Air India overstaffed and gone lethargic-Observations

Last weekend I had a short trip to Bikaner. The Delhi-Bikaner leg was with national carrier Air India. Air India is the only carrier flying to Bikaner now, as Spicejet has given up on this route.

I made following observations at the Air India check in counters in Terminal 3 of IGI Airport, New Delhi

  • There were about 8-9 check-in counters in the row (one side only that was visible to me) but only 2 were open to Economy class passengers, who are maximum in number.
  • Of the two counters, in one counter a passenger had apparently gone to make some payment, hence check-in agent would simply sit and wait- he won’t process other passengers while this passenger is away. (If that passenger goes home to get money, may be the agent would sit idle whole day looking at the passenger’s bag and do nothing)
  • The first 3-4 counters were for first and business class passengers- no first and business class passengers were in the area but those counter staff won’t process any economy passengers. (All other airlines often process economy passengers if there’re no premium cabin passengers)
  • The last two-three counters were apparently for crew check-in and some other purposes- passengers won’t be processed there as well. Over half a dozen employees wandered around these 2-3 counters, doing nothing.
  • Effectively only one counter was available for economy passengers at that time.
Even at the gate, there were 6-7 people crowding the gate, looking important and doing nothing. All other airlines manage the gate with just two staff.

I got a feeling that Air India has too much excess employees who have gone lethargic- they don’t fear losing job, they don’t have any empathy towards passengers or making their life easier and are getting paid for doing almost nothing.

May be it is time for Air India to check if they really need so many staff. Note that my flight was early in the morning-around 10 AM, so may be they all will get busy later in the day- I don’t know, but I feel they do have a room for cost cutting and increasing efficiency.

The flight experience was fine- no big complaints- was a small ATR- outbound flight was on time while return flight was delayed by some 90 minutes.

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