Friday, September 10, 2010

Air India.....More Content than others

I was coming on Thursday, 9th of September, from Delhi to Mumbai, by the IC 602 flight of Air-India. Normally, these days, when you are travelling the national carrier, you don’t feel really a sense of pride. Nowadays it is more about packaging. People love to see the attractive air-hostesses of the private carriers and like to convince themselves that they have had a wonderful journey through. I feel that somewhere our mentality has become cynical, and we always tend to look critically towards anything that is labeled as government. While I would not call this entirely fault of the Indian people but definitely this is an issue that needs to be handled.

I went into the terminal 1A of the IGI airport domestic section. The terminal 1A is not a much modernized terminal like the terminal 1D in the IGI airport, but nevertheless I had one thing in mind and that was to make my trip back to Mumbai to join my family for the weekend. I and my colleague both were around one hour early to the airport and we checked in properly. We were allotted seats 31 E and 31 F, the last row seats which did not recline. The start was horrible. We waited in the terminal after the security was done and had some snacks. Contrary to the feeling that people may have the IC fight started boarding at the right time. Just about when it was 20:30 hrs, half an hour before the take off the boarding started. The process was very organized unlike the other private airlines where they make you stand in the queue even when the flight has not arrived in the parking. There was no rush of the people although the flight was full. There were ample amount of buses that took us to the aircraft.

Inside the aircraft it was a lavish affair. Although we were the unlucky bearers of the non-reclining last row seats, but to my surprise there was enough leg-room, unlike private carriers and there was a fully operational in-flight entertainment system. The crew was the most courteous. The in-flight system had number of options and there was no announcement, unlike kingfisher, that the system was not available for this flight. There were good choices of movies and audio entertainments. The dinner was just served right on time and it was far better than any other airlines like JET or KINGFISHER. The take-off and landing was all smooth.

Seeing this good experience, I often wonder, why our national carrier is in such a bad shape as it is made out to be in the media. Why is there negative media propagation towards the national carrier? Why do the people in general put the brand Air-India, despite the good service they get, at a recognizable position? The reason is our biased attitude towards anything that is government and our flare for private company glares. In all my life I have had the worst service experience from the private sectors. This is because the customer support (that they claim to have) is totally untrained and naïve. If you excuse me, some of them are not even worthy of staying in a city and attending a phone-call. On the contrary the customer support cell of any government outfit may not be flashy, but yes there is content. Just like you have in the Air India flights; there is more content and less display.

Think about it.