In March 2019, there were reports that lessors were offering SpiceJet up to 50 Jet Airways 737NG aircraft on a short lease of up to 3 years. SpiceJet is adding 22 Jet Airways’ 737NG aircraft and has expressed interest to add even more, maybe up to 40 aircraft. Around 5 ex-Jet Airways’ 737s are already flying in a hybrid livery.
SpiceJet is using the ex-Jet Airways 737s to mitigate the groundings of 737 MAX as well as for expansion. They are taking over a few Jet Airways slots to expand out of Mumbai and Delhi Terminal 2. SpiceJet has not reconfigured the aircraft and put it in service. Currently, SpiceJet is selling business class seats on the ex-Jet Airways 737s as SpiceMax. So you can grab one of the SpiceJet business class seats on select routes for less than INR 1000. However, this is going to change May 6/7 onwards.
On domestic routes, SpiceMax, which up till now is SpiceJet’s economy plus offering, offers an extra legroom seat, a complimentary meal with a non-alcoholic drink, priority check-in, baggage and boarding. On international routes, SpiceMax has a few additions apart from the normal offerings like welcome drink and towel, an alcoholic drink, a cushion and a blanket.
Now, SpiceJet is training its crew for business class service and they are planning to offer a proper business class on select routes which are operated by ex-Jet Airways 737s. SpiceJet’s new business class, which will be called SpiceBiz, will have the following features
- Dedicated business class (2-2)
- Wide seats with 140-degree recline
- Premium gourmet meals
- Welcome drink
- Priority check-in
- Preferred boarding
- Priority baggage
- Refreshing towels, blankets and cushions
- Lounge access
In the new SpiceBiz offering, SpiceJet will offer additions over and above SpiceMax like lounge access. SpiceJet hasn’t shared their version of the details yet. I for one, am more, interested in the premium gourmet meals that SpiceJet is planning to serve.
Will they go all the way, to serve them on chinaware or stick to plastic/cardboard boxes on trays? And what will the pricing be like? Will it be a flat fee like SpiceMax or variable pricing?
SpiceBiz may probably go on sale from May 6, 2019. SpiceJet is currently testing SpiceBiz and will be available on select few routes which are operated by ex-Jet Airways 737s. More routes will feature SpiceBiz as more ex-Jet Airways 737s are inducted in SpiceJet’s fleet.
With this addition, SpiceJet will offer three products on a sub fleet: Economy class, SpiceMax and SpiceBiz. This sure is a deviation from SpiceJet’s business plan as a no-frills carrier, but they took a business decision to take advantage of an opportunity that arose. And some no-frills airlines do offer a premium economy product like Spirit Airlines, the ULCC, offers the Big Front Seat and so-on.
SpiceJet recently signed an MOU with Emirates for a codeshare agreement. SpiceJet offering a business class product will be an advantage in their planned codeshare with Emirates. Let’s see how SpiceJet’s SpiceBiz holds up in the long run.
What are your thoughts about SpiceBiz?
(H/T: Nikhil Kashliwal)