“Flying” into and around in India

23 Feb

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 –

  1. 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.
  2. In India there is no retina scan or finger print scans at the international airports.
  3. You have to put tags on all hand luggage and these are stamped post security check.
  4. You do not need to remove your shoes and put them for X-ray.
  5. You need to remove laptops and ipads and keep them in trays during security check for X-rays.
  6. 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. 🙂

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14 Responses to ““Flying” into and around in India”

  1. Raunak February 23, 2013 at 22:19 #

    I love Indigo too….but nothing saddens me more than the problems KF has been facing…Mallya did make flying fun 🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo February 23, 2013 at 22:22 #

      I agree… He did start some new trends in flying and good competition to other airlines.

      Like

  2. V. Sridhar February 24, 2013 at 15:40 #

    Awaiting some article on Chennai 🙂

    Like

    • getsetandgo February 24, 2013 at 18:45 #

      Its in queue.. My photographer hasn’t sent the pics yet 🙂

      Like

  3. Juliana Lightle February 24, 2013 at 19:53 #

    It surely is better now. 20 or so years ago I sat at the unairconditioned Agra airport waiting for a plane from Mumbai to stop and take us all to Delhi. We waited and waited and waited. They fed us and we waited. Eventually, they informed us it had gone on to Delhi without stopping in Agra. Some of us had to get to Delhi to catch a flight to Kashmir the next morning. A group from all over the world shared a taxi and drove across the countryside in the middle of the night. It was fun: hours of getting to know people from all over Earth, seeing a different side of India from just the touristy. Some times when you travel what seems a disaster at first turns out to be a blessing.

    Like

    • getsetandgo February 25, 2013 at 17:15 #

      Hahaha… That really sounds like India… Thankfully this has not happened to me for a flight… but delays in indian trains is legendary 🙂 But things like this are what make a trip even more memorable 🙂

      Like

  4. the kathydocuments March 10, 2013 at 02:27 #

    This is such a useful post 🙂 My boyfriend is Indian and we talk about visiting India one day when we’re both out of school. Thanks for the advice!

    Like

    • getsetandgo March 10, 2013 at 22:29 #

      Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 Hope you get a chance to visit India soon

      Like

  5. Sara March 19, 2013 at 22:16 #

    Very timely post – we are about to start planning our first visit to India, including travel between several cities. This is extremely helpful, thank you!

    Like

    • getsetandgo March 19, 2013 at 22:28 #

      Hi Sara, thanks for visiting my blog and I am glad that this post is useful for your travel planning. Do let me know if you need any help with your India trip and I will be happy to help. Have fun.

      Like

  6. Know-All April 25, 2013 at 22:43 #

    quite a comprehensive guide…and point 4 of additional points is important…because it can lead to funny situations, when someone takes off his/her shoes for a domestic flight check-in, and people around start smiling…

    Like

    • getsetandgo April 26, 2013 at 13:37 #

      Thanks 🙂 I know. I have seen so many people completely lost at the airports here with shoes and the baggage tags 🙂

      Like

  7. getsetandgo June 18, 2013 at 14:06 #

    Thanks a ton for this and please feel free to write to me if you need any additional information for planning your India trip 🙂

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. You can’t get there from here: booking travel within India | eatdrinkculture - June 14, 2013

    […] it made sense to look to the smaller domestic airlines within India. I came across a blog entry on getsetandgo that had very helpful information in this regard. As we started researching, it quickly became […]

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