It was the first time, I was flying Vistara after Mr Kannan, the CEO of the airlines had written to all Vistara fliers. A letter from the CEO accepting the shortcomings, promising to work on them is always appreciated. So, like many others, I decided to give them a chance to work back what they think was missing ‘The New Feeling’. Honestly, I hadn’t travelled much since the start of the pandemic and faced any issues with Vistara personally. It was all the feedback on social media that got me all inquisitive to find out what exactly is going on with my favourite airline.
So, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to test the waters (air) and experience it myself.
I reached the Pune Airport at 6:45 AM for my Vistara flight at 8:40 AM, after all the verification that it is me and not an impersonator, I was allowed to enter the airport. The usual checks at the airport, nothing special. The moment, I entered I was asked to scan my luggage irrespective of if it was check-in or cabin luggage. Once the scans by AAI were done, I moved to the Vistara Check-in counters through the Business/Gold rows which had no queues at all. At the counter, I was informed that at the last minute the aircraft was changed from Airbus 320 to Boeing 737-800, and I have been downgraded from Premium Economy to Economy. And in place of that, I was offered INR 1800 in cash which I accepted thinking there is no other cabin class in this aircraft.
Ideally, I should have been informed that there is a business class cabin. And as a courtesy for my loyalty over the years, I should have been offered an upgrade to Business Class considering my Gold Member status since the very beginning. But no such thing happened, and I was downgraded to Economy.
Just out of curiosity, I inquired when is the next flight to Delhi that has a Premium Economy or Business Class cabin? That’s when I was told that my current flight has a Business Class cabin.
So, I promptly requested the ground staff to check if there are any seats available in the Business Class and if there are any then upgrade it for me. I was informed there are seats available and was also given an option to select between window or aisle. I was given an option to upgrade using vouchers or loyalty points, since I had already used all my upgrade vouchers, I decided to upgrade using loyalty points. In total, 13000 Club Vistara loyalty points were used to upgrade from Economy to Vistara Business Class
For this flight, I had an extra backpack (with filming equipment) apart from my usual backpack and a cabin trolley bag. So, it took longer than usual for me to get through with the Security Check.
Boarding for Business Class and Platinum/Gold members started much prior to the boarding for Economy passengers. Since the Aircraft was right in front of the gate, passengers could walk straight to the aircraft without the need of a bus or aerobridge.
On boarding the flight, I was greeted by the cabin crew members Poornima and Soudipta. The boarding experience was great, and the experience elevated with the melodies of Late Shri Lata Mangeshkar playing in the cabin as a tribute.
There were constant reminders to mask up and follow COVID-19 guidelines. Boarding and Safety announcements were done on time and we were ready to take off in a jiffy.
And since I was the only one in Business Class, there was ample space for me to keep my 3 bags on the overhead bins above my seat.
As soon as I boarded, I was given a Welcome Drink and a printed F&B menu for the flight. Yes, printed hardcopy menus are back. Since it was a morning flight, I was handed over the Breakfast Menu that had 1 Non-Veg and 2 Veg options to choose from in the Main Course.
The service throughout the flight was done by cabin crew member Poornima, as Soudipta had moved to other cabins since it was only me in the Business Class cabin.
Since it was an archaic aircraft taken over from Jet Airways it was reminiscent of the 2000s. The seat was like Big Sofa/Recliners of the Friends (sitcom) era with no entertainment screens or anything. Even the buttons to recline were old metal buttons that were all mechanical and not electric.
There was a cup holder neatly hidden under the centre armrest.
And the tables were hidden inside the side armrests. The seating arrangement lacked any kind of privacy that you get on a modern-day business class cabin.
The only good thing was that the seats were large and plush. And of course, the fact that I was the only one in the business class cabin which had a total of 12 seats, 3 rows of 4 each.
Honestly, getting a flight with entertainment screens on a domestic route is luck by chance. It’s once a blue moon opportunity that takes place when an aircraft for an international route or a connecting international flight is used. And I have only experienced it on a Vistara flight, a few weeks ago while flying from Goa to Delhi.
That said, I was not expecting screens in the business class cabin on my flight. Since most people prefer to use their own devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) for personal media consumption – Vistara World is a blessing. It has a good mix of content from regional to international, games, eBooks and live tracking to keep you busy throughout your flight.
I saw a few episodes of Big Bang Theory and while eating and the rest of the flight I was jotting this down along with Live Tracking of the flight route on my smartphone.
And if you are someone who likes to read during the flight, there was a copy of Vistara’s In-flight magazine kept in the pocket of the seat in front. It was an interesting read with varied articles talking about sustainable living ‘The Conscious Luxury Issue‘.
Though I would have loved to get a copy of an English Newspaper for the day but to lower down the touchpoints for personal hygiene and safety, the aviation industry has gone through a lot of changes.
The welcome drink on offer was Cold Pressed orange juice by Raw served in glass tumblers.
Beverage Before the Meal
I was offered Tea/Coffee, Juices and aerated beverages before the meal and I opted for a cup of coffee. Honestly, I was expecting a French press, a ceramic Starbucks tumbler and some cookies coming my way placed elegantly in a tray. But the coffee was served in a Starbucks paper cup with a packet of two cookies. I’m not sure if it is because of the pandemic that this process has changed or other cost and time management factors.
Meal (Main Course)
For the Main Course, I opted for the South Indian Platter which had Uthappam served with Sambhar, Fresh Cut Fruits, croissant, butter, jam, soft drink, and a glass of water. All this was served in a tray that had ceramic plates/bowls, crystal glasses and silverware. Just the way it should be!
And, Hey Vistara where are my desserts? I love the succulent desserts you used to serve. Please bring them back <3
Beverage After the Meal
I was offered Tea/Coffee while my Breakfast tray was being cleared but I politely turned down the offer.
Just before securing the cabin for landing, I was offered some after mint. It was the last edible thing offered on this flight, completing the culinary experience.
Strangely there were no hygiene wet wipes or sanitisers handed over, but the paper tissue was a great reminder of safety protocols. Reminding the passengers to put the mask back on after finishing their meals.
I interacted with a handful of Vistara staff at the Pune airport and in the aircraft. They all were humble, courteous, and knowledgeable. The ground staff even went an extra step to hand over my upgraded boarding pass (Economy to Business) at the boarding gate and then assisted me (noticing I had 3 bags) with my handbags for a smoother boarding experience. It was a similar experience inside the aircraft with the cabin crew.
Takeoff, Landing and En route Experience
Our captain was not chirpy but was on point with the greetings and safety announcements. He mentioned the route we will be taking and possible turbulence before we took off. The takeoff and landing experience was smooth and we landed 30 mins before our scheduled landing. There was minor turbulence for about 5-10 minutes, but it was smooth overall.
Overall Experience – Vistara Business Class – The Unbiased Verdict
The overall experience was delightful! This was my 5th flight after the letter from Vistara CEO and I wanted to experience all the 3 Cabin Classes before I penned down this review. Apart from a few minor misses, here and there the Vistara ‘Fly the new feeling’ is alive and kicking or rather soaring high! From the minute I stepped into the cabin to the minute I stepped out it was a splendid and memorable experience. So much so that I would not recommend flying any other airlines unless Vistara doesn’t fly to that destination.
Do let me know if you would like me to review my recent Vistara flights from Delhi – Pune, Delhi – Goa, Delhi – Srinagar – Delhi. You can leave a comment below or tweet @nikhilchawla or @TheUnbiasedBlog
Flight Date: 04/03/2022 (DD/MM/YYYY)
Flight Duration: 2h 10m
Boarding Time: 8:20 AM
Take off Time: 8:40 AM
Boarding Gate: 7
Upgrade Process: 13000 Club Vistara Loyalty Points Used
Ground Staff: Nevin Benny (at the Check-in counter), Shahbad (at the boarding gate)
Flight Attendants: Poornima and Soudipta in Business Class
Landing Time: 10:20 AM (30 mins earlier than scheduled)
Landing Gate: 6
Landing Terminal: IGI, Terminal 3
Languages Spoken: The Cabin Crew on the flight could converse in Hindi, English and Punjabi.
Disclaimer: We flew Vistara Pune – Delhi flight in Business Class on March 4, 2022, before writing this review. All our reviews are unbiased and are published without the brand getting to read it before you guys. We don’t change our reviews on pressure from brands and that’s the reason we are not sent review units from companies like Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and a few more.