Monday, January 28, 2008

Jet Airways makes a good comeback

Hi folks,

We reached back safe and sound and spent an enjoyable and hectic weekend with DD. More importantly, if you read my rant to Jet Airways, you'll be keen to know how the flight went.

I wasn't very happy with their response which I've re-produced below for you to read at your leisure. The main reason for that was their stance that they do provide a safety seat belt for infants and that the onus was on me to have requested it. Which is rubbish. Surely safety should not be discretionary? The crew don't advise passengers that an extension seat belt is available so there is not much chance that a passenger will request it.

Upset with the above, I called the lady that I'd been in touch with and let her know that this was unacceptable. I asked for compensation or at the very least an upgrade on the return flight. I'm pleased to say that because they don't have bassinets in their business class, they upgraded my mom instead.

From the time we got to the check in desk till the time we were seated, we had someone hovering around us ensuring we were comfortable. I'd asked for two lounge passes, which they also gave us. There was someone around to help me with the pram and the numerous bags you tend to have with a kid around. We didn't have to queue at immigration, security or while boarding the plane. Our hand baggage was carried for us right till our seats. We were treated like royalty and even though I was slightly embarrased at all this attention, I got over that quickly. I also noticed another lady with two kids being helped in a similar fashion. I don't know whether she had complained as well, but it was good to see that other parents were being helped as well.

I've always maintained that it's the way you deal with complaints as an organisation that determines whether you will gain or lose the customer. I'm pleased to say that in our case we will definitely give them another chance before deciding. The only hesitation in my mind remains because I'm not sure what the experience would have been had I not complained.

And now I can stop my online campaign to de-fame them. After all I need to go back and work on my resume. Enough vela panti :).


Dear Mrs ,

This has reference to your letter of January 4, 2008 addressed to our Chairman Mr. Naresh Goyal. I am responding to you on his behalf.

At the outset, I thank you for choosing Jet Airways services and giving us the opportunity to be of service to you. However, I am sorry to learn from your letter that you were disappointed with our services while travelling on flight 9w 017 from Singapore to Delhi on December 5, 2007.

Till December 9th 2007, we operated a Boeing 737-800 series aircraft on the Singapore-Delhi-Singapore sector. This aircraft does not have a provision for extending a bassinet facility. Since all airlines have limited bassinet facility on aircraft, it is always provided on first come first served basis and the confirmation is given against a request made through the booking.

Since the Travel Agent in Singapore who made your booking did not indicate your requirement for a bassinet through the booking and since the booking was received directly from the Travel Agent’s system, the information about the non-availability of bassinets could not be communicated from our end. You may wish to take up this matter with the Travel Agent.

Our enquiry with regard to the front seat allocation indicates that seats on the 10th row were pre-booked for other passengers which included our Jet Privilege frequent flyer members and a family travelling with an infant. However, the family with infant did not report for the flight and hence at the end of the counter closure, we could comply with your seat request. I am sorry to note that you had to wait till such time and could not avail of the priority service during boarding.

However, it certainly disappoints me to note that you did not receive the expected assistance on board the flight. It has always been and will always be our endeavour to extend all possible assistance to parents travelling with infants. Hence, the matter has been taken up with the concerned crew members who have been counselled and cautioned to render more sensitive and responsive service to passengers.

Regarding the extension belts, may I share with you that they are provided to passengers on request. Though as per the aviation authorities it is not mandatory to ensure an extension belt for an infant, as an abundant precaution parents may choose to avail of the same. Nevertheless, we will review the process from a customer sensitivity angle.

At this point I am pleased to inform you that we have upgraded the aircraft operating on the Delhi-Singapore-Delhi route from a Boeing 737 800 to an Airbus 330, effective 10th December 2007. Therefore, we are now able to offer bassinet services on the flight. However as mentioned earlier the facility requires advance booking and is provided on a first come first come basis since the number provided is restricted.

We have booked a bassinet seat for you on flight 9w 018 from Delhi to Singapore on December 25, 2008 and will assure you that you receive all possible assistance from our staff during the travel.

Mrs. , we have taken your feedback in a positive spirit and I assure you that the matter has been taken up internally to fine tune the services further. However, I regret our inability to offer you any compensation as has been suggested.

At Jet Airways, we aim at providing a reliable service that would enable our passengers experience comfort and pleasant travelling at all times. Support from our passengers has always been very valuable and has assisted us in the process of enhancing our service standards. Thank you once again for sharing your experience and views with us.

We look forward to your continued support and patronage of Jet Airways.


Wolfgang Prock-Schauer
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jet Airways - Why I will not be flying with them again

Hi folks,

After a terrible flight in from Singapore aboard Jet Airways, I am nervous about our return leg. In fact, it was so bad that I made the effort to complain about it in a letter to the Chairman of the airline. 18 days since I've written and all I have is a holding reply. The only thing I can do is make fellow parents and readers aware. Please think carefully before you choose to fly with Jet Airways. And please share how was your experience travelling with your child?


Mr. Naresh Goyal
Jet Airways (India) Ltd.
S.M. Centre
Andheri-Kurla Road
Andheri (East)
Mumbai 400 059

4th January 2008

Dear Sir,

Sub: Appalling levels of service received on 9W017

I traveled on 5th Dec from Singapore to Delhi on Jet Airways flight 9W017 with my 6 month old daughter. Unfortunately the level of service that I received at the airport and on board was so terrible that my daughter and I suffered an extremely uncomfortable flight.

I’m chronicling the list of events that occurred in the hope that some action will result.

1. When we arrived for check in at the Singapore Airport and sought to confirm our request for a bassinet, we were informed that no bassinet was available on the flight. I was stunned that on a long haul flight the airline didn’t offer bassinets and had not deemed it necessary to inform me beforehand that such a basic service could not be provided. On being challenged, the staff pretended that they had no record that an infant was traveling on the flight. This is ridiculous considering an infant ticket had been issued and under international rules an infant cannot travel without an accompanying adult.
2. I then requested a seat in the front row so that we could be more comfortable. I was informed that they could not give me a seat in the front row because only one infant was allowed in the front row and a seat had already been reserved by another parent. I’m sorry but I have been on numerous flights where I have seen more than one mother with an infant in the front row so I cannot fathom the logic for such a ridiculous policy. It’s another matter that when we boarded the plane, there was no other parent with an infant in the front row. Another lie by the staff to hide their mistake as all front row seats had been allocated to other non-parent passengers.
3. When I insisted that I would only travel in the front row, we were made to wait for over an hour before being allocated a seat. As a result by the time we got to the gate, boarding had already started and we had to queue with all the other passengers to board the plane. At this point, any priority in helping us board the flight faster would have helped since I was holding a child and several bags. The crew was quick to ignore such basic courtesy.
4. Since a bassinet was not provided, it meant that I had to hold my daughter throughout the flight without getting an opportunity to eat, sleep or visit the restroom on a 5 ½ hour flight not to mention the transit time before and after the flight. Let me also add that not once during the flight did any crew member come forward to hold my daughter for a few minutes so I could have dinner or use the facilities.
5. I recently flew on Silk Air from Singapore to Phuket. They provide a separate seat belt for the infant which is secured on to the mother’s seat belt and a bassinet for a 90min flight. Jet Airways did not provide an extra seat belt for my daughter. Clearly safety is not very high on your priority list. In case there is any serious turbulence or issue then you are placing my daughter’s life under serious risk. To my mind, this is unforgivable.

I am writing with the expectation that this will result in a review of your policies and training so that your staff are better able to cater to parents traveling with infants. I also expect to be adequately compensated for the inconvenience and harassment that both my daughter and I have suffered. You will appreciate that a mere sorry will not suffice in light of the extent of service failure.

I am obliged to complete my return journey on your airline on 25th Jan’08 and I expect that you will provide suitable instructions to your ground staff and air crew at the Delhi Airport to ensure that we are taken care of and are allocated a front row seat with a bassinet.

Based on your reputation of striving for excellence, I expect to hear from you in writing within 2 weeks. Else, I will be sharing my experience with the media and airline review sites so that people can make a considered decision before they decide to fly with Jet Airways. My husband and I work for international banks and travel frequently to India on work and otherwise and we will be forced to patronize other airlines. In addition, a number of my extended family and friends are based in Singapore and fly frequently to India and I will be persuading them to switch to other airlines too.

The power of word of mouth is very powerful. No mother will place her child’s safety and comfort in the hands of such a careless organization.

With disappointment,

Edited to add: We fly tommorrow morning. I have heard back from the chairman but I'm not satisfied so I've called back and blasted them again. I doubt anything will come of it. Once I'm back I will post their response so you can judge for yourself. It's a typical defensive response. They have reassured me that we will be taken care of on the flight back but aren't willing to provide compensation or upgrade us. I'll update you all once I reach Singapore. And I'm vela enough to send this to airline review sites and newspaper editors!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Milestone alert - The pearlies are here

Unlike my previous haste, I have actually waited for the pearlies to appear before posting about it. Squiggles has now officially sprouted two teeth. The first one burst through her gum about 7-8 days ago and the second one broke through 2 days ago.

And to prove that she has them, she bit me on the shoulder yesterday and again this morning. Oh, and I got a nip on the breast as well. As a result, every time I feed her, I say a really long prayer before offering her my breast. And I thought breast feeding couldn't get worse, hah!

Up for air

I guess it would be an understatement if I said that Squiggles and I are enjoying ourselves so much that we've kind of lost track of the online world and our blogging mommies and babies. Or, probably what's more true is that life in India is so different from Singapore, much more busy and hectic, atleast it seems that way.

The doorbell rings, it's the courier fellow. Shut the door. Intercom rings, it's the neighbour calling to see if the maid has turned up for work. Telephone rings, wrong number. Doorbell no. 2, it's maid no.1. Then the intercom rings again, neighbour no.2 is trying to locate the maid as well. Doorbell again, Courier fellow again (maybe he just waits around the corner and keeps turning up every hour just for fun). Make a call to the local grocery store and ask him to send 5 eggs, 6 slices of bread and one tea bag. Doorbell no. 3, it's maid no. 2 but no one is looking for her so she's obviously not very popular. Doorbell no.4, the delivery boy from the local grocery shop is here. You hand over the change but the price of eggs seems too high. Call the shop owner, discuss and lament the craziness of spiralling prices, hand over the change to the delivery boy. Doorbell no. 5, it's the courier boy again!!!!

And so it goes on and on. In the midst of all this, there is the drama of Squiggles: wake up, milk, diaper change, play time, screaming, solid feed, crazy play time, cat nap, wake up, feed, play, throw tantrum and so it goes on.

Add to this my desire to meet people, window shop and also shop, and it calls for a crazy time. It's usually 1 in the afternoon before Squiggles and I can manage to leave home. Delhi distances and traffic are so crazy that even if you want to go a mere 10 km it will take you an hour, only to find that there is no parking. This is what happened today. My in laws wanted to take me to Connaught Place to buy me a handbag for my birthday which is in a few days. My mother in law had chosen a shop and so off we set off for Connaught Place at 3 in the afternoon. We reached CP at 4. It took us an hour to complete a journey which shouldn't take more than 30 mins. It was so crowded that my father in law dropped us outside the store and asked us to start while he joined us after parking the car. He was still looking for parking when we called him to tell him that the store didn't have any decent stock. He came and picked us up without parking (not that he had any choice really). We then decided to head to the mall after all. But the closest and most convenient one was in Noida which for those not familar with Delhi NCR, is a suburb of Delhi, a good 15km from CP. It was 5.30 by the time we entered the mall and we hadn't even started shopping yet!

Days have been whizzing past. DD was here for his annual 2 week vacation. He left last Sunday and now I have some time to myself to do some random bits that have been pending for a few years ... boring bank stuff.

I am already depressed at the prospect of returning to Singapore. Squiggles is really having fun here now. She loves going out and enjoys talking with people and creating a ruckus. She has really come out of her shell. She's still a clingy child but much less than before. She's happy to go to new people and greets them with a smile. I'm very grateful for this. I think she is going to be super bored when we get back. Who am I kidding? I'm going to be super bored when I get back. I know I have to start looking for a job soon. But there's a lot of inertia which I need to overcome. I have made up my mind to get back, but haven't translated it into action yet.

I don't want to go back................................. wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (big wail).

BTW, Happy New Year!!!