I like Spicejet. True, this is based on a single Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai flight experience but here's why:
a) The flight departed on time - both ways. And reached on the dot, too. This is an achievement because the other 'budget' airline is - in my rather extensive experience - always late.
Yes, much as I commend Capt. Gopinath for being the fisrt to give every Indian the chance to fly, my last 3 flights on his airline have left me less than satisfied. Each time there was a huge delay - ranging from one to six hours. And, in Indian Airlines style, no plausible reason given - or regular annoucements. ( If in Delhi, your best bet is to call Air Deccan in Mumbai and check whether the flight has taken off coz the same aircraft flies back :)
b) Spicejet is a cheap airline but the way it's packaged - it doesn't feel like a cheapie one. So for example, they give you refreshments worth about 10 bucks on board instead of asking you to buy the same (a small packet of chips, water and toffees).
The air hostesses are a little more glamorous and smile a little more - like they do on Jet Airways. And, they wear slightly tight white blouses. If I - as a woman - noticed this, I am sure the male population definitely has!
Even the Spicejet logo is far more bright and cheerful. I also liked the fact that they let you select a seat of your choice at the time of booking online.
Small Things matter
Now you might say phooey - punctuality is one thing, who cares about the other factors. Well, you may think you do not. But at some level, you do get influenced. And so, while price will remain THE most important criteria given that both Spice and Deccan are offering you relatively cheap tickets, you may check availability on Spice first.
Air Deccan is going for an IPO - so hopefully they should be able to improve its service. For one, they need to lease better aircraft ... the ATRs they fly are really scary! And make too much noise!! I know none have fallen out of the sky yet but surely Mumbai-Ahmedabad, for example, has enough demand to merit a regular sized jet.
Bottomline: Budget airlines are changing the way India travels. I know my Goa trip happened only because there was a good deal available. "Impulse" buying has moved beyond picking up a cute t-shirt :)
Well as they say, the more the merrier - "Let There Be Flight". And please, God, let there also be bigger and better AIRPORTS!