Indian airline IndiGo for budget travel: Worth it?

passengers board indigo indian airline

Another country, another foreign airline experience.

This time, India — and low-cost carrier IndiGo.

During our travel years, we’ve used a number of airlines based in foreign countries. 

Mexico: Volaris, Interjet

Europe: Ryan Air, Easy Jet. 

SE Asia: Scoot, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, Thai Airways, Malindo Air, Batik Air.

There have sometimes been online booking difficulties related to using a USA-issued credit card. But for the most part, every flight has been pleasant and acceptable by U.S. standards. 

In fact, all my worst air travel experiences (delays/reroutes/missed connections) have been with U.S.-based carriers prior to starting our global wandering.

Chennai airport departure area near the IndiGo Indian airline counter.

Still, there is always a little anxiety when booking flights with an airline that is not automatically subject to U.S. standards and regulation.

Honestly, we’ve never done any investigation on the safety or compliance ratings of any company we’ve every flown with. But there are internet resources available if one does want such information.

Airline & Safety Ratings – Airline Ratings and Skytrax Ratings are a couple of examples.

Our IndiGo flight came amidst an Indian media furor over an airline incident involving similarly named carrier ‘Go First’. In early January, a Go First plane departed without 50 passengers — they were still being transported by shuttle bus from the terminal to the plane for boarding.  

Indian airline IndiGo: Our experience

For whatever reason, the cheapest tickets for the IndiGo flight we wanted were from Skyscanner ‘provider’ eDreams. Thus, for only the second time ever, we made the actual purchase through an online agent – not the actual airline. Thankfully, the reservation confirmations were received almost immediately and there were no credit card issues.

The IndiGo airline flight itself; smooth and uneventful. We arrived more than two hours early at the newly expanded Chennai Airport and were quickly processed. Our one free checked bag (15 kilo max) per person and carry-ons (7 kilo max) were within guidelines.

IndiGo check in counter, parked planes, inside the cabin of the indian airline

The only problem was at the security scan when my ‘toy drone’ was discovered in my carry-on backpack. Unlike most all other countries, India does not permit drones in the airplane cabin. But generously, the military security staff and IndiGo personnel enabled me to pack the drone in a recycled cardboard box, return to the check-in counter, and add the package – free of charge – to the checked baggage conveyor. Thanks, IndiGo.

Oddly, although the usual notice of prohibited items (firearms, knives, explosives, liquids, etc.) was prominently displayed, drones were NOT mentioned anywhere. I still don’t know what danger a drone in a carry-on bag poses – but I did suggest to security that drones be added to the restricted items signage.

We did have to use shuttle buses from the gate out to portable ramps on the tarmac to board – not a big deal. The $93pp, 3-hour flight was on time, mostly full, and comfortable. The aircraft itself a nice Airbus A321 ‘greener choice’ jet.

All in all, another good experience with air travel outside the U.S. We rate Indian airline IndiGo as definitely worth your budget travel money.

earth vagabonds board IndiGo indian airline flight

Now we look forward with slight trepidation to our next scheduled flight in Nepal — a place with a less than stellar safety history.

Next flight, different airline

On March 26, 2023, we’ve booked a flight from Katmandu, Nepal to Kolkata, India. It will mark the finish of a month-long Nepal visit.

Ironically, the day after we made the reservation, a Yeti Airlines flight from Katmandu with 72 passengers and crew crashed on approach to Pokhara (Nepal) International Airport killing everyone on board.

Nepali air carriers have some of the worst flight safety records in the world due to questionable maintenance and airport technology, short runways and high altitudes, and challenging weather conditions.

We booked our Nepal exit flight on Air India which makes us feel somewhat better. For the record, our Indian visas allow for ‘port entry only’ – no land re-entry is permitted into India. So as I always say…

Be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

Thanks for reading, ‘Indian airline IndiGo for budget travel: Worth it?’

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