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Flying Air India like a Maharaja: What’s business class without frills?

Air India's invitation for economy passengers to bid for upgrades lacks regal generosity.

ET Bureau|
Jan 11, 2019, 09.20 AM IST
Flying Air India like a Maharaja: What’s business class without frills?
There is nothing quite as curmudgeonly as a no-frills upgrade. If someone flying coach shucks up extra bucks for a seat further ahead in the plane, the understanding is that the accompanying perks are also laid on, especially extra baggage allowance and lounge access.

At least that is the norm when bidding for business class seats in over 50 international airlines.

It is commendable that our venerable state carrier Air India has recently joined this party, except that its offer appears to be rather stingy: it clarifies that the upgrade is limited to just a wider seat and a (presumably) better meal, but no airport lounge benefits, no extra kilos.
Flying Air India like a Maharaja: What’s business class without frills?

And that’s because unlike the other airlines that open bids up to 72 hours before departure, AI does so only after check-in, with new boarding passes handed at the gates.

Of course, Air India was once famed for its service standards in first and business class, including serving champagne and caviar; that is no longer the case. Nor are Air India’s seats always in the best shape these days as comments by customers affirm.

Moreover, the seats and meals are not yet that bad in economy, presumably, that passengers would want to pay more than double just to escape to a rickety business class seat and better cutlery on a long-haul flight. Maharajas are supposed to be magnanimous, remember?

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Bugs With wings

13 Aug, 2018
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