Jaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 1559 times:
I generally refrain from asking for input on inflight service etc of carriers, but there are exceptions to every rule.
I'm in the process of buying 2 J class tix for my parents to fly to New York from Bombay, and it appears that AI have the best deals with their "buy one full fare ticket, get the second for half the price" schtick. The question is: how comfortable is the seat on a long flight and how willing would AI be to assist a rather hyper and worried 70+ yr old man and his harried wife and get them through the miasma that is Sahar airport? The price on AI is good, but if the service standards in J class have become slovenly and the seat pitch sucks, then I'd rather put my folks on BA or the Virgin service through Delhi.
AI744LR From Thailand, joined May 2001, 106 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1502 times:
If I were you and if BA or Virgin are not much more expensive than AI, I'd take either of the former options. Mind you, I'm one of the biggest AI fans around, but I have to admit that my beloved airline, is no where near the names you mentioned. Unfortunately, AI is still flying in the days of the past.
And regarding AI helping your parents on the ground and that too at Sahar, just forget about it completely. Don't even think about expecting this. Your folks will most definitely have to fend for themselves at the AI counter UNLESS AI has started something new that I am not aware of. I have not been to Bombay for almost 2 years now.
B747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1507 times:
If they fly AI in Business Class, you can rest assured that they will be treated very well. I could write a book about the service they will experience on AI 102/112, but I don't think you are really looking for what the menu will be or which movies are showing.
The seat pitch is a comfortable 48" and the Business Class cabin is located on the upper deck of the B747-437. The food is excellent and there are 18 kinds of special meals available ranging from Kosher to Gujarati.
Check-in at JFK will be smooth since there are 2 seperate desks for the F/J class pax, so they will not have to stand in the regular line that stretches all the way down to Jersey. The Maharaja lounge is located on the 3rd floor of the Air India check-in area and they can relax over there until flight time. The lounge is in serious need of renovation though, but it is definitely preferable to sitting out in the terminal. At flight time, one of the staff will escort all the F/J class pax to the aircraft and allow them to board seperately from the crowd. Its a very smooth operation.
Transit at LHR will be equally smooth. Depending on whether the flight is assigned a jetway or a remote parking bay, pax will be asked to disembark. They can choose to stick around in the transit area by the gate or they can head over to the Maharaja lounge which is located by Gate 1 near the duty-free area. I reccomend the latter, because the lounge is very comfortable and the staff there are very friendly and helpful. Additionally, the Eastbound flight can arrive about 40 mins ahead of schedule, so the LHR layover can be upto 2.5hrs long.
Arrival at BOM can be somewhat of a zoo, but if you drop me an email with your travel dates, I will try to have a special handling message sent to take care of them. Even without that though, there should be a ground crew member assigned to assist F/J class passengers and escort them through priority immigration clearance. Their checked luggage will be PRIORITY tagged at JFK and should already be on the belt by the time they clear immigration. Terminal II-C isn't particularly crowded at 11pm when AI 102 arrives (all the Euro carriers begin arriving about an hour later - and then also to Terminal II-A), so customs should be a breeze as well.
Djcrooks From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1491 times:
I can echo B747-437B's post. I flew AI from FRA to ORD in J class on their 747-400. As metioned before, the upper deck is exclusively J class and the seats were quite comfortable. I was suppose to be on United but was switched to AI due to an oversold flight on UA. I was very pleasantly surprised with AI and would definitely fly them again in F or J.
Jaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1478 times:
As 747-437B mentioned, I'm really not concerned about what the movies are or how many choices of meals are offered, but by the overall comfort of the experience. In particular, departure at Sahar can be draining for even the most tenacious 30 yr old, let alone a 70 yr old. As long as there is some level of exclusivity to the travel experience, thats all that matters in this case !
I guess I'll go ahead and book 'em.
Bigmo747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 306 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1459 times:
I just recently had the opportunity to fly Air India's business class from NYC to LHR and return--and i thought the experience was wonderful. As u guys know it is a 744, and as the trip is for ur parents i think the better seats for them would be the ones near the emergency exits upstairs. They will have ample leg room, and the meals are great. The flight attendants are very helpful and i'm pretty sure they'll take good care of ur folks. I've flown many business and first class flights--that was the first time i did with AI and i was not disappointed--so i would say use AI
Jaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1395 times:
AI are significantly cheaper than BA or VS in Business Class. Plus, the AI terminal at Sahar is less of a zoo than the main International concourse. Plus, AI have a great Sunday morning dep for London (where virtually every Indian makes a pit stop for a few days) at 9:25 AM which I think would be preferable for my folks rather than schlepping to the Airport at 2 AM for the BA flight.