Kingfisher just pushed the envelope of competition for full-service passengers by introducing a feature I’ve never heard of as being available anywhere around the world! Live TV beamed to your console on the aircraft! I hadn’t been too impressed by their move to introduce video screens because the idea of watching a tired collection of recorded snippets did not excite me, particularly since any domestic flight is only going to last about an hour or so and with the meal-service, it didn’t seem like you needed any additional distractions. I’d resorted to tuning into ‘Kingfisher Radio’ with a respectable collection of 70s and 80s rock, but that too had started getting repetitive. But this time around, the screens sported an orange sticker that said “Live tv by Dish TV”. I wasn’t sure what this meant, but flipping through the channels, lo and behold, the first over of the West Indies V New Zealand, LIVE! Was one of the shortest flightest I’ve been on.
This sure gives Jet Airways something to chew on, given that they have added video screens to the business class section? (not sure though). Given that replicating the move would be costly and also be seen as a copy-cat move, what would be a fitting response (without dropping fares)? more elaborate meal options? more attendants at the airport? more flexible pricing? or maybe internet connectivity on flights (but that might be just as costly)?
I don’t see too many options available to them given that they can’t do much about ensuring timeliness of the flights. It will also depend on whether kingfisher chooses to hike its prices (this could be tricky since not many would be willing to pay extra for some channel-surfing) or maintains status quo (the more likely option). One thing is for sure, on lean days, given a choice, most people will choose the airline that offers more frills unless the competition offers a substantial price discount. What Kingfisher is doing can’t be bad for the industry though, it would only serve to more clearly segment the full-service versus the low-cost. Would make for interesting observation to watch for Jet’s response.
p.s: Of the 10 odd screens that were in my eye-line, each of those chose to tune into some form of bollywood gibberish than watch Brian Lara bat. A nation of cricket-lovers indeed…pfft!
Live TV!In airlines, opinion, Strategy on March 30, 2007 at 1:56 pm