Big Changes at Air India: Flight Attendants Have to Share Hotel Rooms, Can’t Upgrade Their Friends

Government-owned Air India is a basket case. Part of the airline’s efforts to turn itself focus on cutting back on crew expenses and perks. Some of those efforts are reasonable, while others may be surprising.

Air India crew often do as they wish whether it’s evading alcohol checks and refusing to fly unless they’re paired with their preferred co-workers. There’s certainly fertile ground for improvement as the airline wishes to regain control of its operation.

Air India Boeing 777-200LR, Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

One change is that crew will no longer stay in nice hotels. Instead of ‘four and five star’ properties they’re being booked into three star hotels. And that’s on top of a change made in June where Air India flight attendants have to share rooms on the road. At least in Chicago they’ll no longer need to worry about staying in a haunted hotel. Although they also won’t be able to fill up to go boxes at the nice Renaissance London Heathrow buffet any more either.

Market Garden Restaurant, Credit: Renaissance London Heathrow

The airline previously sent a memo to crew back in March asking them to stop upgrading friends and family to business class once on board. That’s been re-iterated.

Crew working international widebodies will need to base in Delhi. And they’ll also need to show up for work on time — Air India will no longer cover taxi costs for late crew, and they risk being relegated to domestic flights for a year as punishment.

(HT: Jackie Reddy)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Haha.
    I worked at a mid-upscale hotel in Chicago where the air India pilots would stay. They were horrible guests. I feel bad for the staff of whatever properties these awful people end up at

  2. Can we have a summary article of why most of the Indian airlines are a financial mess? I can see why AI is a mess, but Jet and numerous LCC domestic airlines are also in bad shape.

  3. Joey, I can feel the same as your experience. First, their bodies stink worse than sewage station. Second, their manners are unacceptable and very often no tips (or below 5%) on waiters/waitresses in restaurants. Third, often very rude and loud in public places.

  4. @echid Air India went up shit creek because of the failed merger with Indian Airlines. The invasion of the LCCs has also driven down yields. A lot of this can be traced back to the launch of Air Deccan. Indian Airlines and Jet panicked and drove down their prices.
    With airline options increasing, its difficult to increase prices drastically.
    You then have the case that most Indian states tax jet fuel very heavily. This ends up increasing the cost base for the airline drastically. The input cost of jet fuel in India is so high that airlines flying internationally have been known to fill as much fuel as they can from their home base, so as to minimise fuel uptake in India.
    Thats a short summary. Hope it helps

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