Vivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 547 posts, RR: 3 Posted (8 years 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 27718 times:
Background: It had been raining in Mumbai for more than two months at a stretch and we were quite sick of it, literally! We decided that it was time for a short getaway from the city. After looking at various destinations, we agreed that Goa would be the best choice for a quick weekend jaunt. The monsoon is almost in its final stages in Goa in the month of September, and it doesn’t rain much during this period.
Destination decided, it was now time to book a hotel and flight tickets. The hotel booking was easily done, and now I started exploring various flight options in and out of Goa. Surprisingly, most of the Low Cost Carriers were offering fares at the same levels as some of the Full Service carriers. I decided to opt for Indian Airlines, as they were offering the best fares amongst the Full Service carriers. Also, on the return, I booked ourselves on the morning flight, which is operated by IC’s classic Airbus A300B4.
Airline: Indian Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Scheduled Departure: 1255 Actual Departure: 1345
Scheduled Arrival: 1355 Actual Arrival: 1445
We (my wife and I) reached Terminal 1A of the Mumbai Airport around an hour and half before departure. The check-in counter for our flight had only one person ahead of us and we managed to check-in pretty quickly. We booked seats A and C of the last row, hoping that no one would occupy seat B. All Indian Airlines counters now wear the new Air India colours, although the boarding passes and baggage tags still bear the old “Indian” scheme.
Check-in done, we grabbed a cup of coffee and settled down in the moderately crowded seating area. After around 15 minutes, the security check for our flight was announced, and we proceeded towards the departure hold. The departure hold at Terminal 1A is one huge hall, which was pretty deserted at the time.
The departure hold offers a good view of the tarmac outside, but clicking good photos is very difficult, given the presence of a walkway in between. Nevertheless, the first sighting of the day, was also my first ever sighting of this bird – an Iran Air 747SP.
Meanwhile our aircraft arrived at around 1235, just twenty minutes before the scheduled departure time.
Air India A321, VT-PPA departed to Trivandrum.
Followed by Kingfisher A320 to Goa
The departure time of 1255 came and went, but there was no sign of a boarding announcement! The passengers were now starting to get restless. Finally at around 1315, the boarding announcement was made, and we boarded the aircraft. VT-EPB was a double bogied A320, so typically IC!
A view of the passenger cabin of our aircraft.
We pushed back at 1345, almost an hour later than the scheduled departure time.
After a leisurely roll through the entire length of Runway 27, we waited to get on to taxiway A4, as a BA 777 began its take-off roll. It was an awesome sight to see the massive 777 rake up a mini thunderstorm on the wet runway as it accelerated away. As we lined up on A4, I saw our favourite spotting location for the first time from inside an aircraft
We soon lined up on the runway and after a take-off roll lasting 39 seconds, we lifted off into the grey overcast Mumbai skies.
The weather became better as we pulled away from Mumbai, and the crew started the meal service. I chose the non-vegetarian meal consisting of rotis, spicy chicken gravy, dal-rice, curd, salad and a sweet dish.
As usual, IC’s food catered by Sky Gourmet was simply fabulous. Never have I encountered less than perfect food quality on IC! We started our descent as soon as the cabin crew finished clearing the meal trays.
The weather in Goa looked overcast, and I started wondering if it would remain that way for the next two days as well! Anyway, we made a smooth landing at around 1445 on the solitary runway at Goa. After turning on to the taxiway, we waited for a Kingfisher A320 to take-off before beginning our long roll to the Terminal.
Indian Airlines flights use the International terminal for arrivals whereas the other carriers use the domestic terminal. Our bags were out in a jiffy, and soon we were out of the airport, looking forward to a relaxing weekend in Goa!
After two relaxing days in nice and sunny (surprisingly!) Goa, it was time to head back home. We had an early morning departure on IC’s A300 service to Mumbai. I was pretty excited as I had never flown on an A300 before and this aircraft type would soon be withdrawn from passenger service.
Sector: GOI- BOM
Airline: Indian Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A300B4
Scheduled Departure: 0830 Actual Departure: 0945
Scheduled Arrival: 0930 Actual Arrival: 1045
My cellphone alarm woke me up at an unearthly 05:30AM. We had to check-out of the hotel and drive for an hour or so to the airport. As I was about to start getting ready, I received a call from IC informing us of a delay. The expected departure now was 0945. This gave me some time to catch up on unfinished sleep. I was hoping that there was not equipment swap at the last moment as I didn’t want to end up flying on an A320 instead of an A300.
We were out of the hotel by 0730 and drove through some beautiful early morning weather to the airport. We entered the International Terminal, which was looking pretty busy at that time. Check-in done quickly and we were told that we could avail of refreshments at the lone airport food stall because of the delay. Pretty neat! These are little things why I like flying IC.
There was a Sri Lankan Airlines departure to Colombo and most of the people at the terminal were on that flight. The announcement for security check came soon and we walked through to the departure hold. Goa airport has a very basic terminal as there are not many international flights to/from here.
Our aircraft arrived at around 0845, and I was happy to see the trademark black nose of the A300. As it neared us, I read the registration, VT-EHC and was even gladder. I have a photo of this aircraft clicked last year on Airliners.net! The aircraft had just arrived from a pretty circuitous route – Sharjah-Calicut-Goa, and that explained the delay.
Our boarding announcement soon came, and we boarded a bus to the waiting aircraft. The A300 looked pretty spacious with its 2X4X2 seating.
The load factor was around 90% which meant that this was a pretty popular flight!
The doors were closed and we started taxiing at exactly 0945. The cabin crew began their safety demonstration as we entered the runway and started backtracking! Strangely, they continued with the demonstration even when we lined up on the runway. Finally, they had to abort the demonstration mid-way as the captain requested them to be seated for take-off.
The powerful take-off roll lasted 40 seconds and we lifted off into the clear morning skies and turned left, heading towards Mumbai. As soon as the seat belt sign was switched off, the cabin crew got up and finished their safety demonstration. This is the first time I have experienced something like this!!
We were soon served nice, hot breakfast consisting of fruit cuts, idli, upma, a small bun and fruit cuts. As usual, it was tasty and pretty filling.
The flight was quite smooth and uneventful as the weather was sunny.
However, as we approached Mumbai, we experienced mild turbulence but the hardy A300 negotiated it without any troubles. We made a smooth landing at 1045 on a wet runway 27. Mumbai was exactly as we had left it three days ago – dull, overcast and wet!
There weren’t many aircraft at the International terminal where we parked at that hour. The ones that were there included the AI 757, a couple of A310s and a 747-400. I am sure there was an SQ 777-300 parked at its usual gate as well, but it was out of sight.
We trekked the long route through immigration to the baggage belts. Surprisingly, we had to wait only five minutes or so before our bags arrived, and we soon made our way out of the airport.
All in all, it was a good flight on IC’s old workhorse – the Airbus A300B4. Even though the aircraft showed signs of wear and tear because of years of tough duty, it still is a powerful and sturdy beast. And the sound of those GE engines is simply awesome!