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Air India AI 101: 17/JUN/09: CCU-DEL-JFK: J Cabin  
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5076 posts, RR: 55
Posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Feedback always appreciated.

Trip Report: 080
Flight Category: J-ILR (See Report End)
Date: 17 Jun-09 (See Report End)
SDT/SAT/Dur/Delay: 2000/0600+1/19:30 hrs
Flight: Air India AI 101, 816+7318 = 8133 miles
Routing: CCU-DEL-JFK
Aircraft: 319/77L
Seat: Business “Executive” Class, 1A/8K

I > Background:
If there was an Indian visa ever given for attending marriage ceremonies, I would have applied. Over the past three years, all my business work in India has meant that I have developed a strong network of Indian friends. Interestingly, they all seem to be getting married and I was invited to yet another wedding in India. Since my work schedule had been crazy, I had to take the fastest way to India. Working on client site in NYC meant my options were limited to Continental and Air India. With ticket prices being slightly cheaper, because AI had MUCH better onward connection to CCU, and because I don’t like CO’s psuedo-wannabee-flat bed, I decided to try Air India once again and see if it was as good as my trip in Y in March 2008. Read report .

There has been a few reports on Air India of late including one in J class. All of them has been positive except one. This is the second report on AI’s DEL-JFK flight in J … however, as a “bonus”; I give you the first J report of erstwhile Indian Airlines. AI 101 operates as a through flight from CCU with change of gauge at DEL and I was excited as the #1 flight I have ever reviewed was on this sector in Y class.

II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Air India is the “flag” carrier of India. It is one of the pioneering airlines in the world and was considered amongst the best for overall service until the mid 1980s. Service standards deteriorated throughout the 1990s and 2000, and the airline garnered a particularly nasty reputation for unreliable service. With the opening up of Indian aviation industry, there is a renewed commitment to improve AI and to establish itself once again as a premier airline. A new fleet order, merging with Indian Airlines, a well liked rebranding, new nonstops, and a Star Alliance designation by 2009 are all steps towards that direction. However, holding it back are horrible financials, a service culture stooped in political conundrums, and a reputation that will take some time to improve.

Ticketing was done on Air India’s website (www.airindia.in). While I was able to utilize the booking engine to chose the desired flights and have them e-ticketed, it was not seamless and not user friendly. It is disappointing given that India is such an IT superpower. Anyways, seat selection could be done on the website and so I called their U.S. toll free number and was able to get my desired seats without problem.

b) At Airport:
As Air India operates this flight as AI 101 from CCU to JFK via DEL, I had to check-in at the “international terminal” at CCU. Now, CCU’s “domestic terminal” is rather passable. However, I find their international terminal to be pretty rudimentary with customer service levels generally poor (only MAA is worse in India). After my ticket being scrutinized (as at all Indian airports), I was able to go to the counter where a grumpy man (VERY much stereotypical of a government employee ANYWHERE in the world, and very reminiscent of the immigration officers at VIE) “greeted” me. It soon became apparent that he was more interested in chatting with his colleagues than helping me and after 15 minutes of waiting, I politely asked him if “anything was wrong”. He did not bother to respond and 5 minutes later handed me 2 boarding passes. When asked if I could change my seat on the DEL-JFK segment he promptly responded “all sold out”. Whatever. I knew he was lying and did not bother to question him. I mean, how does one know that it was “all sold out” without looking at the screen. Uugh. Since I was high from the wedding, I decided to let go and move on. Finally, after reminding him for the lounge passes, I thanked him for the tremendous work he had done and moved on. Since the flight is tagged as a through connection, immigration was done at CCU. Here I found a rather nice immigration chap where the interaction was as follows:

Immi Dude: “Mr. Alex, I see you have been visiting us quite often”.
Me: “Yes. Lots of friends and lots of weddings”.
Immi Dude: “Aah. So have you found one to get married to for yourself”.
Me: “Haha. No. Why does every Indian want me married?”
Immi Dude: “Because, we all want you to be happy”.
Me: “Haha. Well, I am happy and have another great time in your country.”
Immi Dude: “I am glad. You definitely are using that visa well. Maybe they give you a passport”.

Haha. What a nice chap! So after more pleasantries exchanged and more shaking of the head (sooo cute Indian way), he bid me farewall and I made my way to the “lounge”. Now, this “lounge” has to be the 2nd most lame lounge I have been to in my life (after of course, the new Cairo T3 where “lounge” means a coupon to eat a set tray of crap at a fast food place); it was basically one small waiting area. I mean the only “lounge” I have seen close to being this small is the Lufthansa lounge @ Boston. To be fair, I was the only one at the “lounge” and the attendant went out of his way. That was MUCH better than the crap LH lounge at Boston where I have NEVER managed to actually sit down.

Boarding was called 40 minutes prior and was relatively fast and while there was some pushing and shoving, it was still a gentle version of “ILBST”. Entering a mellow J class, I got a warm greeting from the crew and offer of assistance with my bags. The crew looked genuinely welcoming. J load of 50%; Y load was 100%. On the DEL-JFK segment, J load was 60%, Y load was 100%.

Airport - External:

(Kolkata Airport)
http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k251/abrelosojosnow/1-6.jpg

Check-in:

(Check-in)


Airport - Internal:

(Internal)


(FIDS – weird display as our flight was on time)

(Post Security @ DEL)


Scenes of the tarmac:

NONE

Lounge

(CCU’s “lounge”)


(DEL)




Boarding:



III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
An impressive service schedule. On the CCU-DEL leg, pre-take off, coconut water/lemon water/water service and distribution of newspapers and magazines. Post-take off, head phones are menus are distributed (more on that later), hot towels, beverage and dinner service. Prior to landing at Delhi, cold towels.

At Delhi, J class passengers are bused in a separate bus to the airport and escorted to the lounge. The lounge here is MUCH better with computer terminals, booze, shower, et al. After an hour, we are escorted to the gate for the 77L service to JFK. On the DEL-JFK another great welcome at the door with awesome crews.

Upon embarkation at Delhi, the assorted juices (coconut, lemon, mango) run along with water and distribution of menu. After take-off from Delhi, headphones are distributed, along with pyjamas, and slippers. Amenity kits distributed shortly thereafter. Service commences with a beverage service, followed by dinner. Prior to landing, a breakfast service. Drink runs throughout out the flight.

Oh one thing I absolutely love ... and increasingly rare on Business class worldwide is that after dinner, the crew comes and does a “turn-down” service and tucks you in. Along with the pyjamas they give you onboard, a very rare thing these days in J.

b) Aircraft + Seats:
Air India’s 77L were delivered factory fresh and contrary to Karan’s report, my aircraft still smelt and looked new. The interior is spotless and well-maintained and the alternating yellow, orange, and red seat shades are extremely pleasant to the eye. The bathrooms were well stocked throughout the flight and was clean even after the 12 hour flight to JFK.

Air India’s 319 was also well-maintained – though the interiors could do with some color. It felt like being on any generic 319 and did not have the motif that I am usually accustomed to on Air India.

On the 319, F class is at 2-2 configuration with generous pitch for a domestic flight. The seats have above industry recline, come with foot and headrests.

The full-flat seat that Air India has is a delight and is definitely one of the best J class seats out there. It reclines to being full-flat and has MUCH more space than the constrained Herringbone seats. In fact, the only seat that I would rate better is probably Etihad’s J seat (I have not used SQ’s new J). The orange seats within an off-white motifed environment and set against mood lighting made the cabin an extremely welcoming environment and prepared you for a soothing flight. Having flowers in the bulkhead enhancing the classy feeling of the cabin. The seats themselves are made of cloth and are nothing special in seating position. However, the moment you recline it to full 180, it truly shines! The “bed” created by the seat is truly flat and incredibly nice. Not only do you get a fully-flat feeling, the folds are minimized and small ensuring there are not too many “bumps” as one dozes off. I have a hard time sleeping on planes and I was able to manage a solid 8 hours with zero interruption. Pretty impressive. Accentuating the great sleeper seats is the ability to be comfortable in several positions, and rather decent legroom. Finally, the seat itself is ergonomically designed with ample storage space and all that. Last word is about the well maintained bathrooms – complimented by sufficient products. Overall, the seat was super conducive to dozing off. It does not provide the same level of privacy as Etihad’s excellent J seats … but then again, the seats are better maintained and not having minor “technical issues” like many of my recent Etihad’s J seats.

Aircraft:

(77L – photo courtesy: Royal S King)


Views from Aircraft:

(CCU)




(DEL)










(En route)


General Seat Views + Seat Legroom

(AI 319)


(AI 77L)




(Controls)


(Power)


Seat Recline + Angle View:

(319 recline)


(Bed Position – with turndown service)




Cabin:

(319)




(77L)




(Bathroom Amenities)



c) Meal + Beverage:

Meal service on flights on airlines from India have never disappointed me and this flight was no exception.

On the domestic leg , we were welcomed with a choice of beverages and I helped myself to the natural coconut water. Absolutely delicious stuff. After menus were distributed, I chose the non-vegetarian option which start with a delicious traditional soup (Indian A.Netters, please tell me what it is ... absolutely yummy) and a very Indian salad. Again, something I have never had. I had to pinch myself and remind that on a flight less than 900 mile, I was receiving a full-entree served on bone china. It was rice served with a type of chicken curry and a spinach and corn preparation. All of it was excellent and something you’d find in a restaurant. To finish off, we had the option of western or Indian dessert. I chose the later and it was a sweet milk based thing ... again, no idea what it is called. Very delicious! After the service finished, tea or cafe were offered.

On the international leg , we were welcomed with a choice of juices and I helped myself to the natural coconut water (which along with “sweet lime” juice I have become addicted to from India). Again, absolutely delicious stuff. Post menus distribution and orders being taken, service commenced with a beverage and things to nibble at. Warm almonds and a selection of Indian snacks (a tad too spicey for me) were given out with my Johny Walker Black on the rocks. For those of us who wanted the “express” service to sleep, food was brought in 2 servings – this was actually really nice instead of the “tray” service I get from AI on daytime flights. The “eat when you want” was done really well ... classy like Qatar and British; not like Etihad! I skipped the soup and was given a salad plate (which actually was disappointing – including the presentation), but was then compensated by a really good Chicken korma and potato curry. Again, complete 5-star restaurant fare. Accompanying these dishes were a good selection of bread (western and Indian), box of chocolates, and a really yummy chocolate cake. There were also all the typical condiments one finds accompanying Indian food at a restaurant. Beverage service throughout the meal was overly generous and I had the FA remind me on several occasions that “Alex, you’re glass is empty”! Seriously, awesome.

Between the dinner and the breakfast service, a very generous snack service was offered. It included a collection of sandwiches to chose from, Indian samosas, fruit salad, and an Indian or Western dessert. Additionally, one could walk up to the galley and chose a selection of drinks from the bar ... or, you could be me ... and just basically have the FA top me off as they did one of their myraid of alcohol and water runs.

Prior to landing a breakfast serviced commenced and again there were some excellent choices including the sausage/omelette combination which I had and was amazed at how delicious it was! Included in the meal was bread, more fruit salad, and another desert. By the way, (side note), Indians have SERIOUS sweet-teeth! I have never seen a group of people eat as much dessert as these people do. Can someone please send me how you stay thin?! Also with breakfast was a collection of juices available ... all freshly squeezed.

(CCU-DEL; take-off drink)


(Dinner)






(Tea w/headphones)


(DEL-JFK; take-off drink)


(Menu)










(Pre-dinner service)




(Dinner)







(Between meal ... meal)


(Snack Bar)


(Breakfast)




d) Inflight Entertainment:
Absolutely delightful. Seriously people, I am increasingly becoming an AI convert. Their IFE system once again kept me entertained. Featuring a fully touch screen system, it offers over 1000 hours of entertainment including a seriously wide choice of movies (over 36 quality English movies), games, great forward and rear cameras, and messaging, etc. Even more appealing is the Bose noise-cancelling headsets you get. A good in-flight magazine and you really have no reason to complain about the standard of service.

(319)


(77L)














(Classy headsets by Bose)


(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)


(Magazine tray)


e) Crew:
Again, the highlight of my Air India experience! And again, what an absolutely delightful crew! On a macro level, loved their pro-active smiles, welcoming on board, help with the luggage, water runs, prompt response to call buttons (oh, and let me tell you, Indians are demanding … hehe), and caring questions such as, “how was the meal sir?” or at the end of the flight asking people, “how was the service?” and “please fill out our survey.” Moreover, I am convinced that the crew were out there to make you drunk! They would not stop filling my beverage and kept everyone in good spirits ... including this very upper-East side IBanker who thought she owned the aircraft. Constant chatting and using first names always go a long way in breaking the ice and establishing a rapport.

Then there was once again an incredible personal experience that I must highlight. During the flight, my random photo-taking had caught the attention of the lead purser with whom I had a delightful conversation. It went something along these lines:

Purser: “Mr. Alex, you like to take a lot of photos.”
Me: “Oh yes, I love flying and like to remember the service.”
Purser: “So what do you think of AI?”
Me: “Generally great – ground service needs to be improved.”

Then, general banter and an amazing inside-idea of how they are being brave and that they would overcome the current financial crisis. Mr. Purser had no patience for government intervention and thought that performance based promotions must be adhered to. He then went on talking about new routes, his life with AI (30 years) etc. Somehow our conversation went on to collecting airline souvenirs. And, this is how the rest of the conversation went:

Purser: “Mr. Alex, it seems you really do love airlines. You know, I will see what I can dig up at home and send to you. If you don’t mind, you can give me your address and I’ll see what I can do”.

Now, I am someone who truly believes in “you live once” and take chances with life. So I gave him my address and did not think much.

3 weeks later, I had a beautiful Air India hand-fan from the 1960s delivered to my address in Venezuela!!! See the pictures. It was gorgeous! It came with a note, “keep flying us during these hard times”. I almost had tears! I have never met a crew member who has gone so much above and beyond their call of duty. Mr. Ashok, you’re an angel and why I love flying.

I have flown over 3,000 flights in my 30 years, and this AI man was like no other. Absolute delight, personal service that came from the heart.

IV> Post-Flight:
Landing at JFK was remarkably smooth and I cleared immigration very quickly. Unfortunately, my luggage did not come through. After an amazing flight, I was brought back down to earth by the AI’s horrible outsourced ground agency. They were rude and incompetent and did not understand their contractual obligation to deliver my bag to Venezuela. Worse, the station manager (who is also the 2nd in line at their NYC operation) was equally rude and condescending. He first refused to deliver my bag to CCS and after several heated exchanges and a good telling-off on their contract of carriage, I was able to have my bag routed to CCS. I got it 5 days later. I recognize bags do go missing ... but the attitude I got (especially from the JFK duty manager) was beyond belief.

(JFK – my first sighting of a 380 in EK colors)


V> Impressions + Scores:
If you have read this report, you can very well understand my overall impression of AI. On the flight part, Air India was again almost flawless. I know one of the fellow A.Netters had a poor experience … but this report confirms the overall positive reviews AI has got around here. Seats, IFE, food, beverage were all top class. The presence of a nice amenity kit, stationary, pyjamas in J, turn-down service, etc. were nice additional touches. Topping it off, again, an amazing set of crew on both legs of the flight.

The purser was just the kind of person who reminds you of the joys of flying. Seriously, who would take the time to send a fan across the world?!

Having said all the positive things, one cannot ignore the shoddy product on the ground. A great airline is made up of consistent product from the moment you book to the time you reach home. It seems that ground personnel have not caught up with this idea of the “new Air India”. Check-in staff at CCU were just rude. Worse, the attitude of the duty manager at JFK left a lot to be desired. Both left a lingering taste in my mouth and why this AI flight could not get perfect scores in the Premium Class review section.

I thought my first “amazing” experience with Air India might have been an one-off. However, consistently, I keep on finding liking Air India and her staff. Perhaps I have been lucky, but I seem to have got exemplary service from AI crew. Of course, one can encounter a flight like fellow A.Netter Karan had. But, I think AI is great. If it manages to survive this dark financial period, it is poised to regain its glory. Not only will I fly AI, it will be my preferred choice … at least on all sectors of the 77L, and when its competitors are airlines such as CO nonstop.



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.05: Air India (80): CCU-DEL-JFK: 06/2009
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.11: Austrian (79): VIE-JFK: 06/2009
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008 6.41: Avianca (78): JFK-BOG: 05/2009
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

(A great amenity kit)




(Pyjama’s and slippers)




(Stationary … and the 1960’s fan the purser sent me … absolutely amazing!)





Live, and let live.
33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineOjas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2963 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Alex a nice TR! Thank you for sharing. Good to know you had a wonderful experience on AI.

If my memory serves me right you had this flight delayed or something of those sorts isn't it? You had posted somewhere before that something happened at DEL and that the flight was re-scheduled. It looked like a day departure and a night arrival from the pictures.



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5076 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Ojas (Reply 1):
If my memory serves me right you had this flight delayed or something of those sorts isn't it? You had posted somewhere before that something happened at DEL and that the flight was re-scheduled. It looked like a day departure and a night arrival from the pictures.

= I have taken the nonstop several times now. In end December, I had to visit a client site in KTM and went via DEL. Could not write a trip report as I don't write reports on flights on work. A few of the pictures were taken during that time. Else, all the pictures were from my flight in June.

Quoting Ojas (Reply 1):
Good to know you had a wonderful experience on AI.

= Ya, I seem to have consistently good flights with them. The only recent poor experience as on HYD-BOM on an old 310. In-flight service was exemplary. Ground service (especially at JFK) needs work.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineKiramakora From Argentina, joined Aug 2006, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Alex, how are you? Your report was very detailed as usual and such a wonderful read. I flew AI on their Chicago to Frankfurt routing a few days back and also got fantastic crew.

User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6502 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi Alex!

Great report and nice to hear that Air India seems to be consistent in providing great service, at least in the air.

Would love to fly on the AI 77L again......

I guess they are supposed to start flying to SFO soon ?

Take Care

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4751 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Tsk tsk tsk.... thumbs down for presentation. They should have fluffled up the basmati rice and not keep the shape of the container is fell out from!



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineAirbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hi A.,

While I would like a better service on the ground, a bit more professional etc (OK, you're in India, so it might be a culture thing), service in the air is outstanding.
I like the seatdesign on the B77L. It's a 2-3-2 layout judging from the pictures, a setting also adopted by many others. 2-2-2- would make a difference and preferred...
Nice to receive one more present from the crew by mail! That's indeed very personal.

Regards,
Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26854 posts, RR: 58
Reply 7, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Nice photo report. Love the seats on AI and also the food. The delft is lovely also.

Hope AI come into Star , I wouldnt hesitate to fly with them as its been a few years since I flew with them .

OA260


User currently offlineMilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 856 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Well done - another great report.

Presentation of the food doesn't look great - but then again - taste is more important that's for sure.

Hopefully AI re-start service to Australia some day. Although I think they find it very hard to compete with MH/SQ who offer such seamless connections to so many Indian cities...

I'm off to India again soon and am looking forward to it even more now!


User currently offlineEgyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Another super TR Alex  Smile Thanks alot.

AI premium product looks fantastic, the food looks great and the cabin too. Good to hear.

Cheers
Egyptair269


User currently offlineMk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

HI Alex,

Wow, what a contrast from Karan69's TR on AI's 77L. I guess their DEL-JFK flight seem to have a better crew than the BOM-JFK leg, of course your trip was in J class when compared to his Y class report.

Everything seemed impeccable in the air-food, IFE and the bed along with a great crew. Now thats how the crew should be....sending an AI memento to your house, amazing  Smile , that fan is cute.

And you are right about the ground staff. i think they believe that they are Gods and every argument you present to them is futile because they think that they are right. AI really needs to improve in this department.

Well documented TR, though some pics are hazy, but i am sure its not your fault.

I need to give AI a try in the future....but they really need to fly into IAD soon



come fly with me
User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1651 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Namaste Alex,
Great TR as always and hope you enjoyed the wedding. We've been hearing increased positive feedback from those who fly on AI-and boy that airline is on the rise. And not just on the flagship nonstops to North America. I hear that even the cattle-truck Gulf routes (notorious for awful service, delays etc.) have been turned around. Although ground service in India is generally bad, at least the government has been investing in new facilities around India.
It's a shame that some people have this false sense of entitlement and act like the plane is theirs. That makes it double-hard for FAs, since no matter how hard they try, good service is wasted on those who deliberately set out to nitpick.
Some great pics, and thanks for sharing!  Smile


User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

I've been waiting to read this report for quite some time now! Thanks for posting this, Alex, and it looks like your experience was very similar to mine.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
At Delhi, J class passengers are bused in a separate bus to the airport and escorted to the lounge. The lounge here is MUCH better with computer terminals, booze, shower, et al. After an hour, we are escorted to the gate for the 77L service to JFK. On the DEL-JFK another great welcome at the door with awesome crews.

Oh wow, perhaps I should have waited in the lounge to be escorted! In DEL, I just went to gate really early because I was afraid I wouldn't get through security in time. Do you know if they consistently escort the J pax in DEL?

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Oh one thing I absolutely love ... and increasingly rare on Business class worldwide is that after dinner, the crew comes and does a “turn-down” service and tucks you in. Along with the pyjamas they give you onboard, a very rare thing these days in J.

Yes! This happened on my flight as well. I was amazed as I've never seen anything like that happen on a flight. Somehow I don't see CO doing that haha.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Air India’s 77L were delivered factory fresh and contrary to Karan’s report, my aircraft still smelt and looked new. The interior is spotless and well-maintained and the alternating yellow, orange, and red seat shades are extremely pleasant to the eye. The bathrooms were well stocked throughout the flight and was clean even after the 12 hour flight to JFK.

Yes, this was my opinion as well. They were VERY clean and well maintained. I also enjoyed the mood lighting.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I have a hard time sleeping on planes and I was able to manage a solid 8 hours with zero interruption.

It's funny you mention that because I was able to sleep more than ever on AI's 77L.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)

Where did you get that timetable ?! That's awesome. I tried to find one but I failed.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Worse, the station manager (who is also the 2nd in line at their NYC operation) was equally rude and condescending. He first refused to deliver my bag to CCS and after several heated exchanges and a good telling-off on their contract of carriage, I was able to have my bag routed to CCS. I got it 5 days later. I recognize bags do go missing ... but the attitude I got (especially from the JFK duty manager) was beyond belief.

This is surprising to me because I found the ground staff at JFK to be great. But then again there were no issues so perhaps they wouldn't have been as friendly if a problem arose.

Thanks again for posting this !


User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5076 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 32767 times:

Alex, how are you? Your report was very detailed as usual and such a wonderful read. I flew AI on their ORD-FRA a few days back and also got fantastic crew.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 6):
While I would like a better service on the ground, a bit more professional etc (OK, you're in India, so it might be a culture thing),

= Don't think it is a cultural thing as much as lazy obnoxious staffers who have no basic concept of service.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 6):
Nice to receive one more present from the crew by mail! That's indeed very personal.

= Ya. It adorns my office wall.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 8):
Presentation of the food doesn't look great - but then again - taste is more important that's for sure.

= Ya. I overlook the presentation because it was a night flight and it was more important (to me) that they quietly go over the "anytime" meal delivery pattern than wake up passengers with elaborate presentations. This is a problem I have had with EY - what is the point with presentation on a evening flight as most regular J-pax would rather be sleeping.

Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 8):
I'm off to India again soon and am looking forward to it even more now!

= Good. Just make sure you fly a new aircraft.

Quoting Egyptair269 (Reply 9):
AI premium product looks fantastic, the food looks great and the cabin too. Good to hear.

= Shukran MS269 ... btw, is 269 for the flight number or the reg number?

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 10):
Wow, what a contrast from Karan69's TR on AI's 77L. I guess their DEL-JFK flight seem to have a better crew than the BOM-JFK leg, of course your trip was in J class when compared to his Y class report.

= Ya. Very interesting - but then again, Karan had a really poor experience and if I were him, I'd be upset as well.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 10):
And you are right about the ground staff. i think they believe that they are Gods and every argument you present to them is futile because they think that they are right. AI really needs to improve in this department.

= Yup.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 10):
Well documented TR, though some pics are hazy, but i am sure its not your fault.

= Sorry. Too much alcohol plus night flight with no lights.

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 11):
We've been hearing increased positive feedback from those who fly on AI-and boy that airline is on the rise.

= Interesting. Hopefully they survive financially!

Quoting Directorguy (Reply 11):
Although ground service in India is generally bad, at least the government has been investing in new facilities around India.

= Ground service in India depends completely on the airline. I have had positive experiences mostly - but this time it was unacceptable.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 12):
Thanks for posting this, Alex, and it looks like your experience was very similar to mine.

= Thanks.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 12):
Oh wow, perhaps I should have waited in the lounge to be escorted! In DEL, I just went to gate really early because I was afraid I wouldn't get through security in time. Do you know if they consistently escort the J pax in DEL?

= I have been escorted on AI, 9W, and BA. It could also be because I wait until the very last minute to go to the gate.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 12):
Yes! This happened on my flight as well. I was amazed as I've never seen anything like that happen on a flight. Somehow I don't see CO doing that haha.

= I apparently cannot say anything about CO - as people get very sensitive. Ya, no turn down service on CO ... but it is a pretty good airline by U.S. standards.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 12):
Where did you get that timetable ?! That's awesome. I tried to find one but I failed.

= I asked the crew member.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Reply 12):
This is surprising to me because I found the ground staff at JFK to be great. But then again there were no issues so perhaps they wouldn't have been as friendly if a problem arose.

= On my flight from JFK to BOM, I had great crew at JFK. When things go wrong, true colors are shown ... and the JFK airport manager was utterly obnoxious.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
Tsk tsk tsk.... thumbs down for presentation. They should have fluffled up the basmati rice and not keep the shape of the container is fell out from!

= Presentation was OK for what they were trying to achieve. But, they should not have kept the shape of the basmati rice for sure.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 4):

I guess they are supposed to start flying to SFO soon ?

= Ya - though, I want to see if their 77L have the legs to do it.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlinePNQIAD From India, joined May 2006, 586 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 13):
Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
Tsk tsk tsk.... thumbs down for presentation. They should have fluffled up the basmati rice and not keep the shape of the container is fell out from!

= Presentation was OK for what they were trying to achieve. But, they should not have kept the shape of the basmati rice for sure.

Actually - it is very traditional to shape the rice in the shape of bowl and then put in on the place as was done in the pics here.... though typically when done at home - it is in a circular shaped bowl unlike the rectangular one featured here....


User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3213 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (4 years 12 months 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Wow - great TR. One of my friends - a 9W platinum, has switched to AI for his NYC flights due to the convenience and quality of the non-stops. The comment I heard from him this morning is that he does not like being woken up at BRU and have to clear security again, and rather fly the AI non-stop, get a full night's sleep (in J) and risk not being a 9W plat next year!

I just hope Karan's outbound experience was a one-off and his return was as good as your flight. With service such as this - AI has a good chance to recover. And with FA's like Ashok - they truly have gems in their midst!



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8507 posts, RR: 55
Reply 16, posted (4 years 12 months 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report & pictures Alex, as usual!

For years I have avoided AI but now find myself wishing they still flew the LHR-JFJ-LHR route, such a shame  Sad

Quoting Abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Johny Walker Black

- Now that is real, quality, very impressed!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 5):
Tsk tsk tsk.... thumbs down for presentation. They should have fluffled up the basmati rice and not keep the shape of the container is fell out from!

- Fair point.

Cheers Alex.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently onlineLY777 From France, joined Nov 2005, 2671 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (4 years 12 months 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

excellent TR!
I would love to fly an AI 77L...
The seatdesign looks great on the 77L



אמא, אני מתגעגע לך
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5076 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (4 years 12 months 12 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting PNQIAD (Reply 14):
Actually - it is very traditional to shape the rice in the shape of bowl and then put in on the place as was done in the pics here.... though typically when done at home - it is in a circular shaped bowl unlike the rectangular one featured here....

= Something I learn on this site everyday.

Quoting Nimish (Reply 15):
The comment I heard from him this morning is that he does not like being woken up at BRU and have to clear security again, and rather fly the AI non-stop, get a full night's sleep (in J) and risk not being a 9W plat next year!

= Ya. I had the same feeling flying on the GRU-DKR-IST flight where the DKR stop broke my sleep.

Quoting LY777 (Reply 17):
The seatdesign looks great on the 77L

= Very comfortable seats indeed.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineEgyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 13):
Shukran MS269 ... btw, is 269 for the flight number or the reg number?

No, I was just thinking of a flight number to put on my username, and that number sounded nice  Smile


User currently offlinePNQIAD From India, joined May 2006, 586 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Excellent TR - Alex's reports make me want to travel AI - but it's a shame they don't come to IAD yet....may be soon if AI enters *A...

User currently offlineSeptember11 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3623 posts, RR: 21
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

I thought AI passengers are prohibited from taking pictures on board? I have never seen an interior photo of AI planes. Red carpet is nice!


Airliners.net of the Future
User currently offlineMSP7378 From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 49 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Another great report! Great read!

User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5076 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Egyptair269 (Reply 19):

No, I was just thinking of a flight number to put on my username, and that number sounded nice Smile

= Aah. Do you know where MS 269 does head though?

Quoting PNQIAD (Reply 20):
Excellent TR - Alex's reports make me want to travel AI - but it's a shame they don't come to IAD yet....may be soon if AI enters *A...

= IAD is a little bit off I would think. O&D is not as strong as some think.

Quoting September11 (Reply 21):
I thought AI passengers are prohibited from taking pictures on board? I have never seen an interior photo of AI planes. Red carpet is nice!

= Rule has gone away a long time away.

Quoting MSP7378 (Reply 22):
Another great report! Great read!

= Thanks.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineEgyptair269 From Egypt, joined Mar 2007, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 23):
= Aah. Do you know where MS 269 does head though?

No, its not a real flight number, I just thought of any number which sounds good. But I know that there is no MS 269.


25 Slimcarner : Hi how do u use yellow color for your fonts??
26 Golfradio : Nice TR. The gesture from the Purser was really awesome. AI seems to be very serious about re-inventing itself. I would have definitely flown AI if th
27 Abrelosojos : = It would be interesting if MS 269 ever came online . = See below . = Well, like with any other airline, some people have bought into the idea of ch
28 Globetraveller : Another great trip report Alex! A very interesting read. The crew on these services seemed flawless and what a purser! I had a similar experience a fe
29 Akhmad : Hi Alex, I knew you would be coming back with AI trip report on J! Great report! I love it! I hope that the Indian authority reads this and cherishes
30 Karan69 : Hi Alex, Finally got to reading it, man what a contrast compared to my experience but then again you were in J and on a 60% LF as compared to a 100% L
31 PlaneHunter : Another great report, Alex. AI's inflight product is amazing, but the ground issues are not encouraging. Nice! Does it say "Sacher" on the cocolate ca
32 LH526 : Hygiene reasons ... you need some receptacle to put the cake into .. otherwise it would crash all over the trolley.
33 HAWK21M : Nice TR alex.Very descriptive & great pics. regds MEL.
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