The once premier airline continues to leave its customers feeling short-changed, says financial risk analyst Amit Sukhram, a frequent flyer
There's a new splash on the Jet Airways website: "Jet Airways introduces JetKonnect.'' Now, that's puzzling. For something that, I believe, has been around for three years or so, why on earth were they now using the word 'introduce'? I clicked on the link to get into the FAQs page. Here are some excerpts. My comments are in italics.
What is JetKonnect?
Jet Airways has consolidated its low fare service products, Jet Airways Konnect and JetLite under the JetKonnect brand. This new brand will offer economy cabin service with buy on board meals and Premiere service on select routes only.
(Oh, so what they had earlier was 'Jet Airways Konnect.' How stupid of me not to notice that the word 'Airways' had been dropped!)
What happens to JetLite and Jet Airways Konnect?
With the introduction of JetKonnect, the JetLite brand will cease to exist. However, Jet Lite (India) Ltd. will continue to remain a legal entity and a 100% subsidiary of Jet Airways (India) Ltd. Jet Airways Konnect, currently operated by Jet Airways will be branded as 'JetKonnect'.
(Why, on earth, would anyone want to do something as complex as this? And why would I need to care about JetLite existing as a company, if it were to cease to exist as a brand?)
How can I identify JetKonnect flights?
Here's an easy way to identify a JetKonnect flight through the flight number.
JetKonnect flight numbers will have:
Airline code S2 and flight number between 3000 and 4999 For EG: S2 4105 ( DEL - BOM)
Airline code 9W and flight number between 2000 and 2999 For EG: 9W 2023 (BOM - IXU)
Airline code 9W and flight number between 7000 and 7999 For EG: 9W 7041 (BOM - NAG)
Your boarding pass will be printed as JetKonnect.
(Did they say 'easy'?)
The myth of 'low cost'
On a more serious note, this branding is merely a part of the myth that Jet Airways is trying to propagate about having a low-fare product. There is no such thing. I did a search for a one-way flight from Delhi to Mumbai for 18 April, a randomly chosen weekday, to see the fares I could get. Look at the screenshot of the flight choices.
If one were to look closely, the picture will become extremely clear. Four of the 11 flights are JetKonnect flights. Under both Jet Airways and JetKonnect, there are some tickets which are cheaper than others. The cheaper tickets are, more or less, equally cheap under both brands.
The full-fare economy tickets, too, are, more or less, equally expensive under both brands. There is one marginal, but perhaps, sinister exception. The full-fare economy under 9W 7083, which is supposed to be a JetKonnect flight (and therefore, low-fare), is more expensive than any Jet Airways flight!
Out of curiosity, I did an identical search a minute later on the JetKonnect website (see the screenshot).
The four JetKonnect flights are represented with different flight numbers. But now things look murkier. The full-fare economy under all the flights is more than what it was on the Jet Airways site. And the full fare economy for the notorious flight 9W 7083 (now depicted as S2 4105) is around 19 per cent above the fare available on the Jet Airways site. So much for low fares.
As I had pointed out in an earlier piece (Jet Airways: no longer the best way to fly), Jet Airways seems to think that customers don't realise that they are being short-changed. Well, in that thinking, they aren't any different from an ostrich that buries its head in the sand.
In other words, their back-side is just waiting to be kicked by some smart competitor.
Note: Both screenshots were taken on Tuedsay, 27 March at around 11:00 am.