Good times in bad times? That is no contradiction in the cut-throat world of airlines, in which 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 would 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.