Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Kingfisher Experience

Around a year back India's own flamboyant business tycoon, Vijay Mallya, launched Kingfisher Airlines, promising a new level of luxury and naughtiness in the skies.

For those of you who have not visited India or are tee totalers, Kingfisher is India's no. 1 beer. It's actually a basic beer, so Kingfisher Airlines is a curious brand name. Initially I assumed Kingfisher Airlines to be a budget no frill airline, but the multi-million dollar ad campaign and reports from passengers showed it to be a premium airline...Apparently a whole new experience in cattle class travel.

Getting out of my taxi I am assisted by a well dressed porter in wheeling my luggage to the check-in. I realised in horror that the guy had managed to mangle my suitcase's pull along cord and it was in danger of becoming quite useless...

On board the aircraft was extremely well turned out in Red, proving how exceptional design can create wonderful ambiance. The staff was also decked out in trendy and sexy (if you can call short skirts that) attire, but with a bit too much garish make-up.

Service was excellent. A lot of touches, like a handout kit containing goodies and printed menu, were both smart and labour saving. The inflight personal entertainment system is a great touch on a domestic airline and Vijay Mallya recuperates the costs by running promos of his beer all the way.

I was all set to abandon flying other airlines but the luggage took 45 mins...a lifetime on Monday afternoon. This is where Jet Airways, India's original
modern airline never lets you down: on time & efficient everytime. Then on reflection I realised that Kingfisher lacked the quiet cool professionalism of Jet Airways and that makes all kinds of horrible thoughts about engine maintenance go through your mind...

Well maybe I'll give it another try...hope Vijay tracks blogs...

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