Everyone who reads this blog knows I am a Jet Airways loyalist on the domestic sectors, and I do fly Air India from time to time as well. I just see more value out of flying a full-service carrier, as long as reliability is not in question. For a flyer with erratic schedules like me, it is important to be able to use the lounge to get some work done pre-flight if possible, and sometimes the only meals I eat are on the plane, so yes, they are important.
I recently decided to get back on Indigo after a very long time, maybe about 3 years or so. I just wanted to see what’s new and what is consistent in the airline since the last time I flew with them. I wasn’t surprised, things were largely the same.
I’ve been wanting to go to Jaipur for a while, and I decided to make a weekend getaway out of it. To maximise my time there, I decided to take the first flight out from Mumbai, which was incidentally, Indigo. I’d booked my tickets in one of the many sales that keep hitting these days, fully expecting to cancel it because my plans won’t pan out. Yet, they did.
About 48 hours prior to travel, I tried checking in. I found out that the first row was empty, however, Indigo still wanted to charge me INR 600 for checking into those premium seats which they were not able to sell. I got busy with something else and forgot about it. A few hours later when I tried again, I was able to snag 1D and 1F for free. It seems it was about somebody walking into office at an earthy hour, and putting out the payments on those seats. I was happy I did not have to pay so much extra as a part of the revenue maximisation strategy of Indigo.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 5:40 am, and that is too early for me to wake up and get to the airport, even though it is only about 15 minutes away from my home. So, I decided to pull an all-nighter and sleep on the plane, if possible. I was on my way to the airport at about 4 am, and made it in good time. Between two people, we were just carrying one carry-on luggage, and it fit the dimensions of carry-on prescribed world-over. However, the weight was more than their prescribed 7 kg by a tad bit more (hey, the bag weighed 3 kgs or so!), so I had to sneak it past their check-in staff! The counters, as expected, were early at that hour.
Indigo uses a lot of the aerobridges in Terminal 1C, so I was hoping my flight would also take off from 1C so that I could access a lounge (Carnations Lounge or American Express) to get breakfast before I get on the plane. Talk about working through the night without any snacks on you. However, we got a bus gate from Terminal 1B, and that meant the best I could treat myself to was coffee at the airport.
Boarding started about the right time, and I wasn’t surprised with the clockwork precision displayed. I was on the bus in no time, and driving towards our plane for the day.
Mumbai(BOM) – Jaipur (JAI)
Friday, July 25 2014
Distance flown: 567 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 1D (Economy)
Meal Service: Buy on Board
Since I was one of the first ones on the plane, and my seats were right up front, I managed to check out the XL seats, which are the front rows (1-3) and the emergency exit rows, and promise extra legroom or early exit from the plane. These seats were specially marked.
One of the surprising features introduced recently, was the small newspaper found in the in-seat pocket, something I haven’t seen before. The newspaper was perhaps a facsimile edition of the newspaper for the day, and placed on aircraft parked at metro locations. Alongside was their in-flight magazine/shopping catalogue called Hello 6E.
Once all the passengers boarded, the introductions to the crew were made along with the cities they belong to, which is a good touch. The captain came out on the FA’s PA system in the front of the plane and made his set of announcements from there, rather than the flight deck. He then added a little branding touch with a couplet at the end which sang praises of Indigo, and also mentioned that IST is Indigo Standard Time.
We took off ahead of time by about ten minutes, and were on our way at cruising altitude pretty soon. The crew started the buy-on-board meals service then, and went about offering a selection of sandwiches and wraps on board, apart from some dry snacks. Like is already known, Indigo does not have ovens on their planes, so all the food is served at room temperature, something they warn you before you buy your food from the crew.
Hungry, I decided to pick up a Sub, which the menu in the in-flight catalogue stated was a popular pick. Who am I to go against the masses then? The packaging for Indigo has fascinated me from long time ago, and this one was no different.
This one had a very very strong coconut undercurrent to it in terms of taste, and was a very chewy sandwich. Sigh, we decided to go for one of their wraps, which was again fancy pants packaging, however, at room temperature it did not taste good at all.
Sigh, AJ, when will you learn about that these overpriced snacks on planes are not for your palate.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. I wanted to pick up some Indigo merchandise to giveaway on the blog, and add one of their plane models to my model plane collection, however, they did not bring out the merchandise at all, and hence, no dice.
The flight arrived at Jaipur airport about 12 minutes ahead of time, considering they had taken off earlier than time. Since the plane was further going to go to Kolkata and Guwahati, boarding passes were checked on alighting from the flight and then we were on our way pretty quickly.
The Jaipur airport is pretty small, and since we did not have any bags to collect, we were out of the airport in no time.
Bottomline, would I fly Indigo again? Yes. They are quick and efficient. What holds me back, the fact that their fares are the same as a full-service carrier. Even if they introduced some sort of a loyalty program, I’d be bent towards taking them more often than I do at the moment.