I have flown a couple of times on Air Deccan, mostly between Bangalore and Mumbai. I would say the airline offers the cheapest rates in general for any route among the low cost carriers, and the experience pretty much justifies the fare.
Please read my review on SpiceJet for a comparison between it and Air Deccan. The following are my comments on Air Deccan:
1. It doesn’t offer free food, but they usually vend food in-flight, and the rates are just nominally higher than the regular price. So they provide you the option to purchase food on the flight in case you so desire.
2. The flights are clean and spacious and the cabin crew and ground staff are fairly helpful. I however did not like the uniforms of the air-hostesses. It makes them look more like nannies than air-hostesses.
3. The major problem with Air Deccan is punctuality. Nearly everytime the flights were late, sometimes over an hour. Only once could this be attributed to bad weather. The rest of the time it was just a cascading effect of a previous delayed arrival.
4. The major achievement of Air Deccan is the number of routes it flies. It has overtaken even Indian (formerly Indian Airlines) in this regard. This is clearly an amazing accomplishment.
5. Regarding their internet booking facility, I’d say it’s very good. We can select the route and date on the home page () and it displays the fare on the very next page along with the search results (minus Rs. 221/- PSF, of course). Booking from here onwards is very easy. Also, for online booking, the transaction fee is zero. And in the event of cancellation, Air Deccan refunds the entire amount minus 10% of just the basic fare. That’s very good ethics, compared to SpiceJet!
6. One strange thing about Air Deccan is that they don’t show all the available flights for a particular route and day well in advance. The list of flights returned for a specific route search increases as the travel date comes closer. This lends me to believe that Air Deccan dynamically allocates flights depending on the demand. (Can anyone clarify this?) Also, since initially there are fewer flights available for booking, the fares go up pretty soon as tickets are booked. If you check after two weeks, there would be another flight in the list offering lower fares. So a ticket booked well in advance may not be the cheapest. In fact, I once booked an Air Deccan ticket for Mumbai-Bangalore over a month prior to the travel date for Rs. 1999/- and then cancelled it because I got a Jet Airways ticket through another portal for just Rs. 1720/- for the same route two weeks prior to the travel date!
Overall, I’d say Air Deccan clearly rules the roost among the low-cost carriers.
As far as the upcoming Air Deccan IPO is concerned, I invite suggestions from the readers on the same.