Summary. Kingfisher Airline of India is perhaps one of the best airlines in the world for the reasons described below. For those involved in the industries of hospitality, air travel, hotels, or any similar business, it would be a good investment to fly to India and travel with Kingfisher to learn about high standards of customer care. In fact, any entrepreneur or business person who has an opportunity to fly with Kingfisher should do so. It’s a great way to learn about business excellence. The cost is about $100 US for a domestic flight. In addition to the official website for Kingfisher, Wikipedia has more information about Kingfisher Airlines. There is also a special KingfisherHolidays.com website for planning vacation travel.
Review. This review, by Gregory Johnson, is based on three separate flights using Kingfisher Airlines in India from October 2008 to January 2009. The following aspects of service are outstanding, unique, and worth mentioning. “After flying American Airlines, Air India, Continental, Delta, El Al, Northwest, Southwest, United, and US Airways, I found that Kingfisher had the highest level of customer service.” – Gregory Johnson
- Attention to Detail. Upon boarding the flight, it is apparent that much care and attention is given to presentation. All seat belts are identically folded very meticulously in each seat. Toilet paper rolls are inserted so that the toilet paper rolls from the top out which is proper according to some etiquette guides. In addition, both corners of the next sheet are folded into a point (as would be done in a fancy hotel). Toilet paper is a small item. Yet, those who are responsible and careful in the small things are generally responsible with more important items as well.
- Attitude. There’s something consistently professional, friendly, competent, and pleasing about the flight crew. This is presumably the result of picking quality people and training them well. “The attitude of each member of the flight team seems to convey a sense of pride, ownership, personal interest, and belonging. This attitude seemed to be consistent among all employees including flight attendants, ticket desk workers, and baggage handlers.” – Gregory Johnson
- Branding. Branding is the practice where a company will have their name and logo placed on products that are manufactured to their standards. On a Kingfisher flight, just about everything is branded including the water containers, food boxes, gift pens, gift headphones, and even the tissue boxes in the restrooms.
- Feedback. At the end of each flight, no matter how short, passengers are given a feedback card and an opportunity to join the King Club.
- Five-Star Hotel With Wings. Kingfisher Airlines is considered a 5-star airline. The best way to understand this is to imagine staying in the nicest hotel in the world, and then imagine it can fly.
- Food. Many airlines are wanting more from travelers and giving them less. It’s common to see meals replaced with snacks, and snacks replaced with nothing. Kingfisher doesn’t compromise in this regard. “On a short one-hour domestic flight, we spent about 30 minutes in the air. Yet, the flight crew served a full meal to everyone, and the food was top quality, offering nutrition and flavor. On longer flights with other airlines, it’s common to receive only a small bag of nuts.”
- Gifts. Each traveller is given a pen and headphones, as well as a fresh lime juice drink upon boarding. A fresh copy of the daily paper of New Delhi is found in the seat pocket of every seat.
- Going to Extremes. Kingfisher goes to great lengths to see that each person receives personal attention. “I flew Kingfisher in October 2008 and decided to join their frequent flyer program. A few weeks after returning to my home country, I received an airmail courier package with membership information. It must have cost a considerable amount to send that packet overseas. Yet, my membership and loyalty as a frequent flier was apparently that important to Kingfisher that they would spare no expense to get the packet to me half-way around the world. You can be sure I chose Kingfisher at the next opportunity.” – Gregory Johnson
- Online Ticket Purchase. The process of purchasing tickets online is quite simple through the Kingfisher website. Anyone involved in website design should spend some time exploring the Kingfisher website to learn how a website should be designed for ease of navigation and fast page loading. The website is an example of how to do things right.
- Personal Service. The flight attendants take special care to offer personalized service. “Upon leaving the flight, the flight steward greeted me by name, although I’d not provided my name. I presume the flight attendants read the seating assignment and remember all passengers who are traveling with them. This was a fairly large flight, so I’m surprised the flight attendant could remember our names and faces as we were leaving.” – Gregory Johnson
- Quality Management. Kingfisher Airline was established by by Vijay Mallya, a businessman with success in many areas. Mallya takes a personal interest in assuring that those flying Kingfisher are treated as guests in his home.
- Quiet. Air travel is expected to be noisy and unpleasant. As a result, we now have an industry of noise canceling headphones such as the Bose Quiet Comfort for $300. However, something about the Kingfisher airplanes is different. The engines or cabin or both have apparently had some kind of sound dampening technology installed.
- Travel Map. A real-time video travel map is found on each seat back with additional information such as air speed, outside temperature, and estimated arrival time. This is the same display where videos can be viewed.
- Value. The cost of traveling with Kingfisher is remarkably low, and typically costs less than airlines of lesser quality.
- Video. The video and media are exceptional. Movies are pre-selected to be suitable for all audiences. The pre-flight welcome message, from Vijay Mallya himself, is produced with excellent quality graphics, as are the pre-flight instructional videos that have a flight attendant in video against a backdrop of animation. Some portions of video are in black and white with the Kingfisher logo in full color for dramatic effect.