BENGALURU – Akasa Air is India’s youngest airline, having launched their service earlier this year using Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, and they have been rapidly expanding ever since. My latest trip took in an Akasa Air flight from Bengaluru to Chennai.
Back in August, I was on-board their Bengaluru (BLR)- Cochin (COK) inaugural launch route, and that was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
The flight was almost filled with avgeeks who were just travelling to be a part of this event.
Fast forward to November 2022 – I decided to give it yet another try, and see what has changed since then. At the time of first flight, Akasa Air’s App was quite basic and did not have most of the features.
Akasa Air – Bengaluru to Chennai
- Flight Number – QP 1321 (BLR-MAA)
- Departure Airport – Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru)
- Arrival Airport – Chennai International Airport (Chennai)
- Registration – VT-YAI, 3.5 Years old during the time of flight.
- Aircraft Type –Boeing 737-8 MAX
Akasa Air has a decent App with a user-friendly UI. I could get most of the information on the App and web check-in was effortless. They do have a good range of pre-order meals available and for a short sector like this it was much appreciated.
Arrival at Bengaluru Airport
As this was an early morning flight, I decided to reach Bengaluru Airport as early as I could.
I have always noticed that early mornings are the busiest time for this airport, and I have always experienced long wait at entrance of the airport as well as at the Security Check area.
Check-in at Bengaluru Airport
As soon as I reached the Akasa counter to drop my baggage I could see a total chaos there. There were no staff manning the line and each of their counters was literally surrounded with people.
Everyone was just making their way through somehow to drop their luggage. I was surprised as every other airline at airport (including IndiGo which has highest pax numbers at this time) had managed their customers in a more organized manner.
I decided to ask the staff if I could take my small trolley bag along with my laptop bag on-board, as the counters were in total chaos.
He asked me which flight I was travelling on, and when I told him my flight number he just said, “Sorry the boarding gate for the flights have already closed, you are late!”
I was surprised as my flight departure time was 5:45 AM and it was still only 4:15 AM – how was this even possible? I tried to ask him if the flight rescheduled to an earlier time or what was the situation.
He got a call, and he was on move so he simply pointed towards a counter and told me to check there. I decided it was time for me to dive right into the chaos and get clarification from the staff.
After a lot of tussles, I was able to reach out to a staff member who checked and assured me that I was misinformed and that there is still time left, I dropped my baggage and just walked out of there.
Sadly, this was one of my first time experiencing something like this in Bengaluru Airport.
I have always appreciated how IndiGo manages their crowd, this was something which would concern me as I cannot imagine an elderly person making their way through that crowd.
And to top it all off, how can an agent of airline just misinform you by saying your flight’s gate is closed?
Security Check at Bengaluru Airport
Security check was nothing more than ordinary, they have enough counters to manage the peak hour crowd and have staff who will guide you towards the section which has less passenger. It took me 15 minutes or so to clear and head towards my gate.
I reached my gate on time and they started boarding on time as well, there were very few passengers on this flight and as this was a bus boarding, they decided to wait until the all the passengers arrived, and then they would move the bus towards the aircraft.
Akasa Air has this eye-popping colour which is one of my favourites, and as this aircraft was freshly painted it looked stunning and I was excited to be on-board.
Akasa Air offers only economy class in standard 3-3 configuration. Now, something that surprised me on-board this flight was the elegant purple seats with adjustable headrest was missing and once I reached my seat I was disappointed to find out that this aircraft did not have a USB charging socket.
I had not charged my phone as I thought I would do it on-board while I enjoy my movie. The seats were nowhere close to being as comfortable as their original product.
Soon after take-off crew started meal service, as I could recall counting there were only 21 passengers on-board.
I was very hungry as I couldn’t get something to eat, and knowing for a fact that croissant sandwich etc., were available only as pre-booking, I decided I would just buy coffee and settle in for this short flight.
But when the crew came to me and I asked if the croissant sandwich (my favourite dish as I have tried this earlier and its just amazing) is available, to my surprise they replied “Yes!”
I was just so happy – the crew were really kind, and their enthusiasm just enhances the experience.
Arrival at Chennai
We arrived in Chennai International Airport on-time, Chennai airport has the worst Departure Area, but their Arrival area is way better.
While waiting for our bags to arrive electricity at the entire hall was cut-off for almost 10 minutes – nothing surprises me anymore about this airport anymore.
IndiGo has been a market leader for long now and Akasa Air has the potential to capture it.
But having consistency in product is what they should focus on, as they advertise their USB charging port and adjustable headrest as a key differentiator against their competitor.
Considering the supply change issue, I can understand it wouldn’t be easy for them to procure everything they need, but reality is different. As a passenger I have certain expectations from each airline and when in reality it is different, disappointment kicks in.
Coming to the ground experience, this is something I have come across on many YouTube videos as well. They really need to train their staff in a better way to handle crowd as currently it feels disorganized.
The crew members, vast selection of food and beverage are some things that I admire about Akasa Air. The best part I have noticed up to present date on Akasa is how clean and tidy their cabins and windows are.
After having flown with airlines like Air Asia India, Air India & Alliance Air I really appreciate this.