Forging for food and water 36000 feet above sea level

If you’re planning to fly Indigo, a domestic carrier within India, you might consider carrying your own water and food. Perhaps they believe in serving  medical quantities of H20 – that is why water is rationed @ 150ml paper cup per person, and each cup is only half filled. If you’re uninhibited you might ask for several refills – but  13 refills later you’ll get a litre. Starving for Food Starving for food and water: not on a desert but on board Indigo Airlines, India

The inflight shopping guide promises a hearty menu with plenty of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meal and snack options. As you rush to order, your mouth watering, and stomach aching from hunger pangs, the stewardess will hand out a cold and dull tasting vegetarian malabar parantha – the only food item available on the flight.

After finishing up your miniscule portion of food and water you might have to walk the aisles forging for food, and water.

At a time when the markets are flooded with budget carriers, and there’s no discernible difference in air ticket prices, airlines will need to think long and hard about their differentiation strategy. Even small gestures can go a long way in creating memorable customer experiences. Perhaps a warm cookie? Or a hot towel? Or at the least, availability of the menu items?

Rating: star Starving for food and water: not on a desert but on board Indigo Airlines, Indiastar Starving for food and water: not on a desert but on board Indigo Airlines, Indiahalfstar Starving for food and water: not on a desert but on board Indigo Airlines, Indiablankstar Starving for food and water: not on a desert but on board Indigo Airlines, Indiablankstar Starving for food and water: not on a desert but on board Indigo Airlines, India

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15 Responses to Starving for food and water: not on a desert but on-board Indigo Airlines, India

  1. Sourish says:

    Yes food on Indian domestic airlines is very bad. On Spicejet (which they always insist on pronouncing as “spy-shit”) we bought these TINY bottles of juice for Rs. 50 each, and they tasted SO BAD, that we had to trash them. On another flight, I think IndiGo, they served (free) bottled water just to customers in the first few rows and ran out! (Doesn’t it make sense to quickly check the number of bottles they need before the flight starts?)

  2. Amrita says:

    It all comes back to the age old demand-supply economics. Presently the no. of low-cost flyers far exceed the no. and capacity of the carriers and hence they are calling the shots. However I feel Indigo is still one of the better of the crop simply because of their amazing flying times. I think low-cost travellers have adjusted to the fact that you are paying for being transported from one place to another via a low-cost carrier, literally “no-frills”. So carry your chips.
    Interestingly I had flown a european low-cost carrier, Ryanair, which was ten times worse in terms of service – do we have some pattern here?

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  9. Srinivas says:

    I travelled on Indigo recently and found the experience great… Real Juice 330ml for Rs. 50 was worth it and also the Chicken Tikka sandwich for Rs. 150 was delicious. Price is reasonable considering that they have to store it and there is a risk of waste if no one buys as they are perishable products.

    One has to pre-order food (24 hrs before) if one’s
    choice of food is required… otherwise one may have to do with whatever is left which is what happened to me on the return journey.
    Pre-ordering also gets you a discount of 20%

    As per terms and conditions passengers are allowed to carry their own food and water which is not so in many low cost airlines in Europe.

    Punctuality is their forte and hope they maintain it…

    Way to go Indigo !

  10. Tribal Chef says:


    Thanks for your comment. Not sure if you are from India but Real Juice for Rs. 50 is considerably high by comparison with on-ground prices of Real Juice. I’m not sure how storing small tetra paks (which require no additional storage measures) can compel an airline to hike up prices by almost 200% of usual on-ground prices.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Tribal Chef In Charge

  11. Srinivas says:


    I am from India and have traveled low cost on many sectors around the world.

    If I recall, Rs. 50 was the MRP printed on the tetra pak. If you were to buy the 330 ml tetra pack in the corner shop near you, I guess you would be charged as much. The 1 litre pack is Rs. 72 – if I am not mistaken – so the 330 ml pack is 100% more expensive comparatively. In this case, pricing seems to be decided by the beverage company and not the airline.

    I doubt if the airlines make any money out of food and beverages at all. It is probably offered only as a convenience to passengers.

    I would assess an airline for its ability to transport a passenger efficiently from point A to B on time without misplacing baggage. 95% weightage for this alone. Rest are all frills… If one is bothered so much about food, they should perhaps not choose low cost airlines. Most of India wants no frill and low cost.. Full flights on these airlines are a testament to this.


  12. phentermine says:

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  13. Ummang says:

    Hi Srinivas,
    Airlines do in fact make profits out of F&B. In case of Real, and other beverages, they have a tie-up with the company, so the product is packaged as “for select channels only”. It’s similar to the case of buying a 600 ml coke in a branded restaurant or buying it from a store.

  14. Atleast not a tribal chef says:

    Dear Srinivas,

    Thank you for your comments. I think it is all about setting your expectations right rather than expecting everything possible under the sun for the price of nothing & being fluent in sarcasm because of some birthright. You made a very clear statement which is more important than enquiring your nationality.

    Good Job I must say!!!

  15. tomthump says:

    Flew on a JetConnect from Cochin to Bangalore, and back again five days later, yesterday. The crew was nice and polite, the flight was on time.
    The Rs.150 sandwich on the first flight was not fresh, I strongly felt, and in comparision to what I’ve had on similar Kingfisher flights, was nowhere in the reckoning.
    I do not remember being offered water the first way, but on the return flight, water in dented pladtic cups, half filled, reluctantly walked by.
    I am no regular traveller, nor am I trying to root fer any particular airline, but I am going to try KF once more next time.

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