Vistara- a limitless expanse, flying with a different feeling
The name, Vistara, is drawn from the Sanskrit word ‘vistaar’, which means limitless expanse. It reflects their belief that there’s no limit to anything they set out to achieve. The launch of Vistara is a dream come true for Ratan Tata, who has wanted to be in the commercial airline business for almost two decades. His earlier attempts were thwarted by vested interests but this time, when the Government lifted the ban on foreign airline investment, he again partnered with Singapore airlines for Vistara. At Vistara, they firmly believe that the best part of the journey is not arriving at the destination, but the journey itself. They aim to push the boundaries of air travel and offer us a truly personalized and seamless flying experience that’s always delivered in an intuitively thoughtful way.
Vistara is an Indian airline based in New Delhi with its hub at Delhi- Indira Gandhi International Airport. The carrier, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, commenced operations on 9 January 2015 with its inaugural flight between Delhi and Mumbai. Vistara is the first airline to introduce premium economy seats on domestic routes in India. Both partners, the Tatas and SIA, are known for their premium service and it was no surprise that they teamed up for launching a full service airline, with all the bells and whistles including hot meals.
Boarding was done row wise, unlike the mad rush found at most Indian carriers, Vistara did it in a very orderly manner. Each class of travel was called sequentially with business class first. A smooth and peaceful boarding by itself is additional points.
On board experience
Vistara offers three distinct cabin classes to provide a personalized seamless service, which is thoughtfully delivered. The aircraft cabin has been thoughtfully designed to provide a conducive and pleasant environment for both business and leisure travellers. The Vistara flight has 16 Business Class seats, 36 Premium Economy and 96 Economy seats. The airline is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.
The aircraft cabin looked neat and I sat in economy seat which had a 31 inch seat pitch. Business Class seats have a 42 inch pitch whereas Premium Economy is 36 inch, as informed by one of the attendant’s. Vistara’s brand colours are gold and aubergine so cabin crew and ground staff were dressed in these colors. The aircraft seats and even cushions were aubergine.
No in-flight entertainment (IFE) as of now as there were no LCD screens for entertaining the guest, the Vistara board is still to decide on it. Airline officials say IFE will be added later.
The meal choices are almost identical across classes, only the presentation varies. Business class is served pre-plated on bone-china. Premium economy in a tray. Economy is in a box.
Business Class and Premium economy passengers have three meal options – a non-veg and 2 veg. Economy passengers have a choice between one veg and non-veg meal. Besides, 17 special meals are available on request and the menu changes each week.
I chose the non-veg option which contained a Chicken Pizza, Jhulmuri as a starter and Pina Colada (Pineapple based) as the dessert. The chicken pizza was tasty, though the base was not crispy as it’s difficult to keep it so due to re-heating over time, but the filling was ample and I loved the chicken chunks and cheese topping, Jhulmuri is basically like aloo chaat, with dices of potato tossed in a spicy mix. Dessert was a pastry with pineapple flavor, creamy,light and fluffy.
The meal service was conducted well with warmth and smiles.
The food was good, very flavorful and filling. The food is catered by the award winning Taj-SATS flight kitchen, the other joint venture between the Tatas and Singapore, headed by Grand Master Chef Satish Arora, formerly the Executive Chef of the Taj Mahal hotels group.
The best part is that the box and the containers in which the meal was served are all bio-degradable, so Vistara not only gives you a splendid experience in terms of service and delicious food, packed in an elegant box, but they also believe in the mantra of ‘Go Green’.
My one gripe — the plastic cutlery, feels very cheap, especially considering the high quality maintained by them in all other aspects .They should try and switch onto proper metal cutlery like Jet Airways and other competitors.
Throughout the flight the service was with a smile and warmth that gave a sense of belonging. Throughout the flight the cabin crew lived up to the Vistara promise by addressing all the premium passengers by their family names, a standard and highly appreciated practice at Singapore Airlines, something I happened to notice, though so is not the case with the economy class.