Thursday, November 10, 2005

The only redeeming quality about Air India

I got a call on Friday morning that I had to be half way across the world by Monday morning for a client meeting so I jumped on the next flight out of JFK which happened to be Air India from New York to Mumbai via London. I was really bummed not to have a better connection on a better airline. Who wants to fly Air India!! I have no positive associations with Air India. I had flown them only once before when I was doing my undergrad at Davidson and used to make the annual trip home every summer. Air India lost both my bags and did not find them for a week. I chose not to fly them ever again if I had a choice. 12 years later, I find myself on Air India again (at least in Business Class thanks to work). I decided to have an open mind and actually looked forward to the journey.

I won't bore you with how bad the experience turned out to be yet again. I won't tell you about the seats which didn't fully recline or the lack of in-flight entertainment all together. And I won't tell you about all the other little things that these guys have just not bothered to think about while designing the customer experience. I will tell you though that the food was just fabulous. And it wasn't so tasty to me just because I love Indian food. It really was pretty outstanding. If Air India has got one thing right, it's the meal service. The cabin crew are super warm and go out of their way to make sure you have a nice drink and meal. And they don't skimp on the alcohol either. The British gentleman next to me was pleasantly surprised at how much gin he got in his G&T!

The meal in the picture was breakfast. We were served spicy potato curry, a light and airy upma with peas, baby uttapams with tomatoes and onions, plain creamy yogurt, a croissant, 3 parathas and some jam. I asked for some extra spicy pickle and was delighted when the stewardess produced a nice selection from First Class - lemon pickle, green chili pickle and chunda. Yum, yum - I could have survived on the parathas and the pickles alone!

PS - I'm on the road till mid-November and will try to post as much as possible, workload and jetlag permitting :)


Blogger gs said...

it is very sad to see our international airliner in such a pathetic state.jrd will turn in his grave to see to what low level has airindia come to.
food is generally good and service very courteous.they don't care for is a 'chalta hai' attitude.the aircraft maintenance is shoddy,the house keeping standards very poor.they just do their own thing and don't care whether their customers are happy or not.they need a massive makeover to survive in an intensely competitive long can they survive on the gulf traffic.
i recently flew chennai-mumbai by experience was no different.and the loo was stinking like in our indian railways.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Faffer said...

Hi Lulu,
You have an awesome blog there! I "discovered" your blog a few hours ago and have been reading your posts since. I've been looking for some good vegetarian cook books and in one of your posts, you've mentioned you own 69 cook books! Would you please suggest some basic vegetarian cookbooks? I've tried searching on Amazon and get quite lost with the number of books available. I'm not particular about the cuisine - infact, a "world cookbook" of sorts would be great. Thanks!

11:39 AM  
Blogger vkn said...

Bon voyage Lulu. Take good care of you.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Amy Sherman said...

So that's why you're not around! ! Loved your post about Diwali and the canteen. Ring me when you get home.

7:38 PM  
Blogger chris san francisco said...

Hi Lulu,

Glad to hear at least the food was good. I'm not at all the airline snob [grin], but Air India definitely doesn't sound like the magic carpet for my next trip.

Hope you have safe and happy travels. Wish we were there with you!

11:28 PM  
Blogger sailu said...

Wonderful Blog ,Lulu. Chanced upon it .Your Moroccan Feast is absoluting inspiring and am going to learn some Moroccan Cuisine dishes.
Btw I am Sailaja (India) and have my own food blog.Can we exchange links?I have your link on my blog.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi lonely traveler
i am on the road now but promise to go through my cookbooks when i am back home and get back to you with the best vegetarian ones. i can think of madhu jaffrey's world vegetarian and cook 1.0 immediately. more soon.. (in a few weeks)

hi vkn,

hi amy
yes, it's been ages since we connected. hope to talk to you soon.

hi chris,
what a plesant surprise to hear from you. please don't ever fly air india. you should fly jet airways for your next trip. they are amazing. when are you planning to go by the way??

hi sailu,
nice to meet you virtually. i will definitely link to your blog soon.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Faffer said...

Thanks a ton Lulu! I'll try to get those books. And you have a lovely trip.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You obviously have loads of money and see everything thru your marketing lens. Air India is a great way to travel between the US and europe on the cheap. The service is friendly and, though not as luxe as you might like, fine for those of us who are not interested in an "International Spoiled Brat Modern Lifestyle."

4:54 PM  
Blogger sofia said...

i will be traveling on air india this summer and after reading your experinces i am very scared. I hope i have a better one

6:32 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

horrible travel with an airline you do not like, you're sick of the journey and arrive in a bad mood at your destination!

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:39 AM  

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