Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Questioning the benefit of traveling on Ludhiana-Delhi flights

Yesterday, I saw an advertisement in a newspaper about the launch of flights on the Delhi-Ludhiana (DEL-LUH) route (a related news story). I was both surprised and elated, until a thought struck my mind. What benefit, if any, would flying on a LUH-DEL flight provide to a passenger, compared to traveling in a fast and luxury train such as Shatabadi or Rajdhani?

I've arrived at an answer to this question by comparing the "room to room" time (i.e., the time it takes for a passenger to reach from his cabin/room in Ludhiana/Delhi to his cabin/room in Delhi/Ludhiana, respectively) for air journey and train journey.

Total "room to room" time using a LUH to DEL flight = 315 minutes, as follows:
  1. Booking ticket: 15 minutes
  2. Home/office to LUH airport: 45 minutes
  3. Check-in/movement/waiting at LUH airport: 45 minutes
  4. Flight duration: 75 minutes
  5. Landing-clearance delay (likely): 15 minutes
  6. Exiting from DEL airport/miscellaneous: 30 minutes
  7. DEL airport to home/office: 90 minutes
Total "room to room" time using a LDH to NDLS train = 400 minutes, as follows:
  1. Booking ticket: 15 minutes
  2. Home/office to LDH railway station: 20 minutes
  3. Movement/waiting at LDH railway station: 15 minutes
  4. Train journey duration: 240 minutes
  5. Exiting from NDLS railway station/miscellaneous: 20 minutes
  6. NDLS railway station to home/office: 90 minutes
Traveling by flight saves about 85 minutes (~1.5 hours). However, two additional factors need to be considered:
  1. The train ticket costs about INR 575, compared to INR 2,230 for the flight ticket (about four times as costly)
  2. The train ticket includes a full meal, whereas this Air India flight does not
Bottom line: Flying between Delhi and Ludhiana does save time, but not enough, in my opinion, to justify the extra expense, especially when one can avoid wastage of time during the train journey by working on a laptop/reading a book/etc.


  1. Correct but its an additional option for many, like for people who come from abroad, they can simply take a connecting flight to LDH, and vice versa....so its not that bad after all, as i said its a plus, an additional benefit who want to avail...

  2. @viciousinstints: True, it's an additional option, and there doesn't seem to be any harm in having an extra option. In my opinion, for some people and in some situations where the extra expense is worth less than the net benefit obtained, this flight makes complete sense.

  3. I have flown this DEL-LUH-DEL a few times recently. It was a good experience. Ludhiana is a manufacturing city and exports a lot also it has a textile hub. When buyers from western world come they can connect in Delhi and come to Ludhiana by afternoon.It was very amazing journey with free Meal tray (Sandwich,softdrink,bakery sweet).The flight was though delayed due to Routing of aircraft coming from Allahabad to Delhi with loads of Kumbhmela tourists.Air India should promote it more in targeted textile / metal industry magazines abroad than local newspapers.Its also suitable for reaching Punjab native villages those who live from Mumbai etc.