Flying Jet Airways vs British Airways from IGI New Delhi to London Heathrow and Back

by Mridula on June 19, 2008

in Air Travel,British Airways,Jet Airways,Travel abroad

If you are planning to fly Jet Airways, please check out the log of the parents of Aditya Mohan, an infant who dies on a Brussels New Delhi Flight (added 13/08/2008).

London Heathrow from the Window of Flight 9W 121 from LHR to IGI New Delhi

This time when I went to UK in June 2008 our flight was with the Jet Airways. Last time I went to UK in October 2007 it was with British Airways. So, let me compare the flying experience from Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi to London Heathrow with both Jet Airways and British Airways with India being my home country. The flight from Delhi to London takes 8 hours and all the flights that I took were more or less on time.

Time of Flight, Jet Airways vs BA (Delhi-London-Delhi)- Jet airways flights are more convenient if you are flying out of IGI New Delhi as it is around 2.15 pm in the afternoon vs. 1.00 am at night for British Airways. If you are like me and find it difficult to sleep on planes with Jet you reach London without missing a night’s sleep as you reach London at 11.30 at night (summer, Indian time, 6.30 UK time). With BA as you fly out of IGI New Delhi at 1.00 am chances of enjoying either the in-flight entrainment or getting some sleep are low.

The return flight of Jet Airways is at 8.45 pm (British Time) from London Heathrow and arrives at 10.00 am (Indian Time) the next day, so you end up missing sleep and not enjoying in-flight entertainment with Jet. For BA one flight is at around 11.00 am (British Time) that arrives at IGI New Delhi smack in the middle of the night (India Time). Not sure which one is better for coming back.

I was lucky to get all the three seats to myself (so did my four colleagues) at the rear of the Jet Airways flight while coming back from London. So, I did get to lie down and thus attend office on Monday but I was dead tired.

Leg Space, Jet Airways vs BA (Delhi-London-Delhi)- I thought the leg space in the economy on Jet Airways was more rather than BA. But this is an impression (both mine and of my colleagues) and who knows by how much do actual measurements vary. Jet Airways planes are probably new and hence give the feeling of being better maintained than BA. But one has to wait and see how Jet fares as the planes become older.

In-flight Entertainment, Jet Airways vs BA (Delhi-London-Delhi)- Once again my vote goes to Jet Airways. It could be sheerly because I was awake in the afternoon during the IGI New Delhi and London Heathrow Leg and half asleep when I flew BA at night. I could explore Jet Airways entertainment and watched back to back movies, three in all, all Hindi. Managed to catch up with Arth (loosely translated- Essence), Jab (when) We Met and Teesri Manjil (Third Floor). I did watch movies on BA flight too but I was half asleep at that time. While coming back I tried watching Mugal-e-Azam (colored version) on Jet but could not resist the two empty seats next to me and tried to catch up on sleep. On BA return flight I had watched movies and completed two.

Food, Jet Airways vs BA (Delhi-London-Delhi)- Yes, once again I thought Jet Airways was better if you are looking for Indian food. Wine tasted similar on both the flights to my uncultured taste buds. Portions also seem to be same on both. But the flight attendant on BA was much more attentive than Jet Airways.

Check-in, Jet Airways vs BA (Delhi-London-Delhi)- I believe both were equally fast and polite but then I check in really early, when it is not crowded.

In-flight Service, Jet Airways vs BA (Delhi-London-Delhi)- I would say both have same training program! They train their crew to ignore passengers in the economy section. Jet Airways have trained them better than BA, to ignore that is, in my opinion.

I mean, I almost always ask for a second cup of coffee during a flight. And here is how it goes. The crew comes back to collect the empty cups. They will extend their hand to take the cup without giving you an eye contact (always happened on Jet, but not always on BA). The trick is to delay giving them the cup. Then they are forced to look up and I can ask for that second cup of coffee. I know they are rushed but I mean how much time does it take to give a glance to a passenger?

That way, I had a really attentive cabin crew on my London-New Delhi flight on BA. And that added to the experience. On BA they also routinely asked if you would like some more tea or coffee. Smart idea, doesn’t cost much and people like me appreciate it a lot, particularly when you are tried and need that brew to open up your eyes properly. And we remember it too. I think BA has a better in-flight service.

Overall, if someone asks my opinion (both the time the tickets were booked by my employers/sponsors so I had no say in deciding the airlines) I would choose to fly Jet Airways because of the afternoon 2.15 flight out of New Delhi. That way, I am less tired when I arrive in a semi-familiar country with a long line at the immigration. But it would be really nice if Jet did not train their crew to ignore passengers in the economy. That brief split second eye contact helps.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Mridula July 18, 2008 at 5:33 am

Bhagya, I am so sorry but I have no information on London Chennai. But London Delhi is definitely not bad on BA, it is just that Jet is a little better on this stretch because of more leg room and better entertainment system.

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BDash July 16, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Hey there,I’m traveling from Los Angeles to Chennai mid December this year in the Economy class.Most likely with British Airways: LA-London-Chennai.Has anyone traveled with them before??Have heard, their in-flight service is really bad compared to other Airlines such as Cathay; is there any opinion on this??I’m wait-listed on one of the stretch on Cathay; so, I’m considering BA now.Any opinion will be highly appreciated..-Bhagya.

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Mridula June 22, 2008 at 5:13 pm

Sidhu, if I am paying it would be price alone :) 1 am or 3 am price rules!Thanks for stopping by Shantanu.

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Shantanu June 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Great blog! My first time here. I have wondered if I should choose Jet the next time I fly via Europe. From what I have read on blogs thus far, Business Class travellers are impressed, not so much the Coach Class. Re: Leg room and Entertainment, you are probably right about Jet having the edge. However, that is simply because they have the latest aircraft.

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Sidhusaaheb June 21, 2008 at 1:38 pm

The price of the ticket and the flight timings are, obviously, top-priority, regardless of the airline operating the flight.I bet Jet airways train staff to save some coffee, just like many other Indian companies that are “Penny wise and Pound foolish.”

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Mridula June 21, 2008 at 11:05 am

Swati, if I am flying on my own of course I would look at the price too!Maverick, not this time maybe because there were six of us. But last time I did not like it one bit!Srividya, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree the service is something we remember about the flights! Maybe a Jet becomes more experienced this would become better?

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Srividya June 21, 2008 at 3:34 am

Hi,I just flew Jet airways from Newark to Chennai. On my way out from Newark, the flight attendants were attentive, but on the way back it was a different story.Also the cabin crew seems inexperienced (maybe because they are younger compared to crews from other airlines) and hence do things very inefficiently.

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Maverick June 19, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Thx for the review. I think we have to take the longest flight (almost 24 hrs from pacific south west US to india), so in-flight service and entertainment are given the highest priority.I have heard Jet is good, your post seconds that, and is immigration in heathrow still painful?

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swati June 19, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Hi Mridula,Thanks for dropping by on my blog. I have never flow Jet Airways internationally, so can’t comment. I generally go for the cheapest airline and so far BA has offered better price deals vis-a-vis JA.Swati

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