Air India, the national carrier of India, has made a new patriotic decision, one which I like and completely adore. The airline has announced that in case they have a recipient of a gallantry award on board, these soldiers will be upgraded to business class on their domestic flights.
How does this work?
Gate upgrades are common in case of an oversold flight, and the current priority order is reflective of your frequent flyer status on the carrier, and perhaps, the alliance as well. In this case, AI is requesting decorated soldiers to submit a copy of their identity cards at check-in, which could help putting them up on to Business Class, subject to space availability.
The servicemen who have been bestowed with a Param Vir Chakra (PVC), Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), Vir Chakra (VC), Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra or Shaurya Chakra.
However, only the soldier gets the upgrade, and not the other passengers on the ticket. Just as a recap, Air India does provide a 50% discount on full fares to military personnel and their family members.
The new entitlement has been championed by the MD of the airline, and is approved to go live within this month.
A step in the right direction
We need to celebrate our soldiers, and this is a step in the right direction. Other countries such as the USA already have some form of respect for the soldiers on board, and I’m glad we are at least making a start.
Bravo Air India!