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Oklahoma To India On AA/9W (lots Of Pics!)  
User currently offline9W748Capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 545 posts, RR: 1
Posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 18749 times:

Well after a few years, it was high time to head back to my parents' hometown of Nagpur, India (NAG) for a few weeks of cricket with the cousins, delicious home cooking, and in general doing nothing involving my real life back home other than checking how the Cubs were doing every few days. Talked to my sister in January and we agreed that this trip could not be put off any longer, so we (well mostly me) get online and look at our options, and I'm intrigued that AA not only apparently has an interline ticketing agreement with 9W, but would allow us to book all the way through to NAG as well, saving us some money in the process. Not only that, but the fares were competitive and the itinerary had some variation - routed as OKC-ORD-BRU-BOM-NAG on the way, but through DEL on the return, taking the AA nonstop to ORD. My sister would be departing out of DTW as that's her closest airport, so we were able to book two separate tickets, with us meeting at ORD for the journey to India. With the tickets purchased so early, it was just a matter of waiting a few months for the departure date.

Well the day finally came, but I have to admit I was not in the best shape to travel - I'd just finished my 3rd year of medical school the day before so suffice it to say, we'd gone out for some late-night entertainment the night before and I had done essentially zero packing. Well after calling my parents at 7 AM and asking what on earth else they would possibly want me to take (they wouldn't be joining us on this trip - and my sister's bags were full), I made a last-minute wal-mart run, returning home at 8 AM along with a Sonic SuperSonic Breakfast Burrito. Now I had 3 hours to pack and be at the airport, ready to go. Well somehow I managed to stuff everything in, remembering my passport and visa in the process. Stopped by the ATM on the way to the airport, and I was at OKC by 11:45, in plenty of time for the scheduled 12:40 to ORD. I went ahead and got in line to check-in with the agent, though my sister told me later that I didn't have to do that, which irritated me slightly, but oh well I'd rather them deal with swiping my passport and all that anyway. There were only two agents at the counter so one of them had to deal with passengers and the other with those using kiosks and handling their luggage. As one of OKC's biggest carriers, I thought this was inadequate staffing on the part of AA, but who am I to say. Anyway finally got to the counter around noon where the agent checked me in, bags tagged all the way to NAG. Never had had 4 flights on the same baggage tag before - thought this was kind of cool. I would definitely be hanging on this tag as a souvenir. At the end she asked me "So your final destination is...(pause)...Nag-purr?" "Close, I said - more like 'Nag-poor'" - "Of course"

Security was a breeze and in no time I was waiting at Gate 6 for my flight to ORD. As promised in an earlier TR, here are some shots of OKC's breezy new terminal.
AA check-in:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08001.jpg
Security check:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08002.jpg
main concourse:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08004.jpg
Ready to depart for ORD:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08006.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08007.jpg

As usual, the inbound was slightly late, though not by much (for this flight - I'd been tracking it the week before and it was 2-3 hours late several times!). They turned it around rather quickly and by 1245, we were boarding (for a scheduled 1240 departure).

Date: Sat June 21, 2008
Flight: AA 4305
Routing: OKC-ORD
STD/ATD: 1240/1255
STA/ATA: 1445/1500
Equip: ERJ-145 (N623AE)
Seat: 5A
Duration: 1 hour 35 minutes
Load: 100%

Exterior views of OKC with an F9 babybus just arrived from DEN:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08009.jpg
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08011.jpg
I was on the left side of the aircraft so I couldn't get any views of downtown OKC, but here is Lake Hefner and my favorite OKC golf course:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08022.jpg
We approached ORD from the south, then turned east over downtown and turned around and landed to the west. Got a pretty decent shot of downtown:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08032.jpg
And I believe this would be I-294:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08035.jpg
This was a pretty routine flight - I might have got the whole can but I don't remember - and I arrived at ORD in plenty of time to catch the connection to BRU. My sister had come in on time from DTW so she met me at my arrival gate, and we proceeded to the food court for some nourishment (never a good idea to rely on AA's international flagship cuisine!). I voted for Burrito Beach but since she had our parents' money her vote for Reggio's Disgusting Pizza won out, so that's what we had. Gross. Thankfully, boarding for our flight to Brussels came soon enough, and we proceeded to K5. I was curious what the demographic of this flight would be - whether or not there would be other Indians on this flight connecting to 9W flights at BRU, and sure enough there were a decent number. We actually bought our tickets just a week or two before AA and 9W announced their code-sharing agreements, so we would miss out on earning miles for the 9W segments - oh well

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08043.jpg
And this is our 767-300. K5 has to have one of the shortest jet-bridges anywhere!
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08044.jpg

Boarding proceeded smoothly and we were ready for an ontime departure to BRU.

Date: Sat June 21, 2008
Flight: AA 88
Routing: ORD-BRU
STD/ATD: 1630 (ontime)
STA/ATA: 0740 1 day (ontime)
Equip: 767-323ER (N344AN)
Seat: 23H
Duration: 7 hours 35 minutes
Load: 100%

Interior shots:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08047.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08049.jpg

This was my first time aboard an AA 767 but from surfing a.net and clicking through the photos, I kind of knew what to expect - no PTVs of course, but I thought the cabin was decent enough otherwise. Not the most legroom ever, but it would do for a 8 hour flight. And plus I was in Y so what right did I have to complain. Our routing today would take us east over Detroit, then northeast over Toronto and Boston, then across the atlantic into Brussels. Sorry for the poor picture quality - I can't use the excuse of not knowing I was going to do a TR this time. I guess i'm just a crappy photographer
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08050.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08064.jpg

Here's an IB A340 that has made it's way to Terminal 3:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08052.jpg

Not much traffic at this hour at ORD so we took off straightaway and settled in for our flight to BRU. Approx an hour and a half into the flight, the "International Flagship Dinner" was served. The choices were Chicken or Beef Lasagna. I chose the chicken:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08065.jpg
It was...well AA's meals just make me LOL. I mean seriously. It's not that it was bad, but I dont know - it was just so...mediocre! Let's just say I was really looking forward to Jet Airways for the next few flights. But all in all it wasn't bad, really, I'm just being harsh on AA as usual. After dinner, not much to do other than watch whatever was playing on the overhead screens - 27 Dresses I think? Didn't matter - it's not like I had any energy left at that point so I tried to doze off as best I could - which I did on and off pretty successfully for the duration of the flight. An hour before landing at BRU, breakfast was served which consisted of a croissant, strawberry yogurt, and OJ:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08067.jpg
The rest of the flight proceeded without incident, and soon enough we were in Brussels:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08072.jpg
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08076.jpg
Greeted by a friend, no less!
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08081.jpg
Deplaning:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08085.jpg
Since we had 4 hours until our 9W flight to BOM, I'd briefly thought about trying to go through passport control to at least get to the landside part of BRU - knowing I probably wouldn't have time to leave the airport, but one glance at the lines changed that. Well off we were back through security check and upstairs to the departures level to wait for our flight to BOM. Welcome to Europe
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08086.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08087.jpg
These signs aren't visible until you're at the security check anyway - but they were still cool to see:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08089.jpg

This was my first time flying through BRU, and it was interesting to fly through a European city that's not a madhouse like LHR or AMS. BRU definitely is a chill place, not a bad place for a short layover especially if you want some rest. Well with 3 hours to kill at this point, me and my sis were kind of at a loss as to what to do - she certainly had a lot more energy than I did, so after getting oriented to how Pier B was set up, we decided to leave the secure area and see what the shopping area had to offer. Not much, but we found a cafe that did the job for the time being:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08088.jpg
An overview of the shopping area outside the secure area:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08099.jpg
I certainly was in no mood to do any shopping, so I just dozed off for a bit. An hour later, did some spotting:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08096.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08102.jpg
Here's the bird we came in on:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08092.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08105.jpg
Well after waiting for the security lines to clear from all the African flights, we decided to head back in to the secure area to wait for our flight. Boarding would probably start in an hour or so anyway. Turns out Jet Airways had been paging us (and many other connecting passengers) to check on our baggage, so I'm glad we went back in when we did.
Our bird had arrived from EWR a little while ago - here she is:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08093.jpg
Departure screens at BRU - I think they could stand to upgrade these!
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08100.jpg
Ready to go to BOM!
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08108.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08109.jpg
Strictly 1 piece handluggage? On an Indian flight? LOL - I like their sense of humor. It's a rule that was enforced "loosely" as you can imagine. In any case, boarding began shortly thereafter. I was just so excited for this flight, I can't even say. Forget the part about going to India to see family again and all that, but I looked forward so much to trying out 9W's international product. Before this flight I'd only flown them on BOM-NAG sectors and needless to say, I'd been impressed every time. Boarding proceeded in an unusually controlled manner for a flight of Indians - though I think the BRU staff had a lot to do with that, and soon we were onboard this sparkling 77W, ready to go to BOM.
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08111.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08112.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08113.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08119.jpg
Could there possibly be a more comfortable Y class? I don't think so. Because seriously, this was almost too much. The pictures don't do it justice, but those seats were just so big and so comfortable. And when they reclined I felt like I was sleeping in a real bed, not in cattle class. My only complaint about the boarding process was that the aircraft was ridiculously hot and the AC was clearly not working. As usual though the 9W staff were aware of it and they did notify the captain, who did whatever (maybe finally turned on the AC?) and it did cool down. in the meantime, Pracruti was kind enough to bring everyone in our area some water Oh and this - a small cupholder just for these little plastic things? Geez.
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08114.jpg

After a small delay, we were off and on our way to BOM.

Date: Sun June 22, 2008
Flight: 9W 227
Routing: BRU-BOM
STD/ATD: 1140/1200
STA/ATA: 2330/0015 1 day
Equip: 777-35R(ER) (VT-JEC)
Seat: 39A
Duration: ~8 hours 15 minutes
Load: 100%


Well as enthralled as I am by Jet Airways, not everyone is perfect, and this is unfortunately where I began to notice the small flaws. Take off and everything was smooth, smooth enough in fact for the cabin crew to be not be seen for at least an hour and a half into the flight. I mean come on, even AA would have been around with a drinks service by now! And as hot as the aircraft was before departure? I thought this was unacceptable. Eventually the FA in charge of the left Y cabin did emerge, but by herself - I thought this was peculiar also - would they not have tried to coordinate meal services with both sides of the cabin at least? And her cart was so heavy from all the meals and drinks that she was struggling to pull it up the aisle So in any case, all we could do at that point was just wait. The aft Y section of the 77W is pretty sizeable, so I knew it would be awhile before our FA got to us. But hey, at least she wasn't still stuck in the galley like on the other side! Eventually (it had to be at least a half an hour later), she made it to our row, where by this time they were completely out of the Indian non-veg meals. Not a big deal to me as I have no problem eating veg - but there were definitely some unhappy campers. Menus had been handed out pre-flight:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08135.jpg
And this is the Indian Veg meal:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08120.jpg
The meal itself was delicious, quite tasty with generous portions and filling, but it would have helped if it hadn't taken an hour to get to me. I mean, I like my Indian food hot. The way it's supposed to be. Ah well, I was tired anyway, so now at least I was full, and it was time to sample 9W's JetScreen, if I could stay awake! That didn't go so well - I think I watched the first hour of Om Shanti Om - but that plus not having slept much anyway a cold Heineken _ well...yeah I think I fell asleep pretty quickly. From what I do remember though, 9W's IFE system is just superb. Such a large variety of movies both Western and Indian - plenty of music selections, TV shows, and video games. And it worked pretty smoothly for the most part too. I'd read rave reviews of this system here and other places and it certainly lived up to the billing. Maybe next time I'll have the energy to actually stay awake and use it!

In any case, flight proceeded smoothly from there, save for a few drunk morons in the back who couldn't stop heckling. The FA's politely told them to quiet down a few times, which they eventually did, but still it was incredibly annoying as most pax were trying to sleep. In any case, here's what the cabin looked like as we slowly crawled towards BOM (sorry for the crappy pics):
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08126.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08124.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08128.jpg

An hour or so before our scheduled arrival, a snack was served. I opted for the Veg option which was Pav Bhaji. How appropriate for a BOM flight right?
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08130.jpg

It was simply delicious and this time adequately heated for my taste although I could have done with a bit larger portion. From all my previous trips to India, AI is the only carrier I remember that serves 2 full meals on the Europe-India flight - everyone else just sticks to a meal and a snack. Here is another opportunity for 9W to really stand out if they so chose. We were then brought Mango Ice Cream to top it off which I neglected to get a picture of, sorry, but you better believe it hit the spot!

Soon after, the captain came on the PA and announced that due to inbound traffic, we would be placed in a holding pattern north of Mumbai which would delay our arrival by 30-45 minutes. No biggie - not with an impending 8 hour layover. I'd much rather spend it in the air than on the ground at BOM!
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08131.jpg

Finally out of the holding pattern:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08134.jpg
And almost there:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08137.jpg

Right after landing, a drizzly BOM still affords us a view of some familiar tails:
9W and NW:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08147.jpg
Deplaning, again in a most orderly fashion:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08149.jpg

Taxiied to the gate and into the zoo that BOM has become due to the renovations. After deplaning we were instructed to turn right by some employees who met the aircraft (no signs, of course), and during the whole walk around the circular terminal, we're trying to weave our way through passengers who were boarding flights using the same hallway we were! Just a little nervewracking if you can imagine. Finally we make our way to the end of the terminal and make our way downstairs to passport control. Make it through without any problems, then it's off to baggage claim. I was still paranoid about taking pics inside the terminal and there were armed guards everywhere, but here are a few shots I was able to sneak:
Baggage claim area - still the same as it ever was:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08150.jpg
The Green channel at customs:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08151.jpg

Now's when the real fun began. We made our way down the exit hall and turned left where the domestic transit area is. My mom's cousin was originally going to meet us and let us stay at his place for the few hours until our flight to NAG since we had such a long layover, so me and my sis had planned to go drop our bags off with 9W then meet him outside the terminal. However (and unbeknownst to us), he saw us (from outside) enter the domestic check-in area and since it took us 20-30 min to complete the security check and get our boarding passes, he thought that BOM staff weren't letting any passengers leave the transit area - so he left! By the time we were checked in and walked outside looking for him, he was long gone. The people outside that evening must have had a ball, staring at me and my sister looking like a couple of lost puppies, frantically trying to spot my mom's cousin in the crowd. Luckily we had a few rupees with us so we tried calling from the STD booth right there but his mobile wasn't working. Waited a few more minutes and finally got ahold of him, and we decided it wasn't worth it at that point for him to come back and we'd have no problem staying at the terminal overnight. My thinking was we'd just tell the guards at the exit about our situation, that we hadn't met our party for the evening, we had a domestic connection, and hopefully they'd let us back in so we could catch the shuttle. Sounded pretty simple and rational right? Not so fast. The guards stop us on the way in and quickly I gather that they don't really know English or Marathi (the two languages me and my sis know), and we don't really know Hindi. Always a recipe for a good time. One of the guards says to us in broken english "You are outside - you must take taxi!" - and all I can do is yell back in quite fluent English - not a good thing. Meanwhile his Sikh compatriot is a bit amused, and I ask him if he knows Marathi, which he says he does. I go on to explain our situation in Marathi the best I can, as he keeps laughing (yeah, he obviously doesn't know Marathi). Finally he asks to see our boarding passes, which I pull out and show him. The other guard is still insistent that we have to take a taxi, while the Sikh guard is now feeling more sympathetic. They bicker for another minute or two and finally the Sikh guard convinces his compatriot to let us back in so we can catch the shuttle to the domestic terminal. Sigh. Profusely thanking them, me and my sis make our way for the 2nd time to the domestic check-in area where this time we obtain our bus passes and try to find some seats under fans, since this part of the terminal isn't air-conditioned. Both of our tempers are running a bit short at that point too, if you can imagine. Only 6 hours to go!
Here's a quick shot of the transit area at BOM's int'l terminal:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08152.jpg

After letting all those with tight connections go, the attendant summons the rest of us with later flights, and we are soon on our way to the domestic terminal. It's a 20-30 minute ride around the perimeter - with no real light or spotting opportunities to speak of. The bus itself was rather crammed and not very air-conditioned. Welcome to India Anyway here she is, after arrival at BOM's domestic terminal:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08165.jpg

Right after making my way inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the open, gleaming, welcome appearance of this obviously renovated terminal. I mean, it reminded me of airports that we see in the developed world! Simply amazing. So heartening to see progress of this kind in India. Well it was quite apparent that me and my sis would have plenty of company for the night, and after 24 hours of traveling, we were in no mood to deal with much more. Fortunately we found a couple of seats that were in a reasonably quiet area around some not-too-shady looking characters, so we settled in the for the next 4-5 hours or so. Fortunately BOM wasn't busy at all at that hour (1:30 AM or so), so we were able to at least lie back and relax, if not catch some zzz's. 5 AM's morning rush came soon enough, however, and we realized that that would be any rest we might get. I took advantage of this to get some shots of BOM's interior:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08167.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08168.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08169.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08170.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08171.jpg
The waiting area past security:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08172.jpg
Lounge for premium passengers on the upper level:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08174.jpg
BOM's domestic layout is interesting as there are no individual gates so you can hear all the announcements for every airline's flight. Something unique you don't get to experience everywhere. It was also interesting to see how streamlined 9W's BOM operation really is. They've really got it down to an art - how efficiently and professionally they're able to handle a high volume of flights so quickly. 645 came, and boarding was announced for our flight to Nagpur. Well let me correct that, people lined up for the flight, THEN boarding was announced. Haha - I dont think I'd ever seen that before.
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08177.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08178.jpg

The buses 9W uses to move pax to the planes:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08180.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08181.jpg

Our bird from the outside - sorry for the obstructed shot:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08183.jpg
Boarding still underway:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08184.jpg

We were delayed a bit on the tarmac at BOM - I didn't know why at the time, but soon enough we were ready to go. Here's a cabin shot:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08185.jpg

Date: Mon June 23, 2008
Flight: 9W 111
Routing: BOM-NAG
STD/ATD: 0705/0725
STA/ATA: 0825/0845
Equip: 737-800 (VT-JNM)
Seat: 24A
Duration: 1 hour 3 minutes
Load: 100%

Being onboard this flight reminded me why I loved 9W so much. The cabin and seats were roomy and comfortable with plenty of legroom - much moreso than IC's A320s which I've taken on this same route in the past. And let's not even start with 9W's cabin crew We sat at our position for a few minutes and that allowed a chance for some more spotting:
A 9W 77W - I'm assuming just arrived from PVG:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08189.jpg
BOM Domestic Terminal Exterior:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08186.jpg
AI A321:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08192.jpg
Taxiing to the secondary runway:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08194.jpg
And takeoff:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08199.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08203.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08204.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08205.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08206.jpg

Breakfast service started almost immediately as would be needed on this completely full flight. Me and my sis opted for the Veg option of which we had two choices actually - Masala uthappam or Parathas - we got the masala uthappam:

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline9W748Capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 18738 times:

*deleted*

filler...

[Edited 2008-07-08 19:27:12]

User currently offline9W748Capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 18715 times:

Here's the masala uthappam:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08208.jpg

It was quite good indeed - very tasty - yet again just a little cool for my taste Oh well, it didn't really matter at that point - I was just happy to have something good to eat! Soon enough, we were descending into Nagpur:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08211.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08213.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08216.jpg

No taxiways at NAG so you go all the way to the piano keys then turn around:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08220.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08218.jpg

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08219.jpg

And some Il-76s that I probably shouldn't have on camera:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08217.jpg

Exterior view of NAG's new terminal (under construction)
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08225.jpg

Right after we parked, I saw a sizeable contingent of military/government personnel approach the L1 door (with my camera in my pocket, of course). I wasn't sure what was going on, but it turns out none other than Praful Patel was on our flight, riding in the forward cabin! Quite a crowd had turned out to receive outside the airport actually - let's hope he comes through on his promises to help the Vidarbha region develop. Now if only I'd had my camera out!
And our aircraft from NAG's tarmac:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08228.jpg

Baggage claim inside the so-far-renovated terminal:
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08229.jpg
And we're there!
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/nagpur1/indiatrip08375.jpg

Well, there ya go - after 4 flights and 30+ hours, we are finally in Nagpur! And what a trip it was. Definitely good to try out some new routes and airplanes once in awhile. Here are my thoughts:

on AA: You know what you're going to get with them, and they deliver on that, nothing more, nothing less. And there's something to be said about that.

on 9W: Potentially one of the best (if not THE best) products in the sky. Seriously, I still can't get over how comfortable their Y class was. Just incredible. Now if they could only refine their service a little bit! Which I'm sure they'll do. Their domestic service in India is still top-notch.

Well, thanks for reading as always! Stay tuned for the TR on the return trip, this time through DEL, taking the AA nonstop to ORD (and maybe I'll include some pictures of Nagpur also!). And be sure to leave me some comments!
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg208/no1cub17/OKCtoNAG/indiatrip08141.jpg

[Edited 2008-07-08 19:35:20]

User currently offlineCakentennis From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 152 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 18678 times:

Excellent Trip report 9w748capt!

It's funny how Indian parents always expect you to buy stuff for them from (gasp) Walmart! On my trips to India, I usually have one carry on with my stuff and 2 bag loads of crap for my family! yeesh!

Glad to know you had a good experience with 9W. I was intending on taking their flight to India this December, but their customer service here in the States is just horrible and they made purchasing the ticket very complicated. I decided to settle with Air India which was cheaper and already assigned me some pretty good seats! Can't wait till December. It'll we be the first time I'll fly AIs classic "Gujarat Express" (EWR-CDG-BOM-AMD)

I'm sure, I won't share your disappointments with the catering.  Wink


User currently offlineTmarch291 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 147 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 18678 times:

Awesome trip report and good photos. I have always wanted to see India and Jet Airways seems really nice.

Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to the return report!

Tim


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4742 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 18306 times:

What an awesome trip report! I felt almost sorry for you to go through that zoo of an airport in BOM!

Quoting 9W748Capt (Thread starter):
An hour or so before our scheduled arrival, a snack was served. I opted for the Veg option which was Pav Bhaji. How appropriate for a BOM flight right?

I was never a fan of vegetarian food until I had an Indian housemate who hailed from Mumbai. And what do you know? He makes really good Pav Bhaji! Now I love indian vegetarian food. I mean the flavour that bursts from these foods is just amazing! Never thought vegetarian food can tatste so good!



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3212 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 18173 times:



Quoting 9W748Capt (Thread starter):
We actually bought our tickets just a week or two before AA and 9W announced their code-sharing agreements, so we would miss out on earning miles for the 9W segments - oh well

This should not be the case - if there's a FFP relationship at the time of the flight, that's the thing that counts. Since AA and 9W have a FFP arrangement since Feb 15th you should be able to still earn AA miles if you have the 9W boarding passes handy. And definitely add in your AA FFP # to the booking for the return process.

Quoting 9W748Capt (Thread starter):
the domestic check-in area where this time we obtain our bus passes and try to find some seats under fans

Need more details on this - I have a 2 hour and a 1:45 connection at BOM this month (9W intl to 9W domestic) and was wondering if that's going to be easy or just a pain?

Great report and lots of fun to read! Glad that the seats on 9W are good, though the in flight service is definitely sub par.



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineBrusselsSouth From Belgium, joined Aug 2001, 624 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 18136 times:

Hi,

Very interesting report and nice pics !

Quoting 9W748Capt (Thread starter):
Load: 100%



Quoting 9W748Capt (Thread starter):
Load: 100%



Quoting 9W748Capt (Thread starter):
Load: 100%



Quoting 9W748Capt (Thread starter):
Load: 100%

I know one shouldn't judge how successful a route is based on the passenger load factor of just one particular day, however those are amazing loads. Makes me wonder how profitable the 9W BRU hub is (if it is...)

Regards
BrusselsSouth


User currently offlineRogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1197 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 18107 times:

Hola 9W748Capt!

Thanks for this awesome TR!

Jet Airways seems to offer a great product in their routes to India...

I have just seen that you can earn as well M&M miles with them, so I am sure I will consider them now to fly between Europe and India.

Enjoy your time at home and happy return flight! Looking forward to reading it soon!

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offline9W748Capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 17637 times:

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments and more importantly, for taking the time to read all the way through!

Quoting Cakentennis (Reply 3):
It's funny how Indian parents always expect you to buy stuff for them from (gasp) Walmart! On my trips to India, I usually have one carry on with my stuff and 2 bag loads of crap for my family! yeesh!

Haha - sounds about right!

Quoting Cakentennis (Reply 3):
but their customer service here in the States is just horrible and they made purchasing the ticket very complicated.

Really? That's surprising to me - I called their toll free number a few times to make sure me and my sis could get seats next to each other on our 9W flights and they were definitely helpful and very friendly. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with them! AI has stepped up their product though (and really, it's not that bad to begin with), so I'm sure you'll have a great trip onboard the Gujurat Express  Smile Make sure you do a TR!

Quoting Tmarch291 (Reply 4):

Keep up the good work and I'm looking forward to the return report!

Thanks! Keep your eyes open for it - I'll put it up as soon as I can find time to write it!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
I felt almost sorry for you to go through that zoo of an airport in BOM!

Haha - well I appreciate it! But honestly, how boring would India be if everything worked the way it was supposed to? If they hired people who KNEW ENGLISH at their Int'l airports? Now why on earth would they do that?  Silly It was quite an experience. Me and my sis agreed that at the time it sucked, but if nothing less, it's one more story we'll never forget. Our relatives loved hearing about it as well as you can imagine!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
I mean the flavour that bursts from these foods is just amazing! Never thought vegetarian food can tatste so good!

Dude tell me about it - I'm not vegeterian by any stretch, but I LOVE Indian Veg cuisine as well  Smile

Quoting Nimish (Reply 6):
you should be able to still earn AA miles if you have the 9W boarding passes handy.

I'll check again, but IIRC our 9W flights weren't in an eligible fare class to earn AA miles anyway which is some BS because these were some pricey tickets! But I'll look into it again.

Quoting Nimish (Reply 6):
Need more details on this - I have a 2 hour and a 1:45 connection at BOM this month (9W intl to 9W domestic) and was wondering if that's going to be easy or just a pain?

I think that's pushing it - count on 30-45 minutes after landing at the Int'l terminal to get your bags and go through customs (depending on how crowded it is) - then by the time you check in at the domestic counter (which is just down the hallway as you exit the airport on the left side - it's clearly marked) and catch the shuttle (another 20-30 minute ride) - then you have to go through security again at BOM Domestic - I think it could be a little tight for you. What's your final destination - can you get 9W to rebook you on a later flight? We landed around 12, arrived at the gate around 12:10 - it didn't take more than 15-20 minutes to get through passport control but then had to wait another 15-20 min for our bags - then to go through customs and everything - I dont know if I could have made a connecting flight in under 2 hours.

Quoting BrusselsSouth (Reply 7):
I know one shouldn't judge how successful a route is based on the passenger load factor of just one particular day, however those are amazing loads. Makes me wonder how profitable the 9W BRU hub is (if it is...)

9W has been bleeding money like CRAZY from what I've read, and mostly on the Int'l routes too. Keep in mind this is the peak of peak season for travel TO India, so it's expected that the flights would be full.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 8):
Thanks for this awesome TR!

Jet Airways seems to offer a great product in their routes to India...

You're welcome! It is a great product indeed. Now if they could only refine their service a bit, it would truly be top-notch.


User currently offlineDavescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2305 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 17506 times:

Very cool TR! Thanks for posting!

Dave



Can I have a mojito on this flight?
User currently offlineLH459 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 886 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 17375 times:



Quoting 9W748Capt (Reply 2):
Here's the masala uthappam:

Looks like they gave you some upma on the side as well?  yummy  What a fantastic breakfast! Actually, all of the food on 9W looks good.
This was a very thorough and enjoyable report! I really want to try 9W's new SFO flight now. Big grin



"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is temporary; the evil it does is permanent" - Ghandi
User currently offlineSemsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 17337 times:

As to the AA meal no you are not being harsh. I had exactly the same meal a few months ago back to Europe from JFK. The main meal was good but the "desert" was pure "rubbish" (miniature lemon biscuits).

However the meal to the USA was excellent. There is no consistency on AA.


User currently offlineSapporo From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 17126 times:

Great trip report! Congrats on finishing third year! I teach at OU Med School, and will be taking AA88 next week as part of my routing TUL-ORD-BRU-EBB. Now I know what to expect from AA - can't say their TATL Y product looks very impressive. I just hope everything in Chicago goes smooth for both you and me...

User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 17038 times:

Nice TR! I flew 9W back in march and I had pretty much the exact same experience as you. I must say it's somewhat comforting to see such high load factors on the 9W flights after hearing about their financial problems.

User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3212 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 16886 times:



Quoting 9W748Capt (Reply 9):
I think that's pushing it - count on 30-45 minutes after landing at the Int'l terminal to get your bags and go through customs (depending on how crowded it is) - then by the time you check in at the domestic counter (which is just down the hallway as you exit the airport on the left side - it's clearly marked) and catch the shuttle (another 20-30 minute ride) - then you have to go through security again at BOM Domestic - I think it could be a little tight for you. What's your final destination - can you get 9W to rebook you on a later flight? We landed around 12, arrived at the gate around 12:10 - it didn't take more than 15-20 minutes to get through passport control but then had to wait another 15-20 min for our bags - then to go through customs and everything - I dont know if I could have made a connecting flight in under 2 hours.

I'm worried about the outbound (I'm going BLR-BOM-SFO) with a 1:45 connection. There is no earlier flight - other than the last flight the previous night. Anyway - checked with 9W and they have promised to make this connection happen, and honestly I'm in no rush to get to SFO - so a day's delay (at 9W's expense I hope) does not scare me  Wink. On the return - it's not a problem as there's a BOM-BLR flight every couple of hours, so if I miss the first flight, I'd just take the next.

I would hate it though if I was on board a flight with no service at all for the first 2 hours after take off! That would totally suck. So here's hoping that 9W improves their service levels on board! And looking forward to your return TR.



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 16804 times:

Fantastic T/R with great pics.

Seemed a real long trip.

Enjoy your stay.
Looking fwd to the return T/R.

cheers.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineCakentennis From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 152 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 16374 times:



Quoting 9W748Capt (Reply 9):
Really? That's surprising to me - I called their toll free number a few times to make sure me and my sis could get seats next to each other on our 9W flights and they were definitely helpful and very friendly. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with them! AI has stepped up their product though (and really, it's not that bad to begin with), so I'm sure you'll have a great trip onboard the Gujurat Express Smile Make sure you do a TR!

They require every purchase made by phone to be recorded or heard by a third party. Someone in A.net said that they do this as proof in case of fraud. But I don't trust these call centers based in India because they are not subject to US customer confidentiality laws. I ditched them and purchased an Air India ticket through Orbitz.

I will most definitely be doing a TR for Air India, this time with pics ofcourse!  Smile I have traveled by Air India only once, and that was a domestic flight in India. I hope I'll be traveling on a refurbished 747 or one of their new 77W.


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8484 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (6 years 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 16137 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great TR!

Really enjoyed the read and selection of pictures added, good fun trio indeed!

Jet look pretty good, I'd quite like to give them a try one day.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineJokestar From Australia, joined Apr 2008, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 15807 times:

Amazing trip report! Reminds me so much of my two trips in BOM last year.
I booked a seat on 9W210 from PVG-SFO yesterday for December, and having seen those pictures, I am 200 times more excited about the flight. The contrast between that flight and my folloing one (SFO-LAS) on a US A320 should be fairly strong, haha.

Thanks for the excellent trip report and good to hear you had a great trip.


User currently offlineUK_Dispatcher From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2001, 2589 posts, RR: 30
Reply 20, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 15786 times:

Well done on a nice, detailed report.

I too love Jet Airways based on my short-haul flights with them, but am yet to try their long-haul product. My BKK-CCU flight with them last year in Business Class was superb.


User currently offlineOjas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2957 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (6 years 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 15490 times:

A lovely TR! The Jet airways aircraft B777-300ER does look very good, would love to try it.

The NAG airport surely looks promising. My mom flew from Doha to Nagpur last year and said the airport was very clean, however even though the only international flight at that time, the immigration was slow.



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3212 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (6 years 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 15237 times:

A question on the "amenities" on each seat.

Is there a USB port on each seat - useful to charge an MP3 player? SQ's seats have those (along with 2 power outlets per 3 seats) - and I find both those feature really cool.



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offline9W748Capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 545 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (6 years 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 14742 times:



Quoting Semsem (Reply 12):
However the meal to the USA was excellent. There is no consistency on AA.

Agreed! I remember when I flew DFW-NRT-DFW, the food on NRT-DFW was much better than out of DFW. I guess that's more of a damning of US caterers than AA itself...

Quoting Sapporo (Reply 13):
Great trip report! Congrats on finishing third year! I teach at OU Med School, and will be taking AA88 next week as part of my routing TUL-ORD-BRU-EBB. Now I know what to expect from AA - can't say their TATL Y product looks very impressive. I just hope everything in Chicago goes smooth for both you and me...

Thanks! Wow small world - I'm assuming you're at the Tulsa campus? Have a great trip to Uganda and do a TR if you can!

Quoting Nimish (Reply 15):
I'm worried about the outbound (I'm going BLR-BOM-SFO) with a 1:45 connection. There is no earlier flight - other than the last flight the previous night. Anyway - checked with 9W and they have promised to make this connection happen, and honestly I'm in no rush to get to SFO - so a day's delay (at 9W's expense I hope) does not scare me Wink

Haha - that's the spirit! Sorry it took me awhile to reply - have you left already? Hope you made it!

Quoting Cakentennis (Reply 17):
They require every purchase made by phone to be recorded or heard by a third party.

Hmm weird - did you not try to purchase it through jetairways.com? Their website is quite decent from what I've seen, though it may be slow at times. In any case I guess it doesn't matter now - I'm sure you'll have a great trip on AI.

Quoting Ojas (Reply 21):
The NAG airport surely looks promising. My mom flew from Doha to Nagpur last year and said the airport was very clean, however even though the only international flight at that time, the immigration was slow.

Indeed - amazing how far it's come in a few years. Hopefully they'll keep the improvements coming. Would be nice for NAG to get some more int'l flights too! I could do with another 8 hour layover at BOM...

Quoting Nimish (Reply 22):
A question on the "amenities" on each seat.

Is there a USB port on each seat - useful to charge an MP3 player? SQ's seats have those (along with 2 power outlets per 3 seats) - and I find both those feature really cool.

I don't think there is. Although I didn't specifically look for a USB port, I did look for a 110 volt outlet to charge my phone/camera and didn't find one, which was confusing because I could swear that in their in-flight magazine, it mentioned having outlets every few seats. I'm not the best person to answer this question though so I apologize!

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments! Glad you guys enjoyed. Believe me I am working on the return TR but I've been a bit busy at school so it's still a work in progress - hopefully I'll have it up in the next few days.


User currently offlineMk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 14517 times:

Nice TR. Very interesting read.

Seems like the AA flight to BRU was typical of AA transatlantic, i went to DEL on AA292/293 and the food looked quite similar. Nothing home to write about. Though i have to say, the FA who was serving us, was very charming and very nice lady.

on your 9W flight, it was quite unacceptable that the non-veg option was over before the FA's got to you guys. Nonetheless, what could you do, even i wouldn't have made a big deal out of it. The food, however, looks good, the pav-bhaji looks yummy.

The terminals in India need to become more efficient for transit pax. Here's hoping that when new terminals are constructed, things would look better.

Loved your spotting pictures @ ORD, BRU, BOM and of your a/c @ NAG. I think its first time ive seen NAG on airliners.net. Hope you are having an enjoyable trip.

Looking forward to the return TR  Smile



come fly with me
User currently offlineTonyban From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 342 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (6 years 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 14395 times:

Great TR. I flew on Jet between LHR and ATQ return back in February 2008. The service on this route was sub-par at best. Was served chicken curry on the way out and chicken curry on the return flight. It seems Jet just loves to serve chicken curry dishes. I also assume that the Air Hostess position in India is considered a glamour job because the F/As on this flight were rather rude and stuck up, though very attractive. Since the plane was full of Punjabi's, there were a few drunk passengers on the way out and about 100 screaming babies on the trip back.
Since Jet is the only one offering direct flights between LHR and ATQ, they have full loads almost daily. The A330 on this route was also showing signs of wear and tear. Many seats had ripped cloth and the carpet was torn just about the entire length of the plane.


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