My happiness has no bounds today. I just had a hearty meal in….in…in…. My Favorite Airlines! All those who have read my post When Old is truly Gold must have got it instantly. Yes. I am back into Air India. Woohoooo
I can not explain how excited I have been since the past few days awaiting this trip. The huge flights, the amazing staff, smooth landing on and flight off the runway… The thing about Indian Airlines. It is here. Never have I felt the same whilst traveling with another airlines.
My vis-à-vis with Indian Airlines this time started last night. I wanted to do web-checkin. Normally when I do web checkin with other airlines, they charge a bomb for window seats and some more Shellings for other seats. But that’s not the case here. Mommy knows best what to give you and for free! There was no option for me to select a seat. The moment I entered my details, I was given a window seat within a few clicks. Just like that! Conclusion: Good baby gets a good seat from momma
Pleased and eased, I was greeted by a very warm and casual staff at the airport. This is exactly what I love about them. A sense of ease. Just like home. They are like the bosses! They won’t bother to flatter you with plastic smiles and flamboyant English. I don’t know why, there is this air of depicting yourself uptown in the airport. But Air India has place for everyone. Even a shabby kid like me is welcomed with open arms. Every staff member I spoke to had a distinct accent. Thus, depicting a group carefully chosen from various parts of India.
As was destined, the beauty at the check in counter was so glad that we belong to the same native place. The young passenger checking in before me was carrying luggage 1.5kg more than the permissible limit. The moment she kept her bag on the scale, everything stood still. She stared aghast. Was she going to be fined for every extra kilo? Will she try to reduce the luggage weight on the spot?
The beauty maintained the most calm and poised look, “Madam?” ..
-“madam!” , she startled the passenger out of her stillness, “ticket please??”
Phew! What a relief. Nobody blinked a lid on a the extra luggage.
I started conversing with the woman in my local language and it was as if we were sisters meeting after ages.
– What are you doing here (in this alien land)?
– I am studying. (I never say I am married and am making a home. Because that is not what I am “doing”. I am and will always remain a student in-sha-allah)
–where do you live here. Where exactly is your home. Blah blah blah blah ..lot of gupshup and chitchat.
It was a heart warming conversation. So much that she forgot to hand me the hand baggage tags. No problem! The madam at the security check-in passed my bag anyway. It was I who went back and told the madam to please tie and stamp a tag so that I do not face issues whilst boarding.
She gave the “huh. You know nothing” look and casually punched the stamp not giving a damn thereafter.
She was right. Her eyes told me back then. Nobody actually checked the cabin bag tags whilst boarding. So not having them wouldn’t be a deal I guess. Silly me. I was carrying the pressures of other baby-trying-to-be-boss airlines. Where I would’ve had to run back to the check-in counter and got the tags and go through the entire security check process again if my handbag wasn’t stamped. But, as I said, boss can be only one. .
I asked a bro the way to my allotted gate. My flight departs from the international terminal. It is a hugeeeeee airport. The number of times I got lost, any person observing me would probably view me as a black pug wandering to and fro all around the airport. I think this bro figured out that I was entering the wrong gate the hundredth time. He came running from behind Bhag Milkha Bhag style screaming “Maaaaa’am..maaa’aaaam…this wayyyyyy…. “. Phew. May Allah Bless him and guide him for being so kind. I was exhausted of walking into the wrong places.
Things went perfect so far Alhamdulillah. The bright red flight. The homely staff. Spacious and big seats. Superb free meals.
But wait. Something was missing. Something had changed since my last visit. Where are the oldies? My eyes carefully scan through the staff members. The average age group seemed to be 30s. That is a good herd no doubt. But that grace of oldies was missing.
They are polite, courteous, beautiful and gorgeous in every sense. But then poise, confidence and X-factor.
I’ll give you an example. The gentleman beside me was having a hard time managing the western breakfast. He left the bread and tea. You remember that AI aunty asking me pack the bread and keep it with me last time? How she came to check I was not eating. This time, the youngy just picked up his platter and took it away. So much food wasted. Sigh.
I miss you aunty. There was no second serving of tea. There was tea bags. Sigh.
Just as I am typing this, I see an aged air hostess. Oh my God. Made my day. Some of them are still there. Yayyyyy… Oh that gracful dressing and that demeanor. That dignity and command. I am totally a fan. Bowled! I wonder how Air India hires its staff. Does it have a device to measure kind heartedness?
I guess change has to come. I will wait for this young batch to grow old in sha Allah. So that they accumulate hoards of experience and x-factor. So that once again I witness the best hosting ever.
Keeping up with the tradition, the flight started a few minutes late. As I write this, the flight slants 45 degrees and royally glides through the clouds, marking its grandeur. You can feel each time it tilts.
The take off, then flight and the landing are suggestive of experienced hands in the cockpit. And once again, I shall depart as a happy guest.
Humein vishwas hai ki bhavishya me aap humein first sewa ka avsar denge. Thank you. Jai Hind. (We trust that you’ll allow us to serve you again in future. Thank you. Hail India)
That’s how they conclude the flight.
If I could afford you every time, I wouldn’t even shed a glance at any of your counterparts. End quote.