Akasa Air First Impressions

I had my first flight with Akasa air this month. That is pretty late- Akasa air was inaugurated several months ago but I didn't have a chance earlier. They don't fly to Mangaluru and I couldn't force fit a flight n spend money just for the sake of it.

As I was checking prices for Lucknow, when I saw a 3500 Rs one way ticket I decided to plan a trip. At that time GoFirst had cheapest tickets- like 2200 INR but better sense prevailed and I decided NOT to go with GoFirst. Indigo also had a flight, similar time, similar price, decided to try Akasa.

Ticket booking experience:

My original preference was to book directly on Akasa Air website, but they were charging 350 INR extra as convenience fee, so I had to eventually book on Easemytrip to save some 700 INR round trip.

While I got BLR-Lucknow for 3500, return from Varanasi to BLR cost me 6500. Other option was to travel back to Lucknow and take cheaper flight but that would cost time and money to reach Lucknow, so decided to spend.

After booking Akasa Air kept spamming me regularly, advertising their 10% discount in base fare, convenience fee less booking on app and other things. I summarily ignored them and blocked them on WhatsApp for irritating me.

Web Check-in

Can be done 48 hours before. Akasa air gives an option to auto assign seat or pay for seat selection. I opted for auto assign seat- this experience was better than Indigo. I got email and SMS that my web check in is done, seat allocation will be done 6 hours prior. I got prompt SMS and email with my boarding pass.

This web check in experience was much better compared to Indigo- Indigo doesn't send any acknowledgement if you don't pay for seats and seat allocation will be done just 3 hours prior. We will have no proof that we've done web check in. When I tweeted this Indigo social media support called and acknowledged the same.

I was auto assigned middle seat on both occasions, but at airport check in counter I could request for a seat change without paying extra. Got exit row seats both time. Row 16 had reclining seats but row 15 don't have reclining seats. Indigo wouldn't give exit row seat to anyone unless they pay. Also their flights are almost always full, so chance of changing a seat- particularly window or aisle last minute-is very low.

Flight Experience:

Akasa air gate opening time is full 1 hour prior to departure time- I don't know why they open the gate so soon. I can understand for first flight of the day, but for other flights opening gate even before inbound flight lands makes no sense.

BLR Lucknow was first flight of the day and operated 10-15 mins earlier than scheduled.  Service was good. This aircraft didn't have any USB charging ports but the return flight had one. Most of Akasa Air's planes are new, compared to rivals who have 10-15 year older aircrafts-Akasa seat back had a placeholder for mobile phones- easy to keep your phone there and watch video while USB port ensures you won't run out of charge.

Varanasi-BLR flight was an evening one, had about 20-30 minutes delay. Both the flights were fairly loaded.

Due to sudden resignation of 43+ pilots, Akasa had to cancel over 700 flights in September. I felt lucky both my flights operated without issues.

Onboard purchases

I ordered Upma for my return journey- costs 250 INR (includes a drink). The taste was fine but quantity is just one third of the box. Got one Kombucha as well. (if purchased individually onboard Upma costs 200 INR and Kombucha 150)

Kombucha is Akasa signature mango drink- I thought it is pure mango juice, but it is not. It has some gas in it and didn't have essence of Mango. Felt like Mango flavored sprite. Won't buy again.


Akasa Air Summary
Good things
- Newer planes with USB charging
- Better web check-in process compared to Indigo
- Good inflight food menu for purchase
- Both my flights were fine with no issues
- International flights soon
- Very responsive social media team
- Free seat change at airport counter

To be improved
- Boarding 1 hour in advance feels too much
- Airline needs to come out of pilot shortage issue
- Yet to reach many airports like Mangaluru

Hope they resolve their pilot issue. With Go Air gone, Akasa will have to compete with two giants- Indigo that has huge market share and Tata Group looking to consolidate Air India, Vistara, Air Asia and Air India Express. The founder Rakesh Junjunwala is no more and former Jet Airways head Vinay Dube is leading Akasa. Will look forward to flying more with Akasa.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.