I was introduced to Indigo by Mandeep and Amrita, way back in 2008 when I was travelling every weekend to Bangalore as Krishnan was working from there. Before Indigo I was a huge fan of Jet Airways but around 2007 I started noticing small changes for the worse – the ticket counter folks would make mistakes, the flights would be invariably delayed, the cabin would smell of stale food, a child’s legs would get squished as the legroom almost disappeared and everywhere the Jet Airways executives stopped smiling. By 2008, the problem became acute … and that was when they laid off 1900 executives, a terrible move. After 2008, I don’t remember taking many Jet Airways flights because I completely shifted over to Indigo.
Indigo was a like a breath of fresh air – the cabins were fresh, the idea of cleaning up after yourself was great, the flights were “always” on time, their training was really good because it showed in the way their executives dealt with customers. We heard about how they were fashioning themselves after the iconic Southwest Airlines and they soon became the largest airline company in India. They still are with Jet Airways being number 2.
Just when it seemed they could do no wrong … we started to see the same problems that we saw with Jet Airways earlier. Their ticket counter staff stopped smiling, the cabins were no longer spotless, the legroom got smaller and smaller, their air hostesses smiled less and less and wouldn’t bother to get you even a glass of water sometimes, and their “on time, every time” started sounding hollow because they would technically take the touch down time as the arrival time not when they opened the door and in the same way, take the pushback time as on time departure, while many of their flights also started to take off late.
Ten days back that horrendous video clip started doing the rounds on social media where a couple of Indigo staffers beat up a middle-aged passenger. While Indigo fired that employee right away, I still dont understand how any employee can try and choke a passenger’s throat? Maybe the passenger was offensive, and spoke rudely, but why tackle him 2-to-1 and not report him to the police? The police is supposed to deal with these things and not the customer facing staff of any organization. This video seemed to be the key to the Indigo-Pandora’s box… another customer wrote about how he was tricked into buying an expensive ticket during the holiday season because Indigo opened fewer ticket counters and never pulled him out of the queue to get him checked-in as his flight was about to board. Now I read about how the Indigo App seems to be canceling tickets on its own accord, glitch or induced glitch??
A personal experience that is certainly not pleasant – we had booked a roundtrip ticket to Chennai for Krishnan during the “sale” a few months back. We got the ticket for less than Rs. 6000/- which was a steal. Just a month back, Indigo changed the flight timings for both the onward and return journeys arbitrarily and pushed both back significantly. The trip was for just a day and it made things tough …then yesterday they have again changed the return trip’s timing. I am wondering about all those people who had business meetings in Chennai and had booked the tickets during the “sale” – they all would have to change their tickets because the timings changed ! All the “sale” tickets were sold as non-refundable, so in effect, Indigo pockets the money and the customer ends up paying more than the normal ticket fare :(:(. This is cheating. If tickets are non-refundable then those flights have to remain unchanged. Otherwise the customer is at a loss.
Indigo is slipping and if it doesn’t arrest its fall soon, there is Jet Airways that’s improved its services significantly and there is Spice Jet which has a very competent CEO at the helm of affairs. All companies that rise and fall, generally tend to forget the basics that helped them to rise in the first place. Indigo needs to go back to basics and do a quick service overhaul, if it hopes to remain the number 1 airline in India.
Till then No Go Indigo.
Categories: Corporate musings