My friends Jen and Harry, and I, decided to head from Kathmandu to New Delhi for a few days. Airlines such as Air India, Vistara and Nepal Airlines all operate the route but the best fare was on little known (to me) Indigo Airlines. We were certainly impressed with this airline!
I was quite surprised to learn that Indigo Airlines is India’s largest airline by market share. They operate over 280 narrow body Airbus and ATR aircraft flying to 101 destinations across India, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe! It is considered a low cost carrier, but it felt a little in between low cost and full service, mostly as we purchased or ticket with all the extras. Fares on other carriers were around AU$300-$400 one way so we felt we scored a bargain at AU$353 return per person on the Flexi Plus Fare. TheFlexi Plus included 20 kilograms of baggage, seat selection, a pre-selected inflight meal as well as lower flight change and cancellation fees up to 4 days prior to departure.
Chaotic and unorganised.
Indigo outsource the check-in, so the airline cannot really be blamed here. We arrived at the airport 3.5 hours before departure, we lined up at the check-in counter and then it changed. We lined up again and it changed… this went on until it was the 4th line we were in (and quite near the back at this stage). We were part of a group that highlighted this issue and the ground staff opened a line for us all. Next, we had to deal with a long line at immigration. There are only two lanes for foreigners, and just as we got to the front, one officer went for his break! One lady then spent a good 45 minutes with the one officer working with some passport issue… We joked later she is still in that immigration line… Finally, when the other office came back from his break, we were processed and on our way to security after over an hour in line.
On time and orderly.
The amount of time spent in lines meant we were only at the gate a few minutes before boarding. Indigo has been ranked the third most punctual airline in 2021 by the OAG punctuality guild, and thus boarding was called on time. The aircraft operating our flight to Delhi was a three and a half year year old Airbus a320 registered VT-IZY. After being bussed to the aircraft (there are no aerobridges at Kathmandu Airport (KTM)) we entered via the forward stairs, as did all.
I love the way Indigo has a play on words.. India and Go, indigo the colour. The airline code is 6E, which they refer to as ‘sexy’ during inflight announcements.
Comfortable with good legroom.
Although looking slightly cramped in this picture, the seats are quite roomy. In fact, we were pretty amazed with the legroom on Indigo.
While the front rows are dedicated XL seats, we were in row four which still seemed to have some decent leg room.
While stated as having a 31″ seat pitch, I feel the pitch must have been more on this particular aircraft as I had heaps of room. There are no charging outlets for phones or tablets, so bring your own.
Bring your own.
Even the inflight magazine has a fun name Hello 6E… The magazine is ok reading and it was the only inflight entertainment on this service.
Tasty, pre-purchase online.
Jen had pre ordered the mushroom galouti slider. Mushroom galouti is a kebab style patty. Spices such as garam masala, chat masala, cashew nut and cardamom as well as ginger, garlic, onion, coriander, and of course mushrooms, are mixed together and smoked over charcoal. The patty is traditionally served with a green chutney.
The above picture is from the onboard menu represents what it should look like…
…but this was the reality…still, Jen said it was quite tasty.
Looking more like a kebab, Harry went for the Fort Kochi roast chicken with Malabar parotta, and it presented a little better than the mushroom galouti. This wrap is southern Indian style, Fort Kochi being the region its from, Malabar being the style of cooking in the area, and the parotta the bread it is served in. My thoughts were that it probably a little bit too much heat for me… Not for Harry though, he loves spicy food!
I reckon I hit the jackpot with my choice, the sesame chicken rice noodle salad. I am sure the others had a little bit of food envy. A choice of non-alcoholic drinks were available and I had a small coke.
This cold dish, served with a soy, chilli and sesame sauce, was really delicious and very filling In fact, I couldn’t finish it all, Jen helped with that…
From what we could tell, there was no hot food served, except for cup noodles. And for those who had not pre-ordered – whether included in your fare or purchased during booking, the only onboard options were cup noodles. I am not sure whether this is usual, or they had run out of options from the buy on board men, but we were very glad to have pre-ordered.
Ahead of schedule.
A relatively short flight, blocked at 2 hours and 15 minutes, had us landing slightly ahead of schedule after only 2 hours into a VERY smoggy Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. To be honest, we were actually quite shocked at the air pollution! The fact is though New Delhi is one of the top ten cities with the worst air quality. Thank goodness we disembarked via an aerobridge…
While check-in was a little bit unorganised, the flight departed on time. The seats on Indigo are quite comfortable but the entertainment lacking on this sector. The food had its hits and misses but was still enjoyable. Arrival was ahead of schedule. Overall, we were all quite impressed with our flight on Indigo…For my next trip to India, I might just go with Indigo!