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News broke barely one hour ago.
Indian businessman Vijay Mallya was arrested in London (on behalf of the Indian authorities) over unpaid loans to Kingfisher Airlines. Report from Reuters.
Readers may remember Kingfisher Airlines used to operate into London Heathrow. It was praised for its high standards.
Probably the last report we carried on this airline was in January 2013.
I only flew Kingfisher once internationally (Bombay to Hong Kong, although I also flew them a few times domestically in India) and I think it was probably the most enjoyable flight I ever had. The lounge experience was terrible, but then all lounges in Bombay then were terrible (interestingly they used the LH lounge, which didn’t serve Kingfisher beer – the eponymous brewery being, of course, owned by Mr Mallaya).
The crew were enthusiastic and engaging. The seats were huge and comfortable (the only problem I had was that there was a problem with my seat controls so I could only engage all five massage zones at once, rather than being able to select them individually – what a tragedy!). The food was superb and beautifully presented. I didn’t really use the flat bed, as I headed to the on-board bar where the barman had the perfect combination of interaction with passengers – chatty when they wanted to be, and quiet (and observant, refilling when necessary) when they weren’t. I spent the entire flight there, chatting to other passengers and enjoying myself hugely.
RIP Kingfisher. Sorely missed. And I hope Mr Mallaya gets justice (whichever way that pans out).
Finally, I am just reminded of a comment from, IIRC, Sir Dickie B, along the lines of “The quickest way to become a millionaire is to start off as a billionaire and set up an airline”.