It happened out of frustration.
My previous and the second-time-in-my-life train journey from Mumbai to Vadodara and back was bad enough, but the 12-hour crowded-and-packed-with-cockroaches train journey from Mumbai to Wardah, followed by the 2.5-hour cramped bus-without-a-suspension journey from Wardah to Warora, was more than enough to test my patience. Reaching Warora, I decided on the spot that no force on Earth would ever make me travel by train again.
Simultaneously, I hatched a plan according to which I would endure the 2.5-hour cramped same-bus-without-a-suspension return journey from Warora to Nagpur, and then catch a flight from Nagpur to Mumbai. No way was I going to endure the planned 14-hour crowded-and-packed-with-cockroaches train journey from Nagpur to Mumbai. A quick seat-availability check on my GPRS-enabled Hutch connection and I decided to fly Indian Airlines. But what a wrong decision that turned out to be.
Now, I have written good things about Indian Airlines in the recent past. The good things, however, seem to be true only when you are in a major city. From Warora, I tried my best to book a ticket with the Indian Airlines office at Nagpur. But they persistently instructed me to go directly to the airport and try for spot fares (which magically crept higher each time I called), because they could not book a ticket over the phone with payment through a credit card. That, to me, sounds ridiculous. Here you have a passenger desperately wanting to board your flight, but hey, “Sorry dude. We can’t book your ticket on the phone and have you pay by credit card. We also can’t guarantee you a seat when you go to the airport and try for spot fares.” Worse, the Indian Airlines nation-wide toll-free number can’t be reached over a GSM connection. Eeeeeks!
They say that “the first impression is the best impression.” And my first impression of IndiGo was that of a no-nonsense highly professional organization.
From booking my ticket to collecting my baggage, it was a highly professional experience. IndiGo has a nation-wide toll-free number that’s reachable 24 x 7 from any type of telephone connection (just dial (0) 99 10 38 38 38). Booking my ticket using my credit card was a quick and painless 5-minute experience. The reservation staff spoke excellent English and were immaculate in their approach. I was given my PNR instantly and the same was SMSed to me in under a minute. How’s that for a “Wow CRM!!!” experience?
The airport counter staff are young, cute, and full of smiles and so are the cabin crew. IndiGo’s boarding pass design makes you go “Hoo Boy!” the moment you see it. The transport buses carry the IndiGo colors everywhere. The aircraft was spanking new and painted IndiGo. There’s a consistent marketing message at every customer touchpoint. It was also the first time I heard a pilot say “Jai Hind.” That to me made a world of difference.
I would rate my IndiGo experience as being equivalent to my earlier KingFisher experiences. There’s no food served onboard – “We’re a no-frills airline, Sir,” said the young lady at the check-in counter – but the aircraft ambiance feels so fresh you’re more than happy to forget the food. IndiGo claims to be an affordable airline. Note the difference? They’re affordable. Not low-cost. I couldn’t find a flaw to complain about.
Overall, a 5-star experience. I wholeheartedly recommend flying on IndiGo. Go Team IndiGo.
PS: IndiGo even allows you to book tickets via a GPRS connection at http://mobile.goindigo.in. I’ll definitely use this facility the next time around.
Have you IndiGoed yet?