justbala From India, joined Feb 2006, 152 posts, RR: 0 Posted (2 years 3 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 11611 times:
In the month of Feb, I was informed that I need to travel to Jo'burg for a presentation, and the first thing that came up in my mind was Jet Airways!! :P
9W launched a daily direct flight from their hub in BOM to JNB last year just before the FIFA World Cup. JNB was their first and to date only African destination (if you discount the code share with KQ to NBO). However later tht year they reduced the service to 5-weekly.
Fingers crossed , I prayed for the dates to fall in place. And mercifully I had to fly out on Sunday night(technically monday) and 9W did operate their JNB service that day. My agent had by default given me an itinerary on EK (The default choice always is either EK or BA) and I requested him to change it to 9W via BOM. Since the fares werent markedly different he was able to change it.
As luck would have it I had trouble getting my SA visa stamped. My passport did not come out on time and that meant I could not fly Sunday night and would now have to go Monday night!! All my best laid plans gone to waste!! 9W did not operate on Tuesdays to JNB and that meant I would have to look for other options. Turns out my only workable connection with EK was not available and my agent offered my a routing on ET via BOM and ADD.
But lady luck turned benefactor and my passport did not come out on Monday either!! Which meant I had to postpone my travel by another day and yes.. 9W did operate a flight on that day!! Now lady luck had yet another mood swing, and my agent tells me that the 9W flight is sold out and he can book me on SA which was wide open. The SA flight from BOM to JNB departed abt 40 mins after the 9W flight. I asked him to try on 9W and lady luck smiled on me and he was able to book one for me on 9W
This TR is on the return leg from JNB to BOM on a 9W 332.
The onward leg from BOM to JNB was choc-a-bloc, with only 2 seats free in Y and abt 70-80% load in J. The pax profile was mixed - SA nationals - including SA Indians, Indian nationals and even a group of Nepalis. While at the baggage claim at JNB noticed bags connecting from 9W 75, Jet's daily service from HKG.
Had a hectic 3 days in Jo'burg, but managed to squeeze in a days outing to Pilanesberg Game Reserver and Sun City.
For out return flight, we left out hotel in Sandton City at abt 8:30 and reached OR Tambo International Airport at just past 9. 9W operates out of Terminal A.
9W was assigned 5 counters 93-97 at the far left end of the terminal. At that point of time, 9W was the only airline with a huge throng of crowd checking in.
Queue leading upto the 9W checkin counters
There were two counters dedicated for J and 3 for Y.
The Departure FIDS
9W welcome message at the entrance to the J line
I had already done a web-checkin and the agent at the gate issued me a boarding pass (on 9W stock) with the same seat selection. I was flying onwards to DXB from BOM (instead of BLR as per the original itinerary) and had to request the agent to check my bags in till BOM only. The baggage tags that were printed initially were tagged till BLR.
JNB's check in counters are designed like immigration counters. Once you check in, u walk past the agent to the security and immigration counters. There is no conveyor belt running parallel to the check in desk. The baggage is deposited into the belly of JNB through a direct downward conveyor belt.
This gives a "behind the scene" view of a check in agent's job!!
There was no line for security and immigration and we managed to clear them in less than 5 mins.
Post immigration we entered the duty free zone of JNB
FIFA World Cup gear on sale!! Bought coupla vuvuzelas for my nephew!!
Liqour section dominated by the famed South African wine selection
Please do not touch me!!
After spending some time at the "Out of Africa" outlet - (bought a painted Ostrich Egg Shell and some knick-knacks) I headed for Gate A22 where our flight was boarding from. After a longish walk, realized that A22 was a bus gate!!
Headed down to the bus gate area
9W 241 bound for BOM boarding from A22
The bus was almost half full by the time I got in, but we waited another 20 mins before the bus got going
A strange thing that I have never noticed before - coupla familes just sat down and made themselves comfortable on the floor of the bus. one of them bang at the entrance and started eating snacks/bfast. The ground personnel did not mind this either and this continued till we reached our a/c which was parked at a remote stand.
The perfect picnic spot!!
The good thing abt a remote stand is the bus ride through the airport!! Came across coupla Com Air birds in BA livery, but unfortunately they were on the wrong side of the bus!!
The rest of the action @ JNB
EK 777 on one the 3 daily services to DXB
SA and LX enjoying some *A bonding
The All white SA 340
Our bird to BOM today - 9W 332 VT-JWG
At the door we were greeting by IFS Heena, welcoming everybody by name!! Even us humble cattle class folks!! She was exceptional through out the flight and had the mark of a veteran pro!!
My row - I hoped for it to be empty, but had to share the 4 some with one more pax
9W FAs in their distinctive Canary Yellow over coats, helps pax as they trickle in
The mandatory leg shot
The very handy "hammock shaped" leg rest!!
Bottled water loaded from India
Welcome Aboard - on the main cabin screen
The Touch Screen PTV
The load factor on today's flight was around 75%. Boarding was completed at 11 and we pushed back 10 mins later. The safety video was presented through the PTVs and the cabin monitors.
The flying crew came online and informed us of our routing and were confident that due to favourable winds we would land into BOM before time inspite of a late departure from JNB.
Cold towels were distributed by the cabin crew.
Soon after take off, the seat belts signs were turned off and the crew sprung to action.
The drinks trolley
The options consisted of Indian Veg, Indian Non Veg - Chicken, Halal Lamb and a Continental Fish. A sizeable chunk of the pax were Muslims and hence the Muslim Meal was included in the main serving rather than as a special meal.
I opted for the Lamb
The tray consisted of a Salad, Dessert, Yoghurt, Water, Indian Bread, Pickles, Milk and Salad Dressing. I took a diet coke with the meal, which was served in the rather small wine glass!!
The crew came around with refills and tea/coffee. After the trays were cleared, the cabin lights were dimmed and the crew requested folks to close the window blinds.
Our routing today took us through Mozambique, Mayotte, SEZ, Skirted west of MLE and then straight onwrd to BOM over the Arabian Sea.
A shot of the cabin with mood lighting on
A trip to the restrooms. Some of the restrooms were filthy and had to call the cabin crew, who cleaned them promptly.
Moisturizer and Eau-de-toilette
The full length mirror on one side, gives the rest room an impression of added space
The cabin crew did just one water round, however a self service counter was set up at the rear galley. Spotted some crew members resting in last row that was reserved for them.
Bought a 1:200 scale model of a 9W 77W from the Duty Free sales. Got talking to the F/As handling the sales and they told me that of late this route has been doing pretty well for 9W and they will soon be converting it back to daily.
The Cabin being woken up for the snacks/light dinner
Options included Chicken Pizza or Masala Pav (Indian bread with spicy curry). Opted for the latter.
The meal came with a Magnum Choco Bar.
I spent most of the flight clearing mails from work and thanks to the power adaptor available in Y, i was able to work close to 5 hours!!
The power adaptor however is placed rather incoveniently - beneath the seats!!
The IFE Jetscreen, reflecting the demands of their newly opened MXP route - Italian movies on offer
The cabin crew came along securing the cabin for landing and soon we were doing the loop back over the hillocks outside BOM. Landing into BOM was rather smooth, and as predicted we landed 20 mins before time.
Heena came in on the PA and was on her best!! I love the 9W sign off note - "To all guests - Welcome to India and to Fellow Indians - Welcome Home"!!
Another commendable FA was Rizwan, who was went out of his way to help a family with an infant. Have seen smthing like that only on AI/IC before
One of the drawbacks of flying 9W into BOM is that you invariably get a remote stand 9 out of 10 times!! Of course this saves you the long walk to immigration if you were to use the jet bridges.
Pax waiting to dis-embark
The line for immigration was long, but surprisinly moved rather fast, Baggage came in a lil delayed, owing to the remote stand. Headed through customs and straight out to a hotel arranged by my travel agent for a few hours sleep, before returning next morning to catch the DXB flight!!
Overall the 9W experience was way more than satisfactory!! They have an excellent hardware and great cabin service. They seem to be able to make connections work on the JNB route. If they add PVG/TPE/NRT - that could really help this route out further!! Would have been great if SA codeshared with 9W, but with 9W not becoming part of *A that doesnt seem feasible now.
abrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 4919 posts, RR: 55 Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 11503 times:
I was supposed to be on the inaugural flight of this - and was invited by some 9W colleagues while working in SA on a project - sadly for me, I had left my passport with my Indian visa in Venezuela and this meant no first trip . So, VERY happy to read a report on the segment and it seems to be doing well again for 9W - at least your flights.
The meals look EXCELLENT as usual.
Quoting justbala (Thread starter): I love the 9W sign off note - "To all guests - Welcome to India and to Fellow Indians - Welcome Home"!!
= Isn't it great? I know quite a few airlines that have started to copy it - including MH which at least attributes it to 9W.
sq_ek_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1594 posts, RR: 21 Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 9606 times:
Great report! Meals look awesome. 4 choices in Y - very impressive.
Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 2): = Isn't it great? I know quite a few airlines that have started to copy it - including MH which at least attributes it to 9W.
I think SQ has been doing this for some years now as well, I think the difference being they say "to all Singaporeans and permanent residents, welcome home" or something like that. I don't know if they ripped it off 9W or not.
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4068 posts, RR: 51 Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 9382 times:
Great report. It seems 9W offers a good catering in Y, and legroom seems sufficient also. Can't wait to have then in the house at AMS (instead of BRU), and then they can do a few USA bound services then. I still like this seat layout a lot on the A330's, the 2-seaters are very convenient for many travellers.
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"