Flight Review: My First Akasa Air Experience Onboard Boeing 737-8 MAX Plane From Goa to New Delhi

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Flight Review: My First Akasa Air Experience Onboard Boeing 737-8 MAX Plane From Goa to New Delhi

Starting a new airline is no small feat, starting a new airline in India is even tougher and starting a successful pan-India airline takes another level of grit. Well, that’s what I thought about the Akasa Air, soon after taking my first ever flight aboard an Akasa plane from the Manohar International Airport in Goa to Delhi. Akasa Air was started back in August 2022 by a group of aviation veterans, backed by Late Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Having covered the developments of Akasa from the get-go, I knew something special was brewing for the India’s aviation industry, as Akasa was not just a new airline.

Nevertheless, my curious travel experience started the moment I set my foot on the new Goa airport, and ended at least a few hours after I reached my home, wondering how far along our aviation industry has come. While the Mopa airport did leave a big impact on me, I will try to be as objective as possible while talking about my first Akasa flight. Here’s our GOX-DEL Akasa Air Flight review.

The plane

Akasa Air, before its formal launch, announced a massive deal with Boeing Co, ordering 72 Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft putting everyone by surprise. To the uninitiated, the same aircraft were involved in two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019, resulting in aviation agencies across the globe to ground these planes. However, in 2021, various countries lifted the ban on the MAX aircraft after Boeing fixed the issue, including India.

Also, it’s some sort of ground rule by domestic airlines to deploy Airbus single aisle planes on domestic routes, as they are more affordable to own. For a new airline to order a Boeing plane, and that too a MAX, was a bold move, to say the least. Leaving those two crashes aside (which was a result of a faulty MCAS sensor system), the Boeing 737-8 MAX is widely considered an advanced, frugal and value-for-money aircraft.

The plane is an advanced version of the iconic B737 aircraft and gets CFM International LEAP-1B engines, that lend it the reputed efficiency and performance. Though I have traveled in the Boeing 737 Max plane 5 years back from Delhi to Dubai in a 3.5 hour flight, I was excited to board the plane again. The whole boarding experience was smooth and to my surprise, the flight was on time. To those who have traveled from Goa, they know Goa is notorious for flight delays.

The boarding was distributed Zone wise, and our entry to the flight was through an Aerobridge. My first reaction after seeing the plane on the apron was its color scheme. The use of bright colors like orange and purple makes sure you notice the plane every time you see an Akasa flight. As soon as I was welcomed by the cabin crew onboard the flight, I had a smile on my face seeing the gender-neutral cabin crew dress, but that I will mention later. The next thing I noticed was the color of the seats.

The seats with semi-leather upholstery had an aqua green colour, which I somehow didn’t like. It was going against the color scheme of the plane. Nevertheless, I loaded my handbag in the luggage stowage and sat on my window seat (as always) and was flabbergasted to see the legroom. Having traveled in almost all the airlines in India, I can honestly say, Akasa planes have among the best legroom. You then get amenities like USB charger, phone holding tray among other stuff.

The cushioning on the seats was ample for a comfortable 3 hour flight. Another key point is that the plane offers magazine storage space at the back of the seat. The flight took off on time, and I was wondering how well engineering those CFM engines are. Despite me being seated quite close to the right engine, there was minimal vibrations and cabin noise while taking off. The dual pointed winglets are unique to the Max aircraft as well.

After we reached the cruising altitude, the food was served, which, again, I will mention in a while. Since we took an evening flight, the cabin lights looked bright, yet soothing. Boeing has worked on its cabin lights a lot and it shows on the 737 Max planes. We reached Delhi on time and landed at Terminal 2 without any fuss. The deboarding was quick as well.

The food

On the cusp of its inaugural flight in 2022, Akasa Air announced Café Akasa, the on-board catering service of the airline. Akasa is a low-cost airline, offering a premium service to the customers and hence, the food is on a need to eat basis. You can either buy it on the flight, or pre-book your meal while booking the flight. Speaking about the Café Akasa, the airline promises a wide choice of fusion meals, that are farm-inspired and have plant-based offerings.

The options include Pasta, Vietnamese rice rolls, Middle Eastern Falafel platter, Continental Bagels, Burgers, Sandwiches, Insta friendly Salad and various Pies, Cakes and Puddings. While the menu sounds promising, our flight from Goa Airport to Delhi offered us only mixed nuts or cashews and a handful of beverages. On being asked, the cabin crew said since the flight is not originating from Goa, these options are not available.

Furthermore, the pre-packaged meal was over as the facility to load the cabin again during turnaround flight is not available. It left everyone who pre-booked their meals in a bad taste. IMHO, these are all teething issues as the airline started its operations only 8 months ago and more so, the new Goa Airport was opened recently as well. Having said that, Akasa did send me some of the food items at my place and I found them quite delicious and innovative.

The Service

One thing that I have admired about Akasa Air is their new gender neutral crew uniform. Announced back in June 2022, Akasa Air became the first Indian airline to introduce custom trousers, jackets, and sneakers for its in-flight crew. As mentioned by Akasa earlier, the trouser and jacket fabric has been specially made for Akasa Air, using recycled polyester fabric which is made from pet bottle plastic salvaged from marine waste.

The crew dress is designed by Rajesh Pratap Singh, and the footwear is also specially designed for the comfort of the cabin crew, who spend long hours standing. The Vanilla Moon designed sneakers contain extra cushioning from heel to toe and the sole of the sneakers is carved from recycled rubber and manufactured without any use of plastic.

Just like the sound of it all this looks promising on paper, seeing the dress in person makes you feel proud, even as a flyer. Having traveled in flights for a long time now, seeing crew, especially cabin crew in sneakers is a comforting thought. The orange and black dress is quite Indian, yet modern. More so, the flight crew was courteous, well trained and soft spoken.

Closing Remarks

My first Akasa Air flight was a special experience, as I witnessed the making of a successful and thoughtful airline on the Indian soil. While the planes are new, the menu is unique among other things, I found the idea behind Akasa noble, thanks to their crew uniform as well as pet travel policy. Surely there are teething issues, which are well understood, as running an airline is a colossal task, but India desperately needed a new airline amid the Covid-19 turmoil. Hoping to catch more Akasa flights in the near future to further solidify my thoughts about the airline.

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