabin I felt like Zi was on board of a 20 year old plane. Seats were dirty and worn out. IFE controller in Economy broken on my way to Amritsar, screen cracked on the way back to Delhi. Why? Perhaps the same reason as the one why Hyatt Amritsar is an unfinished building surrounded by an empty mall in the middle on nowhere. No follow up. No one to look after investment.
    I am glad my brief affair with Air India is over. Brace yourself Lucky!

  23. It is me from the other post.

    If any foreigner wants to understand why AI is the way it is today, you have to understand the nature of the Indian government.

    First of all, India is by no means ‘poor’, like what some of the commentors said above. Yes, poverty exists, like in every country, but the state itself is tremendously rich, and only just approved a $50bn dollar high speed rail line.
    It has the third highest GDP PPP in the world that is expanding at a rate of 8% on an annual basis, far outstripping China’s growth for now. Furthermore, it is rich in natural resources, which is the entire reason why the Brits tried to control it. The country has diamond reserves worth trillions and is only just starting to exploit it in order to create more economic growth – so I think we can throw out the country’s ‘poorness’ as a measure of why AI performs terribly. That’s just a tired, old, stereotypical view of India.

    No, AI is terrible because the Indian government, until 2014, was very insular and protectionist. I’m sure many of you will recall the sheer amount of red tape it took just to get a visa before the E-visa scheme was introduced when the new govt. came into power – that’s because the previous government actively discouraged investors and tourists from coming. The Indian siege mentality exists because of the way Indians have been treated like utter crap by the British – and so right after independence the country allied with the USSR, became highly socialist, and probably one of the most protectionist and anti-capitalist countries in the world.

    Compare that with the UAE and Singapore and their carriers. Both highly capitalist societies with excellent airlines. There is definitely a correlation here. The new govt. on the other hand believes in private enterprise and is opening up the country to foreign investment – a far cry from the previous one.

    The point I am trying to drive across is that change doesn’t happen overnight. The country has only just started to open up AT A POINT WHERE it feels it can adequately defend itself instead of being in a fragile position where it can easily be wrangled and exploited by the West. With time, things will become better. If anyone is to blame, it isn’t really us.

    And to be fair, our carrier is the least of our worries right now, but we haven’t abandoned it entirely.

  24. Lucky – @Susannah’s point is based on the premise the Gulf carriers aren’t actually making a positive cash contribution when you take out all the cash investment put into the business. Sure they may show some fake account profit, but the reality is they are not throwing off more cash than they consume. So a country like India with greater social issues would not be wise to throw that much cash into an airline that is unlikely to return much cash if at all.

    Air India is also stuck running routes to unprofitable domestic locations for political reasons, yet competes with many LCCs to the more viable locations.

  25. Lucky – thanks for publishing my comment in your post! I actually guessed it was featured when I saw the headline on Boardingarea.com

    As to some of the criticisms against Amol/Lucky/my argument above:

    1. The whole “India should only focus on poverty reduction” argument belies the fact that if Air India was more successful, all the employment that EK/EY/QR are creating, would be in India instead of abroad. Those are tens of thousands of jobs created directly and hundreds of thousands created indirectly.

    2. The Indian diaspora (with the exception of laborers in the Middle East) is generally wealthy and travels home often. For example, Indians in the US visit home far more often than Chinese folks of the same wealth level do. No matter how polluted or dirty India is, Indians are drawn home for weddings and family events. The Indian diaspora spends tons of money on travel and also within India when visiting. Why let all these dollars and pounds and euros get spent on foreign airlines?

    3. For those complaining about transiting at DEL – India is a massive country and even if the INT-INT experience isn’t great, INT-DOM is easy and has a huge market. I haven’t done INT-INT so I can’t comment on it. That being said, DEL could be a great transit point for SE Asia/Oceania – Europe/USA and NE Asia – Africa traffic flows. It’s not as well positioned as say IST but it’s still very well positioned.

    4. Despite AI’s terrible reputation, plenty of people pay a premium to fly ORD – DEL for the convenience of the non-stop. I refuse to do this because AI is one of those airlines that’s “great when it’s on time and you don’t run into any issues” but sadly you “run into issues” far too often to take that risk.

    The big point here is that Air India “could” be amazing. It takes courage, privatization, and hard work.

  26. @Coldagglutannin Mumbai just opened a new international terminal a few years ago and it is STUNNING. One of the nicest ones I’ve seen in the world, especially considering I was in India. So I am sure your 2009 experience is very accurate but wanted you to know that the new terminal in Mumbai is now open and it’s a whole new experience. It actually reminded me of a high end Vegas casino as far as finishes, if that helps paint the picture at all.

  27. @ Greg — My point wasn’t to suggest that Air India should be run like Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar, but rather to suggest that those airlines are stealing their market share, when Air India could be turning a profit on those passengers if they were just properly run. Air India *actually* has access to the market which so many EK/EY/QR passengers are flying to, and if they had a decent product they could be charging a premium for the convenience of nonstop flights, not to mention be stimulating the Indian economy.

    So it’s not about being like EK/EY/QR, but rather that if there’s an airline which has access to a lucrative market and could turn money if properly run, it’s Air India. But I doubt they will ever be properly run.

    In the meantime I think we can all agree that the airline in its current state isn’t helping anyone out? They’re losing money while being an embarrassment, so I don’t think anyone “wins” with such a setup.

  28. “It has the third highest GDP PPP in the world that is expanding at a rate of 8% on an annual basis, far outstripping China’s growth for now.”

    Yeah but China is so many laps ahead of India it’ll take a while for it to catch up, even if India does have stronger growth at the moment.

  29. I am a pretty old guy now, but used to fly on AI frequently for business travel back in the 70s from my home in London when it was more economical for me to fly on commercial airlines. I recall that then AI had an undisputed reputation as the king of the skies in terms of their modern fleet (first airline in Asia to have a complete jet fleet) and royal service. I was a consultant for SIA when SIA was establishing itself as an airline and I remember that they were emulating Air India, since Air India was leaps ahead of the competition and was considered the benchmark of the “5-star” airline. Things have changed significantly since government acquisition of the brand, but I sincerely hope that AI regains its royal reputation, since I would like to make a trip back on the Maharaja for nostalgia’s sake and I probably don’t have many years left. At the same time, I hope they don’t follow the highly subsidized and frankly government funded propaganda route of the ME3. The airline has been focusing on the domestic market recently, which is good since the Indian domestic airline industry is much more lucrative than the international routes. Let the foreign airlines serve the international market. I also find it interesting that Indian media is so focused on mishaps on Air India when there are so many mishaps occurring on other airlines but hardly in media coverage (i.e. I investigated when a Delta 777 lost a landing gear during take off from TLV, yet hardly any media coverage of the incident). I have visited over 60 incidents related to rodents on aircrafts and none of them were Air India (many of them were on airlines frequently written about here). This is probably a testament to the freedom of the Indian press on criticism of us government. Anyways, I love traveling to India and hope to take a trip on AI maharaja class before my demise. Interesting article I found here which makes for an interesting read for airline history buffs, such as me:

    http://www.airlinereporter.com/2011/10/a-detailed-look-at-air-india%E2%80%99s-history-part-2-%E2%80%93-guest-blog/

  30. 1. As far as AI’s operational issues and outdated everything (marketing, maintenance practices, staff attitudes), almost all of that can be laid at the door of the Indian government’s corruption and bureaucracy. Will the current administration change that? Based on the year and a half they have had, I doubt it. There have been some process improvements in government functions, but the big issues like deregulation and privatization are blocked by entrenched interests paying off politicians at every level and corruption throughout the civil service.

    2. As far as this being an ‘Indian’ issue, private sector achievements by Indian individuals and corporations that compete successfully worldwide make it clear AI’s issues aren’t a cultural issue. It’s an issue of corrupt government captive entity versus relatively free enterprise. A good analogy would be the operating incompetence but apparent untouchability of the TSA in the US. Note that private airports in Delhi and Mumbai are relatively well run even when dealing with the local obstacles.

    3. Racism against Indians can be an issue in various contexts, but some (Krish) seem to react to historical and current wrongs by refusing to distinguish between justifiable reasons for national pride and defending clearly corrupt and incompetent players simply because they are Indian. Again, many people in other countries do make this same mistake. Witness the lack of public or legal accountability for political and military leaders in the US for war under false pretenses, and these leaders are often hailed as patriots despite the suffering of thousands of US soldiers and millions of others. Defending AI and other state ‘champions’ doesn’t rise to the same level of reflexive defensiveness, but it does come from the same impulse of ‘my country, right or wrong’. I would suggest that corrupt or incompetent representatives of any country are doing the citizenry a disservice, and should be held accountable for their errors. Everyone would be better off.

  31. The person who commented that Air India is a complex beast is barely even scratching the surface of the issue. Some things to keep in mind :

    a) Union/Labour issues – If you think the US/HP/AA labour mess is complex, the AI/IC mess is even worse.
    b) Reservations – As a Government entity, AI is required to hire and promote a minimum quota of lower caste, tribal and backward classes. This often results in less qualified persons rising into management roles that they really shouldn’t be in.
    c) Infrastructure – The air transport infrastructure in India is woeful. Delhi is quite possibly the worst major hub airport in the world and Mumbai is not much better.
    d) National mindset – A certain type of Indian loves to complain about India and Indian things, and unfortunately these constitute a disproportionately high number of those with sufficient disposable income to spend on international travel. You could give these people a choice between 100 rupees or 1 dollar (worth about 35% less) and they will pick the dollar because its foreign and irrationally perceived to be worth more.
    e) Brand India – India has not branded itself well internationally. This is changing under the Modi administration, but until then the airline has a significant brand equity disadvantage simply because of its name.

    There is no doubt that the potential is there, but there is also no doubt that the potential will never be completely realised. For all the above and many more reasons.

  32. I also have to say that from the pov of airport traffic mgmt and amenities, I find Bom and Del to be excellent. Somewhere in between the glamour of Sin and the dullness of Ord or YYZ. On general, Del and Bom are easily on par with most European airports and have some of the cleanest bathrooms (important to someone at my age – being old is so inconvenient). I have not been to any other airport where they clean up immediately after you use the bathroom and have someone offer you towels after you wash your hands!! I also love the art and decor at Bom and Del. I should point out that I helped with the design of both so I have a conflict of interest. T3 in del is temporary anyways since T4 and T5 are destined for the near future. The airports primarily see departure and arrival traffic and have been designed with those aspects in mind so the terminals don’t boast the attractions of the more glamorous airports which need to cater to a significant transiting population. I have also had the most convenient immigration at DEL and wish it were as easy in Heathrow, my home airport. All in all, the airports were designed for very specific purposes for India with innovative energy and environmentally conscious features and they meet the requirements well. For those traveling on private or chartered jets, you will be happy to know that T3 has facilities for you as well aside from the private terminal.

  33. For someone who travels a lot Lucky does not seem to understand very well the culture and society the airlines represent. I recall his reviews of ANA where he pointed out the number of times the FA appogized. Apparently the notion of ” anshinkan” has not permeated Lucky’s consciousness yet!

    In the case of AI, no one absolutely no one is motivated to see it succed. The government sees it as its private fillet financed by the tax payers, the workers see it as a form of employment from which they cannot be fired regardless of performance ( check employment levels of other airlines with comparable fleets) and the management is typically drawn from career IAS officers terrified of offending the goverment! Mix in the opportunities for corruption in the purchasing cycle and you get what AI truly is.

    Here is a thought. 800 million Indians live on a dollar a day. A vast number when told they need medical treatment say dialysis or stents simply cannot afford it and are reluctant to put their families under crushing debt. They elect to go without treatment and die. The actual costs of heart procedures in India is close to $1000. The actual subsidy of Air India to date is approximately $10 billion. This investment at prevailing rates of interest in India could generate $800 million per year. If the goverment had never nationalized Air India it could have saved 800 thousand lives per year or about 4 million lives during the tenure of the current administration.

    The opportunity costs embedded in Air India represent an ongoing holocaust for poor Indians. The cruelty of the economic policies of India upon its citizens cannot be imagined.

  34. I fly ATL-BOM 4-6 times a year on AA/BA or UA. Direct flights would be a dream! And I would fly Air India if they introduced direct flights.

  35. we spend new year in india after booking an error fare on jet airways from copenhagen via paris and mumbai to bangalore ( 780 € in business) From Paris to Mumbai on the night flight we even got pyjamas which were really useful for the cold nights in Rajasthan. The flights were absolutely okay and the crew very nice. Food excellent and seating was herringbone with three seats in a row on the a330 .
    The only downside was the transport from international terminal in Mumbai to the domestic for the connection to Bangalore. You have to follow the signs for domestic flights and wait for someone to take you to a bus outside the terminal . The bus was in a very poor condition (gearbox was making noises like a Ford t model) and dirty. The bus passes all levels of housing in india ( 5 star airport hotels and people sleeping on the pavement) and arrives after 15 minutes in traffic jam at the domestic terminal.
    we had flights within india on Jet Airways in business ( really nice) , economy on Air Asia ( solid product) and Vistara economy ( really up to SIA standard as it is a new airline between TATA group and Singapore airlines) They have a three class cabin on domestic flights with economy, premium economy and business which is absolutely amazing.
    We did not book AI as my business contacts within India told me to avoid them and to book Vistara, Jet Airways,Indi GO or Air Asia .
    It is a shame for AI that they are not recommended by Indians and looking on the tables with departing flights on indian airports most domestic with delays were AI …..
    I think India is a great country with great airlines but AI seems to be one of the ones to avoid at least on domestic travel ( that is what locals tell you)

  36. From Chicago, AI offers by far the fastest way to get to Delhi. This year I thought for the first time about using my UA miles to book it. Then my stomach started to churn and I didn’t do it.

    I did fly AI in J (ORD) a few years ago. It was rough…dot-matrix-printed menu (only one copy, held by the FA); no menu at all at one meal, just “wej or nonwej?” Everything on one tray in foil containers, like a TV dinner. Alcohol served only if I demanded it. The Delhi airport is a great improvement though.

    Many AI employees do their best, just as many Indian government offices do have some staff who try to serve their customers, But the system as a whole drags them all down.

  37. The sad part, aka referring to people like ‘Krish’ would rather defend a product which is mediocre then take a stand and say ‘No – you need to improve Air India’, instead they somehow link it to pride and Patriotism and nonsense like that (which is fair.. but not sure how it’s linked to Air India in this regard).

    Instead, he should be using that to push companies (with everyone else) to improve, rather than defend a sub-par product which keeps declining in standards. Unfortunately the Governments here are more interested in political mind games rather than improving standards (not all, just most). I’ve been told off about ‘putting down India for not wanting to improve’ because that’s the way it is, and you should get out of the country if you don’t like it. Doesn’t seem very progressive to me.. just like Krish.

  38. I usually don’t reflect too much on these posts and I often think many commenters are out of line with their criticism… However in this instance I think they are right to call out Lucky. I wouldn’t call his assertions racist, simply unaware and… dumb… You see lucky, India is a vaaaaastly different culture from the united states (hell it’s 4 times the population and is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet) so an ad that would work in the US would not necessarily work in India. India is a neo-industralized nation with very high levels of illiteracy, the advertisers have chosen this very simplistic approach to make the ads easy to understand and to facilitate the connections people make with Air India

  39. The argument that India shouldn’t be focusing on its national airline because the country is “poor” is ridiculous. Ethiopia is arguably far poorer, but Ethiopian Air, also 100% government-owned, is an excellent carrier, the most profitable airline in Africa, #18 most profitable in the world, and a tremendous source of pride. Even poor countries can do it right, and they can use their flag carriers to actually be a net contributor to government coffers.

  40. @Phil
    I do not agree with your comments about adverts since firstly most ads in India are targeted toward the 400 million or so comprising of the middle and upper classes. Having worked in advertisement in India, I think Indian advertisements are very intelligent, witty, and creative. In my opinion, adverts in the US are actually targeted more to the weak or illiterate minded. I have worked in advertisement for a big NY firm for over thirty years which makes adverts around the world. The assessment on Air India’s terrible ads is much simpler: they simply do not care. Heck, you don’t even see their adverts on the television since government funded “profit” ventures cannot advertise in mass media so why spent millions on making an advert that really only appears on their website?? Instead just shoot something and call it a day.

    On a different note, I have flown AI maharaja class and enjoyed it just fine. Yes, they did not have a menu, but they actually brought all their items on a cart for me and explained each dish to me so I could pick and choose. I like that but I also recognize it is not the norm. My understanding was that is what they are supposed to do and that the menu is simply to inform the FAs of the dishes. Cannot comment on biz or eco since never flown (although I have also not received menus on some 5 star airlines in the past on eco). As far as the airports, I think they are perfectly acceptable by any standards. Don’t expect SIN or Dubai since these hubs also career to many transiting passengers, while Mumbai and Delhi see much lower traffic. But coming from the US, the two Indian airports seem wonderful. I especislly love the architecture and art galleries in mumbai. Yes, India has a lot of poverty, but oh my god do the 400 million strong middle and upper classes have money and love to spend and show off. My counterpart in India has a 250000USD Audi (thanks to ridiculous taxes on imported vehicles). Hell, I should demand a raise.

  41. AI is the favorite whipping boy for all the elitist people here who smugly start every comment th ‘I’ve only ever flown first class, so can’t honestly comment on the other classes’. And this post and the previous one are to fan the flame before Lucky’s trip on AI next week. Given the ridicule AI regularly gets on the page (yes, AI is far from the best airline in the world, so what, get over it), I can imagine some readers salivating over the upcoming trip report so they can offload their abundant superiority on a poorly run, poorly marketed state airline.
    All this brouhaha is just a chance for people to feel good about themselves (eww, I’d NEVER fly AI!) and I can already see the bias that will be expressed in the AI review (and the comments, coz the report will be everything the readers want to read!). Everything will be compared with Lufthansa or Cathay, but the final line will be ‘but India is totally awesome, guys. I love the people!’ Saying that proves there’s no frank racism (but we’re so ok with overt racism, aren’t we!)
    Kudos to Lucky for not moderating comments.
    Also Lucky, have you ever thought of your carbon footprint as you indulge in this ‘hobby’?

  42. I’m an American expat living in Bangalore and I won’t fly Air India domestic as there are other airlines that do the job much better- Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Indigo, Air Asia, etc. Even for a 45 minute flight to Goa, I would never fly AI. I’ve tried them numerous times in the past and the difference in quality between them and the other domestic carriers is night and day. When I board an AI flight in economy, I am shocked at the conditions of the seats, for example– seat back pockets hanging half ripped off, arm rests broken, seats with wires/springs poking into your bottom/back, etc. – mentally unsettling because I always think “If this is how they maintain the plane’s interior, what is quality control for engine maintenance?” Additionally the food is horrific, I’ve been violently sick two out of two times that I’ve ever eaten on AI (after those experience I never ate again on AI). I don’t know about the politics, corruption, labor issues, etc. of Indian airlines in general, all I know is there are better Indian carriers (i.e. any other one) when flying within India. As a side note, my wife’s company (a major global financial firm) has a company wide travel policy that no one (including the local Indian employees) are allowed to fly AI for any reason on company business.

  43. Ben/Lucky, that’s exactly for those native Hong Kong people say outbound trip not to choose Cathay Pacific unless ultra cheap fare. It is not only have LCC or cheaper tickets from other airlines, but also only focusing on China (Big Six) and shrinking as an unusual way!

  44. The blogger is a naive, spoiled, entitled snob with very little life experience. His idea of “travel” is to fly first class, then hide in a mega-resort. He’s consistently racist towards various Asian peoples. Posts like these where he makes a fool of himself are to be expected.

  45. PJ.D, thank you for your comment. You put the words in my mouth, really.

    “I can imagine some readers salivating over the upcoming trip report so they can offload their abundant superiority on a poorly run, poorly marketed state airline.
    All this brouhaha is just a chance for people to feel good about themselves (eww, I’d NEVER fly AI!) and I can already see the bias that will be expressed in the AI review (and the comments, coz the report will be everything the readers want to read!). Everything will be compared with Lufthansa or Cathay, but the final line will be ‘but India is totally awesome, guys. I love the people!’ Saying that proves there’s no frank racism (but we’re so ok with overt racism, aren’t we!)”

    Very true. If you were to go to the previous article on OMAAT about AI, you’d see that a vile specimen that goes by the name of ‘John’ has left this comment on it:

    “Do Indians practice open defecation on planes like they do in India? That could present a rather smelly and messy cabin experience for their fellow travelers.

    Probably best to give Air India a pass.”

    I…. I can’t deal any more.

    All this does is prove your point (and mine). And it’s incredible that Lucky allowed such an openly racist comment to be left on his article. Makes me wonder if he condones this kind of thing. Which only further proves my point that the unfair mudslinging against AI is fuelled by covert bigotry, racism, and stereotypes. These people deny it, but it just slips through the cracks. Anyway, I’m unaffected by the opinion of white trash when it comes to my country and people. They seriously aren’t comparable to us in any way. Neither intellectually, nor culturally. You don’t see us going around making repulsive comments about them and bringing up stereotypes – like the way white people practice incest in the Southern US and sleep with their siblings and cousins + shoot up schools and churches, but it’s perfectly okay to spread a completely untrue stereotype about Indian people based on what a few villagers do in the rural, forgotten parts of the country..?

    Amazing how these people travel so much yet they’re still in no way more knowledgeable about the world than the hicks that live in their country. These people… they love holidaying in places like Bali because of its Hindu culture, they practice various aspects of our culture in more ways than one, they go to their hipster yoga establishments, but when it comes to it, they will not hesitate to use us as a punching bag for their bigotry. Now I understand why the Indian government isolated the country from the world. All they were doing was merely protecting us from the scourge of the most twisted, psychotic breed of people to have ever inhabited this planet.

    Sayonara. I quit this blog, and encourage every other Asian on here to do the same. Time to find a FF blog run by an Asian because I could do without the subtle bias, bigotry and snobbery all over the place.

  46. @krish : Sigh.
    I just hope other people don’t take the above specimen as a typical Indian. Sorry, but we’re far better than this.

    *Shudders*

  47. Regardless of whether or not people are racist toward India and Indians…that does not change the fact that AI’s glory days of being one of the top airlines in the world are long gone. Hell, it isn’t even the top Indian airline any more, in terms of quality. Jet Air is much better, in all classes.

    Also, whining about racism then calling people white trash, hicks, etc, doesn’t make you better than them, it just means you are in the same gutter as they are.

    “Anyway, I’m unaffected by the opinion of ”

    Clearly, that isn’t true.

  48. Actually Krish, incest rates in the US (even the south) are less than 1%.

    On the other hand in Southern India it approaches 30%.

  49. I’m starting to think Krish isn’t even Indian, he is just a troll…hey, at least he is making Lucky some money 😉

  50. I love how ppl take blogs so seriously. Gosh, there is an entire world or there. Go experience it for yourself and make your own opinions. Blogs are entertaining and sensational just like what has become of news outlets in the US. They tend to be provocative and perhaps racist since they strive on viewership. Doesn’t mean that everything on a blog is the fact. If you want to travel and experience the world, then visit well known travel sites, gain valuable information and go around the world. Don’t expect to get any valuable travel insights on a blog such as this. In conclusion, there is no point getting worked up over some article or comments that may be read by a few thousand ppl. It is insignificant at the end of the day. By the way, my dear Indian friends, I love India and will be back for the 47th trip this February. Will be going to Ladakh!!! I’m so excited.

  51. @Deo:

    oi besharam… mein hindustani hoon. You’re a sellout for caring too much about what *they* think about you and their perception of you. What was wrong with what I said? You’re so eager to criticise me for the mere crime of having the self-respect to defend myself, yet you haven’t said a single thing about the kind of insults these angrezis and firangis have heaped on us. Please go and run to Piyush ‘Bobby’ Jindal and live with him if you like being a sellout to the West.

    @Aaron:

    What a typical comment. I’d like to see someone call you a white trash hick, totally unprovoked, perhaps repeatedly over the course of your entire life, and then see how you respond. You’d probably whip your gun out and shoot their entire house down. My response is much more muted than that because we aren’t genetically inclined to go on massive rampages like Dylan Storm Roof.

    Good riddance.

  52. “Sayonara. I quit this blog, and encourage every other Asian on here to do the same”

    At least keep your word for a day dude.

  53. @Kirsh: outdoor defecation is not a rare event, it is done by villagers and poor city people very day all across India.

    The problem with us Indians is that we don’t see it, just as we don’t see poverty, we don’t see inequality, we don’t see the piles of garbage, we don’t see corruption. I remember a relative telling me that Delhi’s pollution was just an issue raised by foreigners to humiliate us: “Why should foreigners tell us what to do? We are independent now!” It’s very insecure and very sad.

  54. Hai Ram, that’s where you’re wrong about me. For example, are you aware of the fact that our country cut its poverty rate from 35% in 2000 to 21% in 2015? Do you know what a tremendous achievement that is for a population of our size? Are you aware that with the current projections, we might hit a 15% poverty rate by 2022, and cut that down to a little above 5% by 2035 and beyond?
    Do all these two-bit angrezis and goras know the sheer amount of effort we put in to reduce poverty by that amount? Do they know that we have been a massive success story when it comes to poverty reduction? Do they know how bloody difficult it is to do it after the nation was stripped dry of its wealth by the British?

    You foreign-born desis just don’t seem to get the point. India has only been independent for less than 70 years yet it has made such massive strides, but people can’t seem to focus on the good.

    Also, please don’t insult yourself by thinking that these firangis ‘care’ about you or about poor Indians when they talk about public defecation, when we all know that the only reason they’re mentioning it to us is so that they can get off on a casual dose of bigotry. You should really know better and stop being so naive. You think your friend John who left that comment on the other article cares about the villagers more than I do? No, he’s just another worthless white nobody who will amount to nothing ten years down the road.

    The point here is every country has its faults, yet no country cops as much abuse as ours does when we’re pretty much one of the most peaceful and non-antagonistic states out there. Perhaps that needs to change now so that some people can learn a lesson.

  55. For Deo, the stereotypical Indian is more like a white man’s bootlicker – it’s been that way for 250-300 years. It’s about damn time that changed, and we stand up for ourselves. I think that we should conduct ourselves with dignity at all times, but also not allow ourselves to be unfairly disparaged and misrepresented. A funny looking photograph on a website is fine to laugh at for a minute, but to generalize an entire nation, and for it to dredge up the kind of unbelievably racist comments and all kinds of uninformed conclusions that have cropped up here is just ridiculous.

    To Lucky, perhaps you’re not in the mood to objectively read feedback at this time. But I must tell you that your blog is slipping. A lot of ‘posts’ these days are either click baits or utterly trivial. You have received a lot of publicity lately, good for you. You want to steer this blog to a bigger place, but I think you’re in turbulent waters at present. I also feel that your blog is not right for me. I know, who cares, I’m inconsequential here. Fair enough. I feel what your blog portrays is misleading and not achievable for the average Joe. It seems likely that people will rack up debt, while you get compensated for the referral (which are getting aggressive these days, btw). That lifestyle is for the millionaire set, or people traveling on their company dime. I used to read your blog when I had time to relax, and it was enjoyable. Lately, it has a different flavor, and I’m checking your blog less and less. (And your lifestyle seems pointless to me these days when the world is in such turmoil.)
    Take care, I wish you well.

  56. @Krish – Didn’t you say “Sayonara. I quit this blog, and encourage every other Asian on here to do the same”?
    Why do you still keep coming and reading all of these? Chill out dude!!!!

  57. “I’d like to see someone call you a white trash hick, totally unprovoked, perhaps repeatedly over the course of your entire life, and then see how you respond. You’d probably whip your gun out and shoot their entire house down.”

    Hahahahahaha you really are a racist bigoted hypocrite troll, as others have mentioned. I’d say I’d definitely respond with a bit more dignity and decorum, and if nothing else, hopefully with a bit more wit.

    And, as others have also mentioned…didn’t you say you were leaving? Why are you still here?

  58. @Krish & all the other similarly-minded Indians posting here, your cricket team sucks as much as AI….

  59. “Air India probably has the most comfortable economy product on the 777 in the world”

    Ben, last I checked, economy on JL’s 77W has 34″ of pitch and 19″ width. I know you don’t fly economy, so please do your research before posting. 😉

  60. Y’all can argue all you want about incest or public defecation or any other nonsense but here’s the bottom line, as is said on this blog:

    I flew a short 1hr40 minute flight on AI and they left 40 passengers bags in Mumbai with no explanation. We were all made to wait in baggage claim as one employee filled out one form per passenger (as pax mobbed him in a mad scrum). Nothing as to when the bags would arrive save for “maybe on tomorrow’s flight”. Absolutely zero fucks given. I’ve been told that they will “try” to get the bag to me within two days. Gee, thanks!

    Never again. I booked with AI because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. They really don’t give a shit and it shows. All my Indian friends are now telling me this is complete par for the course.

    So defend it all you like, folks, but I’ve never seen such a shoddy airline in my life. The only reason I’m not losing my shit is because I’m on holiday and I won’t let them ruin it.

  61. The problem with this blog is that there is no need for it in this day and age. Most people travel in economy and there are tons of other websites that have already covered the frequently traveled destinations and hotels. Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, anywhere in Europe, Australia and most of the other locations aren’t exactly the exotic destinations anymore but frequently traveled to and blogged about. But, this gives me the idea of starting a blog on my friends and my travels to the more exciting and difficult to reach destinations that we have experienced during photoshoots over the last 20 years. (Places that you certainly won’t find first class airlines traveling to and in many cases no airlines but my god are the endeavors rewarding).

  62. @Michael_NY

    I am with you! And I’d very much like to read your blog.
    This site was trove of great information once but now it’s just credit card plug and RealHousewives gifs. Lucky, what is Plan B?

  63. @Neat
    Although I haven’t started a blog yet due to a legality that I wait a year after retirement to do any self publicizing, you may have come across several (atleast one per issue) of my works in a certain magazine on global natural and human interest pieces. The unnamed magazine has a yellow border :p and Michael_NY is a pseudonym. My next piece is a human interest article on one of my favorite destinations, Meghalaya in India.

    Thanks for supporting my observation here though since I feel that the owner of this blog has made significant strides at such a young age and surely has the potential to evolve immensely.

    @Trent: thanks for the interesting article on Air India’s history. I do hope the airline returns to its glory years as a reflection of the amazing country that is in its name.

    @Robin: Ladakh is 4th on my list of amazing global places. Just make sure you obtain the permits in Leh before you forage deeper into the area since the area is otherwise restricted.

  64. Wife traveled Air India from Newark to Mumbai, terrible experience, bad food, TV in the front seat not working. Not going to travel again. Total crap airline. Better to go with one of those gulf country airlines, far better value for money.

  65. Why do some Indians get offended when others criticize their country? I mean I must hear how we Americans are stupid, ignorant, fat, smelly, lazy trigger-happy, selfcenteted, and clueless atleast once a day, but I don’t really let it bother me that much. The fact is that a lot of those things may be true for a large percentage of our population (yes, I have seen ppl defecating in public in many cities in the US too – poverty is everywhere and the US counts). Yes, we are a country where almost a third of girls in college have been sexually assaulted and raped and I know we all wish that our media actually showed such relevant stories. But, the point is that on the whole I think we shrug these comments off and move on. Maybe we shouldn’t just shrug it off since we are so far behind the other developed countries in social welfare and behind developing nations in academics, but there’s no point in baseless racist comments on a blog such as this! If people have such perceptions of my country, then I should think about the cause and do my part to fix it – not aimlessly argue. I have wonderful and very intelligent Indian friends and I travel to India multiple times a year. I admire their traditions and culture, but India is going through a transformation just as we did years ago and I am sure things will improve – given as to the dynamic going population of the country. Their middle class is larger than the entire population of my country and the biggest companies in the world are now run by them! Yet, some stupid little article on frankly an inconsequential topic of an airline had ppl all excited leading to racist comments which just supports makes everyone look like an imbecile. It’s an airline! Our airlines are crap as well – I just flew first class on united and guess what? They forgot to load beverages!!! So we had water for a three hour flight – an inconvenience yes but hardly the end of the world. So please keep your perspective on the larger picture before being so emotionally attached to such comical articles. Travel the world and experience the culture and people. Getting there is only a part and even that a small party of the travel experience. If after a journey all you remember is your flight, clearly you need to find a better travel destination.

    BTW, my condolences to the Indian cricket team on their second loss. Your bitterness really need to pick up the game after such amazing and artistic batting performances! (Yes, I am an American firangi who actually watches, enjoys and understands cricket)

    Namaskar

  66. Krish, you’re sinking yourself with every additional comment you leave. Methinks he doth protest to much and all.

    It’s a blog specifically targeting high end travel. If that’s not your thing, kindly stick to word and leave.

  67. I love flying Air India. I have done it 3 times from JFK to COK via DEL. Superb seating quality, equal to Qatar on 777 ER, very good service from experienced staff, good food options, smooth transit at DEL. I had my experience with EK, EY, KU, QR and AI is very much an underdog in the Indian market. QR is definitely ahead but all others have their drawbacks. No matter what studies, research, numbers says about AI the fact is that the matter of 90% travelers to India is cost. They will fly on paper planes from Nigeria if it’s the cheapest rate available. There are some very good expert reviews on YouTube about AI. The commotion videos you see about AI won’t stand any chance with any other airlines anywhere in the world for any reason but with much pain AI takes it you ignorant idiots who wants to follow the normalities of this abnormal times

  68. Gov’t owned services: Incident – A shock, but for good reasons, which revive faith in it…

    Usually Air India is known for its ill services, unfriendly or cold behaviour towards passengers just like in most of the Gov’t offices but sometimes things happens which reaffirms old saying that its the people and there services which makes service industry good and not otherwise (ROCKET SINGH-SALESMAN OF……..)

    Its 19 May 16, a flight from Bhuj to Mumbai, an ATR flight, smaller in size, propeller one, quiet a slower in speed, a journey which takes two hour at least for said distance.

    Its about an air hostess, may be in her late 30s or early 40s (sorry if I quote it wrong, least this msg reaches her) who had a approach really larger than life. She was continuous on her feet helping out elderly passengers, serving all and confirming needs of passengers and ensuring it.
    Being in last row the coffee served to me was almost cold, when the air hostess reached to collect the empty tray she asked ‘how was the coffee?’ I happen to mention that it was almost cold, to which she promptly apologize (which is a rare thing with air India crew) and asked if she can bring another cup. I refused and thanked her for concern shown. I got busy surfing through newspaper, when she came with a glass filled with hot coffee to offer and again apologising for the earlier coffee,in cold state, served to me. I was really pleased and touched with her approach towards her job.

    I am not mentioning this just bcoz I was served coffee or given good treatment to me. It’s bcoz the air hostess was agile and was sensitive and responsive towards passengers needs and her services.

    Kudos to people like her who takes there job seriously in service industry, especially in mundane Gov’t industry and believe in indian ethos of services, which are usually found hanging on the wall and least imbibed….

  69. “Kudos to people like her who takes there job seriously in service industry, especially in mundane Gov’t industry and believe in indian ethos of services, which are usually found hanging on the wall and least imbibed….”

    @kk: Very well said, and may I extend that sentiment to the mundane Gov’t and the atrocious service industry here in the USofA as well…

    A proud American who wishes they had even more to be proud of…

  70. The biggest problem IMO is not the planes, but the hub in India. Few times that I flew on Air India, the in-flight experience was OK. But going through Delhi/Mumbai hubs is a massive pain. If they can make that experience seamless and as convenient as in Dubai, then they can try to corner the marketshare.

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