Note: My details are quite sketchy and have only started to write it up now but the flight was taken in October last year
It all started off on Wednesday when I had a realization that for the next two years I would not be able to go back to India for some reason or another but mainly because I was just going to be way too busy in the next two to four years, and so I decided that on the coming Friday I would probably head off to India and see my relatives back home not knowing when I would be seeing them again. I was sort of upset because during the time I would be in Delhi, there would be the first anniversary gathering of the first flight so I would be missing a high tea at Raffles Hotel and that too sponsored by SQ. Apparently it was amazing, and anyways we checked the fares and found that Jet Airways was the cheapest out to Delhi at this time with SQ giving me nothing but the full fare Y class ticket. My parents wanted me to stick to Singapore Airlines because I would be traveling alone, however I was persistent with Jet Airways for 2 reasons. 1) New aircraft (Boeing 737-800) and 2) New Airline, enough for any aviation enthusiast to try them. We contacted our TA and she said that I have a special deal for us which gave us a J class ticket slightly more expensive then the Y class ticket – I don’t know which ticket I got but I was told it’s an upgrade on availability ticket)
On Friday, I returned home from school by early afternoon, packed, finished some of my holiday homework and packed the rest (or so I thought) and it was finally time to proceed to the airport. I was waiting in line to check-in and when my turn was called, I was given a boarding pass stating my seat was 4A and was told it was a full flight.
I proceeded to the lounge where I finished off some more of my holiday homework, and then met my friend. We both had a drink and headed off to the gate around an hour before scheduled departure time. Over at the gate we met some more friends and we went for boarding together after their row was called. As we proceeded towards the plane, there were two friendly 9W cabin crew members greeting all the passengers, and she guided me to my seat. My friend was sitting opposite me, we thought we would try to be together but the guy refused citing he wants an aisle seat whereas my friend had a window seat of the same row. I think he was some 9W frequent flyer, as the cabin crew members did greet him personally once he boarded (one of the last ones to have boarded the flight), however the cabin crew called him Mr. XXX whereas that person was me, rather then him, just something interesting which happened, though I didn’t bother fixing their mistake.
As we settled into the flight, menus were distributed and the safety demo done (can’t remember if it was done on the videos or by the person), during the taxi to the runway. With a smooth takeoff into the night sky, and there was the beginning of my last vacation in India for god knows how long. As we went past a certain height (why do I think it’s 10,000) the cabin crew got up and immediately started taking dinner and drink orders for the flight.
As it was 2300hrs, some passengers opted to go to sleep, but with my first paid JCL experience, I thought no, I am going to enjoy a full mean service onboard the aircraft. As she took the dinner order, there was only 1 vegetarian option IIRC, and so I opted for that which was Dal Makhani and Paneer (cottage cheese). Along with that, I opted not to take any alcoholic drinks because well, I knew my family in India wouldn’t be very happy if they knew that I drink alcohol (not that I like it, but I thought, hey it’s a Business Class experience, lets try some of their wines/alcohol and see if they are better then the ones which I have tried on the ground). As the meal service came around, I can’t remember if the starters and main meal were on the same tray or not, but what I do remember is that the meal alongside with some Naan was amazing. One of the best meals I have ever had onboard an aircraft. As I was slowly indulging in my meal, the cabin crew came around and asked for deserts (was I eating too slowly), and I took some pie, can’t remember which one, but I think it was something to do with apples and something else. The pie was rock hard, and wasn’t very enjoyable but that was the first meal service terminated onboard my first business paid business class experience.
As the meals were finished, I reclined my seat into a relaxed mode and tried to take out my IFE to no avail. The person sitting next to me was also struggling, but soon he found out how to and then he offered if he should take mine out as well. As the flight progressed, I put my glasses into the seat back compartment, and started enjoying my IFE. Can’t exactly remember what I watched, but I do know is that after I watched it and looked to my side everybody was asleep on what was seemingly a full flight. I thought why not try and finish some of my homework before I even land in Delhi, and I asked if the cabin crew could give me my laptop so I won’t disturb the person next to me who was now sleeping. I took out my laptop only to realize for some stupid reason I didn’t save my work from the lounge and was now gonna have to start all over again, which pissed me off enough to put my laptop back, take out my blanket and go to sleep.
I did intermittently wake up, but that was a rare occasion. Finally approximately 30-45 mins outside of Delhi I woke up, to see behind me that the economy class was all lighted up whereas Business was still dark. The person sitting next to me had got up, so I decided to prepare myself for arrival into Delhi, and headed off to the lavatory. Those lavatories were rather small, but they were okay and did the job, and freshened up for the arrival. As I got back, I stopped on the way to ask the cabin crew if I could take a photo of the cockpit in Delhi upon landing, who was like “yea sure, kyun nahi (why not)?”. That was a refreshing answer from my last few flights which were on SQ which went like (paraphrasing) “sorry sir, but as per airline policy, no one is allowed into the cockpit at any stage of the flight after 9/11”. Only I got this exact same thing repeated every single time. I got back to my seat and tried to find my glasses, however I couldn't find them. I wasn't that particularly worried, but soon enough after putting my hand under the seat, I found my glasses there.
Around 20 mins out of Delhi, the lights were finally turned on, and nearly immediately after the cabin crew announced our arrival details into Delhi. As we had a smooth landing, I asked my friend if he wanted to see the cockpit, which he refused, so as all the Business Class passengers disembarked, I proceeded to the cockpit. I asked if I could put my bags outside, which the cabin crew were more then happy with, so I went inside. Over there, the Captain introduced himself and his colleague, and we had a brief discussion of the aircraft and time with Jet Airways. I soon left them realizing they are awfully busy with a lot of paperwork, and went outside, picked up my bags to see economy class passengers still disembarking. I said good bye to all the crew and made my way down the stairs onto awaiting bus.
On the way to the immigration, I saw the belts which I assume where our bags go, not a very comforting sight, but I guess that’s what happens when you see the internals of any operations. At immigration, I headed straight to the counter and waited for like 15 minutes before I rejoined my friend and the baggage carousel. One of the biggest advantages in Delhi with flying JCL is that the bags come out quickly with priority tags, which they did. I wished my friends good bye and headed down through customs. I knew the customs in Delhi could be a pain, but this time they ignored me and allowed me straight through. As I exited the baggage reclaim area, the aura of Delhi hit me, and there I was finally in India. I looked all around me, to see no one had come and pick me up. I tried to turn on my phone, however I couldn’t get the sim card out into the India sim card and for some reason I wasn’t on roaming with my Singapore sim card. With no other solution in sight, and at 0230 in the morning, I thought they must have woken late and must be on the way, and I’d give them a call once my friends come out of the baggage carousel by borrowing their phone.
During my wait, a person tapped me on the back and said “abhay yaar, pehchana nahi jata tere suit mein… aaja chal (what man, you can’t be recognized in your suit, come on, lets go), and that’s where I realized my cousin brothers were debating if the person they saw was actually me. After 10 minutes of debating, and realizing I was obviously waiting for someone, they thought they should just check if I was the person they were looking for which ends my trip to Delhi.
I didn’t take any photos because of the night flight. I will post the return later if you want but that too didn't have any photos either, because for that one i didn't sleep the night before so as soon as breakfast was over I dozed off for most of the flight, but still managed to enjoy the experience.
When is my next trip to India? I hope it is in June/July however I am mentally preparing myslef for not visiting for another two more years which will come as a huge shock because for the last 16 years prior to the trip, I was flying to India at least once a year if not twice