Monday, August 26, 2019

This airline has stolen a march over IndiGo on one-stop flights between India and London

One of the most discussed questions in the aviation circles over the past year or so has been IndiGo’s intention to London from India on a narrow-body aircraft. The airline is already holding slots at London Gatwick, and has made many a move to fly Delhi–London via Baku in Azarbaijan.

Slot filings at London airport show IndiGo has currently filed A321 equipment, the same as is being used on its Delhi–Istanbul flights. The problem with that move, from a passenger experience perspective, and perhaps why IndiGo has not already pulled this one off so far, is the airline’s lack of experience to differentiate its long-haul international flights from the short-haul ones.

As reported earlier, the long-haul experiences for IndiGo, as shown by its flights to Istanbul, still have the airline serving you cold sandwiches for a meal. There is still no charging point or in-flight entertainment offered by the airline. Flying a narrow-body, which includes very long queues for the use of the small lavatories at the back of the plane.

While IndiGo is still pondering over how will it fly passengers to London, perhaps with a newer passenger experience, or perhaps on board a newer plane such as the A321XLR which will only be delivered a few years from now, it seems a middle-eastern airline has already stolen its thunder.

Jazeera Airways of Kuwait recently announced new flights between Kuwait and London, to be operated by their A320 aircraft. These flights will start operating October 27, 2019 onwards, and coupled with Jazeera Airways’ Indian network, seem to have some good connections for a low-cost experience to London.

Jazeera Airways, however, has improvised to ensure that passengers get a low-cost experience, which is still valid on a 7-hour long flight rather than cut and paste their domestic experience on to international long-haul flights, which is what IndiGo did. The airline already had a business-class experience on its aircraft, but on the new aircraft it brought in for the flights to London, it has also introduced a Premium Economy cabin.

While Kuwait Airport is nothing to write home about, the airline has built in reasonable connection times (60-90 minutes from Delhi on various days, three  hours from Mumbai) amongst others. A traveller also gets to walk a bit on the transit, allowing him to stretch muscles rather than being in the same seat, not moving for hours.
26/08/19 Ajay Awtaney/CNBC TV18

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