Service of water on airlines / Baroda Airport Lounge

Here is an email I sent to Mr. Naresh Goyal, Chairman Jet Airways. The action they took on it is at the end.

Dear Mr. Goyal,

I have deep personal admiration for you for creating a world-class airline in India

Your whole business model has been to be different and to raise the bar and make it difficult for your competitors to catch up. That you did so when all you had to compete with was the measly Indian Airlines makes this whole exercise all the more worthy of admiration.

Over the years, I have become a Platinum member and only travel Jet Premiere.

Jet Konnect

It is therefore with dismay and even disappointment that I now notice a trend in Jet Airways to try hard to be the same as everyone else. It seems that members of your team would like to obliterate the differentiation that Jet Airways has worked so hard to create over its decades long course through the Indian and now international skies.

 Here is a recent comment card that I filled out

Flight no.             2601

Date                     14/06/2009

Seat no.               16D

Flight from NEW DELHI to BARODA

100237373(Platinum)

COMMENT ON – (In-flight service), (Others-konnect)

COMMENT

Same aircraft (slow ATR)

Same high fares

Same crew

Same passengers (executives, business owners)

Same full flight

 Have you become so poor that you will not serve a snack, tea, coffee or even water on board without charging us separately?

I am thirsty but I will not submit to the swindle… what a mindless decision!

And you will find my platinum status disappearing very shortly.

I never imagined that you would stoop to the level of cheating your passengers thus.

Please, immediately fire the ass who originally came up with this idea and the asses who agreed to it. They have lost you more money and passengers than you have gained and you are now the lowest flying airline, far below even Indian Airlines.

As you can see I was incensed. Your fares are high because you enjoy a monopoly over the Baroda skies and I have never complained. But when the frequency of the flights is just one per day and you leave passengers with no choice of Class except this exceptionally ill-thought out Konnect, something is terribly wrong. You have commoditized your own selves! I could see the conflict and derision amongst my fellow passengers on this flight. Your crew that most passengers look upon with admiration was receiving the stick for no fault of theirs.

I have decided that I will now go by price rather than service (or lack of it) in my choice of carrier. There is no reason for me to be loyal to you any longer. I am sure that you will lose a large number of passengers like myself.

One other thing. Even the poorest of Indians serves water to their guests. It is our culture. If you prefer that I carry an empty bottle through security and fill it up in the lounge, I will do so. And of course, I shall carry my own snacks on board. I am willing to travel Premiere with you but I will not submit myself to being ‘cheated’.

The Jet Baroda lounge

In case you did not know it, let me say that this was once the best lounge in the country. Neat and clean, hot snacks made after you ordered them, outstanding service and the best cup of masala tea that one could hope for.

It is now worse than a pig sty.

You have changed the contractor who puts some clowns wearing ties on the frontline. The lounge is dirty. The food is not replenished. Perish the thought of hot snacks and masala tea. The sandwiches have no butter.

The worst lounge in town and I would be ashamed to put my name on it.

Well, Mr. Goyal, the ball is now in your court.

There is the choice to join the airlines that behave like state transport buses that take to the sky and sell water and food. There is no evidence that they are making money.

I would choose to be different from the others and continue my class act.

Please save me the trouble of reading a form reply. I will change my mind only if you change this strategy.

Thanks and regards,

Parimal N. Gandhi

Actions taken

I received an immediate acknowledgement of my email. That same afternoon, Mr. Gaurang Shetty called me and went to great pains to explain the airline’s point of view to me. It all boils down to commercial necessity. He promised to thoroughly investigate the Baroda airport lounge. He also assured me that drinking water would not be charged for on board Konnect aircraft.  He also agreed to look into the suggestion of allowing the passenger to pay for the meal during the ticketing process.

How do I feel about all this? What I appreciate is the speed with which I received a response to my complaint. It mollified me somewhat.

I would still like not to be charged separately for my meals and beverages. Baroda being a small and cost-conscious town, low cost flights are probably more viable than multiple-frill premium services. I will havr to find alternative ways to travel the way I would like to.

Be different. Be treated different. Be the same? Don’t expect to be terated different!

Of course, nothing has changed on the ground so far but I am optimistic that it will.

Update as on 28-06-09

The correspondence continues. I have further form emails from various managers promising to ‘look into it’. 

Jet Airways frontliners are very defensive about this whole ‘Konnect’ concept. Their interactions with their passengers have changed from posititve to negative. Another difficulty is lounge access. Platinum class passengers have enjoyed lounge access for years and do not appreciate having to sit in the general area.

The worst of American airlines will serve you a beverage on board.  Not much point calling someone a ‘guest’ and extracting money for water.

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~ by parimalgandhi on 22/06/2009.

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