Two flights in three days that were delayed … And yes my favorite airline Indigo. I took a flight from Chennai to Delhi a couple of days back and am getting back today. The new Chennai airport is swanky and very cool, but the Indigo experience was bad … The flight was supposed to be at 5.20. I reached the airport early and as the friendly guy at the entrance handed me the boarding pass printed through his handheld terminal, I saw the flight ETD was 5.40, a twenty minute delay. So I walked around tried to find a charging point that worked for my phone and finally settled down. As the time approached 4.30 I somehow felt the need to check on my flight and came back near gate number 4 from where we were to board. There was not much happening there and I walked to the large display board and the ETD there still showed 5.20. I came back to the gate and overheard one of the Indigo staffers say to the gentleman in front of me, that the Delhi flight was boarding from gate H1 which was downstairs. So I asked her why it was not being announced ? The young lady had no answer, so I simply walked down to gate H1. The next drama was unfolding here – a Mumbai flight that was to board from this gate was actually boarding from gate 6 which was upstairs ! So complete confusion as the two groups of passengers exchanged locations.
Finally we hoarded the flight by 5.20 or so but the flight took off only by 6.10. The landing in Delhi was at 9 pm and I managed to reach my hotel only by 10.30 pm !! I missed my Appam, stew dinner and Ria’s birthday in the process.
Today I was on the 8.45 pm flight which again got delayed to 9.15 pm. Luckily the information was sent in advance by Indigo. On reaching the airport it appeared as though all flights were late as there were long queues at each gate and restaurants were overflowing, very few seats were vacant.
I fear that Indigo is losing its touch … From being always on time, they are slowly slipping and the worst thing is, there are no announcements and infact at the Chennai airport the display boards still showed the 5.20 pm departure !! They have either grown too big too soon, or success is getting to them. They need to study Southwest carefully and understand that their success comes from sticking to their core principle of low cost, point to point flying. Their value proposition hasn’t changed and they guard it. While Kingfisher folded up and other low cost airlines aren’t making a dent, Indigo is doing well. But they need to remember that a diamond is a piece of coal that made good under pressure – the pressure is now mounting for them, will they make good and turn out to be a diamond or just burn up like a piece of coal ?