13 comments Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mr. Vijay Mallya,

First of all, my heartiest congratulations to you and the whole of the Kingfisher group for the successful take-over of Air-Deccan.

I am sure that you would have been well aware of the respect/status of Air-Deccan before you decided to strike a deal with the company. Therefore, I have full faith that you would fly the airline to great heights. I am also sure that you would be well aware of your public image as the cool, intelligent and classy business tycoon. Frankly, this particular take-over came more as a shock than a surprise.

I do understand that business decisions of a group cannot be, and should not be, made on the basis of the “public image” of the director of the group. On the other hand, a conflict of the ideologies would definitely be unpleasant and unwarranted.

To make my point limpid, I am bringing to your attention an incident that happened with me. Once I was to fly Air-Deccan and I was not sure of the weight of my baggage. Since the airline is very particular about the not allowing the passengers to exceed the baggage-weight limit, I thought it would be best if I could weigh my baggage, before the baggage-security check. So that in the event of my bag exceeding the prescribed weight-limit I could take a part of it as hand-baggage. I talked to an Air-Deccan representative about this and he politely told me that it would not be possible to check the weight on the Air-Deccan counter as it is very busy at the moment. But, he guided to another empty counter and asked me to weigh my baggage. Fortunately the weight was just 14.5 Kg. I got the baggage-security check done and proceeded to get my boarding pass. What the hell, all of a sudden my bag had become a Kg heavier - the Air-Deccan machine showed my bag’s weight as 15.5Kg. As this was also well in the prescribed limit I chose to happily ignore the situation and I moved-on.

I am pretty sure that this tampering with the weighing system is a deliberate move by the airline, not necessarily with the intention of cheating its customers but more likely to ward of the unnecessary hagglers who would haggle to not pay up for the extra half / one Kg that he would be carrying (but cannot refuse to pay for the extra 2 Kg). The people at the counter are also not very strict about the weight being exceeded by upto1 Kg, which is just fair. What is wrong, although, is that the person who is supposed to pay Rs. 70 for the extra 1kg he is carrying ends up paying Rs140 ( 70 for his baggage and 70 because of the tampering in the machine). The revenue gains by this technique would be minimal and ignorable. And it is definitely unpleasant and cheap.

There are always infinite cheap tactics to make money in every business. What separates the Class from the sadakchaap is whether they choose to follow the tactics or not.

It is sad enough that Indian Auto-wallas tamper their Auto-meters and cheat the public. It would be disgraceful if these tactics are used by the Airlines also.

I hope you look into the matter sincerely.


Aman Jain

P.S:- I have actaully mailed this letter to the kingfisher PR guys. If I recieve any reply i will keep you updated

4 comments Wednesday, July 11, 2007