Why must low cost translate into low quality?

Just back from a vacation and flew one of the first of its kind Low Cost Airliner (LCA) – Air Deccan. The experience was nothing short of exasperating.
My previous experience (The first with this airline) was a very pleasent one, with the flights departing and arriving *on time*. Wow that is every traveller’s delight. And based on that one time experience, and despite several repeated warnings from my peers about it’s lousy service, I chose to fly Air Deccan. And I believe I have learnt my lesson.
In this country almost always, low cost happens to also be low quality. The no frills airliner actually failed to deliver on the most basic parameters, such as timely departures/arrivals.
When I flew to Delhi, my flight was scheduled at 5:50 am. But after checking in the luggage and sitting in the departure lounge around 5:00 am, we came to know that now our flight was rescheduled and it would fly at 9:00 am. Ideally I should have reached Delhi by 9:00 in the morning. Had no choice but grudgingly wasted 4 hrs at the airport lounge before the flight took off.
And whats more, Air deccan has a *free seating* system. Which means that your boarding pass does not contain any seat number. You can sit on any seat you fance – strictly on a first come first served basis. And thanks to the low fare, almost the entire flight was full of first time travellers, who were fun to watch. But more on that a little later.
The LCA has stopped paying too much attention towards cleanliness in side the aircraft. Gradually the planes are detiriorating and becoming more and more similar to passenger train compartments. The saving grace is that still people have not begun to eat bananas and throw the peels on the floor of the plane.
Ok now the first time fliers. It is infact a very euphoric feeling to see that the LCA has managed to make the common man fly in an airplane. But at the same time, it is disgusting to see that there is total apathy in terms of airport management and also inflight courtesy. The Air hostesses, look jaded and tired. And they dont even have a smile on their face. So much for Low cost!!
The food and beverage is sold in-flight but then that is 100% justified because this is a no frills airline and it needs to generate revenue. But what irritates is that when you are ready to pay the money and they say “sorry sir, this is the last sector and we dont stock enough food” – this is what happened when I was returning back on the AD flight. incidentally this time I got an sms stating that my flight was delayed, a good 3 days in advance.
On the whole the service sucks.. Probably having been a reasonably frequent flier, with most of the other airlines, the comparisons are inevitable. But I do want to emphasize that the airline lacks some basics which must be there, irrespective of the fact whether you are a low cost carrier or a full service carrier. that is:

  • Cleanliness.
  • Punctuality.
  • Courtesy.
  • Planned seating.

wihtout these it makes flying a really unpleasent experience. But then most first time fliers wouldnt know that so AD will definitely thrive on their patronage.

A contrary view point is that since I am travelleing at such low costs, I shouldnt be complaining. But hey, what ever cost I am travelleing at, I am paying hard earned money. And I desreve atleast some basic level of service. And a clean aircraft to say the least.

I think the core business of Air Deccan comes not from the big city routes, but the small city routes. That is why they are neglecting big time on their quality on these big city routes.
If this is the way things go, then I dont think the LCA will last for a very long time. But then LCAs dont want me as their customer anyway. They want people who have never seen an aircraft (which there is no dearth of in our country). So I guess it may not be all that bad for them and they will continue to make money.
But my trip with Air deccan seems to be over for now.. Unless ofcourse I may change my mind if I get to grab a 500 bucks ticket ….. hehe.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sudha says:

    Very true. My uncle just came down from Bangalore to Chennai. His flight was cancelled twice. He got so frustrated, he went right upto the AD counter at the airport and demanded a refund. After that he took a Jet airways flight back. He swears he’ll never travel by AD ever again.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I believe that we must have life jacekts on us all the time while we are flying in AD. Good that they do not ask anyone to repair the flight in the middle of flying.
    Atrocious to know that we have flights of this quality.


  3. andyspeak says:

    >>Good that they do not ask anyone to
    >>repair the flight in the middle of

  4. andyspeak says:

    Just flew Jet after a long interval and although the airline food was bad as usual, the difference in service levels was starkly visible!

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