LiquidAquifer From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 16 posts, RR: 0 Posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8621 times:
I've been lurking about these forums for a long time, so I thought I'd finally sign up and post a report. I was fortunate enough to take quite a few flights this past summer: AA 80 (DFW-LHR), IB 4181 (LHR-BCN), JK 6217 (XRY-MAD), OA 248 (MAD-ATH), MA 233 (ATH-BUD), SU 132 (BUD-SVO), EK 132 (DME-DXB), EK 514 (DXB-DEL), IC 821 (DEL-IXJ-SXR), 9W 1610 (IXL-DEL), AA 293 (DEL-ORD), and AA 2303 (ORD-DFW). Unfortunately, I only took photos on one of these, and what's a trip report without photos? So, I present...
Flight: Jet Airways 9W 1610
Date: 2 July 2009
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700
Seat: 15F (Economy, Exit Row)
Scheduled Departure: 8:25 a.m.
Actual Departure: ~11:30 a.m.
Leh Airport, located over 3200 meters above sea level, is serviced by Jet, Kingfisher, and Indian Airlines. Regularly scheduled flights come and go in the mornings, but they're frequently canceled due to the weather. Everyone involved in Leh's tourist industry urges passengers to build a day or two of flexibility into their schedules; two of my traveling buddies had their Kingfisher flight bumped by a day the week before. But what a beautiful town to spend an extra day in...
The morning of my flight, I took Rs 100 taxi from my hotel to the airport at about six in the morning. Already, it was packed with tourists; the four separate security checks before boarding didn't exactly make things go more smoothly.
Jet was scheduled to operate two flights from Leh to Delhi that morning, and I was supposed to be on the second one. But owing to windy and partly cloudy conditions in Leh, neither plane had left Delhi by the time of my scheduled departure. So two planeloads of Jet passengers, along with a planeload of Kingfisher passengers, were squashed into a holding area between the third and fourth security checks. Leh's airport isn't exactly full of amenities, but Kingfisher passengers received a snack box during the wait.
Fortunately, the weather cleared up soon enough, and the planes started making their way to Leh. Kingfisher passengers boarded their respective plane first, followed by the passengers for the second Jet flight (mine). I'm not sure why they boarded the passengers from the second Jet flight before those from the first. But, off we went through the fourth and final security check, onto a bus, and up the stairs onto the plane at about 11 in the morning, only two and half hours after our scheduled departure.
After watching the Kingfisher flight jet off into the skies, we taxied onto the runway, turned around ...
... and lifted off into the mountains at about 11:30.
And what a fantastic view of the Himalayas!
It's too bad my camera focused on the dirt in the window, rather than the snow-capped peaks, in this last photo.
I had heard that, in years past, security on these flights had been particularly strict, with airlines going so far as to require the checking-in of all camera batteries. After all, Kashmir and Ladakh are right up against sensitive and disputed borders with Pakistan and China. But everything seemed pretty relaxed while I was there.
As far as the flight itself, I can't complain. Smooth skies, friendly and professional flight crew, the standard bottle of citrus lime drink, towel service shortly after takeoff, and a meal. Our choices were veg and non-veg; I went with the non-veg option, which was a Western-style breakfast with eggs, tomatoes, sausages, and so on. I guess I was still getting over altitude sickness -- I had driven up to, and slept at, 4500 m two nights before, which was probably a little dangerous -- but the food pretty much repulsed me. Quite a change from the far more edible veg meal on my Indian Airlines flight from Delhi to Srinagar via Jammu (IC 821) the month before.
We arrived in Delhi soon enough, overshooting it a bit to come back in from the south, with landmarks such as the Bahai Lotus Temple visible outside my window on descent. Of course, Delhi is a huge airport, so after what seemed like ages of taxiing, we were bussed back to Jet's domestic arrivals terminal. And, wow! Quite an enormous step up from Indian Airlines' domestic terminal, which felt more like a bus station than an airport.
Back in the searing heat of Indian summers, I took a pre-paid taxi to the seedy tourist area of Paharganj to recuperate for my next month of exploring the country...
MilesDependent From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 848 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8317 times:
Great report. I flew this sector myself a few years ago - truly one of the most photogenic flights around.
Quoting LiquidAquifer (Thread starter): I had heard that, in years past, security on these flights had been particularly strict, with airlines going so far as to require the checking-in of all camera batteries.
What's the general policy of taking photos out the window on Indian aircraft while airbourne? When I flew this sector I remember having to sneak in the photos when the F/As were not around. That was in 2004. I still managed to take quite a few snaps mind you
I thought the general policy was no photos out windows at all - not just this sector. Or did they get rid of that policy at the time they started to allow photos to be taken at the non-military airports?
LiquidAquifer From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 16 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8260 times:
Quoting MilesDependent (Reply 1): What's the general policy of taking photos out the window on Indian aircraft while airbourne?
Most of the time, they won't care. But they're more sensitive at some airports than at others. While flying into SXR, the IC flight crew was very adamant in reminding us that photography of the airport was prohibited. Of course, Srinagar is just a few miles from the Line of Control with Pakistan, so the airport is completely decked out in camouflage and crawling with troops, all armed to the teeth. I could understand the sensitivity. I believe I heard a similar announcement while we were on the ground in IXJ.
The staff at IXL, on the other hand, was considerably more relaxed. Indeed, the airport is situated on the Leh-Kargil road, and the road leading out of Leh is lined with military installations of all kinds. But nobody seemed to bat an eye at my camera, either on the road or on the plane.
I didn't hear anything about photography restrictions on planes near DEL, either.
NWIguy From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2009, 68 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7796 times:
This is an amazing sector! I flew it September last year.
Quoting LiquidAquifer (Thread starter):
I had heard that, in years past, security on these flights had been particularly strict, with airlines going so far as to require the checking-in of all camera batteries.
When I flew, all camera batteries were collected at the 3rd security point and marked with each passengers name and seat number and then given back during the decent to DEL.
Maybe that was to stop people taking pictures out the windows as I was allowed my iPod with me on the flight.