Old Sep 14, 20, 12:24 pm
  #1  
xDan
 
Join Date: May 2020
Programs: Club Vistara FFP
Posts: 28
Air India Boeing 777-300ER business class - Review

The internet is littered with unflattering trip reports about Air India’s business class, with travellers complaining of surly service, out-of-date equipment and poor quality catering.

After waiting to step foot on a long-haul plane for nearly six months, I was happy to take the opportunity to fly the national carrier’s Boeing 777 - an aircraft usually used for much longer, international routes - on the short hop from Delhi to Mumbai. Was the business class experience as bad as expected?

I arrived at the airport at around 3.45pm for my 5pm flight, and had to show the ticket and ID proof before entering the airport, as is normal practice. Only this time, the official was checking it from behind a protective screen.

Sadly, Maharaja lounge wasn’t serving any food, unlike their next door neighbours, Plaza Premium Lounge, who were serving a full spread of veg and non-veg platter.

The boarding was normal, there was a separate queue for premium class passengers and there was only one person (a pilot) before me in the line. We boarded the flight using the front gate, and passed through the first class cabin, which consists of just four seats, set up across one row in a 1-2-1 configuration on this aircraft.
The moment I stepped inside the cabin, I could judge how outdated the product was, by the choice of colour and overall design of the hard product.


I think Air India urgently needs to start adapting to the changing times and build a personality. I hope the privatisation will let us see the glory days and the charming character of the company again.

The business class cabin is divided by a galley into two sections - the one in front where I was seated has three rows, while the one behind only has two. Business class on this aircraft was in a 2-3-2 configuration, meaning a total of 35 seats.

There was no service on this flight, which was made clear with an announcement at the beginning, stating that there will be no blankets, cushion and IFE provided.
The flight took off at 5.20pm, and I began checking out the various features of the seat, which I initially felt was pretty comfortable and clean as well.

That happiness was only short lived, as I was quite disgusted by the state of the tray table compartment. It was very dirty, and moreover a plastic sticker came out flying as I pulled the tray out.

The tray table was small and in a bad condition, there were several dents on it which made it evident that the maintenance wasn’t up to the mark.

The IFE system (including the controller) was quite old, and the IFE controller compartment in the side handle said a similar story like the tray table’s, though not as bad.

Other than the custom seat position to meet your preference, there are three select positions on the control panel which you can choose from. Air India states on its website that these seats are “180 degree” fully flat bed, though that’s not the case. It remains slightly inclined.


There isn’t any storage space at the seat, other than the pocket in front of you. I stored the two water bottles over there, which were provided at the start of the flight (the only service I received).

My journey was overall a comfortable one, including a smooth take off and landing, thanks to the experienced Air India pilots at the front.

I didn’t get a chance to lie down during this flight, as I got talking to the captains flying with me and the two-hour flight soon passed. I was lucky to have such nice company during this flight, which made it a memorable one for me.

Summing up
My experience of Air India’s 777 business class product was alright for my short flight from Delhi to Mumbai, but it’s important to remember that this is the same aircraft used on much longer routes (such as those to the US) and I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about spending 12 hours in this seat.

It was a huge disappointment to see that there was no regard for customer’s comfort. Many of the business class seats including mine, were not in the best of shapes - one can only imagine what it must be like for the economy passengers.

Speaking to the captains flying with me, I got a sense that not much has changed in terms of flying, other than the precautions taken for Covid in the cockpit. Both of the pilots however felt that the privatisation of the airline will bring about a lot of positive changes.

With this kind of experience, I honestly don’t feel very driven to choose Air India again, however I would like to fly it on a longer route when the services are back on, purely for the sake of reviewing the full product.

Find more details and photos on my blog (link below).

Have you flown Air India’s long-haul business class product? What are your thoughts about it?

The following link is a blog/website/social media page in which I have a financial interest. If you click on this link, cookies will be added to your device for an extended period of time and I may gain monetary returns if you follow this link or any other link on the blog/website/social media page.

Source: my blog, www.takeoffwithguru.com
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