Air India to fly all women crew on March 8!

The flag carrier of India will be flying an all women crew this March 8 to celebrate Women’s day on a flight to San Francisco. This will include 4 pilots (2 each in 2 shifts for the unintended) and the whole cabin crew during the 15 hours Delhi-San Francisco. To top it and make it even more interesting, the flight dispatcher and flight engineer will also be women.

So if you are flying to SF on 8th of March, you are sure to support and celebrate Women’s day just by flying Air India. Yay, Celebrate women hood up at 35,000 Feet!

I was wondering if a similar treatment will be meted out during International Men’s Day. Well, chances are that it won’t ever happen. Now, I have written in the past how fliers constantly nag about Air India’s older flight stewardess/hostesses and there are such a negative notion that many carry. Though people ignore that they are much more experienced. However, have you ever heard any one complain an aging male crew? Is it because it never happens? I am not sure, almost all the flights I ever flew had both male and female crew.

The situation is what it is, and I cannot speak for everyone. But for me, it won’t matter if it is men or women who are flying or providing services in a flight as long as service are great and makes your journey comfortable and you get what you pay for. Air India remains my favorite (with patriotic bias stepping in)

What I think Air India or any other airline should do is – ensure you have an All Women Crew on at least 1 flight every day. That would help you celebrate women hood. Every. Freaking. Day.

It is raining discounts in the Air

Spice Jet kicked it off, and everyone else followed the suit. Creating a stir with a 50% discount on base fares and fuel surcharges for tickets bought 30 days in advance, Spice Jet let the cat amongst the pigeons of air, which let to a cascading effect. Within hours, IndiGo and Go Air introduced similar fare discounts, so did Air India later in the day and by late night, Jet Airways did the same.

The best part was that this came without any warning and took everyone by surprise. I was anticipating a price-war when Air Asia would eventually launch, which is a given in any case. Tony Fernandes, the Air Asia CEO has already announced that his Indian operations would provide dramatically low fares which perhaps would be lower than the current prices being offered by low-cost carriers. I was thinking may be the airlines would like to cash in the money they can now and prepare for the bloodbath once Air Asia comes along.

But this move certainly surprised me. The discounted tickets are only available on carefully selected routes, and the entire inventory is not part of this. In all probability,  they only have 50% of their inventory open for these cheaper fares.

The fares from SpiceJet also do not come with a catch – oh yes, there is something that is free (or discounted in this case). These tickets are refundable with applicable cancellation fees. Which means, you can cancel the ticket and will be getting money in return upon cancellation. Now that is real bold move. In real world terms, this is a discount sale.

Apparently, the initiative is to ensure that they have enough load factor in the coming months which is a typical lean period for airlines. So if you have not planned, do it today – it is the last day.


Sudden buzz in Aviation Industry

I was planning for a week-long trip this November, and my plans started falling apart after I saw the airline ticket prices going up rapidly. The day (23rd Sept) I checked the fares, return tickets for two adults from BOM (Mumbai) to IXB (Bagdogara) via DEL (Delhi) travelling in November on  Air India (1 stop with the lowest layover time) costed Rs. 19,601. The fare for the same flight went up to Rs. 22,408  the very next day. On 3rd day, the fare again changed to Rs. 24,402. Today, the same flight tickets would cost me Rs.36,282.

Woot! That’s a rock solid increase of Rs. 16,681 in ticket fare in just 4 days for a flight trip planned almost 2 months in advance. I had to wait for my salary to come to book trip tickets for this huge amount, and it now does not make any sense. As you might assume, I backed off from booking the ticket. (more…)

Air India gains a bit of its lost market share

Air India is improving its performance, thanks to a tighter control on its bad practices, which is a good news. Although it has the 4th largest Market Share in India out of 6 Airlines is never a biggie, the best part is that it has started making profits in certain sectors. Profit or not, I strongly believe that Air India should be able to compete on par with all Private and International Players on almost every aspect, and not only Price.

I am tracking Air India’s progress on my blog as it is and will be my favorite airline for reasons unbeknownst to myself.

Below is the chart with Market Share of all Domestic Scheduled Airlines in India (except Air Mantra). (more…)

Air India again in bad news! This time it is companion tickets

Its barely been somedays since I posted last about Air India. But here I am again tempted to write about it.

Air India’s companion free scheme was intended as a program to promote its flights to those common people or ‘aam aadmi’ who could not afford to take his family on a flight. Under this scheme, a person booking a ticket with the airline can book a second ticket on the same flight by paying taxes and fuel surcharge only.