Willy Boulter is the Chief Commercial Officer at IndiGo and has been in the airline business for over 35 years. He has precise and efficient experience in all zones of commercial activity. He has an MA from Oxford University
Willy Boulter is the Chief Commercial Officer at IndiGo and has been in the airline business for over 35 years. He has precise and efficient experience in all zones of commercial activity. He has an MA from Oxford University

HT Brunch Game Show: Who’s the best co-passenger to have?

Tired of annoying flights full of weird smells, sounds and inconsiderate fellow passengers? We get three frequent travellers to tell us their flight etiquette. Who wins - The “pray-er”, the sleeper, or the shoe-abandoner?
By Rupali Dean
PUBLISHED ON AUG 01, 2021 08:52 AM IST

Neelam Kothari Soni, 51, Actor, jewellery designer

Neelam makes sure she prays before and after flights
Neelam makes sure she prays before and after flights

How do you choose a flight?

Date and time are my priority. Pricing, not so much, because you got to go when you do. (Obviously, an absurdly high price wouldn’t work.) I am not a big fan of late flights and prefer taking 10am flights and reaching home early. Nothing post 3 or 4pm.

Your flight preparation?

I pack three days in advance. Having a checklist and planning my bags gives me peace.

A big no-no?

Sitting next to the washroom puts me off, especially if it’s a long flight and there’s a morning involved.

Window or aisle seat?

When I am travelling with Samir & Ahana, I get the middle seat as we like to sit together. Alone, I opt for the window seat.

Must do’s on a flight?

I pray before taking off and after landing, and read the Hanuman Chalisa.

Ankush Nijhawan, 43, Travel entrepreneur

Ankush needs his laptop and AirPods in flights
Ankush needs his laptop and AirPods in flights

How do you choose a flight?

It depends on the purpose of travel. If I were travelling domestically for business, I choose an early morning flight and take a late-night flight back. For international, I prefer taking business class. Pricing doesn’t affect my purchase.

Your flight preparation?

When you’re a frequent traveller, you don’t find the groundwork difficult.

A big no-no?

If I am travelling internationally, I can’t take a flight during daylight as I need to sleep on flights. On the domestic front, the middle seat is a no-no.

Window or aisle seat?

A window seat.

Must do’s on a flight?

I need my laptop along with my AirPods.

Kunal Kapur, 41, Chef, author and TV host

Kunal checks for his headphones and battery pack before a flight
Kunal checks for his headphones and battery pack before a flight

How do you choose a flight?

It’s about pricing. On business travel, I prefer a morning flight to maximise my work day. On a leisure travel, I don’t mind the midnight flights either.

Your flight preparation?

Two things I always check and cross check for are my headphones and battery pack.

A big no-no?

Talking too loudly, listening to music without headphones and carrying food from home. Not that I am encouraging or discouraging people to buy inflight food but sometimes the smell can be overpowering.

Window or aisle seat?

Window for the view.

Must do’s on a flight?

I have to have to take off my shoes and I promise my feet or socks don’t stink.

And the winner is… Ankush Nijhawan

‘Optimise your in-flight time the best you can’

“My Japanese wife always says that in her culture, ‘your first thought is not about yourself, but the other person’. A good motto for us when flying.” says Willy Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer at IndiGo.

“While taking one’s shoes off is common as feet and ankles swell at altitude, Kunal Kapur’s promise that it’s a non-stinky affair is admirable. We must respect Neelam Kothari Soni’s prayers on take-off and landing, and her timings that ensure the best mood for flights — we’ve all done midnight flights with cranky passengers who never want to sleep! Quite the opposite for Ankush Nijhawan, who optimises his time best on ground, whether on a day trip or long-haul — successful businessmen like him are why airlines put in “lie-flat” seats in business class. His time management makes Ankush the winner,” Boulter declares.

From HT Brunch, August 1, 2021

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