Akasa Air’s inaugural flight – it’s very first flight – from Mumbai to Ahmedabad was a great one, one which set high expectations for me from the airline. As a result, I was waiting for a chance to fly Akasa again. At the end of December 2022, I had to get to Ahmedabad from Mumbai in the morning. Mumbai-Ahmedabad is a crowded market with multiple airlines fighting for traffic. I too had many options to choose from. While Akasa’s flight was a bit too early compared to others, I thought it will be a good chance to review the airline again to see how has it kept up. Let’s dive into the details.
- Airline – Akasa Air
- Aircraft – B737MAX-8
- Class – Economy
- Seat – 4A
- Flight Number – QP1113
- Flight time- 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Departure time – 05:40 AM
- Arrival time – 06:55 AM
- Flight Date – 25th December 2022
- Origin – Mumbai, Maharashtra,India
- Destination – Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
While there are many options to book Akasa Air from, including its website and mobile application and Online Travel Agents (OTAs), I decided to go for the former as the airline was offering a sweet deal when booking directly. I booked a Flexi fare since there was a small difference between the “Saver” fare and the “Flexi” fare of ₹500 ($6 approximately). The ticket, which cost me ₹4500 ($55 approximately), included seat selection, a meal and a beverage (Cafe Akasa’s meals always includes a beverage when pre-booking them). Considering a meal and seat selection would have easily cost me an additional ₹700 ($8.5 approximately), getting the Flexi fare was a no-brainer.
Check-in and Airport Experience
For my 05:40 AM departure from Mumbai which is the very first flight out of the city on any given day for the airline (at the time of writing this trip report), the check-in desks opened at 02:40 AM. The queue was not long, with maximum wait time of 10 minutes. As I had already done web check-in, the whole process took less than a couple of minutes.
The terminal featured a beautiful Christmas tree, just beside Akasa Air’s check-in counters.
After checking-in, I proceeded directly to the security check, which too had no queue. This was expected as QP1113 was one of the very first flights to depart from Terminal 1. Do note that Akasa Air operates out of Terminal 1 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.
Now, let’s focus on the most important part, the flight.
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Boarding started at 05:00 AM, 40 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. Akasa Air boards passengers group wise. Those seated at the last get to board first in order to make the boarding process efficient and faster. As I was seated in seat 4A, my boarding zone was the last to be called for boarding.
Akasa Air is currently facing supply chain issues and this has meant that it has not been able to get timely deliveries of its classic purple seats from the manufacturer. To solve this problem, the airline is taking deliveries of new B737MAX-8 aircraft from Boeing in an “as-is condition”, with Akasa only changing the branding on the headrests. What is happening is that Akasa is taking deliveries of NTU (Not Taken Up) aircraft originally intended to be delivered to other airlines who have now cancelled their orders. The airline is also taking B737MAXs originally intended to be delivered to Jet Airways, which features Business Class seats also, which Akasa sells at a ₹2500 premium. So all of this means that there is a variation of the seats on offer at Akasa. Akasa will eventually install its classic purple seats on all these aircraft as and when the seat deliveries are made.
Our aircraft was an ex-T-way Air version which features blue leather seats. The legroom is on the tighter side in these aircraft. The seat features a standard tray-table and a mobile-holder. Do note that these aircraft do not feature charging ports so don’t go on Akasa Air expecting that you will get a charging port in every aircraft.
Once embarkation process was completed, doors were shut and we were on the our way to Runway 27 for an on time departure out of Mumbai.
The views of Mumbai after take-off were spectacular. Nothing to see in the night sky as such but seeing the city lights just hit different. Apologies for the blurred image quality as the window was not clean.
Since Mumbai-Ahmedabad is a very short hop with flight times generally ranging from 45 to 50 minutes, the crew sprang into action as soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off.
As mentioned above, I had chosen a Flexi fare, with a meal and a beverage included in that. I had pre-selected the meal at the time of check-in. I was a bit afraid that the meal would not be loaded as it was such an early departure but Akasa Air just hit it out of the park.
Not only was the Mushroom & Brie Croissant full of flavour but the quality was also great. I chose a cold coffee to go along with the meal.
After cruising for just a few minutes after levelling off, we started our descent into a very cold Ahmedabad just somewhere after the city of Surat passed by. We landed on Runway 05 ten minutes before the scheduled arrival time.
The crew on this flight were joyful, enthusiastic and proactive. They were eager to serve passengers and fulfil their each and every request.
One thing which I like about Akasa is that they hand out water bottles at the time of boarding itself. I think it’s a clever move as it decreases the chances of passengers asking for water again and again. I am not saying that it reduces a whole lot of work for the crew but I think it’s a good move.
So, now, the main question. How has the airline kept up?
A fun airline to fly with
This particular flight was great. From the impressive service to the on-time departure and arrival, everything was spot on. The seats were not as comfortable as the original purple-coloured Akasa seats that the airline has in some aircraft, but nonetheless, they were comfortable enough for a 50-minute short hop.
In fact, I recently travelled on Akasa for the 3rd time since it started operations and found the flight to be comfortable. Akasa seems to be a promising airline in the Indian aviation space and the pace at which it is growing, it will surely give struggling airlines like SpiceJet and GoFirst a run for their money (which might already be happening to be honest, even if it’s not due to Akasa). Competing with IndiGo is a whole different case and it will still take many years for Akasa to reach IndiGo’s levels.
All in all, I will not hesitate to fly with Akasa again 🙂
Featured image by Ishan Haria
All the other images by Ishan Haria
Have you flown with Akasa Air? If yes, then how was your experience? Let me know in the comments section below.
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