ojas
Topic Author
Posts: 1190
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:23 am

Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:31 pm

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Background:-

Been a while since I wished to experience Vistara, the new full service carrier in the crowded Indian market and that opportunity presented itself in mid December
this year to fly home to Pune. As an airline which aggressively markets itself on social media, the curiosity just deepened and hence decided to experience their
Premium Economy offerings. Were they as good as they are hyped by the media (and no, not be social media)? I aimed to find out.

Introduction:-

Vistara Airlines, the carrier which is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines commenced operations on 9 January 2015. Inevitably comparisons
were drawn with the last full service carrier in India which was launched with a bang, whose owner as of today is now wanted by the financial institutions in India. However, with the branding of the Tatas and backing of Singapore Airlines; the stage was perfectly set for them to make a silent yet strong impact on the aviation market in India.

Booking:-

Once the dates were finalized, I logged onto their website http://www.airvistara.com to book my flights. My first strike against Vistara came at the time of booking via their website. While looking for options to book one had to always use the back button on the browser which was absolutely annoying. Almost every airline website has a "Modify Booking" options wherein you can tweak your search, but this was not the case with Vistara. A pretty shabby way of designing the tool for the first point of contact by a customer.

Secondly, the number of classes of travel they have is totally confusing. They have Business, Premium Economy, Economy and Economy lite; the description of
which can be found on their website. While searching for fares, you see certain fares on PY lower than Y and the sequence in which they are advertised is totally all over the place. And this confusion is for for a single aircraft type which is the A320 which can barely seat 160 passengers. For this size, having so many fare brands is a clear indication of how flawed their revenue/inventory management is.

After a research and swot analysis for 20 minutes I selected to travel Premium Economy which was priced at INR 6,113 (US $ 88 approx) including all taxes and surcharges which would offer me access to the dedicated check in line for PY and J passenger and priority tag for my checked in bags which interested me the most.

Image20181113_074003 by avbuff, on Flickr



Departure Airport: Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Terminal 3
Arrival Airport: Pune International Airport, Lohegaon

UK 720 Delhi - Pune 1025 1240



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Image20181216_100347 by avbuff, on Flickr

I reached the airport around 0845hrs and headed to the check in area for Vistara. Seeing the long queues for the Economy class, I was thankful I chose PY for the sheer convenience as the queue for PY/J were almost empty. Within a minute I was checked-in by the lovely agent and headed for security check.

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Vistara has its own lounge only in Delhi, which was one of the reasons I wanted to fly out of here to experience it. The lounge is conveniently located near gate 41 giving easy access to all departure gates of Vistara, instead of having is in the duty free/food court area from where it is a really long walk. As I entered the lounge a lovely gentleman introduced himself and welcomed me to the lounge, advised me that no announcements would be made. I was extremely impressed with the design and F&B offerings; they had a delicious spread of breakfast and tea/coffee.

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After spending some quality time at the lounge and curing the hangover, it was time to proceed to gate 55. While stepping out noticed this robot they have called
"RADA", who would respond in a fancy way to what question you asked.

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I walked towards the gate where the boarding was already in progress.

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Flight Details:-

ATD: 1030hrs
ATA: 1240hrs

Blocktime: 2hrs 15mins
Flying time: 1hr 50mins
Aircraft: A320
Registration: VT-TTK
Seat: 4F


The PY and J passengers had a separate boarding line, easing the process in the bargain. Walking through the jet bridge I stepped foot on my first Vistara aircraft,
to be greeted by the cheerful flight attendants. Few steps ahead I settled at my seat after which a water and hot towel service followed along with the distribution of the menu cards. We pushed back at 1030hrs and after a while we were airborne on our way to Pune.

Image20181216_100934 by avbuff, on Flickr

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An IndiGo crew deadheading to Pune

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EK511 to Dubai

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The crew pulled on the curtains giving J and PY an exclusive feeling on board. They were quick to start the meal service and soon I had my meal tray in front of me. The second strike came along in the form of the meal service consisted of 3 pieces of chicken and 2 pieces of batata wadas as the hot tray with a dessert and a bottle of water.

Image20181216_111256 by avbuff, on Flickr

Having such a large tray for barely two items and having empty spaces is a huge let down when presenting a meal, rather your meal tray should be sized according to what you have an offer. Vistara serves the same meal in Y and PY with the difference being the Y class have the meal boxed whereas PY has it over a tray, which is absolutely fine. However if you are serving a tray of this size with glaringly significant empty space; for sure they have not taken enough lessons from one of their parent companies. For those who are experienced travelers, clearly the missing aspect on this tray was the bread and maybe like a chocolate or something which would give a nice look to this meal. The meal itself tasted ok, nothing that was great but not bad either. The dessert was absolutely delicious after which the crew cleared the trays and offered us tea/coffee.


With the coffee in hand, now was the time to explore their inflight entertainment called the Vistara World which you can stream on your device. This was the time for the third strike. They had a good collection of content no doubt and good job to that, however quite a few TV shows/movies could only be seen with the help of the Vistara World app that needs to be downloaded on your phone. As I write this TR, I'm still figuring out what could possibly the reason for this. Even so, it would have been so nice if the crew had told this on ground so that we could have downloaded it right away. So some really good content on the IFE was out of my reach.

ImageScreenshot_20181216-105919_Chrome by avbuff, on Flickr

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Spotted another Vistara aircraft heading to Mumbai

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We had begun our arrival drill and the flight deck announced we would be parking at Pune on schedule and rightfully at 1240hrs we stopped at our bay at Pune
airport.

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Arrivals:-

We walked our way to the arrivals hall and our bags were the first to arrive thanks to the priority tag, headed then to the parking area where my car was waiting. As Pune is a defence airport, photography is strictly prohibited hence refrained from doing so.

Verdict:-


The Positives:

At every touch point the people who I spoke to were very nice, polite, enthusiastic and cheerful; be it the lounge staff, the check in staff or the cabin crew. They delivered a hassle free experience which was value for money. The additional amount paid for the lounge access was absolutely worth it and kudos to the team who designed the lounge and placed it strategically in between gates. The aircraft was very well maintained, queries addressed to promptly ensuring all the basic boxes were checked.

The Negatives:

The website experience, the food and the IFE. Being an airline which is already late to the overcrowded skies of India, it amazes me how they have not worked on some basic aspects of customer experience on their website and their IFE. As a late entrant and the fact their expansion is curtailed due to infrastructure constraints; they just cannot afford to take such flaws casually. They have to be at the top of their game in every minute aspect to compensate for a relatively weak network they have within India outside of Delhi.

This also should be a glaring realization that in the Indian skies Vistara would stand out simply because of what condition Jet and Air India are in as of today. However if they are going to enter the international arena, they will find it extremely difficult to compete with the incumbents who are in the business for decades. Vistara does a good job in addressing grievances over social media with their CSCO himself addressing customer queries at times and also have an amazing market team with the retro jet and all that fancy PR; but they need to address and streamline the more important areas of passenger experiences which can have negative impact on the business in the longer run.

To conclude, I would for sure not pay a premium to fly their Y class unless they are the only option on the route/time of day (which I doubt is likely at any airport)
and would fly PY only if it is at par with the Y class of other airlines. I rate my experience 7.5/10.

Thank you for reading, any feedback or comments would be appreciated.
Great leaders don't tell you what to do ... they show you how it's done!
 
hkore
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:20 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:21 am

Well documented.

Enjoyed reading your TR.

:)
 
devron
Posts: 312
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:56 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:43 am

Wow, 88 $ and this level of service (hot towels). This is not a sustainable but what I gather from the idian aviation market (i.e. reading airliners) most airlines are not profitable.

Regarding the food tray if I fly business there is usually a lot of empty space, also excusive dinners have small portions on a big plate. Maybe they thought it would look more exclusive.

I hate a webpage where you can't modify the search
 
SR 103
Posts: 1621
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2000 6:19 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:57 am

Thanks for a very informative review Ojas. Vistara has been on my radar for quite some time and its good to read a detailed report on them.

The lounge looks quite nice and that's something I have always found the Indian carriers to be lacking in (other than maybe Air India).

Emirates has a nasty habit of always being there doesn't it? No matter where I am in the world there is always an Emirates aircraft stalking me inching its way closer towards me with the jaws theme song playing.

That tray does look a bit on the sparse side. There is definitely some work needed on the catering front. Back in the day Kingfisher offered more in regular economy! (Yes I know its a horrible comparison but say what you will about the airline, they set a very high benchmark for in flight service!)

Interesting to hear you had issues with the Vistara App for streaming. The crew should have made an announcement on the ground about that, but from my experience with the US airlines you always need the app.

I look forward to Vistara getting some wide bodies and flying internationally. However I should try and get on a domestic run before that to experience the airline the way it started.
 
zrs70
Posts: 3695
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2000 4:08 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:31 am

OP:

Great review! Word to the wise.... You advertised your personal email address on your ticket receipt photo. Never a good idea on a public forum.

You should also never give out your ticket number and PNR (though this is less relevant, as your trip is fully concluded).
19 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2019
 
QueenoftheSkies
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:48 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Sat Dec 29, 2018 3:42 am

$88 for a short flight yet you found it not worth it? Unrealistic expectations anyone....sheesh.
 
ojas
Topic Author
Posts: 1190
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:48 pm

hkore wrote:
Well documented.

Enjoyed reading your TR.

:)


Thanks

devron wrote:
Regarding the food tray if I fly business there is usually a lot of empty space, also excusive dinners have small portions on a big plate. Maybe they thought it would look more exclusive.


Definitely a different way to look at it, that I agree.

zrs70 wrote:
OP:

Great review! Word to the wise.... You advertised your personal email address on your ticket receipt photo. Never a good idea on a public forum.

You should also never give out your ticket number and PNR (though this is less relevant, as your trip is fully concluded).


Thanks a lot ...

And yes, I should not be putting those details on a public forum :-(
Great leaders don't tell you what to do ... they show you how it's done!
 
ojas
Topic Author
Posts: 1190
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:49 pm

QueenoftheSkies wrote:
$88 for a short flight yet you found it not worth it? Unrealistic expectations anyone....sheesh.


Clearly you have not read what I wrote, it was a total value for money for the cabin I flew.
Great leaders don't tell you what to do ... they show you how it's done!
 
ojas
Topic Author
Posts: 1190
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:23 am

Re: Anything New In The New Experience? Vistara Ailrines UK 720 Delhi to Pune

Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:54 pm

SR 103 wrote:
Thanks for a very informative review Ojas. Vistara has been on my radar for quite some time and its good to read a detailed report on them.

The lounge looks quite nice and that's something I have always found the Indian carriers to be lacking in (other than maybe Air India).


Thanks, yes the lounge was absolutely well designed and strategically located.

SR 103 wrote:
Emirates has a nasty habit of always being there doesn't it? No matter where I am in the world there is always an Emirates aircraft stalking me inching its way closer towards me with the jaws theme song playing..


Hahahahaha, can't say about the rest of the world (maybe except LHR), but surely in India you can't miss them for most parts of the day.

SR 103 wrote:
That tray does look a bit on the sparse side. There is definitely some work needed on the catering front. Back in the day Kingfisher offered more in regular economy! (Yes I know its a horrible comparison but say what you will about the airline, they set a very high benchmark for in flight service!)


Agreed, not saying catering is insufficient; just that the tray occupancy has to be a bit more.

SR 103 wrote:
Interesting to hear you had issues with the Vistara App for streaming. The crew should have made an announcement on the ground about that, but from my experience with the US airlines you always need the app.


Had the crew told while boarding or during the first set of announcements, I could have quickly downloaded the app.

SR 103 wrote:
I look forward to Vistara getting some wide bodies and flying internationally. However I should try and get on a domestic run before that to experience the airline the way it started.


You surely must!
Great leaders don't tell you what to do ... they show you how it's done!

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