Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Budget Carrier Air Costa Experience

I flew Air costa for the first time this week, from Ahmadabad to Chennai.

This post shares my experience flying Aircosta and where possible compares it with other budget airlines like Indigo.

Good things about Air Costa
  • No middle seats. Only 4 seats per row, two on each side. So it is a  bit more convenient. Air Costa uses a fleet of Embraer E190 jets, which are smaller than an A320 (a reliable workhorse used by most carriers for short haul flights) but has a jet engine (not propeller) so can travel as fast and as high as an A320. So no compromise in travel time or convenience.
  • Air costa planes can seat about one third less passengers than an A320- this means shorter queue and less waiting for everything
  • Pre-booked meals are served first (unlike Indigo where there is no such preference). 
  • On board food is much cheaper than Indigo. (Upma and Bisi bele bath costs Rs 120 in Air costa, while Indigo charges Rs 200. Similarly a cup of tea is Rs 70 in Air costa, Rs 100 in Indigo. Air costa offers lots of ready to eat (add hot water n wait for few mins) food from Maiyas (brand by Sadanand Maiya, who built the MTR empire before selling it off and starting from the scratch again with Maiyas.
  • They seem to be running some online contests, where winners can win free tickets by posting selfie with AirCosta brand image.
  • In Indigo and other carriers bottom part of the seat is fixed. In Air Costa, bottom part of the seat slides forward as you recline backwards
Contextual image- Air Costa boarding pass
Scope for improvement or other observations:
  • Web check-in opens only 24 hours prior to departure, not 48 hours like Indigo and few other carriers.
  • After web check in there is no option to email the boarding pass. You need to print instantly or lose it.
  • When person in row behind you eats his food, you might be asked to undo the recline on your seat and bring it back to normal position. Other airlines do not have this requirement.
  • At Ahmadabad, whole airport was empty at 10.30 in the night, still Aircosta plane was parked at a distant bay and we had to take the bus. At Chennai, Air costa plane was parked at farthest parking pay possible (not sure if that is because of cost or maintenance needs) and the bus we boarded after getting down from craft circled half the airport before dropping us off at arrival gate. This causes much more delay for those who have checked in bags.
  • Our flight was delayed by 1 hour- but that I think is manageable.
  • Made couple of tweets to Aircosta, didn’t receive any kind of response, even after Days.
  • They had listed new item Bisibele bath, but I was told It is not available and will be available only from tomorrow.
Overall it was a nice experience. Air Costa has just about 1% of market share as of now and have reportedly placed order for 50 more jets last year. We should be seeing them expanding soon. Best wishes to them.


The wild said...

-regarding the seat to be made upright position -its basic common sense ,only then will the person behind have enough space to fit comfortably to eat ,the same as the case with every passenger while food is served.

-Regarding remote bays -it all depends ,low cost airlines dont pay for aero bridges -definetly the cost factor .Its quite easy to push back the plane if they do need maintainence after the last flight .It also depends on whether an airport is its hub as well ,which would mean that they would have some sort of routine maintainence checks at the end of the last leg of a flight.Chennai is a hub for Aircosta.

-Although they do seem to also have E-170(67 passengers) along with E-190(110 passengers) ,surprised to see the difference in number of passengers

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for the detailed comments

magiceye said...

Had never heard of Air Costa! Thank you for the informative post.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

They just have 1% market share and operate mostly in South India, so it is very likely that you haven't heard of them in Mumbai

Vinay Nagaraju said...

Interesting enidhi. This is the first time I am hearing of them. I boarded Indigo to Delhi this time and wasn't very happy with the experience. I still miss the hospitality in Kingfisher. Although the seats were cramped, I really used to like the experience. But coasta seems to have addressed the seat issue.

PS: Even in indigo I was asked to take my seat forward when the person behind me was eating.

Indrani said...

That is an interesting comparison, never heard of the costa airlines before.

Sri Kri said...

First time we are hearing about this airline.Thanks for the comparison.

Rachna said...

I am actually going to travel in Air costa in a couple of weeks for a trip from Hyd to Bangalore. The first concern while booking the flight was a propellor plane. I hate those. So, I checked and found that their website mentioned the jets and I heaved a sigh of relief. I have pre-booked meals. Looking forward to the flight. I just hope it is not delayed. Hate that part. Thanks for this review.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Rachna: Have a nice flight

@Sri Kri: You're welcome

@indrani: They have been in business since few years now.

@Vinay: True. No one can match flamboyance of Kingfisher... but that is full service airline

Vishal Grover said...

Useful information again...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Vishal