adityashankar From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 53 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 12 months 3 days ago) and read 10957 times:
Hello fellow a.netters and aviation nutters , this is my first trip report, so let me introduce myself. My name is Aditya Shankar, I am from India, but I have never actually lived in India for more than 6 years. I lived in Dubai for 10years and now I am currently studying at the Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Growing up, I used to live very close to the Bangalore HAL airport (back then the international airport) so the sound of airplanes taking off and landing was my alarm clock. Many family members on my mother’s side worked in the aviation industry, hence with this exposure; I developed a love towards aviation since a young age. I always wanted to be a pilot, but parents suggested I finish my undergraduate degree first. I was sad by their decision, but Transport Canada makes it mandatory for an airline pilot to have an undergraduate degree so that keeps me going. I am currently doing Communications Engineering at Carleton, as my second love is electronics, and with communication engineering I can work as an Avionics engineer. So my plan now is to get a job as an engineer in an airline, and after I have saved enough money…start flying.
After looking at amazing shots online and reading the trip reports, I was inspired to join a.net in 2007, At first it was question of being part of the aviation community, then later I wanted to contribute pictures. However I used to use a very basic camera so all my pics were rejected. Last summer, I picked up my first SLR, a Canon EOS 1000D/Rebel XS, and I am still trying to learn to take pictures in the RAW format. I was disappointed as I couldn’t post trip reports, so I used take a lot of pictures anyway, hoping I could write a report someday. That someday was December 21 2010, when I became a premium member.
This is the first flight I took after joining a.net, so I just feel it’s fair to start here. Heads up, I had just joined a.net, so I didn’t know that the information like flight number and aircraft registration had to be noted. But don’t worry; I have obtained these info for future flights as you will see in my future reports. Since my mother works for Emirates, I usually end up flying Emirates, I like the airline, but I wanted a change, so my dad and I thought of flying a different airline. We chose the growing budget airline- Air Arabia. I was pretty excited because first, I was flying a different airline, secondly, I was travelling through SHJ airport after a long time and there has been renovations since then, and finally I was going to meet my cousins .
June 16th 2007
I arrived at SHJ airport and boy was I stunned with the transformation, gone were the old concrete façade and in place was a modern glass building. The airport inside was still small, and a lot of spaces near the departure gates were fenced out for construction, but overall, it had a nice modern touch to it. We checked in early so we had a lot of time in our hands. I picked up a coffee at the coffee shop, and took a stroll around the airport gates. The best part was at the end of the building, there was a huge window facing the runway, so I spent some time looking at aircrafts taking off and
The gate was at the ‘new’ part of the terminal, so it was through an aerobridge. The last time I flew through SHJ, I flew Indian Airlines to BLR and due to the lack of gates; the aircraft was parked at the remote bay, so we had to catch a bus to the aircraft, (imagine being late for a flight at this situation :P). Anyway boarding was uneventful and fast. As I entered the aircraft, I was greeted by two flight attendants who directed me to my seat and to the left, the cockpit door was open and the pilots were doing their pre-flight work. I got to my seat (If I am not mistaken, it was 6B) and my dad was on 6C. A very nice woman saw my enthusiasm and my camera and offered me the window seat .
Having flown in an A320 countless times before (with Indian Airlines in particular), the interior was quite the same, a single aisle aircraft with a 3-3 row configuration. After settling down in my seat, the flight attendants handed us our complimentary water bottle, and went to the pre-flight announcements. Everything went on schedule and we were up in the air
Taken just after takeoff
The reflection of the aircraft on the engine
Some views of the clouds Onboard Services
The seats were very spacious and I actually sat ‘comfortably’. I am 5’11’’ and I have long legs, so even though I am not very tall, I need a lot of space to accommodate my legs. I was never comfortable in Emirates as the seat pitch is small. I have flown Emirates in many long-haul flights to the Australia, US and Canada, and I was never comfortable in cattle class. So, a good seat pitch on a budget airline was a welcoming change. They didn’t have PTV on each seat, but they showed a movie on a common screen (the headphones could be purchased onboard). Their inflight magazine was both in English and Arabic.
Being a ‘no frills’ airline, there was no food served, but they could be bought!! I was impressed with the onboard menu; there was a variety of sandwiches, noodles and also an Asian Vegetarian meal (AVML). This was accompanied by a range of non-alcoholic drinks, and tea and coffee. I bought an AVML and noodles as Mumbai was not my last stop. There was an onward road journey to Pune. Back in 2007, Air India Express hadn’t started their direct connection from Dubai to Pune, so this was the only way to get there.
A close up of the AVML
Last rays of the sun on the engine
The a/c,I presume
Our neighbor at Mumbai terminal (and in real life :P) Conclusion
The aircrafts were well maintained. However on this flight, the seat my dad sat on had some melted chocolate on the seatbelt We informed the flight attendant, and she just put some tissue on the messed area. Apart from that Air Arabia was definitely above my expectations of a budget airline. They had everything required during the trip (some of them for a small fee of course) namely; in flight magazines, an inflight movie, good food, which was heated before being served and above all, comfortable seating with a good seat pitch. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again when I come to the Middle East.
So, that was my first trip report. Again I apologize for not noting the aircraft registration. And as for pictures, I read some more trip reports later on and I have taken the infamous “knee shot” and washroom shot during the later flights. I will post about these flights shortly. Thank you for your time, and feel free to comment.
malioil From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2010, 126 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 8765 times:
Great trip report, thanks for sharing, as always!
Regarding the food, that seems to be a welcome change- I flew Air Arabia BAH-SHJ-BAH for the first and last time in 2004, and the experience was so horrible that even with such attractive fares, it never crossed my mind to choose them again. It wasn't that I was expecting any frills or anything of the sort- you pay what you get for, but it was a complete mess. From attendents not knowing what they are doing, to one of the worst kept (back then) airport I have ever had the unfortunate luck to step across (bar perhaps SVO during rush hour when four people actually fainted due to the havoc earlier this year). I remember ordering a pot of noodles to eat, yet it came soaked with in water but not boiled- it was as hard as plastic. Your report suggests things have changed, and they very well may have- my flight took place less than a year after the airline was founded.