As of today at 10:20 pm IST, Jet Airways will stop operations. The last flight will be operated on the Amritsar to Mumbai route. The suspension may be temporary or permanent. It would all depend on the quality of bids received by the lenders.
— ET NOW (@ETNOWlive) April 17, 2019
The airline does not have funds to fly, most of its aircraft have been taken back by the lessors. One could see it coming though. It started with curtailing international operations, then cancelling them entirely. Naresh Goyal does not have the funds, Etihad has several preconditions and the lenders do not want to invest more capital.
It is a tragic day for Jet Airways which was once the largest airline in India. Also spare a thought for thousands of its employees who have not been paid for months.
However, spreading misery is not the intent of this post. Rather, I want to write about my several memorable experiences with Jet Airways. I have been flying on Jet Airways since the last two decades and I want to share my four best flights.
My First Flight Ever
I was a late entrant to the world of flying. My first flight when I was fourteen. I was travelling with family and the travel agent convinced my parents to book a child ticket for me. Those days, child tickets were priced half of adult tickets. Children up to 12 years of age were eligible. Further, identity check was conducted only for the primary passenger (my dad).
I remember being nervous throughout the flight. No, it was not because of turbulence. I was scared that someone would figure out that I am 14 and not 12. Maybe, I would be asked to deplane. Maybe, I would be arrested.
Yet, I distinctly remember being overawed by the whole experience. The friendly crew who were available at the press of a button. I also remember that we were served a mango pudding as dessert.
My First Business Class Flight Ever
Ok, I am cheating a bit here. I had flown Air Sahara and not Jet Airways. Within 12 months Air Sahara was acquired by Jet Airways. I was a student back then and did not have money to fly business.
I was late and had arrived at the check-in counter about 30 minutes before take-off. When denied boarding, I requested the duty manager for help. As I was carrying only a check-in bag, he graciously upgraded me to business-class. Probably there were no economy seats available, but I didn’t ask.
I will be honest here. I did not look and feel like a business-class passenger. Anyone could see it. I was embarrassed.
Incidentally, that is the only time I have ever been bumped up from economy to business.
My First International Business Class Flight(s) Ever
We have to fast forward a few years now. I finished college and landed a great job. I was flying Bombay-Brussels-New York on Jet Airways (paid by my employer).
There were many firsts on this flight – champagne, lie-flat beds, business class lounges, branded amenity kits etc. Incidentally, this flight hooked me to the world of points and miles. As I had mentioned before, I got enough miles from this journey to cover 4 domestic economy trips.
My Last Jet Airways Flight
I did a full review of flight 9W 558 from Mumbai to Dubai. I travel this route frequently and I miss this option. The timings work great and the fares are reasonable. I wrote this:
“The soft-product was great and the crew was really at the top of their game. They were cheerful, attentive and, most importantly, pro-active without being intrusive.”
I should also mention that this flight was during the ongoing problems. Probably, the crew hadn’t been paid timely. In this perspective, their service was exemplary.
I love Jet Airways and have some great memories of the airline. The soft product is always an A or A+. I would be glad if the shutdown is temporary. I hope Jet Airways emerges as a viable airline soon. Till then, thank you for the memories.