The IndiGo Ninjas

Recently I, along with my parents, had the pleasure of travelling by IndiGo from Mumbai (BOM) to Coimbatore (CJB) on its flight 6E 293. The flight was at 12 noon so we decided to take an early morning cab from Pune and reach airport by 9 so as to avoid Mumbai traffic. We left from Pune at 5.45AM and reached Mumbai well ahead of time at around 9AM. While alighting from the cab, I told my parents “good we reached early, now we can check in aaraamse!”

How wrong was I!! I should have known that when one flies IndiGo, AARAMSE isn’t an option! I have flown quite often and I do not get stressed by airport formalities unlike my parents who, even after travelling by air on number of occasions, still get a little jittery about air travel. Just for records, let me tell you that my husband is an aviation geek and loves airports, aircraft, rotations, and even those display screens at airport more than he loves this writer. So when I travel with him, I am the happiest as he is completely engrossed in doing his own things, and completing air travel formalities with unmatched enthusiasm.

This time, the husband did not accompany me and so I decided to use whatever little information I had about aviation and throw some jargon at the airport staff.

So, even before passing through the entrance, I had memorized my web check-in details and was practicing the seat numbers in my head “29 Albha Bravo Charlie”. I loved the sound of it in my head and I was sure to impress my parents and the staff as no one expects a lady to be as familiar with this jargon. Little did I know that all of this was just a dream and was soon to vaporize in all-encompassing heat of IndiGo efficiency.

After clearing the CISF checking, I stepped inside the Terminal with a wobbly “I refuse to go anywhere” luggage trolley. It takes hardly a fraction of a second for an IndiGo Ninja to appear out of thin air to ask “Ma’m, flying IndiGo?”. There I was – still recovering from pushing my “I refuse to go anywhere” luggage trolley and could barely breathe and hold the ticket and IDs in hand when this superefficient IndiGo guy pointed me in some direction saying “you can proceed to counter no. <blank> for check in”. Now that <blank> is an actual <blank>, as my brain did not process the information at all! Who does that to their passengers?!

But I was determined to not let IndiGo dictate my travel experience and so I headed to the Counter number <blank> for the check-in. Treading my way through the maze of queue manager [more on that some other time] with my special “I refuse to go anywhere” luggage trolley, I reached the check-in counter. We were well ahead of time and there was no rush at all and no reason to rush either, as there was no one ahead or behind me in the queue. So, I take my time to pile up the check-in baggage on the belt. I am about to act smart and deliver the well-rehearsed dialogue, when the check-in staff decides to outdo the first Ninja and launch himself in his well-rehearsed dialogues. The conversation went something like this:

IndiGo Ninja: Good morning ma’m

IndiGo Ninja: Travelling to?

Me: Good morning

IndiGo Ninja: Your ticket please!

Me: Coimbatore

IndiGo Ninja: How many passengers?

Me: Ya, wait a second…

IndiGo Ninja: How many check-in bags?

Me: Here is the ticket… 3 of us

IndiGo Ninja: Here are your boarding passes ma’m. How many tags for cabin bags?

Me: <clueless> … [pause] 2

IndiGo Ninja: Thank you. Here are your hand baggage tags. Your Gate no. is <blank>, go straight from here and turn left at the end.

As I left from the counter, I was already so hassled that I did not know if he put tags on my checked-in luggage, if the counterfoils are pasted on the boarding passes, if the boarding passes have the same seat numbers as the web check-in! Phew… Let me clarify that everything was in place and no goof-ups were made by the staff. But as a matter of abundant precaution and as a matter of routine practice and occupational hazard [I am a practicing advocate]; I am used to checking, rechecking and cross-checking stuff, lest I miss out on something. This IndiGo Ninja experience made me depart from the practice. That was not very comforting as till the time I collected my luggage in Coimbatore, I was restless for not having personally seen the Ninja put the tags on my bags!

Now, once inside the terminal and past security, I had ample time to relax and have breakfast/coffee and gather my wits. It was then, that I realized that my well-rehearsed dialogue “29 Albha Bravo Charlie” has long lost its relevance and I must have looked like a dumb half-wit who did not answer all the Rapid-Fire Questions of the Ninja! With that realization sinking in slowly, I soon slipped in self-loathing and “how can I be so slow?”kept playing on loop in my head. I wandered around in the limited space of Terminal 1 B Gate 9 and was about to buy my second coffee for want of anything better to do. I saw my watch and thought to myself that I had ample time to sip my coffee before the boarding begins. It was just 1050AM and my flight was at 12noon.

Alas! I was delusional. IndiGo Ninjas worked themselves in a frenzy the moment I bought my piping hot cup of coffee and boarding for Coimbatore flight began at 1115AM. After gulping down that hot liquid which I could barely taste and a quick dash to toilet, I was probably one of the last few passengers to board the flight. The airline has employed Shepherd Ninjas as well! They round up their goats and sheep and literally make them break into a run to board the flight as if the flight is already delayed by an eternity! It is amazing how they induce hypertension and nerves and cause palpitations! I am suspecting foul play here. Some pharma companies and doctors must be paying these guys to induce these ailments! That’s the secret to their profit. I am convinced.

Boarding is done as seamlessly as ever, and before we arrange ourselves in comfortable positions in our seats, the Ninja cabin crew is on a roll – crashing the overhead compartment doors with all their might and generally running up and down the aisle, giving safety instructions etc. By this time, I was exhausted and could not keep up with their adrenalin pumping drama. The announcements, plenty in number, were being made for god knows what. “samay par rehna …. hai” was the only thing that caught my attention and made me go “Oh really!”. Rest of the journey, touchdown, baggage belt etc. was a blur as I had exhausted my capacity to keep up with the IndiGo OCD. However, my mother did ask me once that why is the airhostess saying “Hello sexy”! It took my tired brain a few moments to realize that my mother had misheard “Hello 6E”. Well IndiGo – that’s the price you pay for being in a hurry all the time.

I am not complaining about the excellent time-management or the efficiency or the well-trained staff of this premier Airline. They are where they are, right at the top, because of their OCD. But an ordinary mortal like me is not made of same material. I like my travel to be easy-going and stress free. IndiGo OCD is not for the faint hearted. It requires grit to tackle their pressure-building tactics. People like my husband relish this experience. I, on the other hand, go in a non-cooperation mode.

I am neither an aviation expert nor a blogger. This is the experience I recounted to my husband and he pushed me to write this. So, it is a firsthand account of an IndiGo fan who doesn’t like IndiGo. I love them for their efficiency and everything they offer to the passengers. The way they achieve those results at the cost of my mental peace is the motivation behind this write-up.

P.S. Dear IndiGo Ninjas – continue doing your job, but let people breathe _/\_

P.S.2 Airport codes are added to pacify the husband and impress the readers

About the author: The author is the wife of an IndiGo fan. She loves to travel and relishes stress free airport experiences.

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