Simple Flying was recently invited by Vistara to fly and review the airline’s new safety protocols during the pandemic. On the flight from Goa to Delhi, I had the chance to review Vistara’s premium economy offering and see what’s changed. Here’s what to expect from Vistara premium economy on domestic flights!
Passengers must show their boarding pass and IDs at the airport entrance, while a thermal camera records your temperature. This process didn’t take too long, with only a few passengers entering at the time.
Vistara offers dedicated check-in counters for premium economy passengers, making the process quite fast. These counters are shared by Club Vistara elite members. The airline had also divided lanes by flight, with Delhi and Mumbai-bound flights having specific desks.
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The lack of passengers meant check-in only took a few minutes and social distancing was well-maintained. Similar to Delhi airport, the floors had clear markings on where to stand and staff constantly reminded passengers to leave adequate space.
As with many airlines, Vistara boarded the flight from back to front. This is done to reduce contact between passengers when walking through the aisles. This meant premium economy passengers boarded after all economy passengers.
At the gate, passengers are given a hygiene kit consisting of a face shield, mask, and hand sanitizer. Face shields must be worn before entering the plane and are mandatory at all times except while eating.
Onboard the aircraft
Premium economy on the A320 is laid out in a 3-3 configuration, the same as economy. There are four rows of seats, totaling 24 seats in the cabin. I was seated in 6F, a window seat in the last row of the cabin. The cabin separated from economy and business by a curtain after takeoff, adding a sense of privacy.
Premium economy offers 33″ of pitch and 4″ of recline, slightly more than standard economy seats. At 6’2″, I found the seats to offer good legroom and had enough space to slide my backpack under the seat in front of me. For the two-hour journey, I found the seat to be quite comfortable and caught a short nap.
Located on the coast of India, Goa offers stunning views while departing or arriving. I’d strongly recommend a window seat on flights to and from the state!
Due to health restrictions, inflight service has been cut down to a pre-packaged meal. For a 2:30 PM departure, passengers were offered a cold vegetarian or non-vegetarian snack. Meals were served on a single tray to reduce touchpoints.
I opted for the non-vegetarian option and received a tray with a main, beverage, and cookies. The main consisted of a chicken salad sandwich and chickpea salad, apple juice for beverage, and two cumin cookies. There were no hot beverages such as tea or coffee on offer as previously.
Cabin crew also minimized contact with passengers for safety reasons. Minus the meal service, cabin crew mainly stayed in the galley unless requested. The crew also wore a full PPE suit along with masks and gloves.
Vistara is India’s only airline offering premium economy and the current pandemic has forced it to scale back service. However, the larger seats and priority access do make the journey more comfortable, an important fact when flying right now.
Have you flown premium economy in the past? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments!