jaysit
Posts: 10186
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 1:47 am

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.

Thanks !
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
AI744LR
Posts: 103
Joined: Fri May 11, 2001 6:14 am

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 3:25 am

Jaysit,

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.

Good luck!

-Gobind.

 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 3:28 am

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.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
djcrooks
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 7:24 am

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 4:06 am

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
Posts: 10186
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 4:22 am

Thanks guys.
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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
bigmo747
Posts: 301
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2000 3:33 pm

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 5:07 am

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
regards
 
nycank
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon May 29, 2000 6:47 pm

Sahar RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 6:32 pm

Sahar is improving by the day  Smile/happy/getting dizzy - I just (< 24 hrs) returned from BOM.
Most airlines have a seperate counter for Business/First.
 
JAL
Posts: 3876
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2000 12:37 pm

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 10:14 pm

If given the choice, why not BA or Virgin?
Work Hard But Play Harder
 
jaysit
Posts: 10186
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 10:40 pm

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.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: Air India Business Class

Thu Jun 28, 2001 10:57 pm

Hush! Don't tell too many people about AI 125 on Sunday. It is one of the best kept secrets and is ALWAYS easy to nonrev out on!  Smile
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada