Like we have noted before, Jet Airways has been in the midst of some sort of changes where the focus is on more monetization rather than customers. And this is coming from a guy like me who swears by Jet Airways.
First, we had this thing where the airline refused to put the coats of economy passengers in the plane’s closet, stating it was now exclusive to Business Class fliers. Think about it, I’ve never ever seen this being mentioned on their literature as an exclusive service.
Then, a month ago, they changed their boarding process, where elites are demoted to board in front of their zone rather than in front of everyone else. This just means you run out of space for your bags if you give them your business often enough. Or, you can sit in the back with lesser legroom, and board first. And also risk then you won’t get your choice of meal because high chance they ran out of those by the time your turn arrives.
And now, there is a new process that has been introduced for non-elite flyers over the past 13 days or so. Let us circle back to Seat Select, a service which allows everyone to pre-assign a seat on the plane before check-in window opens. In economy, JP Platinum members get it for all fare categories, while Golds get it for Classic and Flex Economy tickets. Everyone needs to pay a fee.
Hypothetically, I am signing on for a full-service Asian carrier. So, for a moment, let’s not equate ourselves with British Airways or American Airlines, where everything is paid for separately. On an Asian FSC, I’d expect to pay for a ticket and at least get a seat and a meal and the privilege to check in bags. And that has been the case for a while.
There is a new twist however in how badly this move has been executed. So, earlier the window for web check-in was 24 hours for non-business/first class / non-Gold & Platinum tier passengers. Over a few years ago, Jet Airways implemented a new web interface which accounted for the current requirements, and you could have various functionalities such as pre-assigning a seat and also changing a seat after web check-in, subject to a better seat being available.
All that seems to have gone away. And I discover these things without any direct communication from Jet Airways to the members.
My parents don’t fly Jet Airways very often. They are in the Vistara fold. Before that they were in the Indigo fold. So they don’t hold status on the carrier. On the incoming leg to Mumbai last week, we first hand realised how they can’t even get a free seat assignment if they tried anything before 12 hours. So, we got their seat assignment and check-in done on the day of travel.
Yesterday, somehow, the responsibility to check them in for their 8:55 pm flight came on to my brother. He wasn’t aware of the new rules, so he tried checking them in 24 hours prior. Saw the pricing for seat assignment and quit the process. We tried again yesterday morning. Only to realize they were already randomly checked in, on a seat not selected by them. And, Gulp!, the earlier functionality to be able to change your seats was gone.
We eventually managed to get them seats of their preference, but this was in the AFT section now. Both of them are old now, and I usually prefer to have them in the first half of the plane so that it is easier for them to board and deplane.
Earlier, Jet Airways used to incentivise web or kiosk check in with bonus JPMiles, which is now gone. Jet Airways now seems to turn back time to go back to a more manual intervention process so that people either pay them up in frustration, or keep clogging their phone lines or at the airport to do more manual work rather than open up the inventory at the check-in window for everyone to get seats on a first come first serve basis.
When an airline chooses to call itself a Full-Service Carrier, there is a certain notion that needs to be followed. In the case of Jet Airways, unfortunately, the focus right now is on minting more money. Here is a suggestion from someone else on Twitter.
I think @jetairways should stop serving food, reduce that part from the cost of the ticket & let us buy packed upma, noodles, sandwiches
— Kalyan Karmakar (@Finelychopped) July 1, 2017
What has been your experience with the new rules of check-in at Jet Airways?