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.