[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Home > High Profile
‘Reliability Is The Key Factor That Influences My Choice Of Airline’

Lalita D Gupte, joint managing director and chief operating officer - international business, ICICI Limited, an alumni of JBIMS, began her journey in the world of banking 30 years ago, in an organisation which she still is a dynamic part of. In a tete-a-tete with Reema Sisodia she highlights her views on frequent flying

How has your work profile dictated the frequency of your travel?

The frequency of travel, especially in the last six weeks has been highly demanding. Hectic, in fact would be an understatement, as the nature of my work has resulted in designing travel schedules that sees me travelling at least, twice a week, irrespective of whether it’s domestic or international. As per the business needs and demands, I frequent international destinations at least twice or thrice in a month.

Within your travel framework, are there any specific destinations, you visit frequently?

Yes, my profession and nature of work dictates my travel to three destinations on a regular basis - Singapore, London and the United States, (both east and west). Business development and potentials with respect to banking ventures and diversification have been concentrated in these regions. With respect to official trips on the domestic sector, there are a number of cities that I visit on a regular basis. Further, I chalk out my travel docket as per the requirement.

In terms of preference and performance, is there any airline (or airlines) that has matched your expectations?

Yes, British Airways, Singapore Airlines and United Airways are all airlines, which I prefer to board. Essentially, due to the fact that these airlines fly the routes I frequent the most. Besides, these airlines provide me options galore especially to destinations I regularly visit. Speaking about the journey between London and the United States, with London being an ideal stopover location, British Airways is indeed the most preferred, both in terms of quality and service. All the three airlines mentioned earlier fulfil this requirement perfectly. With respect to the domestic front, Jet Airways is my best bet.

Talking about the quality and standard of in-flight services, which airline would you qualify amongst the best?

I personally feel that, the standards in terms of quality and service depend on the nature of the flight and the composition of the cabin crew. A lot also depends on the quality of the aircraft. There have been occasions, when the quality with respect to in-flight services have been rather inconsistent, even in the case of reputed airlines. But, on an average, I would say Singapore Airlines and British Airways are on par.

On the domestic sector, Jet Airways tops the list in terms of in-flight service and I would also mention that, Indian Airlines has shown significant and indeed credible improvement over the years.

Is being a part of the airline’s frequent flyer programme an advantage?

Since most of our business meetings are scheduled at a short notice, our travel plans are invariably subject to change. If one travels regularly with a specific airline, certain advantages are bound to follow, with respect to flight bookings.

In your opinion how does domestic travel compare to international journeying?

Domestic travel is so much easier as compared to international. The domestic airline industry has definitely witnessed a marked improvement over the years. Flight connectivity and schedules are reasonably convenient, wherein taking day trips are highly feasible. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, security aspects especially with respect to international travel has become quite exhausting. The process of checking in takes longer, hence, to avoid inconvenience, it is advisable to leave early, which would facilitate early check-in. A trend in the making due to this incidence is that meetings are being wound up earlier than usual, keeping in mind the gestation period, which the security process at the airport demands.

Are there any specifications for selecting a hotel or a chain, at places of disembarkation?

I mostly stay at hotels that are known to the company or have a tie-up with the organisation. It is advantageous, as it creates a comfort zone. Chains that are internationally reputed and recognised are what I look for. Being a member of the guest loyalty programme with some select chains also has its additional bonus. As for my stay in London, I only stay at St James for the past 15 years.

As a single woman corporate traveller, is there a particular aspect you would like to highlight?

As a personal viewpoint and on a fairly individualistic note, I would like to mention that, tugging my luggage, placing them in the cabin shelves is quite tedious and many a times problematic. This in fact is solely due to my being rather petit in frame. Hence, I make a conscious effort to travel as light as possible, which surely calls for some amount of planning. As for a general view, a single woman corporate traveller is in no way different from a man.

Lastly, as a business traveller can you spell out the five absolutes with respect to travel?

Apart from the conventional essentials for travel, such as good and convenient airlines, suitable flight schedules and timings, there are certain personal and psychological aspects, which hold importance and value, especially for a frequent business traveller.

To mention the five absolutes, I would say, primarily it is highly essential to develop the right mental framework to travel. Proper planning in terms of travel arrangements and other technical details should be planned well in advance. Health, being an essential factor while travelling should not be neglected, hence, carrying requisite medication is important. Eating light and right is indeed necessary. It is also vital for frequent travellers to learn to cope with jet lag. Keeping these few criteria in mind, would facilitate and in fact enhance one’s travel experiences.


About Us
Contact Us


We wish all our readers a
Happy New Year - 2002


Currency Converter
For up-to-date Currency Information, Click Here!
<Back to top> 

© Copyright 2000: Indian Express Group (Mumbai, India). All rights reserved throughout the world. This entire
site is compiled in Mumbai by The Business Publications Division of the Indian Express Group of Newspapers.
Please Email our Webmaster for any queries / broken links on this site.