I must say that she has come a long way since we arrived in India...but - on this vacation...Amy Suzanne was not exactly "Miss Adventurous" when it cam to dining out. We pretty much ate at our hotel wherever we stayed... and this restaurant was a little more...how should I say..."ethnic" than we had expected. Our guide dropped us off and we walked inside. Amy wasn't near "panic stage" - but I could see by the look in her eyes that she was NOT comfortable in this restaurant at all (I will spare the owners of the place and not mention it by name!!)
We were seated and it took her about 15-seconds to say, in no uncertain terms: "I am NOT eating here!!" I thought we were going to bowl-over our guide as we bolted from the door of the place... as he was still standing right outside! We told him to please find our driver and have him take us back to the Ista so we could have a proper last meal. I must say, I truly didn't mind the looks of the place at all...and - I think if this had happened now, Amy would have ordered her food and loved it...I've seen her eat in much more questionable circumstances since then!!
So....we went back to the hotel and ate...and drank...and drank a little more...preparing for the trip home. I was prepared for the small plane this time...and had fortified myself with several doubles of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
We arrived at the airport. The best way for me to tell the tale of what happened next would be to re-print the letter that I sent to the Chairman of Kingfisher Airlines I cannot give them high-enough praise!!
30 November 2010
To: Dr. Vijay Mallya, Chairman and CEO
Kingfisher Airlines, Ltd.
Dear Dr. Mallya:
On the short video we saw on our flight from Delhi to Hyderabad last evening, you told us that you wanted feedback from your customers. Here is some feedback, and I do hope that you take the time to read it.
Yes, we are real customers. Yes, we flew with Kingfisher Airlines last night. It was our first experience with your airline.
Here are are particulars (as far as I remember them):
Names: Fr. Scott E. Kingsbury and my wife, Amy S. Brubaker
We are not "King Club" members, but we will be!!
We currently live in Hyderabad (Banjara Hills). We are living in India on a 2-3 year assignment for my wife's firm, Deloitte. We are both expatriate Americans from California, U.S.A.
Our only land-line number is a U.S. line 626-789-6288
My mobile number: 789-300-3111
Amy's mobile number: 800-812-1114
My e-mail address is email@example.com or scott.e.kingsbury@gmail .com
I write a blog entitled: "At Home in Hyderabad" - http://fatherkingsbury.blogspot.com/
The flight numbers in question from yesterday's adventure: Flight number IT 4310 from Amritsar to Delhi...connecting to flight number IT 804 (I believe that was the number) in Hyderabad. I think on the first flight to Delhi, we were in seats 5 A and C. On the flight to HYD, we were in Business Class, seat numbers 2 A and C.
I will try to keep this short and to the point - but I do hope that you read all if this report. In general, this report is about the OUTSTANDING service that we received from Kingfisher yesterday. As expatriates overseas, as you can imagine, both my wife and I fly a lot. You probably cannot name a domestic U.S. carrier (and most international ones as well!) that one or both of us has not flown at one time or another...
As I mentioned, yesterday was our first experience with Kingfisher...and I can guarantee you it will not be our last. While each-and-every Kingfisher employee that we dealt with was professional and simply wonderful, there is one particular young man who stands-out in our minds, and is the reason for our writing this e-mail! I will do this in list-form so I do not forget the incredible way that this professional exhibited poise and hospitality to us and all of the Kingfisher guests on our flight...professionalism, it would seem at first-glance, to be far beyond his years! I am usually not one to write an "attaboy" letter...but never has one been more deserved!
His name: Mr. Gurpreet Singh, a member of your Kingfisher Staff based in Amritsar. Our story:
1) We arrived at the Amritsar airport early...our flight was due to depart at 6:20 P.M. We had three bags to check - with a transfer from our Delhi flight to our home in Hyderabad.
2) A nice gentleman at the counter began to check us in...but he seemed to be having some computer problem with the continuing flight. Mr. Gurpreet Singh stepped in and took over....
3) He greeted us warmly and apologized for the delay....he, too, was having a bit of computer difficulty, but took our e-tickets and my passport, and kindly directed us to have a seat so we didn't have to stand at the counter.
4) We did as directed, and - it probably took more time that we had expected...but while we were waiting, every five-minutes or so, Mr. Singh sent over another member of the staff to give us updates.
5) When the problems were resolved, Mr. Singh personally left the counter and delivered our boarding-passes, not only for Amritsar to Delhi...but our connection from Delhi to Hyderabad as well. In addition, he handed us our baggage tickets, again apologized on behalf of Kingfisher - and wished us a happy journey.
6) As sometimes happens with all airlines, there was a delay in the flight. For whatever reason, our flight to Delhi was going to be late arriving and departing. So - we all sat and waited.
7) Again, here comes Gurpreet Singh to the rescue. Leaving his post at the check-in counter, with his handheld radio in hand, he proceeded to walk about the gate-area, and personally gave each and every guest an update on the status of our delayed flight. According to him, the new time was going to be around 8:00 P.M. This new departure-time was a concern to us, because it seemed by what he was telling us, that we might miss our connection in Delhi to our home in Hyderabad.
8) Over the next 20-30 minutes, Mr. Singh stayed in the boarding-gate vicinity and visited with my wife and I at least three times while we were sitting at the departure-gate, giving us updates and explaining how a "plane-to-plane" transfer of us and our baggage would work when we arrived in Delhi. He assured us that Kingfisher would make it happen!! Of course, my wife and I looked at each other in amazement. Quite frankly, one NEVER sees this kind of customer care and service in the U.S.
9) When our delayed plane arrived on the ground in Amritsar...who grabs the microphone to make the announcement that we would be boarding and departing soon? None-other-than Mr. Gurpreet Singh!!
10) We take the short bus-ride to the tarmac where our plane was waiting. The flight was delayed almost two-hours, but because of Mr. Singh's confidence, we were not worried about anything. As we approach the ramp to enter the plane....who is it at the bottom of the stairs, collecting our boarding passes? Mr. Gurpreet Singh!
11) I jokingly asked him "if he was going to jump into the cockpit and fly the plane as well...??" He laughed and said that he wanted to go home...it had been a long day for him as well...and his mother was waiting for him. I can tell you, Dr. Mallya, that Gurpreet's mother is very lucky to have a son like him....and you are blessed to have such a caring and talented member of your Kingfisher Team!
12) But the story does not end there! As promised by Mr. Singh, not only was there a Kingfisher representative waiting for us on the tarmac in Delhi, but - the ground-team personally grabbed all three of our checked bags, - placed them (and us!!) onto a private Kingfisher bus...and took us directly to the jetway. We were escorted to our seats by the wonderful crew on-board Flight IT 804 (your Business Class is outstanding, too, by the way!)...and we just smiled at each other in amazement!! Again, this could NEVER happen on any airline in the U.S.!!
13) After one of the most comfortable and relaxing flights I've ever been on....we arrived in Hyderabad at the exact time Mr. Singh told us we would...and, all-in-all - we were only about 30-minutes later that we were scheduled to be!!
Dr. Mallya, our experience with your airline was on the very last day of our Northern India vacation. I need to tell you that, on our trip, we saw New Delhi, rode an elephant in Jaipur, saw the Taj Mahal for the first time, visited the Golden Temple...and stayed in five-star hotels the entire 8-days we were on the road.
But the thing that I will remember most? The special way that we were treated by Mr. Gurpreet Singh and all of the staff at Kingfisher Airlines. We are loyal customers now, for life.
Any chance you will be flying to Los Angeles, California by 2013??
Many, many thanks.
Scott Kingsbury and Amy Brubaker
His answer back follows:
Rev. Scott E. Kingsbury,
Thank you for your gracious message of 30 November to me.
I truly appreciate your taking the time and effort to share details pertaining to your experience at Amritsar Airport prior to your travel on flight IT4310 to Delhi for your onward connecting flight IT804 to Hyderabad. I also note that this was your first flight with Kingfisher Airlines; in this context, I am pleased to know that you and your wife enjoyed the high standard of service and hospitality extended to you by staff at Amritsar Airport.
It was also kind of you to single out for mention the exemplary service and commitment of our staff, Mr. Gurpreet Singh at Amritsar Airport. It is indeed heartening to learn of the manner in which he ensured that you had a seamless and comfortable travel experience at Amritsar Airport, as well as on arrival at Delhi Airport when you had to take your connecting flight to Hyderabad. I am delighted to share your kind words of appreciation with Gurpreet and his team at Amritsar Airport.
I strongly believe that every interaction with a guest is a "Moment of Truth" which provides us an opportunity to deliver an exemplary level of service. This philosophy forms an important part of the daily work ethic of staff at all levels. Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your experience with me.
I value your patronage and look forward to the pleasure of welcoming you and your wife on Kingfisher Airlines again.
Dr. Vijay Mallya
Member of Parliament
Chairman and Managing Director
KINGFISHER AIRLINES LIMITED
A UB Group Company
Well...here ends our Golden Triangle Vacation story. It was a wonderful trip from beginning to and...and = we had experiences that wee will remember forever.
Next up: Our Trip to Bangalor and our Return to Jaipur!!