Okay, now, as promised I am going to sum up my experience with Air India and list out its advantages and problem.
Lets begin with the positives:
Air India has a luggage allowance of 46 kilos per person, which would attract most Asian travellers. It didn’t matter much to us as we had almost half of our allocated weight. I am sure the check-in staff loved us for that. In fact, at Hyderabad airport, this guy asked us: “Is that all you have?” Can you believe that people still have excess baggage.
The ground staff definitely deserve a mention. At most airports, check-in is handled by agencies but the AI airport rep in Birmingham was certainly most helpful.
Their food is one of the best I have had on flights if you like Indian food and they serve their coffees and teas, hot, as they should be served.
Leg room is good and seats are quite comfortable, well, as comfortable as they can be in economy.
Moving on to the “problems”
I have to begin with their website. It was a nightmare, trying to check in on line. We did manage eventually.
They have huge management flaws. For example, they waited 24 hours for a part replacement and engineer to be flown in from Delhi to Birmingham. During which time, they probably paid rent (and penalty) to Birmingham airport and paid for transport, food and accommodation for most of its passengers. Would it not be easier and more cost effective if they had to a tie-up with the local authority for such emergencies?
The chaos at Delhi airport needs to be sorted, Air India have to make sure that the luggage of all international passengers is checked through to their destination unless the passengers have a stopover of more than 24 hours. That is a must if they want to comply to International rules.
They crew on board are able to cope mostly. However, in an emergency, they are totally lost. They need to be trained to deal with all situations. On our way back when my son was sick, they were not very helpful until a British passenger intervened and took up our case. even then, they were not equipped to help us.
Air India needs to stock up on simple things like bigger sick bags / plastic bags and the like. Not such a big deal but will make a huge difference.
Last but definitely an important factor, time management is absolute essential.
As I mentioned earlier, the flaws and problems are deep rooted and have to be at a higher level.