Monday, July 09, 2007

Break(ing) News II

Deciding to go on a holiday is comparatively an easy decision. Once the holiday is decided, bull dozers of other decisions come on to you. Where to go, when to go, how to go, where to stay, what all to do other than just site seeing etc…. Thankfully, we had already made up our minds, we would visit a water body place and hence short listing was easy. Economics made a lot of sense in finally turning to Goa. Destination decided, we have to reach there. Next action item was the travel and accommodation. Air travel was the only solution as train would consume a lot of time. Being net savvy, we sure tried our hands on a combined travel and accommodation package deal on the web. But we soon found, we may actually save some money if we booked air tickets and the hotel/resort separately. Goa, here we come! But the story begins much before we reach Goa.

Many people I have met curse Air Deccan like crazy. Complaints range from free seating issue to running late on most occasions, the staff not being courteous and long queues at the check in counters. I don’t know if it’s only me in the world but out of ten times, six times I would have traveled by Air Deccan. Whenever I have traveled on Air Deccan it has always departed on time and landed on time and the staff, both ground staff and air hostesses have been really good to me! Long queues are something which is both an infrastructural and psychological issue. No airport in India is equipped to handle the air traffic it handles. In addition, all Airlines mention very clearly on tickets that passengers should reach the airport atleast two hours before the scheduled departure. How many of us actually do? And if there is a longer queue in Air Deccan than Jet Airways, be happy! It should reassure you that have made the right choice of flying a more popular airline! (Whether the kind of people who travel by Air Deccan should be allowed to enter an air craft is something which we shall discuss later). Free seating is a non-issue. The price at which they make you travel, one should not be complaining the way they do. But then, may be that’s why the kind of people is questionable. (I thank Dr. Vijay Mallaya for his acquisition of Air Deccan).

Anyhow, once onboard, the fun began. By the grace of Almighty, the quality of air hostesses in Air Deccan has certainly improved. The reaction of my co-passengers will give you valuable insights. Once we had finished running the full aisle and grabbing seats together, we came across three gentlemen traveling together and sitting on three window seats behind each other. Of course, to talk they needed to stand and talk. The air-hostess came over and asked them sit and fasten their seat belts. They did and then the smartest of the three made his move. He called for assistance by pressing the button above the seats. When the air-hostess arrived, he asked her very innocently, how does one unlock the seat belt; he does not know as he is traveling by air for the first time! A first timer knows how to call for assistance by looking at the buttons, but does not know how to lock and unlock the seat belt!! When the hostesses started taking rounds selling snacks, one of the passengers actually asked if they can serve only fruits (for free ofcourse) as he said he does not have change. But the best one was again from the smartest passenger on board. He bought some snack and while the hostess was handing over the edibles, he said to her, “you have a great smile; please smile. I hope that’s free”.

The air travel was fun. Two hours passed as a finger snap. How we spent the days in Goa comes in the last part of my trilogy of breaking news.

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