I flew with Air India to Sri Lanka and with Indigo to Nepal. Both have been recent vacations, I have enjoyed a lot on both. And guess what? All the flight were on time too! The choice of the air carrier was determined by cheap airline tickets.
To Sri Lanka I was traveling with my nephew who talks a lot! It was great fun to have him with me. I have been on some Air India flights on the domestic sector where there was TV on the seat on an Air India flight. So I told him Air India has entertainment on domestic flights too and that was my undoing. When we found none on our Delhi-Chennai flight he went on and on about it, teasing me to no end! Thankfully they had enough food this time (unlike my Delhi Bagdogra flight) on all the four flights I took with them, Delhi-Chennai, Chennai-Colombo and back the same way. On the Colombo Chennai flight the entertainment set was not working in our row. As the flight was not full, my nephew changed his seat to a row where it was working. All this for a 45 minute flight! Both of us were happy, he watching some program and I having some peace and quiet.
I heard the most bizarre cockpit announcement ever on my Delhi-Chennai flight. The pilot came on the intercom after breakfast and said, “ladies and gentleman, you all would have got up early to catch the flight. I would suggest that you put the window shades down and take a good nap.” I kid you not, this was the announcement and it made me a bit jittery given the reputation of Air India and sleeping pilots. Anyway this one apparently didn’t go to sleep and landed us all safely at Chennai.
Air India and Indigo
On the other hand my Indigo flights had no such announcements and both the flights were on time. Last year also for Nepal I took Indigo flights and my return flight was terribly late. So was really thankful that both my flights were on time this year. All my Indigo flights have been generally hassle free. I usually buy something to eat on the plane so I was looking forward to buying upma this time. Only the serving flight attendant was visibly tired/annoyed. She would make such a grumpy face at everyone that I too didn’t feel inclined in the least to say thank you and I hardly ever don’t say thank you. When I asked her for upma she acted surprised. When I reminded her that it was listed in their menu she suddenly remembered and gave it to me. It was instant upma but it was good. I actually felt sorry for the girl. She was so young and was either tired or upset and had a job that didn’t allow her to be any of these! I saw her laughing only when she was saying bye bye to us after the flight landed.
But both the flights were good overall and I remember both of my trips fondly. After all what is a flight if there are not a few hiccups in it as long as they are not of the technical type!
We were flying back from Bangalore to Delhi today. When the flight started boarding on time at Bangalore we assumed that the fog was bearable at Delhi. My daughter and I slept through most of the flight. I didn’t even drink my customary tea on the Indigo flight. To put the record straight I do not like the packet mix tea they serve as it has added sugar in it but then tea is tea is tea!
As soon as my daughter started stirring and began asking for food they announced the descent to Delhi. So I told her the plane was about to land and we would go home soon. She got distracted. She was also sitting on the window seat, my window seat!
You know how descents are, fasten seat belt, trays folded, seat upright, window shades open and the like. While descending came a time when I could hardly even see the wings of the plane! Suddenly the plane started making a noise that is not typical of landing. And my husband pointed out we were gaining height fast. I remarked, “and not a sound from the cockpit.” But I was wrong, soon the first officer made an announcement that we had a missed approach to Delhi as they could not see the runway lights. He said it was a safe procedure and he would get back to us with more information.
My daughter started complaining of ear ache and a lot of my time went in soothing her. The second announcement was that we were circling 40 kilometers east of Delhi and would make another approach soon and if they saw the runway lights they would land the plane. I was wondering if the plane would land at Jaipur or Mumbai eventually, if it landed at all!
On the second approach some of us tried to laugh it off, some prayed. I could once again for a while not see the plane wings but a few seconds later I could see the ground and that we were about to land! The plane did land safely on the second attempt. While disembarking I told the cabin crew to say a big thank you to the captain for landing us safely.
So welcome to travel in 2013 with Travel tales from India!
I decided to fly to Delhi Kathmandu Delhi with IndiGo because I got incredibly cheap flights with them in the summer of 2012. This story unfolded on the Kathnadu Delhi leg. I usually like to check in early for my flights and my Kathmandu Delhi flight was no exception. I was coming back home after completing the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. While going into Kathmandu I didn’t pay much attention to the amenities available at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Also my rucksack was the first to arrive on the conveyor belt so I made a hasty exit into the city.
While going back it was a different story. I checked in early and I had a lot of time to have a look around the Tribhuvan International Airport and there was not much to see. Anyway, I had a fabulous trek and I was in a good mood. I was reading a book and my flight was a while later. I could actually go home and have a late lunch or so I thought.
After a while I left the lounge area and went to the departure hall. It was quite bare but food was not uppermost in my mind at that time. But then my flight started getting delayed! And gradually I started getting hungry. I had spent all my Nepali rupees but that should not have been a problem after all they accept Indian rupees. But it didn’t occur to me. So I didn’t eat anything after the breakfast!
After considerable delay (which is a rare thing with IndiGo) I finally boarded my flight. I had the window seat and next to was a charming young girl from North East India who was studying at Delhi University. It was a bit easier to wait for the food as I was chatting with her. But by now I was really truly hungry. I was sitting in the middle of the plane and that means you get served last as they start serving from the front and the back of the plane. By the time the food cart came to me I was really truly looking forward to my mini idlis along with a cup of tea. I was also praying that they would not run out of the idlis.
In the end my turn also came. Thankfully they still had the mini idlis. But when it came to paying they won’t accept a 500 rupee note! Both my neighbor and I had 500 rupee notes! Nepal does not consider 500 and 1000 rupee notes as legal tender so they are not accepted on a Kathmandu Nepal flight too.
Luckily I had 100 rupee notes in my bag in the overhead compartment. I asked the cabin crew to please pass my bag to me as I was really hungry and I wanted my food. They did so willingly. I took out the required amount, gave change worth Rs 500 to my neighbor and attacked my food. Mini idlis never tasted so good! I sometimes buy a packet of chips for my daughter as she likes the container a lot! Other than that I don’t think I have tried anything else on their flights!
But I am not too happy with their tea pouch as I like to take my tea without sugar. They do warn you that the only tea they have is in a pouch with sugar. When it comes to drinking tea with sugar or not drinking at all, I will go with tea with sugar but I am not at all happy with it. I am flying with IndiGo again in December so let us see if they have tea without sugar this time! But overall I like flying with IndiGo for their punctuality and sensible approach. Tea with sugar is just a small thing.
I think all travelers across the world love a good bargain and hence comparing flight ticket rates for cheap air tickets is such a big draw! And more than anyone else I guess we Indian’s just love a bargain and love to bargain. I don’t know how involved you are personally or what you consider to be the best practices but I play the game only to an extent.
If you ask me I am pretty indifferent between FSA (full service airline) and a LCA (low cost airline). If someone else is paying they are welcome to consider a full service airline 😀 but if I am paying I will go for a low cost airline. But off late almost all my flights have been either on Spicejet or Indigo. Service wise I think both do a very good job but I give a lot of brownie points to Indigo for their ramps and the difference they make in the life of people who need wheel chair access right up to the aircraft. I thought this point would be obvious to anyone but in a recent conversation I realized it is not so easily understood. Disability access is something that had not taken a hold on the Indian psyche!
I Love that Window Seat!
But coming back to comparing flight ticket rates I feel I will go will some Econ 101 (a basic introductory course in economics which many of us do) theory. It says instead of maximizing our returns we look for a satisfactory return. Why so? That is because information search takes time and no one has perfect information. I mean when I search for low cost tickets I do not move heaven and earth. I would look through Make My Trip and a few other such sites and then in the end I buy when I see a fare that is friendly to my pocket. Also sometimes the lowest fare is actually available from the airline website itself rather than any place else.
What do you do when you plan to book a ticket. And to Meena, we should meet in Bangalore!