Since I do a fair amount of traveling the world over, I have a tendency of comparing the different airlines I fly with, and have been disappointed and also pleasantly surprised by various experiences I’ve been through. Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion, it’s not so much about how new or old the aircraft is, but service delivered by the crew that matters.

Yes, I agree that having a million movies to watch when you switch the screen on board is exciting, but to have an airhostess or flight steward asking whether you’d like to have something more to eat or drink, can win your permanent loyalty for that airline.

Two days ago, I was on a flight from Mumbai to New York via Abu Dhabi. The flight from Abu Dhabi to New York was incredibly pleasant, with Indian as well as foreign flight stewards looking after your every little need. No doubt the aircraft was the latest in the world, but it’s not just about the aircraft is it?

I landed in New York rested, and well fed. Yes, well fed, with even a flight attendant asking me why I didn’t want a meal and asking me whether she could get me something else to eat instead, and she did.

But the previous desi flight that connected me from India to Abu Dhabi, was horrible.

Two wooden faced statues greeted me, stoic and unsmiling as I boarded the aircraft, that had no screen to watch movies, and space that even cattle would have been ashamed to travel in!

The food was deplorable, and I really wondered whether the airline was telling its passengers, “Dare to say anything, and we’ll throw you all into the ocean below! Anyway, we’re broke, and we don’t care!”

Seeing their service, I can imagine why they were broke!

Some passengers did question the service and were met with an icy stare as flight attendants in total black walked about the aircraft as stealthily as the panthers they looked like, steadfastly avoiding any eye contact with the janta sitting on the seats. It was like, “we are the queens of the sky, we deign not to look or serve you proletarians and plebians!”

I’m not joking but I actually saw a man’s trembling finger ring the bell, but when the school head mistress, appeared, he murmured, “Nothing ma’am!” And I swear I saw him shiver the rest of the journey.

Service is the key, my dear airline owners. I’ve seen some of the best service given in old rickety aircraft flown by Air-India, but this by a private airline, begs the question, ‘If we want the world to make In India, we need to treat the world with courtesy and politeness, shouldn’t we?

It’s not just bear hugs to world leaders, it’s about service from black panthers..! 

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