I’m back at my desk early this morning thinking and all excited about how 2014 would shape up for work, personal life and my travel plans. As an aviation geek, of course, I am looking forward to trying out new products in the skies and trying to decide what goals should I work towards in 2014. This year might just be a very exciting year for Indian aviation. Here is why:

  • Air India might get accepted into the Star Alliance this year. Air India has been trying to get into the Star Alliance for a long time. After much back and forth, last month,  they got invited to join the Star Alliance the second time over. Whether they will join or not will be something that will be clearer over the months ahead, but it sure is an exciting proposition that my status on an airline would work for me both domestically as well as internationally on 26+ carriers around the globe.
  • Jet Airways and Etihad cooperation will kick in. As a frequent traveller on Jet Airways, I am keenly looking forward to see how the 9W-EY partnership will take shape. The discussion about Abu Dhabi becoming a hub for 9W is already starting to materialise, and 2014 would also be the year that Jet Airways would put its own metal on some new routes to North American & Europe. A rumor also going around is about 9W getting some A380s which are on order for Etihad and putting them in service. I am working to verify how true is that. Additionally,  Jet Airways won’t join the Star Alliance this year, or any alliance for that matter.
  • Indigo might be pursued to join an alliance. This has been going around for a while, and while I never believed this could come true. However, if Air India is moving forward with the Star Alliance, Sky Team might just pursue Indigo. Although it would be more beneficial for the alliance than for Indigo which will continue with its point-to-point model anyways.
  • The A380 will fly to/from India. Airbus A380s have so far not been a part of the Indian skies because they were not allowed in the bilateral treaties with other countries. The government might be rethinking that rule, and will perhaps allow the A380 in the country anyways. Emirates, Lufthansa & Singapore Air would be some of the airlines which I expect to go live with the A380 in Indian stations once there is a go ahead.
  • Mumbai air traffic will move to an integrated Terminal 2. Mumbai’s international and domestic traffic will move to terminal 2’s new building which will have domestic and international traffic all in one building. This one is coming up in January 2014.
  • Air Asia India and Tata-SIA will fly. Two of India’s new airline projects, both part sponsored & owned by the Tata group will take flight this year. Air Asia India is expected to take flight in the Summer Schedule of 2014 & TATA-SIA full service airline in the Winter Schedule of 2014.

Anything I missed? Overall an exciting time to be in India with the Indian skies. Have a great year all of you, and safe travels in the coming year ahead.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 7 Comments

Last month, I had posted about the promo awards that the Flying Blue program of Air France/KLM, where you could potentially get a one-way ticket in business-class cabins to Europe for 30K miles (instead of the normal 60K), and to the USA for 55K miles (30K Mumbai – Europe, 25K Europe – USA –> two separate awards).

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These promotional awards, are bookable only for the months of March and April 2013. Availability looked swell even at this point of time, with even up to 6 seats available on some dates in the business cabin.

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So, there you go with about 3 more weeks to make use of this wonderful opportunity. It might not be the best business class in the sky and it charges a fuel surcharge, but it still business class for a nominal price.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

FlyingBlue has been out in the public eye, for first offering a liberal status match to their Gold status, and then geographically limiting it to Scandinavia (the original plan), and then pulling out the offer altogether.

Miles and Points-holics have been worried if they will get their committed status match or not. I discovered on this FlyerTalk thread that someone has received a reply from KLM on Facebook, discussing the problem and committing to effecting the status match:

Thank you so much for your patience, <redacted>. We investigated the situation and acknowledge that due to a mistake from our side the campaign allowed members from outside Scandinavia to apply for a Flying Blue Gold status indeed. Therefore we decided to stop the campaign. All members that received approval for their status match request, however, will still receive their Flying Blue Gold card as promised. We hope you will enjoy all the benefits!
Please let us know, if you have any further questions?
Kind regards,
KLM Facebook Team

Further, in another reply to another poster, they committed themselves to solving the issue in 2 weeks:

We apologize for the inconvenience, however this problem should be solved within the next 2 weeks.
Unfortunately you are not the only one having this issue.
We thank you for your patience.

A third post here ratifies the discussion.

While I am not overly worried about this and would be a while before I’d chase them up, this is good news if this works out for everyone who applied.

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Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

This has been an interesting one to track right from the start. A week or so ago, SkyTeam member airlines Air France / KLM offered to match to Gold status in their FlyingBlue program anyone who was Gold status on another airline. The terms were generous and one had until May 30 to apply. Then […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 4 Comments

A couple of days back I wrote about the status match promotion that KLM/Air France were offering to FlyingBlue members, where they could match their status on any airline to FB Gold (equivalent to SkyTeam Elite+). However, now it turns up that this promotion has been reworded and limited to the regions it was supposed […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 10 Comments

FlyingBlue seems to be in the habit of offering a status match every few years to swell its ranks of elite members. They did a massive status match campaign in 2011, where you could get top-tier status with them (Platinum, equivalent to SkyTeam ElitePlus), for 2 years. Now, they are back with a new status […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 7 Comments

I have to admit I am not too much of a SkyTeam flyer even though they have a particular flight out of Mumbai (Delta) which suits me the most on work. So, this year I did not flow SkyTeam airlines at all, and I got word from KLM that my FlyingBlue status was going to […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 22 Comments

Skyteam airline Saudia has been offering, for the past few days, a Mumbai-New York JFK- Mumbai roundtrip fare on economy for ~550 – 600 Dollars. This fare is available for quite a few dates in 2013, all the way up to October 2013. This is clearly the cheapest flights to the USA could get. Saudia […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 6 Comments

It has not been long since the news of American Airlines and Air Asia X cutting back their flights to India has been in the news. Bad news is, there is more! A few days after Air Asia X announced their exit from Mumbai and Delhi airports, the assurance that no other Air Asia group […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | One Comment

Back in July 2011, Star Alliance put a lid on Air India’s ambitions to join their little coterie, by stating that the majority of the member airlines were against AI joining on the back of security concerns. Business seems to have taken over that logic now, and the media is reporting that Star Alliance and […]

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This was more a chance discovery but I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to know. American Express and Delta have come up with a wonderful offer, although targetted, which provides a very easy way to get Delta status all the way upto Feb 2013 with one round trip flight till Jan […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 5 Comments

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