Wednesday, August 24, 2011

“No Pillows, No Blankets”

Yesterday (Aug.23) I took an early morning flight of a major Indian airways from Cochin to Chennai.. Usually there would be the airline chaps to help needy passengers with baggage and checking in. I required assistance because of a back problem. Looked around for support staff. No luck.

A young girl offered to help but she had much luggage. So I thanked her and managed on my on with difficulty. The counter chap said that porter service was available at the Metros only. Just five days earlier I had received this facility at Cochin when I landed from Chennai. Anyway he was kind enough to assure me that he would ask his Chennai office to provide me assistance on landing.

After we took off, I asked one of the hostesses for a pillow. Pat came the answer, “No pillows, no blankets” and she went marching away. No politeness, no apology, not even a smile. My poor back had to suffer the nearly one hour forty minutes ATR flight because of an ill trained and incompetent hostess.

A little while later the hostess came selling ‘you make your own tea’. No coffee. I let her pass. There was nothing to do because I had forgotten to carry a book. Newspapers are too costly for some airlines to provide free. They could at least think of selling them and making a profit. After all, if you can have a roving tea stall on board, why not a moving bookshop? Some major booksellers and several passengers might be interested. But, buy pillows with the profit. They could even rent out pillows at the check in counter.

One had the choice of either keeping the eyes closed, or staring at the two large advertisements (I was on row 3 and could easily see them) for Whyte and Mackay and Black Dog CDs. I suppose that most people know what those really are. But you can’t get them on board. It was too early for Scotch anyway.

The Air India one hour flight I took to Cochin on 18th Aug had pillows and blankets and a pleasant crew. It was almost like the Air India of the good old days. We were served a good solid brunch that was included in the fare which was just Rs.1223. The ‘no pillows’ carrier cost me Rs.2426. One reason I can think of for the higher fare is that they flew me forty minutes longer. Can you fault the logic? Reportedly, this airline is running at a heavy loss for the last five years.

At Chennai Airport baggage collection there was just one porter of this airline. A lady with her little baby and rather heavy baggage was already on to him. I managed on my on, ignoring the back problem.

If you travel by this particular airline it is advisable to carry along a pillow.

Also see  Douglas DC 3, The Dakota


critic said...

In India progress means decrease in the quality of service, In every field we see the same symptom.
A small thing, when the auto rickshaws were introduced it was a for two passengers now five is the norm (unofficial)

Zoey said...


Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you 'critic', Zoey.

Nebu said...

I am surprised to know that your experience with Air India was better than the so called new generation Airlines. Probably the age and looks of the air hostesses are the only improvement in the latter.
I am equally amazed to know that Chennai - Kochi air tickets are available for as low as `. 1223/- Did you book it online? Which site?


Nice one. I dread to think what else we are to be subjected to by our airlines.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Nebu, even I was surprised by the Air India experience. Yes, the ticket was booked on line. That was really cheap. My return by the 'no pillows flight four days later was above Rs.3500.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thanks for the comment, Raji.