IndiGo, the Indian low-cost-carrier, has made plans to launch cheap fares from India to London within the next six months, as reported by Live Mint. Not only would these routes be a boon for cash strapped customers, but the availability of IndiGo’s cheap business class fares on this route might also persuade full-service flag carrier loyalists to switch over.
When will the new service launch?
Currently, IndiGo flies as far as Istanbul. But that is soon to change with the airline promising new routes far into Western Europe.
Some of these routes may include:
- London from New Delhi
- Non-stop flights to China, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Russia.
They have not outlined what aircraft would perform the journey, but they do have a new fleet of Airbus A321neo’s slowly being delivered this year that could ‘just’ make the journey. But other possibilities of a new larger order have been floated, potentially for a new ‘super narrowbody’.
What will the service be like?
IndiGo rose to success in India by charging dirt cheap prices for flights… but charging a high price for everything else from food to entertainment to luggage.
But for a flight that is considered ‘long-haul’, passengers will start to get restless if they get the same treatment as they would domestic. Thus, IndiGo might have to follow the Virgin Australia route and offer complimentary services such as food and beverages onboard, as well as possibly introducing a long-haul business class product.
“Once you get to six, seven, eight hours, the body gets tired, people need to use the washrooms more, people need to eat more frequently, all of those things change,” IndiGo Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta said to Live Mint “We have to redesign our product. Is it more pitch, is it more food, is it more hot towels, is it a business class?”
What would their long-haul business class look like?
IndiGo only needs to look to fellow long-haul low-cost carriers to see what is possible for a ‘premium’ category.
AirAsia X, who flies a fleet of A330s between their Kuala Lumpur hub and destinations such as Hawaii, Japan, and Australia, offers a recliner business class. Whilst not truly flat seats (they are coming next year on their new A330neos), the fact that these seats can be had for around the same price as economy on normal full-service carriers places them well into the eyes of the market.
Scoot Airways (the low-cost carrier arm of Singapore) has a business class lite on their Boeing 787s. These aircraft, which fly from Sydney to Athens for less than an Australian domestic flight, contain a cabin full of recliners with AC power, and include meals and a take-off beverage.
Essentially, we would expect their business class cabin to contain recliner seats with included meals, baggage, and entertainment, priced at around the same price as a full premium- economy fare from Europe. If they can change the recliners to lie-flat seats (possible with some configurations onboard), that would be a total game changer.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!