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Archive for September, 2009

What the hic!

September 22, 2009 1 comment

Rohit Sharma

The good times are just about to begin. There’ll be enough reason to say cheers to a delayed flight at the airport. A Resto-Bar is set to open by November, located right next to the domestic airport arrivals, 1C. The bar won’t just be open for the passengers but also for people who have no work at the airport. The move is definitely profitable as up till now, only people flying international had the option to consume alcohol at the international airport (IGI) lounge or in the flight. The plan has already woken up the sceptics who are concerned about the threat to security which may occur due to inebriated passengers.  I don’t think there should be security concerns at all because a highly smashed passenger is easy to be spotted, goes through security checks and the airport staff as well as cabin crew are well equipped and trained to handle them. Why there should be concerns at all in the first place is surprising as international airport has been serving alcohol for years. In fact, even the domestic airlines have been pressurizing the government for a long time to allow them to serve alcohol in domestic sectors. Till a few years back, the law permitted drinks on domestic flights- Damania Airways and East West used to serve alcohol on board. Today, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Air India are amongst a few which have the liquor license to serve alcohol in their international routes.

Pic courtesy: Sauza

Pic courtesy: Sauza

The bad news is that the pricing of alcohol at this bar will be so high, which only selected customers will be able to afford. The prices for items like a sandwich or even a meager tea, are so high already at the airports, I wonder how expensive a bottle of beer would be?

*Based on the news report that appeared in TOI.

Flying cows

September 18, 2009 2 comments

Rohit Sharma

Shashi Tharoor can sure play with puns. In his terms, I assume, “cattle class” can be defined by the way people are huddled together in the lesser-privileged section of an airline. But with the austerity-drive on by the Congress, distinctions between the two classes seem to be blurring. But unless you’re a politician or a celebrity who’d prefer not to be disturbed, has it ever been worth traveling business class?

Picture courtesy: The Indian Express

Picture courtesy: The Indian Express

Except if  you’re flying international, the thought of traveling business class in domestic sectors is preposterous. The food quality and taste is the same in both classes, the crew works the same way, pillows and blankets you get are the same… even washrooms are the same. The only possible differences is probably the leg space (if you’re on the window seat, you’d anyways have to bug the guy next to you to get up), facility to board last and depart first and better passenger coaches. The biggest difference comes in the fares- A Jet Airways one-way, Economy class, refundable ticket to Mumbai would cost you somewhere around Rs 7000, whereas you’ll pay around Rs 14000 for premiere class traveling in a two hour flight, where all you can enjoy is a meal option and a pre-flight drink (read- a choice between juices and aerated drinks). My cabin crew friends in premiere domestic airlines tell me that major cost cutting measures have brought the service levels of Business class to the standards of Economy. The cold and hot towels services, free candy, pre meal drinks and even pillow-blanket combo have been curtailed due to high costs.

Economy fares in most of the airlines are flexible, value-for-money and affordable. But the business class fares have been set absurdly exorbitant. The distinction between both classes comes in only when crew draws the curtains after the seat belt signs go off. If you are willing to pay for some few extra centimeters of leg space, that means recession is not meant for you. At the end of the day, it’s the cattle class laughing all the way to their destination.

 

You save some, you lose some!

September 15, 2009 1 comment

Rahul GandhiRohit Sharma & Manish Sharma

The sheer hypocrisy of government drips from the two very different stories (one- definitely planted and another- an expose) that appear in The Times of India. The Gandhi family’s option for financial “austerity” has been in top news since last evening. How the Gandhis are traveling Economy class and saving few thousands have media raving about the “austerity drive” and Shatabdi’s new guest. On the other hand, TOI tells us about a Rs 20 crore worth office built for Doordarshan, which has been lying under the layers of dust for the past two years. The expensive office built to accommodate DD’s staff has been lying vacant due to internal politics and administrational mistakes. That’s not all; DD now requires an additional Rs 174 lakh to fix the equipments, as the warranty period expires. The whole infrastructure set up has been lying unused for two years due to red tapism. Read the report here.

We’ve always maintained that the government needs to hire a better PR, which make sure the “austerity” reports don’t come on the side of goof ups worth millions.

ET in a not so pretty…

September 14, 2009 4 comments

Rohit Sharma

On Sunday, The Economic Times came out with an exclusive that accuses ICICI Bank of a two year old sale deal of dud loans and that the institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has sought a central bank (RBI) audit. In the article, a spokesperson of ICICI bank along with the ICAI President has been quoted approving the content.

Today, an infuriated ICICI Bank came out with print ads that charge the report of being “baseless and a malicious plant aimed at damaging the Bank’s reputation.” ICICI claims the figures mentioned in the article are inaccurate and denies any involvement or suggestion from ICAI.

ICICI Bank, on a previous occasion, had found itself defending and clarifying through ads when reports had come out of the bank’s surge towards bankruptcy, which created panic amongst customers. This time the bank seems to be serious about the damage done and is planning to take up this matter with the regulatory and law enforcement authorities, as mentioned in the ad.  

What’s surprisingly funny is that the ads have come out in both The Times of India and The Economic Times, which broke the story. Is it Bennett Coleman’s attempt to make some money in case they might have to compensate for the damage done? Or will it be the other way around?scan

YouTube introduces Pay per view

September 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Rohit Sharma

If rumours are to be believed, you’ll soon be able to watch latest movies onyoutube YouTube, with authorisation. YouTube will be releasing films on the site, for a fee, as soon as they are released on DVD, or even before. One of the largest and most favoured video networking websites that offer free video clips to users is in talks with studio biggies of Hollywood like Sony, Lionsgate Entertainment and Warner Bros for establishing a deal, NYTimes report. YouTube already offers some old movies on the website for free. 

Analysts are wondering whether Google’s acquisition of the video site some three years ago for US$1.65 billion will pay off in the near future. A Credit Suisse analyst told the world that YouTube was on pace to lose US$470.6 million this year. Google has not yet revealed the account books of its fresh purchase but it is to wonder whether YouTube is actually bringing money to its owner with every video/clip uploaded or not? There are movies being uploaded illegally and copyrights are being violated on the website by the users and YouTube is doing its best to curb this problem. But the task is so tough and time consuming that impediments like lawsuits and losses incurred keep knocking in between.

In America, what might eat YouTube’s business is Hulu.com. Launched by NBC and News Corp., the website has free and full episodes of their popular TV shows and movies. Sony, Disney, ABC are apparently taking stakes in Hulu which might make it more prominent. The hitch is, Hulu, for the time being is, restricting to catering American users and cannot be accessed from anywhere else in the world. YouTube is lacking the veracity of professional videos and depends a lot on amateur form of entertainment. Nor do they go an extra mile to get something exclusive or latest clippings. I wonder how the company will make profit with paid-movies when they’ve come so late and in the midst of strong competition. Would you pay for something that has long been free?

Sena at it, again!

September 1, 2009 2 comments

Rohit Sharma

Mumbai-based publishing company Magna Publication’s office was ransacked yesterday by Shiv Sainiks. One of the oldest publishing houses, which run film glossy Stardust amongst many other subsidiaries, had one of its lifestyle magazine ‘Society’ come out with an article that speculates about Shiv Sena’s future and made some uncharitable remarks for its patriarch, Balasaheb Thackeray. Article contentiously titled “What after Balasaheb” enraged the party members so much that they broke everything in sight and threatened to assault the staff. The editorial team had to lock themselves in a room out of fear and spread the word through Facebook.* The party has previously expressed their displeasure with the media by vandalizing offices of Zee News and Outlook Magazine.

*Pic Courtesy: IBNLive

*Pic Courtesy: IBNLive

Forget media rights, it is to wonder how long the Maharashtra Government will plan to keep mum on the increasing attacks on human rights by a sagging party whose might is limited to one city.

Looking forward to reading Society’s article, which might just establish the future.

*Sources.