Why Jet Airways gets my business in India?

One of the questions I get asked very often is, what dictates my airline choices? As someone who is on the road over a 100 days in a year minimally, and on the higher side 200-250 days in some years, I find that an interesting question to answer, given my newfound public profile with this website for the past seven years.

My choices have not changed much indeed over a span of time. When I took to the skies in the early 2000s, my options were limited to three major carriers: Indian Airlines, Air Sahara, and Jet Airways. Air Deccan in its first version was just about coming up. So I tried the whole suite of offerings available to me then, and, well, started allocating my business to Jet Airways where I could. After all, it helps if you have to deal with one known beast over multiple unknown ones.

Jet Airways Boeing 737

Over a period, indeed, Indian Airlines folded up into Air India, and Air Sahara folded up into Jet Airways indeed. Newer airlines did come through in the no-frills space, but I have loved my little joys for a long time, so I continued to try and give business to the full-service carriers.

There is a reason I call IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir no-frills carriers rather than low-cost carriers as today’s generic use seems to generalize the term. Indian airlines have tried to own every penny from my pocket from the word go, and more since the pricing for ancillary services was given legitimacy. Take an example here for a flight between Mumbai and Chennai, for six months out, for example:

Price Comparison No Frills over Full Service

Like you would see all the airlines are moving in the same band of pricing between INR 2400 to INR 2600, excluding SpiceJet, which is taking a bet that people would like to pay more for their flights to the tune of INR 600 per passenger. Now, with similar prices, I would pick a full-service carrier over IndiGo and SpiceJet in this case. Ask me why?

Flying from Terminal 2 in Mumbai

Jet Airways Terminal 2 Mumbai

For those of you who know, Terminal 2 is any day the better terminal to fly from as compared to Terminal 1 in Mumbai. Similar things can be said for Terminal 3 in Delhi over Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. As this city pair is my most frequented route, I would rather have a great experience at the airport, getting some work done in the GVK Lounge | TFS Lounge before takeoff rather than sit in a massive crowd if I can help it.

Not paying extra for baggage

Although I do not travel with check-in bags on my work trips, I do so on my pleasure trips for sure. Sometimes, for instance, right after my wedding, I moved a lot of stuff from my parent’s home to my own. With Jet Airways then, for example, my relationship came handy because I was able to carry over 30 kgs per person as a benefit of my Platinum tier as compared to the 15 kgs that a no-frills carrier would offer me. With a co-branded card itself, one can get excess baggage allowance as well.

Not paying extra for meals

Do you need to eat on planes? Sometimes the answer is yes. Eating on planes is not just entertainment but something business travel necessities. I have eaten breakfast all my working life on my desk, which means I need to eat, for instance at 9:30 AM. So, if I am on a plane, that means I need to eat. I would instead not buy that sandwich but partake in a hot meal if I can. Anyways if I pay anything above INR 100 for that sandwich, I am equalizing the fare, right?

Earning Miles

Frequent flyer programs are still a large part of the consideration for business travelers, and also for leisure travelers to an extent. I look at value derived from a flight towards the cost of a future trip to be a part of the equation as well. So, every time I fly a full-service carrier, I can also earn miles which can help me allocate towards the next vacation or last-minute flight of mine.

However, I still have two options, and I need to boil it down to one. Between Jet Airways and Air India, I would need to whittle down my choices. In most cases I would go with Jet Airways, and here is why…

Network of Choice

It helps that Jet Airways flies all over the place to destinations I need to go to. Be it Mumbai-Delhi roundtrips to get home, frequent trips for work to the Middle-East, South East Asia, and Europe or inside India. It helps that Jet Airways has a network I need to go places. Additionally, they have tie-ups with airlines abroad which help me as well. For instance, I have connected seamlessly at Abu Dhabi using Etihad Airways’ Partnership on my way to New York last year, and on the way back, connected in Amsterdam from Delta, all on the same ticket!

Inflight Entertainment

Paxex Counts. Moreover, there is an apparent reason to work with Jet Airways here. They have been the only airline who’ve invested in a full-blown in-flight entertainment system which streams to all passengers using their phones and pads. No more the trouble of guessing if your flight has an IFE or not. Just plug in your headphones, and you are a go!

JetPrivilege Benefits

a pair of blue and red seats

Comfort+ Seats on Delta

Nevermind that Jet Airways is not a member of a global alliance so far, their tie-up with Etihad Airways and KLM/Air France/Delta ensures I can earn miles across the various versions of global travel I hop through. Last year, I was able to get a free upgrade to Economy Comfort+ on Delta between New York and Amsterdam, and of course, I can get benefits across the Etihad network as well for being a Jet Airways Platinum. Access to the First Class Lounge and Spa of Etihad in Abu Dhabi, just one of them! Earning miles on over 20 international airlines is another.

Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa, Abu Dhabi

Etihad First Class Lounge & Spa, Abu Dhabi

Free Changes & Cancellations

Okay, I will not make this much longer. However, travel plans change all the time. And when they do, you need to suck up and cancel. Alternatively, reschedule. I love Jet Airways for free cancellation within 24 hours. You get your entire money back, except the minor convenience fees. Can’t tell you how much it helps business travelers like me. I have used the benefit at least ten times in 2017, for the simple reason that things changed by the hour. Saved huge money on the back of this everytime I got a call about a change of plans.

Not just that, as a Platinum member, I can cancel or reschedule my directly booked flights with Jet Airways for no extra money. This is one of the key reasons I have sometimes done runs to keep my JetPrivilege Platinum tier, and I have had it for more than five years running now!


As another email dropped through my mail or Twitter about how I work on my flights, I figured there was enough to write a post about it. I am only too glad we are in 2018 and writing this because finally, we will get new 737 Max airplanes on Jet Airways as well this year.

How do you go about picking your flights? Is it just the money or do you take the whole picture into account? 

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. I have a different take.

    Jet airways has a solid product on their wide bodies- even the 10 abreast 77w is respectable in economy and their business class seat while not the most cutting edge is upto global standards. Unfortunately that will soon be history as they are replacing it with a more mediocre staggered configuration that has narrow foot wells and no guaranteed aisle access.

    Unfortunately the 737s are an entirely different story. Premiere looks tatty and is underwhelming particularly for a 5 hour trek to Singapore. Economy is a disaster. The seats are unbearable even for a Delhi Bombay halt. Vistara, Ai and even Indigo offer better seating comfort. While One can still occasionally find a great crew on Jet, most of the time they seem apathetic and woefully untrained- a far cry from their hey days. And as for the food in economy- the less said the better.

    In comparison Air India matches frequency and offers more comfort particularly in economy. The food is better (not great though) and the crew off late are quite efficient even if they seem rough around the edges. What’s more most international legs to Asia are operated on the Dreamliners which beat 9w both in Y and J in terms of comfort at least compared to the 737s. What’s more the international connects on select domestic routes offer the best flying experience on domestic routes. Even their new A321s have copious leg room in economy.

    For Long haul flights to Europe and the Us- Air India’s point to point connections are hard to beat. Otherwise there is star alliance which offers a wider network then 9w can hope to offer even with all their alliances. I am willing to put up with a somewhat rustic service and IFE for non-stop connectivity.

    All in all, while I was previously a die-hard 9w loyalist, I have shifted my business. I just think they have really dropped the ball and I can’t think of any reasons to continually fly with them particularly if one does a mix of business and economy flying like me. Their 737s are really poor and the thought of risking a 5 hour flight on those cramped seats has put me off. Pity as Jet in its hey days offered a product that could rival SQ.

  2. Yes, it is wise to go for Full service careers like Jet airways or Vistara (preferably Jet-airways coz of its much larger connectivity), specially when the ticket price is almost same.

  3. Apart from the reasons listed above: As long as there is no competitor for its BOM hub (gold mine), it will remain the choice of BOM passengers. Vistara only goes to Delhi and 1 service to Amritsar. So it makes it easier to fly Jet and accrue miles on them 🙂

    Regarding meal quality, they improved it on the BOM-DEL-BOM sector when i flew in Feb. But i always end up pre-booking GFML/LCML. Meal quality is much better and tastier!

  4. Brilliany put together Ajay! I agree that it pays in the long rub to be loyal to an airline. Jet had the best combination of network and platinum benefits amongst Indian airlines. Will be interesting to see how Vistara’s network and partnerships develop over the next 5-10 years, and what happens to Air India. Will be great for Indian flyers to have competition amongst Full Service airlines with decent frequent flyer programs and network!

  5. 9W Plats no longer get access to First Lounge in AUH. (Sitting in the AUH lounge as I type this, on an EY ticket on EY metal).

    Just to let you know the changes, I patronise 9W whenever I can myself.

  6. Definitely agree to most of this. I have been travelling quite frequently on Jet Airways and being a platinum, being able to book at low fares in advance with a freedom of being able to get a full refund incase of change of plans is the best reason. Even for a non-member or lower tier member the ability to cancel without heavy charges within 24 hours of booking is a great option, no other airline offers. I do travel with a lot of baggage even for work, in which case 30kg allowance helps.
    I mostly travel AMD-BOM or AMD-DEL and the timings are best suitable in a full service carrier on these routes. Although I would love for them to add a evening or a late night flight from AMD-DEL. So sometimes I have to take Air India if I am flying out late evening.
    Vistara gives a status match but it doesnt fly AMD-BOM-AMD route and DEL-AMD timings are unsuitable.
    I differ on your opinion about the meal part. Meals are definitely a let down compared to Vistara and Air India. on AMD-DEL-AMD they serve a full meal compared to Jet which serves a snack as they show it under 90 minute flight. Although it never makes it in under 90 minutes on actual basis. They recently changed the presentation of their snack meal, it now comes in a box. I really wish they also tried to change the meal. Serving the same wrap/calzone for over 4 years now on these routes. I’d rather prefer to pay and select my meal than to be served same snack over 100 times a year for 4 years in a row. Right now its included on my ticket price, I have not much option to change it and so it mostly goes waste.
    That being said in my opinion Jetprivilege is the best airline loyalty program in India. Being able to earn Jetprivilege miles is also great but the redemption has become quite expensive since carrier charges are heavy now compared to Air India on similar routes. Unfortunately Air India doesnt have tier point calculation for status upgrades. So if someone like me who flies mostly on domestic routes will take a whole lot more travelling to become gold/platinum compared to Jet Airways.

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