Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Air Deccan Phenomenon!

Long ago, in 92-93 i think, my parents decided to take us all on a trip in luxury. We flew from Hyderabad to Mumbai and from Mumbai to Baroda (that exhausted the money, and we came back by train!!) and for the next one year, there was a cut on all kinds of comfort and luxuries at home due to that trip! I remember the total flight ticket figure for all 4 of us to be around 40000-50000/-. Then, in 99, we flew from Vizag to Delhi and for each person the ticket cost was about 10500/-!!
A fortnight ago, i had to go to Delhi urgently and was contemplating how to go (as the money now has to come from my pocket!) and on a whim, called travelguru (at Bangalore), whose ad i saw online. Imagine my surprise when they told me that an Air Deccan ticket for an early morning flight was available from Hyderabad to Delhi for 2200/-, incl taxes! I grabbed it and left to hyd by Volvo-overnight journey (600/-) and took the flight to Delhi. Total expenditire from Vizag to Delhi, Less than 3000/-!! No wonder more and more people are travelling by air nowadays! And even more should- an industry average says Air travel is bound to increase by 25% each year till 2010 and i'm overjoyed!! Next day morning, i caught an Air Deccan flight from Delhi to Jammu and again the fare was around 2200/-. We came back by train from Delhi to Vizag by A/c and the fare?- 2100/-! Train takes around 38-40 hrs.
Seriously, Kudos to Capt Gopinath for taking initiative in revolutionising Indian skies! Every other airline has had to slash fares and give more freebies to retain market share and this is going to become even more competitive as more and more new airlines are entering the fray!
However, there's one cause for concern too- Our infrastructure is already being stretched to the limits. The government needs to speed up it's upgradation process big-time!.
At Delhi airport, i've seen check-in lines as long as queues at Railway reservation counters during peak hours- and that too at 630 am! The security check area was not sufficient and people were standing, waiting for their flights to be called! Our flight to Jammu was stranded on the tarmac as there was no enough air-space around Delhi airport for the take-off!
Anyway, all good things come with a price-tag and i guess this tag is it!

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