Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Worst 5 Star Service Experience Onboard Kingfisher IT 0204

It sounds like a real melodrama, but incidentally today morning I opened the News Papers, I read about 5 Star rating for Kingfisher Airlines. I was happy about one of my preferred airlines, as I was slated to take the 1035 hrs IT0204 from Bangalore to Delhi. So far so good, but when I reached Airport at 900 hrs, I was told that the flight is 45 minutes late due to Air Traffic Congestion in Delhi…Okaies no problems, waited but the wait was not getting over. The announced and communicated Boarding time was 1050hrs, but the boarding was announced only at 1114hrs. I thought wow, may be the 5 star service would complete boarding in 6 minutes.

So ultimately the boarding completed at around 1135 hrs and doors were closed only for the Captain to announce at around 1150hrs that we are No.#6 in departures and will take another 15 minutes for us to be airborne. I again thought no problem as this is usual ATC problem. But we were airborne only at around 1220 hrs or 1225 hrs. Still I said no issues. But the real heroics of the So much hyped 5 star service started after that.

I just happened to navigate on the route direction page to identify that the flight has diverted back to Bangalore just after Crossing Tumkur and I could see the Panic on the face of Onboard Staff (Air Hostesses), one such incidentally was sitting across me (26 F) after the worried hurdle by them in the middle of the Aircraft. When I highlighted the Navigation Chart to her and inquired about the diversion and the reason to turn back towards Bangalore, she had no answer and simply made a statement “We Will Let You Know”. It had just been 20 mins from the time we were airborne. In another 5 minutes Captain announces that Due to Technical Snag, we are headed back to Bangalore and with that there the airhostesses disappeared, except the one sitting opposite me. Approximately one hour from the time we were airborne, the flight was grounded back at Bangalore Airport (around 1327 hrs). In the whole chaos, the Guest Service hit the air and there was NO Service except the welcome drinks. People were worried and the announcement was made, “THE FLIGHT HAS LANDED AND IN CASE YOU DO NOT WANT TO FLY WITH US, YOU MAY DE-PLANE” well certainly was not at all polite from any angle. Passengers tried to seek information as to what has happened and how much time will it take, but seems the Crew member were as Clueless as we the passengers.

Another round of applause for the Onboard crew as it had been another 15 minutes that we got grounded at Bangalore Airport and there was NO SIGN OF any Snacks that was to be provided. Yeah the Staff indeed had called for some Cookies and Juices that were brought on board at around 1410 hrs. Still the Crew was reluctant to offer the service to Onboard Passengers because the Supervisor – Tenzil was too busy to instruct them to do so. I happened to Speak to one Crew Member – Puneet and well the reply was plain clear and straight – “Can’t do this till our senior instructs us”. I tried to sensitize that the passengers might get irked, and as I said this one passenger approached her asking her If any snacks would be served. She on contrary mentions Yes we do and are just waiting for instructions, and adds, even we haven’t had anything since morning. I was aghast hearing this from a Onboard crew member, I could understand the plight but this is not what they are supposed to tell passengers. This creates a negative impression, on this I again tried to sensitize Puneet, but again she was ADAMANT. I thought under such situations it’s the proactive thinking and actions that help, but alas she didn’t understand that. I told her if your supervisor is not giving instructions, ASK her….thankfully she did and the cookies and juice were distributed. DO YOU CALL THIS AS A PART OF 5 Star Service?????, I am surprised.

The flight somehow took off and we were airborne again at around 1435 hrs or so to reach Delhi around 1705 hrs, where I thought I would provided my feedback to the Duty Manager about the Onboard Staff, but seems the Duty manager knew that they might have to bear the burnt so I guess they went busy with some meeting within, and nobody was available except one poor soul – Supervisor.

So at the end of entire trip the 5 Star rating that I would associate for Kingfisher (with my latest experience) –

Star one – Poor Ground handling by staff where they were not even bothered about the passenger even after 1 hrs delayed boarding

Star two – Poor On Board Communication within the Crew Members

Star Three – Non-responsiveness of Staff – Puneet in particular

Star Four – Adamant staff to listen to a Constructive Suggestion – Puneet in Particular

Star Five – POOR Show by the Onboard Supervisor to take Proactive and quick Decisions, or may be she was too worried helping Business Class Passengers – Tenzil (I guess I remember it right) in particular

I hope that this sort of un professional show by the staff will be taken up seriously within Kingfisher, and adequate training requirements would be identified for the respective Crew Member.

Oh well I forgot One star could be added for KILLING time of the Passengers, I missed two meetings at my office, and the work spilled over to tomorrow. I guess the same would have happened with other passengers too. Loss of One Days’ Productivity, I guess you guys understand the COST OF TIME for someone in Business and Service Industry….

A Simple Apology doesn’t help, you got to find ways to ensure this DOES NOT REPEAT in future.


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