It ain't easy running an airline these days. Fuel prices see-saw. Nobody wants to travel. You have to take off your shoes every five minutes. And bankruptcy always looms just over the horizon. But listen to this, troubled CEOs: It could be worse; you could be in charge of Air India.
Yep. India's lumbering state-owned carrier has all your problems and more. Not only is the company on the verge of going bust, with customer service modeled on Aeroflot and efficiency learned from the Indian Administrative Service, but it's also got strike-happy pilots, a decrepit fleet, and a host of new low-cost competitors. And that's not all.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the “Maharaja of the skies”--which has never been known for its brilliant spin doctors—now faces a veritable media feeding frenzy over the discovery of a pesky (and difficult to catch) rat aboard one of its birds and mid-air fisticuffs on another flight that saw the cockpit left unattended for several tense minutes after the co-pilot streamed out bench-clearer style to get his homey's back.
The funny thing is, there are probably still people who would fly on Air India if the price was right. Heck, I'm one of them. There are some places that only Air India will go. Plus, though their flight attendants have not been very easy on the eyes for a few decades, they incomprehensibly have the best food available in the air. Bar none.
Why else would the rats put up with the surly service?