Spicejet Kolkata-Dhaka: My Shortest flight Experience

My first international trip was with Spicejet- Chennai- Colombo in 2011. Since then Spicejet has added several international destinations to its network- Dubai, Muscat, Hong Kong, Male and many more, but whenever I checked I didn't find their pricing cheap enough or tempting enough to book.

Recently as I planned a trip to North East & Kolkata I thought of making a short visit to Dhaka. Spicejet had a return ticket of Rs 7700 between Kolkata and Dhaka, which was cheapest at that time so I booked.

This post shares my flight experience.
Pre-flight
Spicejet made several attempts to make me buy Spicemax- costs another 1200 Rs + tax for CCU-DAC sector one way, gets me some extra leg room, a sandwich (officially called "meals", I call it piece of bread) and priority boarding. I declined to upgrade as I didn't see any value.

Kolkata-Dhaka
Kolkata Dhaka morning flight is operated by turboprop Q400 (Spicejet has two flights a day between CCU and DAC, evening one was on 737). Flight was at 7.20 AM. Spicejet sends default sms to all passengers to report at airport 3 hours before the flight. I reached at about 5 AM, more than 2 hours to spare. But row D, which was meant for Spicejet's international check-ins, was deserted inside Kolkata airport- there was no one. So I went to another row in which Spicejet Check-in was going on-after standing in line for 20 minutes my turn came- I was told to go back to Check-in Row D as this counter was only for domestic flights... (Kolkata airport has no separation of terminals)

I went back to Row D- now it was open and few people were ahead of me. If they are opening the counter only 2 hours before departure, why ask passengers to come 3 hours prior?

There was only 1 lady processing check-ins. No spicemax counter, no second person. There were about 7 to 10 people ahead of me in the line, but it took about 30-40 minutes to process them.
- Some people had not got their check-in bags scanned so were sent back and they would cut the queue and squeeze in
- Some would have more bags or overweight bags and would argue with staff and resist payment
- Some would take minutes to lift their bags and put on the scale- no help was around when needed

There was one person sitting behind the counter named "Wheelchair assistance"- he was probably checking visa details- I skipped him because I didn't know he is checking visa and when I realized there were 7 people behind me, so I didn't want to leave the queue and join at the end.

Around 6 AM a second staff arrived to man the second check-in counter. By about 6.15 I had my boarding pass finally. More than an hour wasted unnecessarily.

Security and immigration cleared under 10 minutes as there was no crowd at 6 AM

The onward flight on Q400 lasted just 25 minutes. Crew would serve piece of bread ("meals") before take off as they wouldn't have enough time to serve once airborne). This is my shortest flight ever. Even Chennai-Bengaluru is bit longer at 40-45 minutes.

Flight was on time.

Return flight
Dhaka Kolkata evening flight was on a 737-800. I was hoping it will reach even quicker-but it took 37 minutes- about 12 minutes longer than the turboprop Q400. My guess is this was out of some compulsion/operational reasons and not due to speed of aircraft.
 Looks like the aircraft was used by a German carrier earlier...
Spicejet tries to speed up boarding by allowing people in groups- like row 20-30 first, 10-20 next etc- but this exercise is futile as everyone get mixed up in the bus downstairs and when the bus reaches aircraft, those who got into bus last get to board the bus first- so row 1 to 10 will be actually boarding first, blocking path for Row 20-30 people, exactly opposite effect of what Spicejet hoped to achieve.

Noticed that spicejet also operates Guwahati-Dhaka flight. Also it seems Spicejet has discontinued "meals" on Spicemax domestic flight. Noticed Spice Biz being promoted in the SpiceRoute magazine, though they plan to replace the biz class with economy seats soon.

Notice that meals and drink are only on international flights now for Spicemax customers.

Kolkata Dhaka is half the distance of Kolkata-Imphal I had flown last month. Still because it is an international segment, pricing is 2-3x more than what a Kolkata-Imphal flight would cost.

Was good to fly Spicejet after long time. Even domestically, it has been about 2 years since I last flew spicejet. 

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