Flight Plan

A 'premium' experience from Vistara

Ashwini Phadnis | Updated on January 21, 2020 Published on January 21, 2020

Adjustable seats and head-rests provide customised comfort.

The services offered by Vistara in its premium economy cabin compare well with those of more established players

What does one expect from the premium economy cabin on a flight, especially when travelling overseas? Wider seats with more leg room as compared to the economy class? More comfort as the premium economy cabin has fewer seats? More personalised service?

The youngest airline in India, Vistara, provides all this, and more, in its premium economy cabin.

To begin with, it is the only Indian carrier that provides premium economy seating on all its international flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai and Colombo since it started flying on international routes in August last year; the airline also provides premium economy seating on most of its domestic routes.

Efficiency and comfort

Given that Vistara is the youngest Indian carrier to provide premium economy on its international flights, it is inevitable that fliers draw comparisons with other more established carriers like Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, which too have premium economy.

What I discovered on my flight from Bangkok to Delhi in Vistara’s premium economy (after doing the reverse leg in economy) is that it compares very well with the established players. Its crew members are professional and they provide an efficient service at your convenience.

The seats are wide enough to rest an aching body after the agonising crawl through security and immigration at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport where people were getting hysterical because they were convinced that they were going to miss their flights because of the unbelievably long queues.

I barely made it in time for my flight. The well-cushioned seat with an adjustable and expandable head rest and an adjustable leg rest was just what I needed to put back my head and work the tiredness out of my body.

Variety fare, indulgent service

A stripped-down version of the business class cabin, like on all other airlines, the Vistara premium economy is also less noisy and less crowded – it has 24 seats compared to the 132 in economy though the seating is three seats each in two rows like in the economy class.

However, what impressed me the most was the service. There was enough variety and from the paneer jalfrezi, rogan josh and chicken in cashew and ginger sauce that was on offer, I opted for the chicken. But before the meal, there was a beverage service where the crew served as many refills as you wanted. No one pushed you to have your meal when the crew wanted to serve it. The meal was served piping hot when you wanted to eat. Besides the regular drinks, what was also impressive was the wine list.

 

 

Of course, travelling by premium economy came with other advantages – a separate check-in line and a check-in baggage allowance of 35 kg instead of the 30 kg allowed in economy. Those in business and premium economy were allowed to de-board before the rest and our bags were waiting when we reached the belt after clearing immigration.

However, since Vistara is a new airline flying on international routes, there are some teething issues. Vistara’s aircraft do not have embedded television screens on all the seats, be they in economy, premium economy or business; this is something that most international carriers provide. One has to use personal devices for entertainment and on my flights to and from Bangkok, the in-flight sky map, which shows the progress of the aircraft, was not working. Using personal devices for watching your favourite programmes on the flight might show you as tech savvy but it doesn’t make for comfortable viewing on a phone.

Needless to say, a seat in premium economy is more expensive than what a passenger pays for an economy seat on the same route. For example, booking three months in advance, a passenger can get a return ticket for ₹19,477 (₹ 7,685 in economy on the Delhi-Bangkok sector and ₹11,792 in premium economy on the Bangkok-Delhi sector or at a difference of about ₹4,000, excluding taxes).

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Published on January 21, 2020
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