Air India Express Review [2024]: Low-cost, but will you regret it?

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Air India Express Review [2024]: Low-cost, but will you regret it?
Looking to travel around India and beyond without spending a fortune? There's no shortage of options when it comes to finding a low-cost carrier in India. But which one should you choose? Air India Express is one such budget airline. Discover if it's the right choice for you!
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The sound of "low cost" and "airline" in the same sentence is often music to a budget traveler's ears. After all, airline travel is notorious for being expensive. So a carrier that offers decent rates without skimping on quality is definitely worth considering.

Air India Express ticks all the boxes. Similar to Eurowings and Vueling Airlines, it's a low-cost airline. A subsidiary of the national carrier Air India, you can expect the same safety and service standards. If you're looking for a cheap way to get around India, Air India Express is definitely an option. 

To help you make an informed decision, we've put together an Air India Express review. I cover everything you need to know about the airline, including in-flight service and more. Whether you're looking for a cheap way to travel within India or for international flights, stay tuned!

air india express logo
Image Courtesy of Air India Express

What is Air India Express?

Air India Express is a low-cost airline based in India. It's a subsidiary of the national carrier Air India and was established in 2004. The airline flies to over 33 domestic and international destinations, including popular holiday spots like Singapore, Dubai, and Bahrain. 

What sets this airline apart from other low-cost carriers is that its part of a major airline group. You can expect the same standards without paying the higher prices that come with flying with a full-service airline. 

What Are Air India Express' Hubs?

Air India Express prices are kept low by flying to secondary airports. So do bear in mind that you may need to factor in extra travel time to and from the city center.

It has four main hubs:

  • Calicut International Airport
  • Cochin International Airport
  • Trivandrum International Airport
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport

The airline also has a base in Kochi, Kerala.

air india express flight
Image Courtesy of Air India Express

What Are Air India Express' In-Flight Services?

Air India Express offers a basic but efficient in-flight service. Frills and luxury are in short supply here, but you should get everything you need for a comfortable journey. 

What to expect when flying:

  • As a low-cost carrier, the airline only offers Economy cabin class seats.
  • Complimentary snack boxes and beverages are served on all flights.
  • Additional Indian and international meals are available for purchase before and in-flight.
  • Checked baggage allowance based on fare type and route. 
  • Advanced seat selection service. A bonus if you want to ensure you're seated next to your besties. Or you're gunning for that window seat!
  • Optional online visa to UAE.
  • Buy excess baggage online.

Air India Express also offers "Deals & Rewards" for their regular flyers. Under this scheme, members can enjoy discounts on duty-free purchases, hotels, resorts, safari bookings, and more.

Where Does Air India Fly?

With numerous domestic flights daily, this airline covers all the major cities in India. Planning on traveling outside of India? You'll be happy to know that the airline also flies to 14 international destinations!

Below is a list of the countries you can fly to on Air India Express:

  • Dubai
  • Sharjah
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Al Ain
  • Ras Al Khaima
  • Bahrain
  • Dammam
  • Doha
  • Kuwait
  • Muscat
  • Salalah
  • Singapore
  • Riyadh
  • Malaysia

How Safe is Air India Express?

Air India Express is part of the Air India Group, owned by the Government of India. The airline is, therefore, subject to the same high safety standards as its parent company.

A member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it's been awarded an IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification. The IOSA is an internationally-recognized safety assessment program for airlines. 

As with most airline carriers, Air India Express has had its share of controversies. Namely, the Air India Express Flight 812 and Flight 1344 crashes. However, both planes were Boeing 737 aircraft, which have featured in crashes across various airlines. So we can safely claim that the fault is probably not specifically with the Air India Express airline or crew.

Booking and Cancelling Flights

You can book your flights online through the airline's website or through a travel agent. The easiest way to manage a booking is on its website. Here, you can log in to your account and make any necessary changes.

To book a flight, click on the "Manage my Bookings" tab on the Air India Express website. Then enter your confirmation number and last name. From here, you can view your booking details, edit your itinerary, and add extras such as baggage or seat selection.

Changed your mind and decided to spend a few more days exploring India? The good news is that the airline also offers a 24-hour cancellation policy. Cancel your flight within 24 hours of the scheduled departure time to receive a full refund. 

Simply need to change your flight date or time? To do so, you'll also need to cancel your original booking and book a new one. Either way, select the "Cancel Booking" option and follow the instructions. 

Booked your flight through a travel agent? Remember that you'd need to contact them directly to make any changes to your booking.

Alternatively, some people use websites like Skyscanner to find Air India Express flights. By using comparison sites, travelers can make sure they're getting the best possible deal.

Customer Service

If you need to contact customer service, you can do so by phone or email. The airline's customer service team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. 

To speak to someone on the phone, call the Air India Express customer service number: 044-40013001 or 044-24301930.

For general inquiries, you can also email them at customercare@airindiaexpress.in.

air india express customer service
Image Courtesy of Air India Express

Web Check-In

Web check-in is offered for all passengers with a valid e-ticket. You can generally check in online 2 to 24 hours before your scheduled flight departure time.

To do so, click on the "Web Check-In" tab on the Air India Express website and enter your booking details. From here, you'll be able to select your seat, print your boarding pass, and check-in for your flight.

Remember that web check-in is unavailable for passengers with infants or those traveling on a group booking. You'll have to check in at the airport. 

Baggage Allowance

With Air India Express, your baggage allowance depends on your route and flight. Be sure to check your ticket before you purchase and after, especially for connection flights. 

Generally, you're allowed to bring one carry-on bag of up to 7 kg on board the aircraft. Plus, you're allowed to bring your laptop in a separate bag, purse, or sleeve. It won't count toward your cabin baggage weight, which is pretty handy.

Checked-in baggage rules apply:

  • Checked luggage included in your ticket varies from 20 to 40 kg, depending on the route.
  • You can purchase additional luggage before your flight, which will be stowed in the cargo hold, subject to availability.
  • Your checked luggage size should not exceed 62 inches in total (length*breadth*height).
  • No single piece of checked baggage should weigh more than 32 kg.
  • Infants traveling with their guardians get an additional 10 kg check baggage allowance for free.
  • For overweight baggage at check-in, Air India Express may charge you an excess baggage fee.
  • You can check in sports equipment such as bicycles, golf kits, and skiing gear.

Air India Express FAQs

Can you track Air India Express flights?

You can track all flights using the airline's flight tracker tool. Simply enter your flight number and departure date to view up-to-date information on your flight's status. 

Is Air India Express and Air India the same?

No, Air India Express is a low-cost subsidiary of Air India. The two airlines are separate entities with different business models and in-flight options. 

What are the routes of Air India Express?

Air India Express flies to the Gulf and South East Asia from various cities in India. The complete list of destinations is mentioned above.

Is Air India Express Worth it?

If you ask me if Air India Express is worth flying, then I say a big YES! However, if you ask if it's the best low-cost airline in India, then I would say that it depends. There are many low-cost carriers that fly from or through India.

It's an excellent airline if you're looking for low fares and good service. I flew Air India Express from Chennai to Dubai and was impressed with the service, food, and overall experience.

However, I have also read many negative reviews about the airline. There have been reports of poor quality service, food, and cabin cleanliness. So, it all comes down to what you're looking for in an airline.

If you're a solo traveler who loves exploring hostels instead of hotels, give it a try. I would say that Air India Express is an excellent option as they offer good deals for single travelers.

air india express seating
Image Courtesy of Air India Express

Our Ratings: 3.9/5

Pros:

  • Domestic and international routes
  • Low-cost fares
  • Comfortable seats and seat selection

Cons:

  • Reports of poor quality service and food
  • Poor customer service query handling

Fasten Your Seat Belts!

With Air India Express or any other low-cost carrier, you're in for a budget-friendly and fun flying experience. Remember that we're here to help make your journey as comfortable as possible.

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Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

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