Each year, Skytrax (the world's largest airline review site) conducts its independent Passenger Choice Awards. Over 10 million questionnaires are completed by passengers to select the best airports and airlines in the world. To help you plan for a good travel experience in India, here are the award winners for 2020, for both airlines and airports.
With financial issues causing the demise of Jet Airways in early 2019, Vistara has taken over the position of being the best full-service airline in India. Vistara is actually the only private full-service airline remaining in India (Air India is government-owned) but it's still deserving of the accolade. The airline, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons, started operating in 2015. It has expanded to nearly 35 destinations, including five international destinations -- Kathmandu, Singapore, Dubai, Colombo and Bangkok. Vistara is based in Delhi, and has a fleet of Boeing 737-800NG and Airbus A320 aircraft. Although Vistara's share of the domestic Indian market is just 6%, the airline rates high on customer satisfaction. It provides a robust loyalty program, flies from newer international terminals within India, has a flagship lounge at Delhi airport, and is the first airline to offer in-flight Internet access in India. Passengers have the choice of three class configurations -- economy, premium economy, and business. Of importance, the seats are super comfortable. Onboard meals are also top quality, with catering services provided by TajSATS (the caterer for highly-rated Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways).
It would be difficult to topple IndiGo Airlines as the best low-cost airline in Central Asia and India. Privately-owned, Delhi-based IndiGo commenced operations in 2006. Since then, it has grown to dominate the Indian domestic market with a huge market share of almost 50%. The airline is consistently acknowledged as India's best low-cost carrier (followed by SpiceJet, and GoAir in third place). Despite its cheap fares, IndiGo is punctual, and maintains a high level of customer service and baggage handling. It also provides excellent connectivity, with flights to 63 domestic destinations and 24 international destinations across Asia.
Not surprisingly, Vistara is voted as having the best airline staff in Central Asia and India, along with the best cabin crew in India. With a tagline of "Fly the new Feeling", Vistara aims to elevate seamless and personalized travel to a new level, and it delivers. The award covers the whole gamut of customer service both at the airport and onboard the aircraft. It includes staff service efficiency, friendliness and hospitality, staff language skills, and overall quality consistency.
Competition for best airport ranking is fierce between Delhi and Mumbai. However, the prize has gone to Delhi the last couple of years (with Mumbai airport in second place, followed by Bangalore airport). Similar to Mumbai, Delhi airport was privatized in 2006 and has had a major upgrade, winning many awards and praise for both its expansion and environmental focus. The upgrade added a new integrated international terminal (Terminal 3) to the airport. Works are still ongoing to revamp Terminal 2 and the international transfer area in Terminal 3. A hospitality district called Aerocity has also been developed adjacent to the airport. Currently, Delhi airport services almost 70 million passengers per year. Once complete, the upgrade will increase the airport's capacity to 100 million passengers per year.
While Mumbai and Delhi compete for best airport in India, it's Bangalore and Hyderabad that are always neck and neck for best regional airport. This year, the winner is Bangalore again. Bangalore is the third busiest airport in India, with more than 33 million passengers a year. Apparently, it's now also the fastest growing airport in the world! This brand new airport was constructed by a private company and started operating in May 2008. Since it opened, the airport has been expanded in two phases. The second phase commenced in 2015, and involves the construction of a second runway and second terminal. Both the domestic and international terminals are in the same building, and share the same check-in hall.
Although Delhi is regarded as the best airport in Central Asia and India, it has dropped to third place in terms of airport staff. Mumbai airport is now ranked as having the best staff, with Hyderabad airport in second position. Mumbai airport handles about 50 million passengers a year. The award covers customer satisfaction across 39 key performance indicators for airport service and product. This includes check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration, through to departure at the gate.