Kingfisher is the BEST? Think again!


Kingfisher is recognized as the most luxurious airline in the country. It’s also the only airline to be given a 5 star rating by Skytrax (The official world online aircraft star rating program). With Mr Vijay Mallya at the helm, one can surely expect the ultimate experience in travelling be it domestically or internationally. When Kingfisher bought Air Deccan (now Kingfisher Red), it changed the face of it from a low cost airline to a big budget low cost airline. I have personally travelled by Kingfisher Red twice and have been served really well.

But I guess this time was different. As they say, you remember the good times and the bad times. But the bad times are always much more prominent than the good ones. I had booked my ticket on Kingfisher Red – IT 3149 from Mumbai – Lucknow on 31st October. But was informed by an SMS that the flight was cancelled and I needed to contact the call center. But sadly the calls at the call center were picked up only next morning. Finally after managing to reach them somehow at the call center, talking with my travel agent and the Kingfisher office in Lucknow and also messaging them on Twitter, my flight was finally rescheduled via Delhi with a 7 hours waiting time. You must be wondering all’s well that ends well right? WRONG!

It’s very saddening to note that in a country where aircraft carriers are bursting at their seams to start, expand and grow, the basic tenets of effective customer service aren’t being followed.

YES, Kingfisher has really good service as compared to others.

YES, Kingfisher provides the ultimate luxury in travel.

But does that mean that Kingfisher can rest on its laurels and become complacent? NO…

Ok let’s analyse the step – by – step process of where they went wrong and what they could have done to avoid the situation.

After the flight was cancelled, they just messaged the passenger saying that the flight has been cancelled and he / she needs to call the call center. Is this what one expects from a customer centric airline which calls itself the best in India?

They should have instead called / emailed or probably contacted the said person on social networks and given a personalized response. Probably it may be too difficult. But then this is something which can make a difference between a negative and positive word–of–mouth.

The calls at the call center weren’t picked up. Now this is a problem I have seen in many organizations and companies. If they don’t pick up, then the basic point of such a facility with 4-5 nos. just doesn’t make much sense right? Proper scheduling, managing the peak and load times and queuing of calls in the best possible manner are the most important things to do in such a scenario.

One of the staff members at the Kingfisher call center suggested rescheduling my Delhi – Lucknow flight to 7th November. For a passenger who was travelling on 31st October, that doesn’t make too much sense. It shows a pretty strong lack of customer insight from the organization’s point of view and could have resulted in a strong negative word–of–mouth.

Customer 2.0 is the name of the game in today’s world with more and more people accessing social networking websites. Though Kingfisher has an account (@flykingfisher), my 6-7 tweets elicited following direct message response from them.

understand it was diff getting thru the CC .. However, CC in the best position to assist you with alt. tarvel options..

note: *CC is Call Center

This was when I wasn’t able to reach their call center. Their direct message doesn’t help the customer in any way. And moreover spelling mistakes like ‘tarvel’ instead of travel don’t help either.

I am sure many other airlines would have similar problems and all of you would be ready to list them down. But I specifically pointed out for Kingfisher because this is something that is not expected from them.

It is against their basic positioning strategy of providing the best customer service and luxury to all its ‘guests’ (passengers).

Thoughts Welcome !

  1. kamesh says

    I don’t think KF deserves the award

    last time i flew by KF red i had lots of problems with the on-board crew. Quality is visibly missing in KF. They better do something quick cos SpiceJet and Indigo are fast picking up.I like SpiceJet and Indigos service. They offer better service at a considerably lower price. Mr.Mallya Should do what hes good at “Sipping beer and Brewing money”

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Hahaha! Amazingly put down Kamesh :)

  2. Krishna Shrinivas says

    had an almost similar experience just yesterday – have blogged the same as an open letter here:

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Oh God! After reading your experience I am all the more inclined to stop flying Kingfisher at all! :( :(

  3. Anita says

    Sadly there is no law in the country that if an airline cancel its flight after selling its tickets, it has to pay penalty to the passengers. So the airlines are taking the advantage. How can you cancel a flight after selling its confirmed ticket to a customer?

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      After going through such a harrowing experience, I seriously wish there was a law like that..

  4. Imran says

    There are several problems when it comes to the Indian scenario:

    Education, English and Exposure: These employees know the products and service on the face but most of them wont visualize the exact details/situation until they face a similar one. In India, from past few years, traveling by flights have been in the reach but still most of these call center guys are not someone who travel or have traveled by flights many times in their life. So, how will they visualize the problem in the true sense…. Most of such executives are given product/service information but are not trained on the soft skills, voice modulation etc. Sometimes they really talk in a bizarre manner.

    High employee turnover/attrition rate in such jobs: Many would agree that most of the call center employees are not fit to be working there. These companies hire them because they suffer from high attrition rate and lack of employees…

    Lack of training/grooming: These companies mostly outsource such call center jobs to cheap call centers which offer really cheap per seat call center executive to such companies but dont focus on the quality of the executive, training, grooming etc. Thus, not able to inculcate a sense of ownership either.
    Until and unless there is a sense of ownership, it is really difficult for an employee to offer a good solution/service/alternative to the customer. These call center employees dont even fear job loss because they think that they will easily get another one. 1-2K here or there…but they will get a job…

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      You have put down the problems of Call center jobs brilliantly. I wish our companies cared to understand this. But sadly they are more interested in other pursuits read make MONEY MONEY and more MONEY!

  5. Yaamini says

    Seriously this is really sad . Airlines like Kingfisher promise to provide the best service and such things happenning is really sad. This is the sad state in almost all airlines. And one can never reach the call centers in emergency . When will all this change !!

  6. Abhishek says

    I agree that Kingfisher services are among some of the best in India but still it has to go a long way to become one of the best on the global stage. I guess the airline has to fix the problems sooner rather than later.

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      Yeah the sooner they fix the better it is..As they said competition is always ready to eat you up..And especially if its the Indian airline sector, this is all the more true…

  7. forum says

    well call centre’s have always been an issue. they have never been accessible be it tata’s call centre or reliance. whoever proclaims to be the best, definitely have some issue’s when it comes to taking care for customer’s grievances. call centre is definitely an issue where improvisation is required. first of all these people need training in a lot of things coz they have very limited knowledge on a lot of things and the customer is left out being angry and frustrated.
    anyways yeah all’s well that end’s well. :)

    1. Aseem Rastogi says

      yeah sadly the problem is that since people have come to accept that call centers are pathetic, even companies don’t seem interested to do anything to improve their horrible state..

      The most important thing of all is that each employee should have the knowledge of what a customer wants. Cuz in today’s world, customization is very very impt..

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