Mumbai: In about a month, the newly re-branded Kingfisher Red, the erstwhile Deccan, will start serving in-flight meals, popular dishes such as idli-sambhar or dahi vada or kathi rolls. What's more, the meal will be on the house, at no charge to the passengers.
It is said that a way to man's heart is through his stomach. That saying is now being modified, with ''man's heart'' being replaced by ''customer's heart''. The in-flight meal is perhaps the most visible demarcation between a low-cost carrier (LCC) and a full service carrier, but Kingfisher Red has decided to redraw the boundaries of traditional low cost services, and include a free meal aboard its flights.
The strategy is mostly aimed at winning fliers who travel by other LCCs. Kingfisher Airlines general manager for marketing Vikram Malhotra told the media that the food would not be an excuse for a meal, but wholesome hot and cold snacks. The reasoning behind that is that most Indians do not survive on sandwiches or biscuits for lunch, but eat a proper meal at meal times. He added that food served on board will not impact fares.
Kingfisher Red's market share slipped to the number two slot recently, falling to 10.2 per cent. That put low cost carrier IndiGo in the number one slot by a hairline, at 10.3 per cent.
The inclusion of an in-flight meal on a low cost carrier is bound to put pressure on the load factors of the competition. The demarcation may blur further if competing airlines too, decide to follow suit and start serving meals on board. That scenario will then put pressure on the full service airlines, as the perceived benefit of flying a full service airline will take a beating.