Don’t call them Low Cost Carriers

I have a confession to make. I have fallen in love with what the snooty airlines call Low Cost Carriers. Snooty because supposedly they offer so much more as compared to the LCC.

Having been a traveller for very long, I have finally figured out that under the garb of full services, the likes of Jet Airways and KingFisher to some extent, actually take the consumer for a big ride.

Over the last one year, I had the occasion to travel on Indigo and Spice Jet and my experiences were rather pleasant and delightful.

And I seriously fail to understand how a hand towel (hot or cold), one tiny bottle of juice and at times bad stuff that passes off for food and the frequent flier program can make full service airlines charge so much more as compared to LCC.

Indigo has fabulous aircrafts and SpiceJet definitely has far better aircrafts than Indian. And the last couple of times the food that I “bought” on SpiceJet was much better than anything I had on Jet.

Their ground handling is not very different from Jet, Kingfisher or whatever.

Their aircrafts are equally good. After all everyone buys the aircraft from same manufacturers. And in the age of e-tickets, all airlines have e-tickets. And a max of 3 hours flight in the country, in flight TV and all hardly makes a difference.

And the airport lounges… seriously, who has the time and even if someone does… it is pure snob value (remember the Tata Safari commercial?).

So all of the above put together makes for full fare airlines charge more than the LCC and while an average traveller who does not use any of the facilities, ends up footing the bill for those who do use them.

It is all pretty much the same… if anything, the so called LCC offer far better value to the consumer than the rest. Pure economics – meals on SpiceJet cost INR 150. Makes you wonder how much the full fare airlines con the fliers in the name of exotic spread (which is as bad as any airline food).

The point here is that we need to stop calling them Low Cost Carriers. A better moniker would be Value++ because at the end of the day, that is what the flier gets. Very marginal difference between them and full fare.

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