I know the aviation industry is being hit big time. But tell me one industry that has not been hit by the recession? Ok, the underworld, you say. But maybe the media fills enough pages with horror stories of the economy, and so, is left with hardly any space for covering gruesome stories of the underworld. Think about it! Anyway, speaking of aviation, the past 3 - 4 years have been the age of diversification in airlines in India. From the usual Indian Airlines and Jet Airways, we expanded to IA, Jet, Sahara, Kingfisher, to low cost airlines like Indigo, SpiceJet, Air Deccan and again shrunk to IA, Jet, Jetlite, Kingfisher and a couple of other carriers who could stay afloat. Economically and literally.
Yes, low cost airlines. Once upon a time, not so long ago, low cost airlines were a boon to India. Till the Laloo revolution in Indian Railways, and the OPEC revolution in international crude politics (pun unintended), the prices of air tickets and train tickets were truly comparable. And a Surf Excel ad could actually show a father choosing to go by train instead of a flight just so that he could give the experience to his son. Wow! Anyone could travel by an airplane. Legends flew out on all sides, about how Air Deccan was similar to the regional buses, and people would throw handkerchiefs to block seats! No one has ever confirmed this ridiculous legend, but yes, people have spoken about travellers carrying food aboard and sharing it all around just like they did in good old trains. Sandwiches and drinks would be wheeled in, but no one would scream - 'Chaaayaaaa' or 'Soooooopay'. The marketing and sales pitches would be discreet and the prices of the merchandise - exorbitant. The whole travel method received an 'upgrade' so to say. What didn't change however, was the mentality of travelers. Screaming aboard an airplane, blocking the passageway while 'hanging out' with fellow passengers, and annoying show-off habits - these characteristics got upgraded in terms of degree and extent. They just got more amplified. The net result - airline security check tags dangling from the zippers of handbags. If one could open and close the purse a million times, couldn't they just pull off the tag during one such effort? Didn't they notice this obscene tag dangling in a totally unwieldy fashion? At least I did! Aha! the tag made me notice. Mission Accomplished indeed!