Monday, May 01, 2006

Consistently inconsistent

The Tea and Coffee served on Indian Airlines is brewed by expert brewers with ingredients that are checked for quality and freshness. We also take great care to ensure consistency in quality and services in all our sectors.

This was the response that a friend of mine got from the Catering Manager, for a complaint that she filed with Indian Airlines for the weak and insipid Tea served in inflight. I am sure the Catering Manager was being honest.

Head Loader IA: Sir, I am due for promotion.
IA Officer: hmm do you know how to make Tea and Coffee?
Loader: Yes, sir.
IA officer: Ok you are hereby being promoted and transferred to the catering Department. Your new designation will be Tea and Coffee Brewer.

I have noticed that Consistency has been the trademark of IA since my earlier flights in the 80's. It is no mean feat to maintain consistency in service whether in flight or otherwise.

Flight XYZ to Delhi, 1988

Breakfast Menu:

Tasteless Idli/Sambhar/Omelette
Fruit juice
Luke warm Tea/coffee

Flight XYZ to Delhi, 2006

Breakfast Menu:

Tasteless Idli/Sambhar/ Omelette
Fruit juice
Luke warm Tea/coffee

That's called Consistency of In-flight Cuisine.

Flight XYZ to Mumbai, 1989

Me: Please ma'am, can I have some water?
IA Air Hostess: No!

Flight XYZ to Mumbai, 2005

Me: Can I have some water please?
IA Hostess: No!

That's called Consistency of In Flight Service.

Flight XYZ to Cochin, 2000

Me: Can I have an Aisle seat please ?
Booking Counter guy: All aisle seats are taken.

Flight XYZ to Cochin, 2004

Me: Can I have an Aisle seat please ?
Booking Counter guy: I told you three years ago that the all the aisle seats have been taken!!!!

That's called Consistency in Ground Service.

And finally:

Flight XYZ from Bangalore to Delhi, April 2006

Announcement over the PA.

Indian airlines Flight IC XYZ from Bangalore to Delhi is delayed due to technical problems. We regret the inconvenience caused to passengers.

Flight XYZ from Delhi to Bangalore, April 2006

Announcement over the PA.

Indian airlines Flight IC XYZ from Delhi to Bangalore is delayed due to late arrival of aircraft. We regret the inconvenience caused to passengers. got to excuse them for this one lapse in Consistency. They are human after all.


Anand K said...

Me phirst! :P

Mind Curry said...

haha..that was really funny..even i was driven to writing about all these airliners recently.

headloader becoming brewer incharge was the heights, but i definitely agree that must be the case. i just hope they dont make the airhostess with 1000 hours "flying" experience the pilot!

that was fun!

Activity said...


inspire of my love for the airlines :), better a technical problem on the ground ,than in the air !
Imagine them trying to repair a broken wing midflight ?

you are cordially invited to the matinee screening of Tarun's Activities now on Wordpress!
i.e. .. do visit at-->


silverine said...

@Anand: Thank you Anand for that first comment. Hope your studies are going fine. And I sincerely hope you will become Secretary-Civil Aviation. That is the only hope for IA now :p
@Mind Curry: i just hope they dont make the airhostess with 1000 hours "flying" experience the pilot! ROFL
The headloader thing was 'confided' to me by my hostess friend :p
@Alexis: LOL that mistake was my atrocious maths :)) You said it "That is consistency at its best"
@Tarun: I am def gonna drop by your new blog. We got to thank god for the small mercies like no " broken wings midflight" :))

pophabhi said...

hehe :). Kollaam! Consistency at its best. Still remembering the 'I am the king of the world' look of the 40+ year old lady flight attendants of AI at NY airport. It was funny to see the face of an American banker when one of the above ladies shouted on his face and left immediately - "Tumse bola naa? Flight late hein. Kya problem hein iska?". For saving whatever grace is remaining about India, I translated to him "Sorry for the inconvenience. The flight is a bit late. Hope you dont mind waiting for some time". :)

Dev said...

Well, at least it's better than Air Deccan huh?

Air Deccan Flight XYZ from A to B is cancelled due to a crash landing, in which there were no survivors. We regret the inconvenience caused to passengers.

Rahman said...

I guess, this is the first time I am commenting before the no. of comments crosses 30 :)

So, how was your Shimla trip? I can see that u had a nice time with Indian Airlines... Consistency does matter... or you might have booked another airline had 'Indian' been inconsistent.. :)

silverine said...

@pophabhi: That was quick thinking. Kudos!!!
@Arvin: That was sooo funny! Thanks :))
@Aashik: I pity you, I would have snapped if someone interrupted my sleep like that. Maybe they should have 'Do not disturb' boards like British Airways.
@Dev: lol Did that actually happen? Check out the link given by Arvin. Really hilarious read :)
@1.168: Simla was great. We booked late and hence got only IA on our travel dates :) Besides we got a really good offer as a friend is an IA DSA.
@Aashik: Thank you dear. I am much better now :)

Anonymous said...

C'mon Silver
u cant slander our IA /AI like this !!

Last time on a AI flight; my friend said "no thanks" to food..and the concerned airhostess asked him "Kyom nahi khaa rahe ho?khao, betaa..khaao" !!!!
Which other airline can give you "home-like" food with a "mom-like" person..(ok mom-like but with too much make-up ;-)) serving it???

And as for the aisle seat; its not worth to ask for the aisle seat unless u are flying Kingfisher(coz this'll help you better appreciate the "sartotial intricacies" of the airhostess' uniform). The guys will understand - not 4 u silverine :-))


Mind Curry said...

i hope your friend has moved on to jet or kf :)

@ flash: food with a "mom-like" person.. yeah that is one thing you cannot beat IA about..all their hostesses are moms :))

Fleiger said...

IA experience is always good to show that they excel in service. My first (and only till now) encounter with them on B'lore airport where I was asked to identify my bag after checking in was one when I asked myself what does "Check in" mean.

That's why it is with a lot of apprehension that I am approaching my 24 hour flight with Air India...

Ali Thanikkal said...

Just wonder...
Why do you consistently take
IA flights too -;)?

OK. I've posted my comment-turned post on ur request (i just needed an excuse :p)) How Saas Got Banned… Got Wild...

PS: Your first blogging anniversary post is still awaited... this cant be that... it has to be highly befitting to the Uncrowned Queen Of Uncomplicated Humour :p

silverine said...

@Flaash: I don't think it matters if the hostess is an Amma or a Beauty Queen. Service matters even if you are a guy. I would prefer a pleasant Amma to an unpleasant young thing even in the case of a Steward.And I always ask for Aisle seats, always worth it rather than being jammed in :))
@Mind Curry:I am hoping she will :)
@Flieger: Air India !!!!! O.H M.Y G.O.D!! I am praying for you dear and will keep praying till you reach India safely :p
@Alit: As you can see I am rather incosistent in taking IA :)) In between these periods I flew pvt. But then when you have to travel you compromise on any available seats. In fact the whole of 2004 I was living out of suitcases and airline food! Checked out your damned funny take on the Saas Bahu issue :)

Unknown said...

Never been in IA (heck never been in plane before :P)
Will avoid IA if possible...(i can't stand idli let alone the tasteless variety!)

Dr. Pissed said...

Man, do i hate Indian Airlines or what..

When I was travelling back home from Mumbai sometime back, unfortunately I had to take the 8pm IA Flight and believe me or not, the air conditioning wasnt working.

I mean really, how can the air conditioning not work on an aircraft?
When I asked the stupid fat cow what the deal was, she said that only once the aircraft was airbourne, the vents would be opened and nice cool air would enter the aircraft.
Gee, nice alternative for air conditioning no? Why not just open the windows next.
Bloody idiots.

I am stopping myself from using profnaity. Thanks for reminding me. I'll just go write about IA in a day or two.

Sarah said...

atleast..they are trying to be consistent..same excuses..same menu..same old hostess..hmmm

Thanu said...

Heard u r down with fever (Alexis' blog), may be all the fun frm simla. Feel better. Flying just sucks period

Lost in trance... said...

hilarious! :)) funny it was delayed coz of the late arrival of aircraft. now THAZ new!

No water? unbelievable.

silverine said...

@Rockus: You cannot completely avoid IA since other airlines always run full. Best of luck for your first flight when it happens.
@Dr Pissed: You mean there was no air coming from the louvres too? Must have been stuffy!!! I am eagerly waiting for your post on IA :))
@IIC: They maintain consistency alright in really bad service ! :))
@Thanu: I am fine now dear. Thank you for enquiring :) Flying sucks big time on IA.
@lost in trance: These aircrafts are on a continous routing so when one a flight is delayed it leads to all subsequent flights of that aircraft getting delayed. Water is the most dificult thing to get on IA. I just carry a bottle these days :)
@Jeremy: Thank you, I am fine now :)

Jim said...

Me: Can I have some water please?
IA Hostess: No!


I may be the only one, but I kinda like IA food, reminds me of a hostel with wings :)

Lazith Aziz said...

Me: Can I have an Aisle seat please ?
Booking Counter guy: I told you three years ago that the all the aisle seats have been taken!!!!


I remember Air-hostess were all babes of 50+ :-)) in 2001 ... heard they have very recently been got all senior citizens.. way to go! rebranded as "INDIAN" its no way avoidable atleast for us for everything "cheap" from fare to menu to airhostess to service.!it just runs on as there is Doordarshan today.. and part of of my childhood memories... I hope thats the same for all of us...

When the first flight with parents , sisters ..clutching their hands and seats during a landing or a take off!cannot be forgotten.

Nikhil Narayanan said...

nice piece..
long back had read about "Grand motherly affection that u get from the IA/AI air hostesses"....ya they keep incrsing the retirement age...
so those grannys rnt all that affectionate..tnx for the insight!

Rose said...


"Flight delayed due to late arrival of aircraft"???? ROFL

U forgot to mention the consistency in airhostesses... U see the same airhostesses who were there ten years ago...

And consistency in the Maharaja.. who with his eyes wide shut prefers to lend a blind eye to all the chaos...



Has to be me said...

hey silverline...first time here & just loved this post of urs! LOL! Be it IA or Indian...except for the name, other things never change!

Matter of Choice said... havent flown much..So far my flying exp has been pretty good (infact even train exp has been uniformly good!)but to be honest i dont see much difference between IA or Sahara; Jet is better and Air Deccan is worse. The only difference seems to be the age of air hostesses and much as i would prefer the younger ones (!) i cant fault IA for that.
will be experiencing kingfisher for the first time during the weekend. Hopefully, with more flying exp behind me i will become a more discriminating customer!


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

You know, I've always got decent service on Indian (they've dropped the "Airlines") over the last few years. And no, I don't fly Business Class (barring the occasional sneaky upgrade).

After all, NO airline serves good food.


Smith said...

Come on you can't diss IC so comprehensively. Given the choice I'd probably fly Jet, but like JAP I've always had fairly good service on IC. The food depends entirely on who is doing the catering, although the menu is "consistent." the air-hostesses have never been Jet-like obsequious but they have still been quite nice. I remember once I had a headache on a BOM-BLR flight and the steward got me a saridon and water and checked on me later, and stuff like that. And, despite the vast majority of aunties, I have seen some very pretty women among the IC crew.

silverine said...

@Jim: Hostel on wings was a good one :))
@Lazith: Glad that your first flight was memorable :))
@Nikhil: Thank you :) Some of them grannies are quite nice. Age has nothing to do with it , it's one's attitudes :)
@Rose: lol true , I missed that:))
@has to be me: Thank you dear.You are so right :)
@J. Alfred Prufrock: I used the term IA as that is the more familiar name.I have heard of people who have were treated well too, but that is an exception isn't it? What you say about the food is right though. Last time I flew Blr:Mum on IA in the morning and by Sahara on the return, the breakfast was exactly the same except for an additional item in the Sahara menu. But it was served with a smile :)Thanks for dropping by :)
@Smith: Agreed that I should not diss IA completely but I wish had a good exp like you :(
Regarding aunties I dont mind them as long as they are nice. But that is a gal's perspective !! :)

Anand K said...

Hi Silver, things r going pretty fine here.... thanx! If I ever become the Secty, may I offer you a job in our "Spin" section? We will need very creative people, ya see.... :P

The menu sure hasn't changed since the British Raj.... I only hope it wasn't cooked back then! BTW, this is the coach class menu..... what they give to ze unwashed untermenschen. I hope they give better stuff in First Class.....

PS: The grub depends on which route you are flying, eg Tvm-Bombay-Delhi/Tvm-B'lore are Category I routes. If this high-profile category features the abovesaid menu, I can only imagine what they offer in the Category II routes. ;)

venus said...

ha ha ha
your punch lines are too good to put a smile on my day amongst loads of work :):)

hope, you are doing fine, read somewhere, u were down with fever..

for sure, AI really is consistent while flying from US, same, detasteful food aagggh, i'd prefer to eat salads and other grassy stuff in other airlines being a vegetarian given a choice, but many of the times, the layover timings is a kill, and again, I fly on AI to save my vacation in flying and waiting :-S
And IA is the WORST!! I had a connecting flight from b'bay, which I lost because my Air india flight was late, and man, no authority was agreeing on whom I should have spoken, everyone was pointing to the otehr person,a nd they were giving me a flight for the next day evening, one and a half day in b'bay to wait for a domestic flight!! that's the customer service they have, boy!! I'd be the happiest person if they privatize AI and IA both, at least we will have some inconsistency :)

Vijay Ramamurthi said...

hahaha ROTFL....:) good one :)

silverine said...

@Anand: If you were to become the Scy Aviation you wouldn't spin dear, you would be fighting off people trying to board the aircrafts :p
I only hope it wasn't cooked back then! ROFL
Now I am worried:-S I have traveled almost all the sectors and the food is very pedestrian in all the sectors.
@Iyer Education: That was so funny rofl. Oh my god do they actually stop aging? I must have that magic formulae. =))
@Venus: Thank you, I am fine now :) What you just described is a nightmare that many passengers face. But I remember one instance when we had to catch a connecting flight and our flight was late. We informed the hostess and the pilot informed the ground staff who held back our connecting back so that we could board. They deserve a pat on their back for that. In your case mebe AI was too late to hold back the connecting flight. "Passing the buck" is an art perfected by IA staff and it is unbelievable that a govt. organisation does not have clear cut duty madates for its staff.
@Vijay Ramamurthy: Thank you :))

Anonymous said...

You are too good kutty :-) Love you and your blog.


Biju said...

This is hilarious. I loved the part of the booking counter guy's reply when you asked for the aisle seat the second time. The last part to prove 'Consistently inconsistent' is worth mentioning. Really a superb blog. Talking about airlines I've just added something about our bengalooru airport. Feel free to drop by and your valuable comments. :-)

DD said...

"I told you three years ago that the all the aisle seats have been taken!!!!"

monu said...

reminds me of the first journey in an Air India flight... they served "roasted peanuts" (snacks) and "fruity"(welcome drink).. i never expected something like that from an anirliner.. :(

BTW u cant blame the cabincrew too as i have come accross some "polite" passengers asking wether they can get"mix of wine + brandy + whisky" :D :D .. they have to deal with those type of peoples too naa.. :)

Fleiger said...

My prayers started the day I booked the ticket ;)

I am expecting that menu you said (idli et al) served to me on the flight.

killer is i said...

lolz ...
that was really nice , thought i neva had such experiences yet.

silverine said...

@Anon: Love you too kutta :p
@Biju: Thank you :) Checked your post and was shocked at the state of affairs at Bengalooru Internationalu Airportu!!
@Deepak: Only big wigs, politicians and people who wine and dine IA staff get preferential seat I am told :)
@Monu: You are right, so why not keep the sour attitude for such types and be pleasant to the decent pax? Peanuts? awww I got Cashew :))
@Fleiger; Now I am praying even harder for you. May you survive the menu :))
@killer is I: Thank you :) Gear up with antacid and tatanus shots for the day when you will start flying :))

the boor said...

that is so funny.

the boor said...

read ur other posts... i luv em. makes my post lunch siesta at work so pleasurable :)....

Anonymous said...

the boor the great!

At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 10:22:47 PM
the boor posts a comment reading this post.

now at Wednesday, May 03, 2006 10:25:01 PM
the boor posts another saying read other posts too...

I guess there are close to 50 posts here if not more?
it does take some reading to complete them all in 2.14 minutes!!!

and it does qualify the boor to be called great ;)

-- posting this anonymous. do not want to be in silverine's bad book ;)

silverine said...

@The boor: Thank you :) You are so lucky to be having post lunch siestas while we mere mortals try and pretend we are working :))

@Anon: "the boor" said that he has 'read' ( as in past tense) the other posts.Obviously he missed mentioning that in the first comment and hence posted another.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

hey .... howz the fever ? got to know abt it from Alexis's blog ...

how are u now ?

Anonymous said...

hahahaa. cant wait for your take on "Air Dhakkan" and their flying standards! Lol...

Anonymous said...

2Anon: Love you too kutta :p
@Fleiger; Now I am praying even harder for you. May you survive the menu :))
@killer is I: Thank you :) Gear up with antacid and tatanus shots for the day when you will start flying

Jesus! your replies are too ROFL :D


~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

why were u refused H2O ? i dont get it ??!!!????

Am i being dense .. ? WEll, this aint consistent !!

but , my qn was asked w/ seriousness - why were u refused water ?

the boor said...

lol, no worries, and i havent read 'all' the other posts....
though i do fancy mahself a fast reader :).
funs stuff... and no, im not "sir J"...just stumbled on the blog- happenstance

Hyde said...

I've travelled very infrequently by plane, but there was this one time in an IA flight, a long time ago, when I relished what they serve!

silverine said...

@Deepa:I am fine now:) And the water incident is an analogy for the negative response you get for anything you ask for in IA.
@Anjaan: "Air Dhakkan" LOL I had left a comment about Deccan in Mind Curry's "Come fly with me" post about a certain incident involving Deccan :))
@the boor: Glad you take it that way :)
@Anon: Thank you :)
@Hyde: Sometimes the food is good I admit :)

Dewaker Basnet said...

hey silverine, just to share an anecdote..recently met a lady who was working with the IA since 1989..and apparently they have not recruited since:) heights of consistency eh;)
great post..

Dewaker Basnet said...

hey silverine, just to share an anecdote..recently met a lady who was working with the IA since 1989..and apparently they have not recruited since:) heights of consistency eh;)
great post..

silverine said...

@Dewakar: lol true. See Iyer Education's comment. Guess they take the cake in consistency :)

Anonymous said...

Comp lab time is 'silverine time' in our college ;-) You make us mallus proud. Keep it up and bring on the smiles always.

Sakshi said...

Flight XYZ to Mumbai, 2003

Me: Can I have some water please?
IA Hostess: I will be serving drinks in half hour!
This is an actual experience. The sad part is that they kiss all the foreign asses in the First class.
And you forgot to mention the lost luggage.
I was on flight from Frankfort to Hyd with a stop over at Mumbai - whereas I got out @ mumbai my luggage was routed to B'lore! That dis not make any freaking sense.....
BTW.. First time here and loved all your posts.

silverine said...

@Punoos: Hey you guys, keep you eyes on them codes and not blogs :))
@Sakshi: Another great example of consistency !!! I am talking about lost baggages and nothing making no freaking sense:)) Thanks for dropping in!