Sometimes it can be very interesting to invest in business class tickets for a leisure trip, especially for a South Asia destination, since rates are usually very attractive and offer lot of ground and in-flight services that might turn a standard journey into a delightful experience.
Air India is one of those middle-range airline companies that offer great business class value, especially for medium-haul flights where ground services can save several hours of waiting at the airport – we flew from Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi – and Dreamliner cabin can make the flight much more comfortable. Indeed, an Air India Executive Class journey starts with a dedicated check-in counter, far away from the overcrowded Economy counters at the airport, where plenty of ground staff await to escort you to security, customs and finally to the lounge ; then you can obviously board the aircraft first and reach one of the 18 seats available in that class. One tip: Indians are travelling with babies even in Executive Class, so I highly suggest NOT to book the front row seats.
Certainly the greatest point of our Air India Executive Class experience onboard the Dreamliner aircraft: business class seats are on a 2-2-2 configuration and are really, really large with a huge pitch. The fabric seat can recline to full flat bed position that still allows to watch TV screen in good condition. Something I especially like is the “low size” of the cabin furnitures ; actually when standing up you dominate all the other seats and on the contrary when you recline fully you are very close to the floor… Can be disturbing at the beginning but it becomes finally very pleasant during the flight.
Last comment is about the entertainment system: while touch screen quality and movie selection is not bad, the seat embeds the famous awful and non-user friendly remote control you can find usually in Economy classes! Since the screen is really far from the seat, the touch function is completely useless so you can only rely on the remote… And it’s the worst ever. My message to companies: please improve the quality of remote control system in your premium cabins!
Quality of onboard menu for an overseas 6-hour flight was not really amazing, especially for wine and main dishes selection ; however the stir fried chicken with lemon sauce I ordered was still good. Also, regarding the few number of business class seats I would have preferred to be served at the plate, instead of the economy-like plastic trail… Catering is definitely not the key point of Air India Executive Class, fortunately there are many positive points in the overall experience to counteract this part, as I described before.
DEL to HKG, night flight on B787 in May 2016.