Sharing this with utmost sadness at the temporary suspension of operations …but also with tremendous hope (denoted in the hands around the logo) – that Jet Airways will be back and much stronger than before. I wanted to write this last night but just couldn’t bring myself to…even my mother is very upset, as she was so much a part of my Jet years.
These two documents here, that I’ve treasured for the last two decades, in so many ways defines who I am, as it encompassed my youth…my second but longest work assignment. Just as one’s school, college, domicile and family defines a person…
And as a writer, it’s so important that I reveal this to the world…as it forms the basis of my views and attitude to life.
I received the laminated Jet Airways corporate mission statement in November 1995, just when I joined. There were several airlines at the time like East West, Modiluft, Air Sahara, Damania had just shut…And none of these were low cost carriers like the ones today…that thankfully came up just before I left the aviation industry. In my view, they are instrumental for a lot of the troubles and financial issues faced by full service carriers today – in an attempt to survive in the acutely price sensitive Indian market- where even the low price of your books decide your success…but then you see, I believe in quality that I will never compromise on – irrespective of price sensitivity😊…so help me god!
Our Jet Airways mission then, was to ensure that other than Indian Airlines, only Jet Airways would fly the Indian skies. This attitude was instilled in us the day we joined and reinforced everyday, through on the job and classroom trainings, till it happened rather soon…the same applied for international flights license as well coming first. People would like to attribute a lot of this success merely to great contacts of senior management, but I can vouch for the seriousness with which service quality was looked upon pan India as I was in the first batch of quality auditors, to reach this level of repute it enjoyed.
Sharing the sentiments of current staff…and below of a frequent flyer:
And the lights go off at Jet.
It feels like a close friend who was fighting for life in the ICU just died. A few JPPs pinged. We actually wept. Grown men.
Jet was more than just an airline, of course.
For 25 years, as I went places – literally and figuratively – career, romance, marriage, escapes, emergencies, celebrations – Jet pretty much took me there. Most life events were marked with a 9W entry on my calendar (Umalina, Angela, Ven!) and a pale blue boarding card / tattered webcheck print. Jet was the anticipation of arrival, the sorrows of parting, adventures to come, stories gathered on the road, and the welcome home. It was my one constant, my home away from home, my place
We JPPs have our own lexicon – JP Miles. DTR. Tier Points. Cabin Bonus. Vouchers. Extensions. Final extensions. Final, final extensions. The black card. Extra baggage allowances, that for years, allowed us to run a free courier service for my family, including carrying a bed (yes, a BED), to London. If in economy, 24C or 8C. W, U class and upgrades. Grey PJs (for Bubu) Maroon PJs. Beige PJs. Free changes. Upsells (ha!) Aftermints. Train travel from Brussels. Exits, gates, baggage belts, lounges. T4. T2. T3. Checking in at Gare du Nord. Herringbone configuration. Smoothies. Coconut water. Impeccable yellow jackets. The flying sun. The yellow rose. More on-time than you know which. That elegant font. Oh, and the popcorn.
But Jet was never about the hardware. It was always the people.
From THAT voice on the IVR, “jet airways mein aapka swaagat hai, hindi mein jaankari ke liye ……” that really sounded truly, totally apologetic when she breathlessly and elegantly voiced “ I’m sorry … ! “. THAT steward who always told me I had nice eyes. The attendants who packed a dozen aftermints for me in that Ziploc. The ones who gave me tissues when I cried. Bandaids for shoe bites. Who never served me diet coke without ice? The incredible ground staff in T2, T3, T4 in BOM / DEL / LHR who knew me by name. Even that (truly awful) employee play we sat through, at Rang Sarda all thoe years ago. Harumph!!
And the people I met on board – to this day, in 25 years I never boarded a Jet flight without meeting someone I knew on board. And then the other regulars on the bus – Delhi day trippers on 333. The Mayfair Mafia in their PJs on 118. The bankers, consultants and PEs in their sharp suits. The important people when we did the walk of shame through business class. Rajeev Raju. The Andersen Boys. Kishore Biyani, pretty much every time I went to London. The crying babies that I am a magnet for. That insurance CEO in 1A. That politician on IB. John Abraham (atleast 6 times!)
The impeccable demeanour and professionalism of its staff, down to the very end – the incredible grace, concern and service never wavered.. Thank you – Dweepa. Maya. Sarab. Rahul, and all of you.
Each flight ended with that proud sign off from generations of first officers and cabin directors – Thank you for flying (pause for effect) Jet Airways. Thank you indeed.
(Please – spare me the rants about how it was deserved, at least while I grieve)
I sincerely hope, Jet Airways will be back stronger…As I have seen it closely since its inception in 1993 when I used to work as a corporate sales executive for Sita World Travels, till I joined Jet with it’s operations commencing later in Calcutta. …would love to see it in good form in my lifetime at least. 😊