But the inaugural flight has gone empty.
Even as Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel flagged off Air India’s inaugural non-stop flight to New York amid much fanfare early on Wednesday, the flag carrier’s top brass mulled over the near-empty Boeing 777-200LR that pushed back from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 12:45 am.In an era of free(er) skies, will anyone really fly Air India? I had the misfortune of flying them once and was appalled, really appalled at the planes and the (total lack of) service.
For onboard the “historic” flight were a meagre 80-odd passengers—including a dozen freeloaders [emphasis added] —as against the 238 seats available. Or a paltry 33 per cent load. What’s worse: things don’t appear much better for the first fortnight either.
Air India had opened bookings with fares over 30 per cent higher than the industry average on the sector, which were later brought at par, because of slow bookings.So, not only does the airline offer pathetic services, it also charges more than its competitors! That's rich!
Inquiring taxpayers (like myself) want to know where the money goes, and why the all-knowing Government of India continues to squander my taxes on funding this -- and other -- white elephants.