Jet Airways (9W) ruled the roost. Period. Shahara with its blatantly bad service and lack of punctuality was hardly a competition. State run Indian Airlines (IC) was really the second best. Almost all business travellers would travel on Jet Airways as first preference. The few I knew who preferred Indian Airlines prefeered it for its better food. having travelled on IC as my second preference, I would have to agree. IC scored over 9W in both taste and the variety of food. One aspect that many liked was serving of curd in all meals.
So 9W was effectively the de facto standard to which everything would be benchmarked. An airline that many would refer to as the best domestic airlines in the world! And these were people who had trevelled the world over!!