Friday, July 24, 2015

Few things Indigo can learn from Tigerair.

I had experienced TIgerair for the first time this June and I had three Indigo flights- one every day on 4th, 5th and 6th of July. I also tried Air Costa on 7th. Compared to Tiger Air’s in-flight service I found a set of possible improvements in Indigo’s in flight service.

Indigo is India’s only profitable and very successful airline with close to 40% market share. They don’t need my advise but these simple observations, if factored for improvements, can make a difference to passenger experience, without needing any extra investment (apart from a bit of training/process change may be). 
Serving first to those who have pre-booked their meals.
Tiger air staff came to me, told me that my meal will be served soon after take off and asked me if I want coffee or tea. They noted down my preference and without another word, my meal was served ahead of others. Meal was piping hot and ready to eat. Air Costa also serves pre-booked meals first.

At Indigo, they do not serve on priority to those who have pre-booked their meals. Serving starts from first row and from middle of the  craft. If you happen to be in row 8-15 or 25-30, you need to wait forever for your meals to arrive. It is also likely that your preferred option gets exhausted by the time tray reaches you. Despite paying in advance and communicating our preference, we need to wait and rely on luck to have items of our choice. Going row wise is more efficient if lots of people are pre-booking their meals and staff can’t run around randomly. But my observation on the three flights is that just about 20% of folks pre-book. Few buy onboard and many do not buy anything. Few people even bring their own food into cabin baggage.

The other factor is that most of Indigo’s hot meals- Upma, Bisi bele bath and Biriyani need 8 minute waiting time. It would have been nice if crew can prepare it at their counter and serve ready to eat to the guests. Instead they mix hot water on the go, serve it and ask guests to wait for 8 long minutes before opening and consuming the food. I tried Bisibele bath on one flight and Biriyani on the other- the taste is amazing, but having to wait infront of the box for 8 minutes while everyone else are consuming their food is a tough task.

The POS machines on both Delhi Chennai flight and Chennai-Ahmedabad flight of Indigo were not working. I guess they need a revamp to deal with modern chip based and contactless credit cards.

XL seats cost Rs 800 and often remain empty. For many that is 25% of their ticket fare for a few inch more space and without reclining seats (Row 12, 13).

Noticed that Indigo is advertising on paper cups and also announcing specific shops at destination city, in a bid to make some more money. I still see some branding opportunity on coffee cups samosa packs and few other items.

Indigo twitter handled responded well when I mentioned my back to back flights, but gave a customary reply when I asked why can't I get an upgrade or free meals for taking 3 flights in 3 days. This is not a complaint- I understand those who handle twitter account may not be in a position to offer anything. Just saying!

All 3 flights were perfectly on time. So ontime is a wonderful thing.

Experienced one other strange thing on the indigo flight from Chennai to Ahmedabad on 6th July.

  • One air hostess blocks access to passengers to lavatory in the front using the food cart and stands against it
  • Captain comes out of cockpit and goes to toilet
  • One of the other lady air hostess goes inside the cockpit and door is closed
  • Few minutes later captain comes out of loo, goes into cockpit
  • Lady air hostess comes out.
  • Food cart which was blocking the passenger access to lavatory is moved aside.

I am assuming the senior air hostess went inside to give company to co-pilot by keeping an arm on the throttle or something to ensure smooth flight during turbulence- or may be they have a policy not to leave co-pilot alone in the cockpit (influenced by German crash?).

Air Costa offers cheaper meals (Rs 120 for bisibelebath in air costa while Indigo charges Rs 200, Coffee Rs 70 vs Rs 100)
Just a few observations from my side..


The wild said...

Dishing out prebooked meals on priority is the norm but its upto the airlines how they prefer to dish out the pre booked meals ,if its your pre booked meal then it should ideally not run out before it reaches you in whichever order they serve you.

One reason why they mix hot water on the go ,is because they have other things to serve and cant keep track of 8 mins timer for x * n meals booked ,they will run out of time since they have loads of food to serve,besides everybody want their meals instantly you see-especially when the other people have been served their food already.

Regarding the captain going to the restroom ,this procedure has been in place in India well before the german wings incident.They perhaps block the restroom since the captain's time is certainly priority when he is flying,sometimes its longer depending on turbulence ,flight path etc.

Airhostess are generally not allowed to fly -they are not supposed to

singhalalok said...

Great observations, may be you can send an email to their management. I have experienced Indigo many times, and found them to be OK, being low cost!

Anonymous said...

You don't need to hold an airplane's throttle levers so that they don't return to zero. They stay where you leave them. Either way if auto pilot is on, it will control the speed, altitude and direction of plane. Having two ppl in the cockpit was mandated after the 9/11 incidents I guess, if for no other purpose, to at least open the cockpit door for the other pilot, in case the one flying was incapacitated for any reason.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Anon, Alok and The Wild for valuable comments.