Here in Singapore, most of us probably do not know much about Jet Airways apart from that it is yet another airline to go under in the recent swathe of failures. I personally feel it is a tragedy of epic proportions not just for the Indian commercial aviation scene but also for all of us who enjoy travel and flying.
Jet Airways is the longest operating privately owned airline in India, and has long been seen as India's best airline, surpassing flag carrier Air India and the many new entrants like IndiGo and Spice Jet. It is headquartered and flies out of Mumbai (BOM) as its hub and operates numerous domestic and international routes. It is a full service carrier and prides itself with being the premium standard-bearer for Indian aviation.
In today's world of cutthroat pricing and airlines beginning to charge for everything from seat selection to premium meals, fewer airlines are standing their ground and offering a premium product which has a distinct identity. Jet Airways has a very strong band name, and though it is one of the carriers to introduce 10-abreast seating in economy, it still lives up to its reputation.
I've personally flown Jet Airways to Europe on one occasion, and though it is a decidedly unpopular choice, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and since then have nothing but praise for the airline. The service is good, and the food is great. While these seem like trivial things, since air travel is becoming more and more like a long an uncomfortable bus ride, it really makes the difference when you fly, because it leaves you with memories of a good flight. Airlines nowadays leave you feeling sterile, and give off the impression that they're trying to get away with doing as little they can to charge you as much as you're willing to pay. Standing in the aisle waiting to disembark, I have fond memories of chatting with the flight attendants about the horrors of an international transit in Mumbai. I also distinctly remember having the nicest in-flight curry ever while en-route to Amsterdam.
While experts say financial mismanagement and uncompetitiveness in cost control dragged the airline under, it has through this crisis attracted many loyal fans including employees who haven't been paid for months but would not want to work anywhere else, and frequent customers of the airline who wouldn't want to fly under a different carrier. It is a heartwarming and tragic thing to watch unfold, but I'm glad that I had the chance to be part of this amazing story.