Jet Airways began as an air taxi operator in 1993 but launched its first scheduled service a year late. Airline founder Naresh Goyal seized the opportunity Indian aviation deregulation provided in 1994 to take on the staid Indian Airlines which it quickly replaced as India’s most popular domestic carrier. In the early 2000’s commentators expressed opinions that India’s aviation market was likely to enjoy exponential growth and investment in the industry matched this enthusiasm. However profits failed to materialise in the face of excessive competition from air and rail rivals. In 2006 Jet Airways bought India’s Air Sahara but by 2008 the entire Indian aviation market was heading for collapse. To avert disaster for both, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines formed an alliance which is currently being investigated for possible breach of Indian competition regulation. Jet Airways has expanded both domestically and internationally and carries more domestic passengers than any other airline. The airline operates a European hub in Brussels. Jet Airways is part of no international airline alliance.
Jet Airways is a very sophisticated airline that provides very good on-board service that make others blush. The airline has gone for an international look rather than a unique Indian one, so passengers from any country will feel comfortable and at home on-board. Crew are young, attractive, charmingly attired in distinctive canary yellow uniforms (for females) and very attentive to passenger wants. Basically service on Jet Airways is far superior to any you will find on American or legacy European carriers. They make older airlines look outdated and inferior, which actually, they are.
Jet Airways has India’s most extensive domestic networked, doubled when Kingfisher codeshare flights are included. Their international network covers the Gulf region well but services beyond that are essentially to selected larger cities. Oddly enough from Europe, Jet Airways offer Belgians the best connections to North America with services to Toronto, New York and Newark. Jet Airways codeshares with a considerable number of international airlines, however most of them do not deliver the same high standards you find on Jet; such as Kenya Airways and Qantas.
Domestic air travel in India is not as cheap as foreigners might imagine, but Jet Airways is always competitive; in India you have to be to survive. However on international routes Jet Airways provide very good value for money. They typically match the price of legacy carries like British Airways or Alitalia, however provide a much nicer service. Few passengers regret booking Jet Airways and first time travellers on them express surprise at how enjoyable the experience was.
Jet Airways cater their flights according to the travel time and profitability of the route. The airline lavishes passengers with a style that has long vanished from cost cutting Western carriers. Drinks and hot towels are offered before takeoff and even domestic flights receive more than satisfactory servings. Flights have veg and non-veg options and meal standards, even on domestic, is restaurant quality. Premium passengers dine like Maharajah’s on attractive china, linen and cutlery. Jet Airways caterers really do know how to keep roti’s (flat bread) moist and delicious on long routes. Jet Airways really is a delicious way to fly.
Jet Airways operate smaller ATR’s on many domestic routes which have no entertainment except the newspaper that flight attendants offer passengers before take-off. On long-haul international routes the airline has state-of-the-art individual seat back entertainment units which are called JetScreen. On show is a large range of Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters, games, magazines and audio options. In short there is something for everyone.
Indian airports typically provide efficient and polite ground services by smiling and happy staff. Jet Airways check-in times are usually short, smooth and any issues regarding tickets etc will be resolved quickly without an argument. Baggage is handled better than at American airports and miraculously fewer connections are missed than at Western airports. It’s hard for Americans to believe it, but Jet Airways leave all American carriers for dead when it comes to service.
India’s growing legion of millionaires demand quality and they get it with Jet Airways. While many European, American and Australian carriers provide very business-like services that lack luxury, Jet Airways premium passengers get both. Cabin interiors in First and Première (Business) Class are spacious, modern, and comfortable with attentive staff and great service to match. Screen sizes are large and there is ample room for on-board work. Seating is configured to give maximum privacy. While excellent the airline has not achieved the on-board Monte Carlo look achieved by Emirates, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.
Most Jet Airways passengers enjoy their Economy Class journey and first time travellers are often converted. Seats are comfortable, baggage allowance is generous, the airline is punctual and meals are very tasty and large. While prices are competitive, the experience is exceptional.
Unless you plan on making a considerable number of journeys on Jet Airways there seems no practical reason why anyone should join the airline’s frequent flyer programme JetPrivelege. Despite this, it has won awards. Like all such schemes individual JPMiles are basically worthless. Many partner airlines membership cards are valid on Jet Airways so it’s easy to use one of these instead of joining. JPMiles can be redeemed for flights and upgrades.
Jet Airways is struggling financially and it seems apparent India has too many services but not enough passengers. As a result discounting is intense and the lack of profits is placing pressure on management to cut costs. Typically management looks at cutting staff conditions before their bloated administrations or plush offices. Cost cutting can lead to operating outside the law and the Indian Government investigation into the alliance between Jet and Kingfisher may cast light into a dark corner of their management culture with unfavourable results.
Jet Airways operates a modern fleet, far newer than legacy US, European or Australian airlines and they are crewed by well paid pilots who do not cut corners. The airline has operated without any significant incident and has had no fatalities. However in 2007 an aircraft had a bumpy landing during a storm and was written off; there were no injuries. Indian airport security is up there with Israel’s so Jet Airways benefits from this and has never experienced a hijacking.
A young airline offering old fashioned service with attractive crews at a great price.
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