Whenever we travel to any country or within a country – the first thing we check / book are the flights. While we are all familiar with the local airlines / carriers in our own countries, we don’t know about the local carriers / unknown airlines in other countries. Many times I have had to research quite a bit online for reviews, speak to other travelers etc on many forums to figure out the local low-cost airlines and the reliability of these carriers. This got me thinking that people coming to India must be having similar questions on airlines in India. Hence I decided to write this post for all my fellow international travelers on the various airline options in India and my views on them.
In India, we have two kinds of airlines -
Full Service Airlines – We have three full service airlines – Jet Airways, Air India and Kingfisher Airlines. Full service airlines in India have 2 classes – business and economy and serve meals during the flights. Some flights (not all) have in-flight entertainment too. They also keep newspapers, magazines, blankets, pillows, etc and you have a baggage limit of 20 kgs (you pay for baggage above this limit). All these airlines fly on international routes too.
- My recommendation amongst these three airlines is Jet Airways. They have good connectivity to all major cities in India, are reliable and have good reviews from numerous fellow travelers. I have heard very good reviews about their international flights too.
- Air India is our national carrier but they keep having management issues, strikes etc. Hence I am always a little concerned while booking them too much in advance because you are just not sure what will happen to them close to the flying date.
- Kingfisher Airlines has been having numerous management and financial issues lately because of which they have cancelled all flights at present.
Low Cost Airlines – We have four low-cost airlines – Indigo, SpiceJet, GoAir and Jet Connect. The low-cost airlines have only economy class and the ticket includes only flying and a 20 kg baggage limit (you pay for baggage above this limit). You don’t have to buy additional kgs online with the ticket. You have to pay for food separately (you can book in-flight food along with booking your ticket or during the flight), and you don’t get any newspapers, magazines, blankets, pillows, etc. Many flights also have in-flight shopping options. Many of these low-cost airlines fly on international routes too.
Amongst all these airlines Indigo Airlines is my preferred low-cost airline of choice. This is a professional set-up, good flying experience, nearly always on or before time and good connectivity to major cities in India. The other three airlines are also good but given a choice I always fly Indigo Airlines.
Additional points to keep in mind for flights in India -
- For all international flights you have to report 2 – 3 hours before departure and for domestic flights you have to report at least 1 hour before departure. All flight gates shut gates 30 minutes before flight departure.
- In India there is no retina scan or finger print scans at the international airports.
- You have to put tags on all hand luggage and these are stamped post security check.
- You do not need to remove your shoes and put them for X-ray.
- You need to remove laptops and ipads and keep them in trays during security check for X-rays.
- In some airports the check-in luggage needs to be scanned before the actual check-in.
These are all the points that I could think of and I hope you find it useful. Also if my fellow bloggers feel that I have missed anything out or have any queries then please comment below or tweet at traveler_budget.