Jet Airways – I Love You – I hate You !

Dear Mr Naresh Goyal ;

I have been a loyal Jet Airways customer for the last twenty years. Damania, East West , Deccan, KF have come & gone but Jet Airways has survived.

When it started we were proud of Jet – here was an Indian airline that was world class. I remember a presentation from Shombit Sengupta (Brand Consultant who designed the Wipro Rainbow Flower) which talked about how service differentiated brands – SQ , Jet & IA used the same Boeing & Airbus planes but the quality of service made them ordinary , Great & Spectacular. (Jet was rated Great). Managers at cost conscious companies like Wipro took exception approvals to travel by Jet. You set a new threshold in airline hospitality in India.

Flights were almost always on time , food was great , service was great , planes were neat , lots of variety in the inflight TV shows and movies and leg space was decent . And then like any other business in India Jet started cutting corners.

Lucky for you – Jet still commands a premium and holds on to  loyal customers , but thats because there is no competition today. Lets look at a few things that have changed in the years which makes me sometimes love and many a time hate your airlines.

1. Food is now served in less than 10% of the flights. 9W 2291 is the 7 AM Bangalore – Delhi flight. You wake up at 4 to reach the airport by 6 and land at Delhi at 945. There are many such flights. There is no breakfast served. Can you fix this – when you are rushing in the morning trying to beat the mad Q at the counter & the security there is no time to buy anything at the airport And the paid snacks you serve inflight are a recipe for ill health. Even when you serve food – the quantity , quality , packaging is sub standard. No comparison to what you used to serve in the past. There is no Mint , No ketchup. 

The air hostess glares at you if you even ask for a second bottle of water. A far cry from what you used to serve earlier. Can you try and get some of the old charm back – pls look at your menu – avoid the oily snacks, look at early morning flights where you need to provide breakfast. And please ask your air hostess to be a little more polite.

2. The mad Rush for 10C & 10D  – As a platinum card holder I set an alarm 48 hrs ahead of the flight to book 10C  or 10D.  Those are the only seats ( In addition to 10A , 10F and the emergency Reclining Aisles) where you can manage to sit without your legs getting crushed. I Hope you don’t start charging a premium for these seats – a part of your legs actually travel in Business Class – and these seats get booked within minutes of the online web check in getting started.

The seats are jammed – there is no leg space. Jet can probably win the award among all airlines globally for the maximum rows in a plane. If you are 6 foot 3 and you do not get the few seats mentioned earlier you are in deep trouble. Especially when on a  flight from Bangalore to Delhi which is almost the length of an International flight.
With so many rows – you are still full and yet you supposedly make a loss . I am surprised , more of that later.  Suggestion – can you at least make a few rows at the front  Economy Premier with some additional leg space for your platinum customers

3. Platinum Benefits – The platinum card has a lot of benefits. Special counter to check in , excess baggage , Priority Baggage , web check in 48 hrs in advance. Its great – I pity the people who stand in a  Q for 1 hr to check in ( At BIAL in the morning I wonder why you cannot add more staff to the empty counters). But then some of the benefits of the past are no longer there

a) Getting an upgrade is almost impossible ( 5 years back Platinum car holders got an upgrade if seats were free) – you now need to book in advance for an upgrade against points / Vouchers. Even with a voucher you can rarely get an upgrade at the airport counter.

b) Encashing Points is a nightmare. Even if you book 4 – 5 months in advance you will rarely get more than 1 – 2 tickets on miles. (Fortunately I know a few nice people at Jet Bangalore who manage to get me confirmations on my miles wait listed tickets  – but the Privilege centre always says NO). The process is painful – your website rarely works ( for web check in , for booking miles …. you need to Fix the website)

c) The Citibank Jet airways card is gone.

4. Lounges 

Lounges like this were designed many years back – but soon closed down .

Today most airports have no Jet Lounges. The Plaza Lounge at Delhi is so cramped that there is no place to sit. The one at BBY (G Floor) was closed.  Even the International lounge at Mumbai for Business Class travelers is disappointing.

5. Quality of Air Hostess – There was a time when the job of an air hostess was comparable to that of a model. They were a class in style, graciousness & looks. I guess they were well paid too. What we have today is a bunch of brash, rude, don’t care attitude people with no sense of customer service. ( Maybe they are overworked and underpaid – with no options like us customers)

In a cramped row your leg does jut out at times and many a time the strolley has banged me – but not even a hastily uttered Sorry. Most flights have no newspapers ( the inflight magazine is thicker but 70% ads)  , the AC does not come up  till the plane starts, nobody cleans the restroom  and even if there is a little bit of shakiness in the flight tea is not served ( while the staff keep walking up & down) .

6. Why a loss ? 

I am surprised at why you run at a loss. Your flights are full , your rates are not cheap. Even on Miles tickets you charge us for Tax ( Don’t recollect any international airlines doing that). If Indigo and Spice Jet ( This quarter) can run a t a profit why does Jet run at a loss. Is your purchase of Sahara weighing you down ? You are too shrewd a businessman to run an airline on Charity.

7. Business Class International is Great 

The standards of the past are still maintained in the International sector. You have the best seats and the best food. Which is the reason many of us travel Bangalore to Mumbai to travel to London by Jet. (A request can you please start a Bangalore – Heathrow, or Bangalore Brussels Connection). I understand that your international sector is very profitable – and you command a premium over most airlines. Just shows that there are people who are ready to pay a premium for service. Can you emulate the same in the Indian sector – at least have one full service flight in the key sectors which standards of service of the past.

8. Your Baggage arrival is the best

At BIAL by the time you land and reach the baggage carousel your luggage is there ( If you are priority tagged) its not bad in Mumbai , but Delhi still takes its own time. Great job here – compared to most airlines you guys are the best here.

9. You still have some amazing staff

While the class of the past is missing you still have many amazing people. I recollect  recent case in london Heathrow. I had changed my return dates and the travel agent had not reconfirmed the fresh dates. At the airport I was informed that my tickets to Mumbai – Blr were cancelled and Business Class was full. I was stranded. Fortunately the staff were kind enough to accommodate me on an alternate flight Via Delhi – don’t think any other airline would have done this.

Last week I wanted to book tickets against mile to Goa – 4 months in advance. As usual the Privilege call centre could manage only 1 confirmed ticket – thanks to two wonderful  ladies at Bangalore I managed to get all my 4 family tickets confirmed in less than 15 minutes of talking to them.

In conclusion – all I have to say is , I Love you and I hate You at times. But unfortunately today I have no choice. You are at an enviable position – you can get away with whatever you want – you can grow your business and make profits with unhappy customers , or you can treat a certain class of your customers who are ready to pay for service and recreate the magic of the past.

Thank You

A Loyal Platinum customer of 20 Years

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05 comments on “Jet Airways – I Love You – I hate You !

  • Nags , Direct link to comment

    Good feedback VAK, hope you have sent a copy to Naresh’s email address… it would do a lot of good for him and the airline to read it and take it seriously!
    Only thing I wouldn’t agree with you is your comparison of Jet’s current air hostesses with the call center world – “Rash, rude, with no sense of customer service”. You should not broad brush all call centers with the same tint you have experienced with some incompetent ones. Would love to prove my point – if you have the time, come visit us at [24]7!

  • NIKHIL MATHEW , Direct link to comment

    Dear VAK, a very well written letter that nails most of the issues passengers travelling on JET face today. However, i believe there are some inaccuracies.

    Jet Airways International flights have undertaken some dramatic cost cuts.

    1)The cleanliness of their business class seats leaves a lot to be desired. I can recount at least 4 International Business class flights, mostly Mumbai-London i have flown this year, where the seats were dirty when i got onboard. I normally use the welcome hot towel to clean around the seat. Most often there is food left by the previous occupant around the seat.

    2)The quality of the snacks in the pantry has steadily deteriorated, i think all they stock is “haldirams sev ” or some other very cheap snack option.

    3)Amenity bags are of a much cheaper quality now.

    4) Food quality has taken a huge hit. I remember not long ago when the food on Jet Airways Business class was fantastic, now i always pack a sandwich for the flight.

    I feel the service standards of the business class staff are still quite decent compared to most international airlines, however.

    I would still fly Jet Airways compared to British Airways anyday, but i feel the special experience that Jet used to provide is most certainly not available anymore.

    just fyi


  • sushil n d , Direct link to comment

    I beg to differ when you compare jet with other international airlines.emirates and singapore are really commendable. The least is you are not cramped.

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