Welcome to the Maharaja Experience…
In our recent trip to Thailand we got a chance to experience the grand and magnificent Maharaja treatment. Torn, rebuking, blaring… errr.. what kind of Maharaja treatment is that! Don’t sweat darling, welcome onboard to Air India. The world’s most preferred airline (as per a note from CMD of our beloved airline).

I might be sounding exaggerated but trust me that is how it was. As we entered into the aircraft, the first impression was quite similar to of a local city bus. The cabin crew had an expression as if they were just spanked and told to stay on gate as a punishment by Mr. Pilot. Come on guys… a rather smiling face won’t do any harm.

The temperature inside was as hot as it could be when ACs are not working. Fortunately it came to life after some time. My wild guess is that either we were plain lucky or may be they were just waiting to get the cart loaded with all passengers to save on some fuel. We somehow found the seats and as we tried to put our fat bums on it, there was a strange creaking noise. I tried to look around and discovered that the seat was thoroughly fastened by surgical tape at various places. Wow, now that is some in-flight experience for sure. Virgin guys… where are you? What about your button operated flat bed seats! You might take a tip or two from Maharaja to make them more comfortable. A further glance ascertained that we were not the only one chosen for it, most of them were in similar state. For some of them it was the arm rest, for others it was flip food tray or some thing else. Now, I am sure you guys are nodding your heads in disagreement, so here, take a look yourself.

At the time of take off, Neha wanted some ear buds so I tried buzzing the stewardess. Tring… waited for 5 minutes, no response, never mind, they must be busy some where else. Tring again... same… Tring again.. lost the hope. After around 10 minutes an Aunty (what else do you call a 40 something air hostess?) came huffing and puffing. We needed some ear buds but never mind we managed fine, but yeah, could you please get us some magazines, I said with a forced smile. What she came up with was “Swagat” (welcome), a leaflet kind of thing with a note from CMD and some other internal stuff on how AI is world’s most preferred airline and how thankful they are coz we are flying with them. (But thanks anyway coz that gave me the ID of the CMD for feedback, where I am sending the link to this post, with least hopes to get a reply)

During the flight when aunty was serving the drinks, a poor passenger on the next seat was trying to listen to some music on his phone.

Aunty (almost screaming) – ye kya hai? (What is this?)
Poor Passenger (PP) – blinked... astonished with the sudden attack
Aunty - HAI KYA YE… (WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS?), Mobile phone?
PP – yeah but this is in flight mode
Aunty – whatever, even this is not allowed, band karo ise (switch the damn thing off)
PP – but…
Aunty – grumbling while moving ahead… Flight mode, huh…
PP – too stunned to speak…

All said and done, we can easily argue that it might be one bad day or one bad flight and not all of their flights are like that (even I agree coz the flight at the time of going was not half bad) but I have just one question, that is, what image AI is trying to portray by offering this kind of aircrafts and in flight experience in their international flights. In the age of this cut throat competition where every other company is trying to come up with best quality and service, if this is what AI guys are trying to compete with?