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Bar, 5-course meals... on economy class flights

india Updated: Jan 06, 2009 01:10 IST
Lalatendu Mishra

Good times in bad times? That is no contradiction in the cut-throat world of airlines, in which baron Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines has decided to take on rivals suffering a recession by lacing an economy class flight with a range of luxurious goodies.

On offer in the India-UK sector at comparatively cheaper airfare — Rs 19,242 — are a full-fledged bar with a seating area, a five-course gourmet meal and an onboard personal chef.

“I don’t see any reason why passengers will not rush for this service,” said Kapil Kaul, CEO- India, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), a global aviation consultancy.

He said Kingfisher will aggressively woo corporate travellers.

The First Class seats have an in-seat massage machine, while economy class passengers have Internet facilities, in addition to business class meals.

Mallya seems to be emulating British tycoon Richard Branson, whose Virgin Air offered on-air massages a few years ago.

Virgin, which also sports a flamboyant red colour, now offers the cheapest flight to London from India among the glitzier airlines, offering a one-way ticket at Rs 17,196.

Jet Airways and British Airways charge higher fares.

Kingfisher started a new daily A 330-200 flight on Monday from Mumbai to London Heathrow with a soft launch.

Mallya was conspicuously absent.