Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Guest Review: GoAir - Go Get Pretty!

'GoAir' is an aviation venture of the Wadia group. The airline, launched in Nov-2005, operates across 11 destinations (mostly North and West India) with 474 weekly flights.
The airline operates with Airbus A320 and has the below mentioned specifications:
  • Crew: 2 pilots, 4 flight attendants
  • Capacity: 180 passengers
  • Freight : 16 300 kg (35 900 lb)
With a spate of LCCs (low cost carriers) thronging the Indian Aviation scenario, a lot of competition is being seen. Since the era of pre Air Deccan when only 1 percent of Indian population air travelled in India, plenty of LCCs are now flying the Indian air taking the figure to 5 Percent. Indigo, Go Air, Kingfisher Red, Jet lite, Spice Jet constitute around 50% of the air traffic and they have only one USP – Cheap affordable air travel.
Weighing my options for travelling from Bangalore to Ahmedabad, I chose to travel by air rather than by trains. The reason being, a 3 Tier AC ticket in train was costing me 1800 INR and taking up my 36 hrs in the process while Go Air was offering me a ticket for 3000 INR. Being my first journey in Go Air, I decided to closely observe the airline in all quarters. This review is based on my experience of the flight taken from Bangalore to Ahmedabad on 9th May 2009.

I booked my ticket from the Go Air official website My usual experience with other airlines is that whenever I book the tickets and give my cell number, I get a message with the flight details and flight confirmation number. Go Air chooses to send only an email, not that I am complaining but communicating to the customer through cell phone serves two purpose, one, you don’t have to take the print out of the ticket or remember the confirmation number before travelling and second, in case of rescheduling of the flight, the customers can be conveniently notified.

Upon reaching the Bangalore International Airport, I went straight to the Go Air counter to get the print of my ticket. The assistants at the Go Air Counters were not exactly suave and gorgeous (and I don’t believe they necessarily should be). The only thing that matters is prompt service and a smiling face and that was something that was not missing. After she reconfirmed my ticket number as "Yen pee ye five B yes" I finally went to check in my baggage. The attendants at the boarding counters were quite hospitable but inexperienced and badly dressed. There was no uniformity in the dresses of the attendants which looked a little less professional against the bright yellow uniforms of the Jet Airways employees. Even the ticket that I got had my name and seat numbers handwritten (All the airlines I have travelled have fully printed tickets). The one thing that I liked the most was the baggage limit. They allow 25 Kgs in the cargo and 7 Kgs infight. The flight was half an hour late but that could be because of the rainy weather. The plane was a standard Airbus 320 painted blue and white. The seats were nothing to boast about (Kingfisher employs leather covers) and the legspace was just like most of the LCCs (Indigo has few inches of extra legspace). There were two female airhostesses and a male host dressed in formals with a navy blue blazer. I strongly felt that they needed a uniform makeover to really stand out from the crowd. Water was not free on the flight and my request for a juice pack was turned down with an apology. But apart from that I was able to thoroughly enjoy my flight.

My verdict, not a bad flight to travel if it offers you the lowest fare but that would be the only advantage it enjoys. I would rather go to another LCC like Spicejet or Indigo if the fares do not differ by a large margin. I also felt that it had a relatively inexperienced crew as the attendants were quite jumpy. Go Air urgently requires a new USP to survive in this tough airline industry. Small changes like providing water (not necessarily bottled), bright uniforms, better tickets (they could employ advertisement on the back to cover the costs) and attractive airhostesses. A little difference can go a long way in retaining customer loyalty. Maybe the airline is learning the nuances of service the hard way and I would definitely like to try the airline again in near future to see the improvement if any.

Relyonreviews Rating: 3/5 miles (based soley on the above review and not on personal experience)

About the Reviewer: The blogger, Gaurang Ganatra, is a present Satyam employee and a prospective Nirma B-school grad. His interests include everything from cuddling a street dog to carrying out in-depth financial analysis of someone in Georgia.

Check out his 'jaw-breaking' humor at

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Maldives - Nature's best kept secret

Maldives: Adaaran Club-Rannalhi, Southern Male Atoll, Male
Date: 15-Dec-2008
Trip Motive: Honeymoon

Blue skies, White sand, Clear Water, Red wine & Green attire sum up a perfect recipe for a Honeymoon. Located at a 45 minute topsy-turvy speed boat drive from Male airport is Adaaran Club Rannalhi, a fantasy book freshwater island. It is one of the places where you go with eyes closed and for the rest of trip, you have your jaws wide open.

Accomodation: Adaaran Club Rannalhi provides some scenic landscape combined with unparallel luxury through couple of options
1. A 2-storeyed beach bungalow with a terrace or a balcony
2. A water bungalow in the middle of Indian ocean with a glass flooring and private sun deck.

Both of these options are accompanied by basic amenities and a mini bar.

Activities: Although one would love to indulge in the scenic leisure and , there are some larger than life options to laze out,
1. Theme nights (we had a Karaoke night and an Taste-the-Alcohol night) at the restaurant
2. Spa & Boutique (Although we didn't have the Ayurvedic massage, check out some really good souvenirs & essentials out there)
3. Water Excursions like Fishing, Snorkeling, Canoeing, Catamaran ride, Wind surfing and the best of all Scuba diving.

My Experience:
We were welcomed with aromatic napkins that allayed us amidst the scorching humidity. Tranquil location, marvelous water bungalows and amazing hospitality accompanied by comfort seemed to be the trademark of this location. We were overjoyed with the strategic location of the enchanting waterbungalows providing a clear view of the horizon in the Indian Ocean, private shacks at the back, glass flooring with a clear view of the colorful fishes beneath it and ambience that provided enough relaxation for the 3 nights we stayed over there. The sunrise view was the highlight of our honeymoon. A walk by the beach side at night or frolic in water in the bright sunshine is simply romantic. The tourists here were Europeans, in particular and so was the food. We managed to get the taste of Indian dishes (courtesy: Indian chef, Murthy) and cherished the wide variety of salads and deserts. The day time can be dedicated to water excursions like snorkelling, scuba diving (We saw colorful fishes, corals, rays, etc.), cataraman ride, canoeing or fishing(also offered at night) or auditorium programs, spas, etc. while the night life included beach disco, light music, karaoke night, drinks promotion or preferring to sit at the shore amidst the bewitching sound made by water waves. Although all the facilities are provided here, they are heavily priced e.g. Internet (1$/5min), ISD call (4$/1min), Drinking Water(5$/1.5lit).

Overall, our honeymoon was simply fabulous - the trip we'll cherish for the rest of our life. The stay expense is a bit on higher side (can be provided on request) but can be compensated with the hospitality and location view it provides. I thank our partners in good times - Cox & Kings for planning the trip, SriLankan Airlines for suiting our budgetary needs, Murthy for serving us Indian cuisine & Gihan Liyanage (DJ & a good friend at Maldives).

1. Carry Enough Dollars as they are accepted throughout the country.
2. Try & avoid shopping basic necessities at the souvenirs shop.
3. It is hard to obtain Indian food unless you know an Indian in the chef's team.
4. Specialized candle-lit dinner with wine can be arranged in the evening by the waters.
5. Maldives is at a height of 2.2 ft from sea level and with green-house effect it might not survive much. Try and preserve its beauty in its heavenly form.
6. Take precautions against the highly concentrated salt-water and absorbing humidity.
7. Do not miss the sunset.
Rating: 5/5 lives for Maldives