So i had to go to chennai as soon as possible today to pay my visa fees. Right after i came down from kodaikkanal early this morning, i did a quick search for the earliest flight to chennai and there it was, the airline with whom my flying began about 10 years ago. Little did i know that this was the last time i would be flying with them, to say the least.
For starters, the website does not work on anything other than Internet Explorer, all you firefox and opera lovers out there beware (not to forget the mac users, man!!! You guys have no chance at all. And yes i will convert to the mac in about a week). And then , if you do manage to go through the initial few steps you get to select the meal, like Ford said “I will give you a car of any color as long as it is black (Or something along those lines)” Indian Airlines says “You can select any meal type but we will give you only vegetarian (A bland mix of so called chapattis, some ‘fried’ rice, two ‘curries’ on either side of the rice, the salad – ‘ a mix of carrot, lettuce, capsicum and ONE , yeah ONE grapefruit’, but i will give it to them the mango pudding was good). What really told the passengers that AI is running out of money is that they replaced their logo engraved silverware with plastic spoons of some unheard of manufacturing company. And before i forget, those two tiny bottles of water.
So the flight which was supposed to depart at 13 40 hours, landed at the airport at 14 50 hours, immediately followed by the 14 30 (departure) paramount airways in a couple of minutes. It took the AI crew about 20 minutes to clear the Airbus A320 off the passengers and their luggage. In the mean time, the highly efficient crew and ground staff of the Paramount Airlines had completed their work. Those people got to board the flight before us too. And yes, they took off before we did. We left at 14 15 hours.
About a few minutes into the flight, the food came in (read bland stuff). When people asked for their choice of food, all they got was an indifferent “We have only vegetarian food on this route” and they just walked away. When a passenger confronted them all they said was that they would drop in a suggestion at the office and yeah, they walk away again. The older flight attendants showed even more attitude (read “They act as if they own the airplane”).
Only one thing they said was correct. They landed at Chennai airport in exactly one hour after we took off. After they did land, well the pilot got the GREATEST surprise of his life!!!! NO PARKING SPACE. So after two full laps around the airport and passing through the runway twice and waiting right behind an airplane to let it take off before the runway cleared for us to taxi across, we finally came to a stop. 15 mins after landing at the airport, we were still sitting in the place taxing around. At last, we walked out the airport at 16 00 hours (about an hour and a half late).
Mr. Biswas trying to cool himself down using a newspaper inside Air-India's Airbus A320 (IC 672)
Bottomline, You will find yourself doing what Mr. Biswas (a fellow passenger) did if you travel with AI. Yeah, use the newspaper for ventilation. For a more graphic explanation look at the photograph above.
To sum it up, i am going to rate the airline out of ten in the following categories
AIRPLANE – 6 / 10
CREW – 2 / 10
CLEANLINESS – 7 / 10
FLIGHT EXPERIENCE – -1 / 10 (yes that is a negative)
AIRLINE PERFORMANCE – 2 / 10
To sum it up – 16 / 50
Bottom line – This airline does not deserve the 2 star rating it has got from the official rating club. This is the last time i am flying with AI (What about you ??? ).