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The Evolution Of Change: Gulf Air Vs. Jet Airways  
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 20379 times:

Aviation is forever evolving and nowhere is this more prevalent than the Middle East. Twenty years ago if you wanted to travel between India and the Middle East there was only one reliable airline - Gulf Air. Back then when you saw a gleaming L1011 with the Golden Falcon on the tail, you stared in awe.

Fast forward to present day and the Golden Falcon is but a blip on the radar screen, now it’s all about Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. However, over the last couple of years Jet Airways has made great strides in trying to capture the local market for themselves between India and the Middle East. While the big three Middle Eastern giants use their respective hubs as a springboard to the rest of the world, Jet Airways has quietly crept in and stolen a large portion of the Middle East - India traffic away from these three giants. Slowly but surely Jet Airways has become the number one choice for passengers traveling between the Middle East and India. After all, their slogan is ‘Change the way you fly.’ Rather fitting don’t you think?

All these developments have come at a very high cost for the once proud Gulf Air. The Golden Falcon, which was once revered to be the symbol of the Gulf region, has now been diminished into an airline that has been left by the wayside. These days Gulf Air has been focusing on a regional growth strategy rather than attempting to play the intercontinental field with the big boys.

Over the last couple of years, Gulf Air has seen its fair share of CEO’s from around the world, each with their own agenda and set of ideas. Samer Majali, the man responsible for turning Royal Jordanian around, became the airlines latest CEO in 2009. The airline finally seems to have found its footing and expanding, albeit cautiously, with the addition of Geneva and Milan recently. The airline took a step further and announced a plan to serve Copenhagen and Nairobi later this year. Only time will tell if the airline has taken steps in the right direction.

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 20373 times:

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Being on a break in India recently, I needed a break from my break. While some members on this board constantly talk about how wonderful a break in India is, I for one can only take it in small doses. An opportunity came up to visit Bahrain and I started shopping around for some last minute tickets. Jet Airways was offering some pretty tempting fares (at least when compared to flying in the US) and I decided they would probably be my best option; however, their partner Gulf Air would operate the first BOM-BAH segment. I had not flown Gulf Air in over 12 years. To say things have changed at the airline since then would be an understatement.

This shall not be the first Gulf Air business class BOM-BAH trip report on this board as Alex posted (a rather negative) one back in 2009. However I thought it would be interesting to see if Gulf Air had actually been able to change for the better. As they say, once you hit rock bottom there is no place to go but up. My last experience with GF was back in 1999 on a round trip FRA-BOM-FRA on their 767’s. Thus, I was expecting a rather mediocre flight, especially after reading Alex’s trip report stating a full “thumbs
down.” Nonetheless, I cleared my head and went in with no expectations.

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Gulf Air 065
Mumbai – Bahrain
Airbus A320-214 (A9C-AF)
Seat: 2F
Scheduled Departure Time: 17:15
Actual Departure Time: 17:17
Scheduled Arrival Time: 18:55
Actual Arrival Time: 18:29

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Check In: I approached a rather crowded check in area a few minutes before three in the afternoon. With only four counters in operation today, the line moved rather slowly. My turn finally came after about twenty minutes when a cheery Indian girl in the distinctive dark blue Gulf Air uniform greeted me.
“Hello sir. Where are you flying to today?”
“Bahrain.”
“Bahrain is your final destination?”
“Yes it is.”
“Do you have any bags to check in today?”
“Nope, none.”
After a few types on her computer, she looked a bit flustered. I decide to intervene,
“Do you by chance have any window seats left?”
“Let me check sir, the flight is really full today.”
A few more pats on the keyboard and a boarding pass shot out of the printer.
“Mr, SR 103 I am afraid we do not have any window seats left, however I do have some in business class so I have upgraded you. Though I am afraid you will not be able to use the lounge here in Mumbai.”
“Oh that’s perfectly fine, thank you so much for the upgrade!”
“You are very welcome sir. Have a pleasant flight.”

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With the new Business Class boarding pass in hand I proceeded towards immigration, which was rather quiet at this time of day. My passport was stamped with a smile and I was on my way to security within a minute. Once my white boarding pass had sufficiently been mutilated with multiple blue and red stamps from immigration and security, I headed down the escalator into the shopping mall that Mumbai airport has become.

The first thing that greets you when you enter the departure level is a host of Duty Free shops. Since I had nothing to do and no lounge access, I browsed through the Duty Free shops in the hopes of finding some cologne. Sadly, Mumbai has a long way to go when it comes to matching Dubai or Schiphol in terms of Duty Free.

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I eventually found a deserted corner near Gate 14 to sit down and relax. Ironically in front of me was the Clipper Lounge, which Gulf Air uses for its Business Class passengers. Having visited the lounge on many occasions, I knew exactly what was inside, you can see pictures in one of my previous trip report here (Kingfisher First On The A330: Redefining Luxury).

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Boarding: The boarding pass stated boarding would begin at 16:25, so I headed on over to Gate 10 only to find the glass door behind the counters still locked. A few minutes later a security guard walked by with a Gulf Air ground staff member and unlocked them. The gate agents then told everyone to stand in the line to the right as the left line was solely for Business Class. This is where I headed.

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Boarding commenced at 16:35 and the agent attended to the business class line first. Once my boarding pass was scanned and ripped, the two security guards checked to make sure my baggage tags had been stamped by security. Once satisfied that my bags had been screened properly, I proceeded towards the jet way.

As I walked down the jet way I could see the fantastic blue and gold livery that Gulf Air has on their A320. Say what you want about Gulf Air, but their livery really is one of the best in the world in my opinion. I approached the aircraft door and was greeted with a smile by a male flight attendant in his 40’s (Hassan).
“Salaam Walekum. Welcome onboard. Your seat is right over here to the left.”
I placed my bag in the overhead bin and sat down. A minute after sitting down, a young Malaysian F/A (Laila) approached me with a tray in hand,
“Sir would you like some water or orange juice?”
“Water please.”
“Certainly, how about some nuts?”
I said “sure.”

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Once the cabin had filled up, Laila was back in the aisle a few minutes later handing out menu’s with a Thai flight attendant (Porawan) pushing a cart full of newspapers.
“Would you like a newspaper or magazine sir?”
However Laila was not done, she came around with a tray of towels,
“Would you like a hot or cold towel sir?”
A nice cool towel was just what was needed in the heat of India!

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So far I was impressed with the service, certainly not as bad as some of the reviews I have seen regarding Gulf Air. Captain Roskanovich came on the P/A to welcome everyone onboard today and informed us that our flying time would be three hours and 35 minutes. Hassan made a follow up announcement to welcome us onboard and specifically mentioned that today’s crew “in addition to English, speak Arabic, Hindi, Malay and Thai.”

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Laila was back in the aisle while Hassan was closing the cabin door.
“Sir, have you had a chance to look over your menu?”
“I have.”
“What would you like to have for dinner?”
“Can I have the chicken please.”
“Sure. What about to drink sir?”
“Can I get a coke?”
“Yes sir. With ice?”
“Please.”

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Pushback occurred relatively on time with another boring animated safety video playing on all the flip down screens. We passed a couple of parked Air India birds and waited patiently to enter the runway.

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Captain Roskanovich was back on the P/A, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are waiting for our turn to take off. Once a few planes have finished landing, we shall be on our way. Thank you for your patience.” True to his word, after a Jet Airways ATR and a Kingfisher A321 landed, we taxied onto the runway and began our take off roll.

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The Flight: As we were climbing and the seatbelt signed pinged, Hassan started walking down the handing out ‘digEplayers’ and noise reducing headsets.
“Would you like to watch some movies today sir?”
“Yes please.”
“Is this your first time using the player?”
“Yes it is.” (Not really but I decided to play along)
“It works very similar to a computer. These buttons on the left, they are mouse clicks. On the right there is a menu button, which opens up a list of options for you. Your volume can also be adjusted using the headphones. Please enjoy.”

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I eventually settled on The Social Network, as I must be the only person left on the planet that did not see this mega blockbuster of a movie- at least that’s what I have been told by all my friends. About the time Mark Zukerberg was calling his ex a pig on his blog, Laila came with my coke.

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Eventually the trays were served one by one from the galley. This is where it became tricky with the ‘digEplayer’ as there was no place to store it once the meal tray came. I manage to squeeze it in on the side of the tray table while I kept the meal tray on the absolute edge of the table and armrest. I really wish some airlines would think about this when they introduce these hand held portable devices. Laila brought around a breadbasket offering to which I selected a dinner roll.

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The appetizer consisted of vegetables mixed with masala and pine nuts. It was something that did not really appeal to me, but I guess works for the largely ethnic clientele on this particular route. The bread however was warm and soft, absolutely perfect with the butter! Laila brought around the breadbasket offerings once again and I selected another dinner roll. She smiled and said, “are you sure you do not want anything else?” Eventually Laila was back to collect the appetizer trays and asked me if I would care for anything else to drink.

She came back with a fresh glass of coke and lemon within seconds. Laila was really attentive today, topping off everyone’s drinks and checking if they needed anything else. Hassan appeared a few minutes later and handed over a plate containing my main course,
“Your chicken sir, please be careful as the plate is hot. Please enjoy.”

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The chicken was excellent, warm and really tender. The rosemary and garlic sauce accompanying the dish was rich and flavorful which complimented the chicken perfectly. The vegetables were not overcooked and had a nice bite to them. Overall the dish pleasantly surprised me, really a job well done Gulf Air.

My tray was collected by Laila a few minutes later,
“Let me take this so it will be easier for you to watch your TV.”
“Thank you.”
“Would you like dessert?”
“Yes please.”
A plate of ‘gulab jamun’ was delivered with a smile a few minutes later. Nothing much to say about it other than the fact that it tasted just fine. It’s a very popular dessert in India, but at times it is a bit too sweet even for me, and I have one heck of a sweet tooth!

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Once finished, Laila collected my empty plate and inquired,
“Would you like anything else? Some coffee or tea?”
“Can I have a cup of tea please?”
“Yes sir.”
Five minutes later Laila was in the aisle with a tray,
“Do you take milk and sugar?”
“Yes, both please.”

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The cup was delivered with a packet of sugar, and more importantly a smile. While the tea was a bit weak, it was more than made up for by the fact that Laila stopped by and asked if I wanted another one. A fresh cup was delivered a few minutes later by Hassan.
“With cream and sugar, yes?”

I cannot fault Laila or Hassan for their service. Both of them were constantly walking around the cabin making sure everyone’s drink was refilled with a smile. After the movie was over I switched to some short comedies and decided on ‘Big Bang Theory.’ Laila even stopped by with a glass of water without me having to ask. This is the mark of great service in my opinion.

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As far as the seat Gulf Air uses, it was relatively comfortable. The blue fabric was soft and the seat had more than enough padding. The only real issue I had with the seat was the lack of a leg rest support. Your feet dangle when you extend the leg rest, which is not all that comfortable. This is definitely something Gulf Air needs to looks at, especially now that the aircraft is being flown as far as Milan. Otherwise, the seat was not bad at all for a regional route on a narrow body.

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Before I knew it, engines were throttled back and the aircraft nose dipped ever so slightly which meant we had begun our decent into Bahrain. Captain Roskanovich was back on the P/A, “looks like we shall be arriving a few minutes early.”

Hassan was in the aisle beginning to collect all the IFE units and headphones. As luck would have it, my episode of Big Bang Theory had just finished so I began to shut it down for him.
“They are great aren’t they? Hope you enjoyed it!”
“I did, thank you.”
“Are you flying to Bahrain only today?”
“I am.”
Hassan returned a couple of seconds later and handed me a small card.
“This is our fast track pass for Bahrain immigration, we offer it all our Bahrain bound passengers in business class. It looks like today you are the only one so you may not need it. However feel free to keep it for further use.”
“Thank you.”
“You are very welcome sir.”

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Arrival: As it was dark outside by now, and there was not much to see. Being a little windy, the aircraft swayed quite a bit on approach. Touchdown however was relatively smooth despite the gusty winds.

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There was not a lot of traffic this evening with the exception of an Etihad A330-200, Qatar A321 and a Kuwait Airways A320. Otherwise there were a variety of Gulf Air aircraft sitting idle. We docked at gate 15 which just happened to be one of the few jetway equipped gates at Bahrain International Airport.

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Laila and Hassan were standing by the open door bidding everyone good bye.
“Thanks for a great flight.”
“Oh you are very welcome sir. Please come back and see us.”
“I will, I promise.”

Thankfully it looked like most passengers were in transit, which meant a relatively empty immigration area so I did not need to use the fast track pass. I handed over my passport and documents to the immigration officer who stamped them within seconds and waved me through. I proceeded down to the lower level where my bags were scanned one more time before I was allowed to enter the baggage claim area. As I had no checked in baggage, I proceeded straight out through the green channel into the arrivals hall. So aircraft door to exit door in about four minutes. I only wish more airports were this easy and quick.


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 20374 times:

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Before I knew it, it was time to head back to Mumbai and my Jet Airways 737 beckoned. This will be the first BAH-BOM trip report on Jet Airways. However our good friend Alex has written a very complementary KWI-BOM trip report on their Business Class offering. After numerous glowing reports (mainly from Alex) regarding the Jet Airways product, I was eagerly looking forward to the flight.

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Jet Airways 591
Mumbai – Bahrain
Boeing 737-85R (VT-JGT)
Seat: 4F (Original Seat: 18A)
Scheduled Departure Time: 21:35
Actual Departure Time: 21:42
Scheduled Arrival Time: 03:25
Actual Arrival Time: 03:19

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Check In: I arrived at the airport just shy of the three hour mark, but a line was already forming around the yet to open Jet Airways check in desks. I knew that if I did not join the queue now, I would be waiting a very long time. As 6:40 rolled by, three check in desks were open and accepting customers. Ten minutes later it was my turn and I approached the desk only to find an unsmiling twenty something male in a Bahraini airport uniform holding out his hand “passport and ticket!”

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I handed him my documents and politely asked,
“Would it be possible to get a window seat please?”
My request was met with a grunt along with an up and down head nodding.
“Any bags to check?”
“None.”
He then slapped my boarding pass and passport back on the counter top while simultaneously yelling “NEXT!”
I could not help but glance over at the United counters next to me where the security agents were all smiles and chatting with their customers. Who would have thought?

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First stop, a counter which verifies that your passport name matches your boarding pass. Once that is done, around the corner are some immigration desks. This is followed by security. I doubt it will be a surprise to anyone familiar with Bahrain that all three stops took me a mere three minutes in total! Talk about a fast airport.

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Once you pass security, you are greeted by a bunch of Duty Free shops. As I had nothing but time, I figured I would get some shopping out of the way. After a while I proceeded out towards gate 12 where the boarding of a Gulf Air EMB-170 to Erbil was about wrapped up. I walked further down and found an empty seat with a good view of the gate. There were a few ‘Batelco’ free internet stands which I took full advantage of.

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I saw my yellow, blue and white 737-800 pull into the gate around a quarter to nine which meant there should be no major delays today. Once the engines were shut down, the ground crew sprang into action and started loading and unloading the mini Boeing.

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Boarding: By 21:10 I was wondering why no boarding announcement had been made, only to realize that boarding was already under way, and two massive lines had already been formed. I decided to just wait it out and board last, as I was not about to squeeze myself into the tightly packed crowd. Once the crowd had thinned, I walked towards the podium where another Bahrain airport staff member ripped my boarding pass and ushered me down the jetway.

I was greeted at the door by a flight attendant (Manesha) in her distinctive bright yellow uniform.
“Welcome onboard sir, your seat is 18A which is all the way down. Please enjoy your flight.”
I proceeded down the cabin towards what looked like a very packed economy section, and my fears were proven right. When I reached 18A, there was already someone in the seat. From a distance Manesha saw this and rushed down to my side. She first asked the passenger in 18A for his boarding pass, and once we both saw it said 18A Manesha glanced around the cabin and said “come with me.”

She led me to the front galley and said; “please wait here for a minute. Let me see what is going on.” While I was standing in the galley another flight attendant (Prita) was going about her normal duties by serving drinks and hot towels in business class. I casually said,
“Sorry if I am in your way, just let me know where I should move to.”
“Oh not at all you are fine. Would you care for a drink?
She pointed to a tray full of lime juice and watermelon juice.
“Mind if I have a watermelon juice?”
“Please go right ahead.
I gulped down my juice as Prita proceeded to attend to her activities in the business class cabin.

Manesha came back down the jetway with a smile on her face.
“Sir I have found you a seat, please come with me.”
Half expecting some middle, last row, non-reclining seat I followed her with my head down and began my walk of shame. I almost ran straight into her as she had abruptly stopped at row 4 pointing towards a pair of empty seats.
“Four Delta and Fox trot are available; please feel free to use either one.”
After thanking her profusely, I stowed my luggage and sat down. Then it dawned on me exactly how lucky I had just been. Two upgrades in three days on two different airlines without any Elite status. I never get this many upgrades with the airlines I am actually elite with!

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Prita was by my side a few seconds later,
“Welcome, nice to have you up front with us. Here is a menu containing today’s options.”
“Thank you.”

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The cabin door was closed and the safety video began playing. We had a quick taxi to the runway as there was not much traffic tonight.

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The Flight: Take off was quick and relatively smooth and we were soon leaving the city lights of Bahrain behind us.

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I decided it was time to remove my PTV from the armrest and look through the choices on offer today. Some noise reducing headsets (the exact same ones GF handed out to me on their flight) had been placed in one of the smaller seat pockets in front of me. A quick glance through all the options revealed a dozen Hollywood movies and a dozen American sitcoms. For reasons that are still unknown to me, I picked “127 Hours.” Yes it’s probably not the nicest movie to enjoy with a meal service, but maybe I was not thinking ahead.

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Prita was by my side while I was playing around with my PTV,
“Sir what would you like to eat for dinner?”
“Do you have any of the quiche left?”
“No.”
“How about the prawns?”
“No.”
“Then I guess you have tell me what I can have?”
She then burst out laughing, “Everything is available, I was just joking. Quiche and chicken satay?”
“Yes that would be fantastic.”
“How about a drink?”
“Just a coke please.”
“With ice and lemon?”
“Yes please.”
A couple of minutes later, Prita returns with my drink and bowl of nuts.

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The bowl of nuts basically contained some unsalted cashews and almonds. Nothing great, but nothing bad either. Prita came to collect the empty bowl and coke glass, but before I could ask for a refill she was gone. Oh well, maybe I’d get another shot when my meal arrived. She came handing out white linen cloths for our tray tables. Once she served everyone in the first three rows, she handed me my tray of food.

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At first glance the food did not look all that appetizing, but hey, never judge a book by its cover. Before I could even unwrap my silverware, Prita was by my side with a breadbasket. I picked a wheat loaf to which Prita said,
“No one else wants any, take another one.”
I obliged.

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The starter consisted of some salad leaves with pasta, mushrooms and some red peppers (capsicums if you are from Asia.) It was a bit bland as there was no dressing. I tried to break the bread but I was not having much luck, as they were hard as bricks. It would not have been much use either as there was no butter on my tray.

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I moved on to the main course of chicken and mushroom quiche. The quiche was nice and warm and the crust was still flaky but not overcooked. The chicken satay with peanut sauce was a bit of a disappointment though. The chicken was a bit dry and overcooked, while the peanut sauce had solidified into a brown jelly like substance which made dipping the dry chicken into it futile.

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As far as the chocolate and sour cherry cake, it was actually pretty good in taste, but a tad bit on the warm side. When I mean warm, I mean more than room temperature, almost like it had spent some time in the oven. Nonetheless I overlooked the temperature and ate every last bite. What can I say, I like my sweets!

Prita stopped by once I had finished my meal and collected everything without asking me if I was done, or if I would like coffee or tea. I let it go thinking she must have been really busy. Cabin lights were dimmed and I continued watching the movie.

The business class seat that Jet Airways uses on these 737’s is made up of blue leather. While the seat was rather comfortable it was a bit worn out. There were parts of the seat that had lost padding which created a rather lumpy feeling at times. However, unlike Gulf Air’s seat it had a leg rest support. Overall it was a comfortable seat and I could have done a few more hours in it easily.

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Once the movie had finished, I still felt like a cup of tea but had not seen a single crew member do a walk around. So I did something I rarely do, I rang the call button.

Nothing! No one came to check on me, no one even peeked through the curtain. At this point I gave up on ever getting a cup of tea and just continued watching ‘Modern Family’ on the IFE. No crew member ever came around during the flight, something I was not expecting from a Jet Airways cabin crew. I knew descent would be starting soon so I decided to use the lavatory. When I walked by the galley one F/A was sitting in the jumpseat reading a magazine, while the other one was going through the Duty Free checklist.

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On my way back from the lavatory I stopped in the galley and smiled at Prita.
“Can I please get a glass of water?”
“Certainly.”
After gulping it down, I went back to my seat just as the nose began to dip, which indicated our descent had begun.

Prita came by handing out towels,
“Would you like a hot or cold towel?”
“A hot one please.”

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After that it was pretty much over for the service. The crew came around to do their final checks before they sat down themselves.

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Arrival: We touched around 3:15 in the morning to what appeared to be a rather quiet airport. The Lufthansa 744 to Frankfurt, as well as the Air France 772, were still docked at their respective gates, but there was not much else in terms of aircraft activity at this hour.

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We docked at our hard stand gate next to an Air India Express 737, and before I knew it the front cabin door had been opened. Prita was standing in the galley with Manesha by the door.
“Bye, hope you enjoyed your flight.”
“I did, thank you very much.”
With that I stepped out onto the stairs and down into the air conditioned bus. As usual there was a lot pushing and shoving with a few “chalo, jaldi!”

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We were dropped off at the main terminal a couple of minutes later, and much to my surprise the immigration counters were void of any sort of line. I walked straight up to an officer and my passport was stamped within seconds. As I had no checked in bags with me, I proceeded towards the green customs channel. Despite a rather small crowd it did not take more than a minute and I was out at the meet and greet area before I knew it. Five minutes from aircraft door to cab, I never imagined that would be possible in Mumbai! The airport really has come a long way in the last couple of years.

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User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 20368 times:

Verdict:
Gulf Air: Gulf Air was a complete surprise. No one every talks about Gulf Air these days unless they have something negative to say. My experience however could not be further from that. The aircraft was virtually brand new and it showed, inside and out. The seats were comfortable, but something definitely needs to be done about the missing leg rest support. Catering was also very nice, despite the rather unique appetizer. Gulf Air has definitely taken a step in the right direction with the ‘digEpalyer.’ There was plenty of choice and the picture quality was excellent.

My biggest compliment to Gulf Air goes to their staff. From the ground crew to the cabin crew, I was pleased at how friendly they all were. It started off with the upgrade, followed by the very attentive service from Laila and Hassan. They worked very well together and made sure everyone’s glasses were refilled, and no one needed to ring a call button - as they were always around to check up on their passengers. Hassan also interacted with all the passengers. He took the extra time to explain how the portable IFE player worked, and offered me the fast pass for immigration in Bahrain. It’s these small things that showed this crew was on top of their game today.

If this is the new Gulf Air, I cannot wait to see what they have in store for the future. If the current management is successful in turning around this ailing airline, then there is some hope left in this beaten up old legacy carrier. I can only endorse Gulf Air after my experience, and say give them a try, you may be surprised at what you’ll find.

Jet Airways: Having flown Jet Airways a few times domestically, I always thought they were good but nothing special. However, with so many complimentary reports regarding their international service, I was left somewhat disappointed.

The seats were fine, comfortable with plenty of room and recline. The IFE had a decent selection of AVOD for such a short flight. While the quality of the picture could be less grainy and more crisp, those are small complaints that can easily be overlooked. The food was a mixed batch for me. Maybe in hindsight I should have chosen the Indian prawn selection, instead of the Western option, but catering should be consistent across the board. I’ll overlook the rock hard bread as this is not exclusive to Jet Airways, but I cannot overlook the lack of salad dressing or the non-existent butter. It’s little things like these that cannot be excused when it comes to international business class, especially from an airline with such a good reputation.

However, the biggest disappointment lay with the cabin crew. This is not the first time I have seen Jet Airways cabin crew go into robotic mode after take off, but I was not expecting this on an international flight in business class. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for the upgrade, but I certainly would not have been pleased had I paid for a business class ticket. Not answering call buttons, not refilling glasses, not asking passengers if they wanted coffee or tea after their meal - its these little touches that differentiate a mediocre crew from a great crew. Roni had a similar mediocre experience with Jet Airways cabin crew, which he mentioned in his trip report back in 2009. (Keeping Up With The JETs: 9W Première HKG-DEL-DXB). Seems like Jet Airways may have some consistency issues regarding their in flight service levels.

Overall I would have no problem flying Jet Airways business class on a regional flight, but I would probably give it a second thought if they were more expensive than the competition - as I do not believe the extra amount is warranted for a product that is average at best.

Gulf Air 065
Check In: 8 (Little bit of a wait but a very friendly agent with an upgrade)
Boarding: 8 (Surprisingly smooth for Mumbai)
Seat: 7 (Lack of proper leg rest support definitely let an otherwise comfortable seat down)
Aircraft: 10 (Spotless inside and out)
Food: 7 (Appetizer could use some work, but otherwise the quality was excellent)
Entertainment: 8 (Great choice with great picture quality, just wish there was a stand for it)
Service: 9 (Very friendly crew who looked after their passengers with a smile)
Arrival: 10 (From aircraft to curb in five minutes with immigration and customs, amazing!)
67/80 = .83
Gulf Air scored a 83%

Jet Airways 591
Check In: 6 (Slightly unfriendly with no smiles, but contract workers not 9W employees)
Boarding: 7 (Friendly but very busy with long lines and no boarding announcement)
Seat: 9 (Nice comfortable seat overall, but just a bit faded)
Aircraft: 10 (In great shape for its age)
Food: 7 (Quantity was fine but the quality needs to be looked at a bit. Dry and insipid)
Entertainment: 8 (Choice was adequate, but quality of picture was a slight let down)
Service: 6 (Very robotic after departure with a disappearing act after the meal service)
Arrival: 10 (No lines at immigration meant a quick exit for me)

63/80 = .788
Jet Airways scored a 79%

Some Previous Trip Reports:

A Mile & More With Lufthansa
The Last Boutique Airline: OpenSkies To Paris
Kingfisher First On The A330: Redefining Luxury
Virgin America Delivering On Grand Promises
Qatar Airways: Your Five Star Airline?
Back To My Roots: KLM World Business Class
Etihad: A Diamond In The Rough
The Art Of Service: Kingfisher & Jet Airways
Air France: The Best Place On Earth?
Korean Air Business: Excellence In Flight?
Skyteam Challenge: Air France Business Class
Did AA Persuade A Skyteam Elite To Switch?
Battle For The Best: Song Vs. JetBlue
Malaysia: Asia’s Best Kept Secret?

[Edited 2011-05-07 09:39:57]

User currently offlineSloAir From Slovenia, joined Jul 2010, 339 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 20107 times:

SR 103,

what a great report again, thank you for sharing. Some great views of India and I love the Gulf Air A320 engine in different colors of the sun. Nice to get an upgrade to business, even if the flight is not that long.

Blaž



Visit Ljubljana
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2354 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 19959 times:

Nice TR, well done...

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
The aircraft was virtually brand new and it showed, inside and out. The seats were comfortable, but something definitely needs to be done about the missing leg rest support.
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 3):
He took the extra time to explain how the portable IFE player worked,

THX for the pictures. Very sad to see, that this was a "brand new" Airbus- what a shame! These birds will soon replace the Privatair B737 on the Milan run (which will in return fly to CPH) and will also fly longer ranges. Then they will compete against EK, EY etc.!

ChriX


User currently offlineAlwaysOnAPlane From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2010, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 19763 times:

Hi SR 103.

Lucky you getting the two upgrades. A very welcome surprise I bet.

Yea, looks like GF had the upper hand here.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Cheers, Lee.


User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8426 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 19507 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice TR, thanks for posting, made good reading.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I cleared my head and went in with no expectations

- This in my experience is the best way to go.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
“Mr, SR 103 I am afraid we do not have any window seats left, however I do have some in business class so I have upgraded you. Though I am afraid you will not be able to use the lounge here in Mumbai.”

- Result!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Say what you want about Gulf Air, but their livery really is one of the best in the world in my opinion

- Agreed, though I still prefer the original Tristal Golden Falcon scheme.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
“This is our fast track pass for Bahrain immigration, we offer it all our Bahrain bound passengers in business class. It looks like today you are the only one so you may not need it. However feel free to keep it for further use.”

- Were you the only one up front?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Two upgrades in three days on two different airlines without any Elite status. I never get this many upgrades with the airlines I am actually elite with!

- Amazing, never had that many either!

Overall Jet seemed pretty average, I expected more - food looked weak too.

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1833 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 18771 times:

Thanks for an interesting comparison!

The new Gulf Air looks real good and the new updated seats are major improvement from previous generation of J seats on its Airbus narrowbodies. I am surprised with the presentation of a printed menu, which has been lacking from regional flights these days. I sincerely hope that GF has finally realized that its onboard amenities need to be improved.

Jet Airways looks rather unimpressive and I am shocked that a call button is not answered especially on a high ranking international carrier based in Asia.

Thanks,
Carfield


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6639 posts, RR: 78
Reply 9, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 18731 times:

Very interesting report with nice pictures! Good to hear you got upgraded. I'm quite impressed by GF, wouldn't hesitate to give it a try.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Say what you want about Gulf Air, but their livery really is one of the best in the world in my opinion.

  

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
A plate of ‘gulab jamun’ was delivered with a smile a few minutes later. Nothing much to say about it other than the fact that it tasted just fine. It’s a very popular dessert in India, but at times it is a bit too sweet even for me, and I have one heck of a sweet tooth!

Interesting, never seen that before.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
As far as the chocolate and sour cherry cake, it was actually pretty good in taste, but a tad bit on the warm side. When I mean warm, I mean more than room temperature, almost like it had spent some time in the oven. Nonetheless I overlooked the temperature and ate every last bite. What can I say, I like my sweets!

Warm cake? No thanks!


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 900 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 18650 times:

Neat trip report! Funny how they love to stamp everything at Indian airports!

Talk about lucky, two upgrades! I hope you bought a lottery ticket!
:D

The thing that really amuses (and scares me a little) is that American comedies are not only available overseas, but are popular...

For instance Modern Family features a married gay couple with an adopted Vietnamese child...not quite in keeping with social norms in either Bahrain or India!


User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2429 posts, RR: 53
Reply 11, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks ago) and read 18561 times:

Namasté Anosh,

What a pleasant surprise! It has been a while since I read any report of yours. I was kind of missing you, and look what you come up with. Gulf Air! An airline which has not been covered here for a while. Probably the first this year!

You must have been very busy last time. No wonder, you might need a little break. No matter how fascinating India is, I love your home country   , I understand that you preferred looking for something different which happened to be Bahrain. I hope your short break was still good despite some disturbances in the country.

What a lucky guy you are! Got upgraded on both legs! Please tell me your magic words!  

Would you mind sharing me the recipe of Badami Chicken from the menu? You make me craving for Paneer!   



Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Once my white boarding pass had sufficiently been mutilated with multiple blue and red stamps from immigration and security

Haha, sounds familiar to me!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Sadly, Mumbai has a long way to go when it comes to matching Dubai or Schiphol in terms of Duty Free.

Even compared to DEL T3. Look at the somewhat claustrophobic corridors! No natural light at all!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
the two security guards checked to make sure my baggage tags had been stamped by security. Once satisfied that my bags had been screened properly, I proceeded towards the jet way.

Interesting, I did not encounter such control in DEL. Is it typical BOM?

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Hassan made a follow up announcement to welcome us onboard and specifically mentioned that today’s crew “in addition to English, speak Arabic, Hindi, Malay and Thai.”

What a nice touch! Was GF used to be that way or has GF followed EK’s example?



Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
I proceeded down to the lower level where my bags were scanned one more time before I was allowed to enter the baggage claim area.

A post arrival control! I have never seen it elsewhere.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
My request was met with a grunt along with an up and down head nodding.

Too bad. 9W might better be installing self-service check-in machines. In that case, you would anticipate that your question would never be answered.

With your 9W flight, I was hoping for a memorable flight. Pity that service which embarked on this way.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
“Oh not at all you are fine. Would you care for a drink?
She pointed to a tray full of lime juice and watermelon juice.
“Mind if I have a watermelon juice?”
“Please go right ahead.
I gulped down my juice as Prita proceeded to attend to her activities in the business class cabin
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
I almost ran straight into her as she had abruptly stopped at row 4 pointing towards a pair of empty seats.
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
Sir what would you like to eat for dinner?”
“Do you have any of the quiche left?”
“No.”
“How about the prawns?”
“No.”
“Then I guess you have tell me what I can have?”
She then burst out laughing, “Everything is available, I was just joking. Quiche and chicken satay?”
“Yes that would be fantastic.”

And ended up like this.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
Once the movie had finished, I still felt like a cup of tea but had not seen a single crew member do a walk around. So I did something I rarely do, I rang the call button.Nothing! No one came to check on me, no one even peeked through the curtain. At this point I gave up on ever getting a cup of tea and just continued watching ‘Modern Family’ on the IFE. No crew member ever came around during the flight, something I was not expecting from a Jet Airways cabin crew. I knew descent would be starting soon so I decided to use the lavatory. When I walked by the galley one F/A was sitting in the jumpseat reading a magazine, while the other one was going through the Duty Free checklist.

Which left me wondering, ‘Why? What a disappointing end of a great first impression which would have encouraged anyone like me to fly 9W!’

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
“chalo, jaldi!”

What was he trying to say? ‘Get on! Hurry up!’?

Excellent installment, Anosh! Somehow you make me want to return to India.

Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2919 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 18417 times:

Hi SR 103, an excellent TR and as usual. Well written and aptly described.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Back then when you saw a gleaming L1011 with the Golden Falcon on the tail, you stared in awe.

Totally, I flew those tri jets so many times between Doha and Mumbai.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Jet Airways has quietly crept in and stolen a large portion of the Middle East - India traffic away from these three giants. Slowly but surely Jet Airways has become the number one choice for passengers traveling between the Middle East and India.

Exactly, taking away a bunch of O-D traffic from the Gulf carriers is a big thing.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Say what you want about Gulf Air, but their livery really is one of the best in the world in my opinion.

I agree, unfortunately that is the only "best" thing Gulf Air has.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
I cannot fault Laila or Hassan for their service. Both of them were constantly walking around the cabin making sure everyone’s drink was refilled with a smile. After the movie was over I switched to some short comedies and decided on ‘Big Bang Theory.’ Laila even stopped by with a glass of water without me having to ask. This is the mark of great service in my opinion.

With my decade long experience with Gulf Air I'm sure the planets must have aligned in a single line on the day you flew Gulf Air.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
Before I knew it, it was time to head back to Mumbai and my Jet Airways 737 beckoned. This will be the first BAH-BOM trip report on Jet Airways.

Interesting to note that 9W's cooperation with EY, GF has benefited all the 3 airlines. Especially the complementary timings 9W provides feeds to GFs and EYs network via BAH, AUH respectively.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
I could not help but glance over at the United counters next to me where the security agents were all smiles and chatting with their customers. Who would have thought?

Yes, who would have thought? Arrogant, nasty idiotic ground staff of BAH have raised their apalling standards to tolerable levels.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
At first glance the food did not look all that appetizing, but hey, never judge a book by its cover.

Very poor presentation, that disposable container in your plate is just unacceptable.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
Nothing! No one came to check on me, no one even peeked through the curtain. At this point I gave up on ever getting a cup of tea and just continued watching ‘Modern Family’ on the IFE. No crew member ever came around during the flight, something I was not expecting from a Jet Airways cabin crew.

Again unacceptable for a J class flight.


I'm glad Gulf Air is improving and you had a wonderful experience with them and I know many people who say GF has got better over the years with average service and decent overall experience. I ,honestly, would never fly them unless there is a strong reason (like say exotic aircraft, free ticket) otherwise even it were the lowest charging airline on a sector I would not fly them. If I see 15-20 reports on A.net that glorify GF then only will I choose GF.

As far as 9W is concerned, yes their service is above average at best. Real time surveys, polls, etc suggest 9Ws overall soft product is pretty inconsistent. Your experience is what the majority experience on 9W.

Thanks for sharing.



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 13, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 17799 times:

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):

what a great report again, thank you for sharing.

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting SloAir (Reply 4):
Nice to get an upgrade to business, even if the flight is not that long.

You are right, any upgrade is always appreciated, no matter the lenght of the flight.

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):
Nice TR, well done...

Thanks.

Quoting debonair (Reply 5):
These birds will soon replace the Privatair B737 on the Milan run (which will in return fly to CPH) and will also fly longer ranges. Then they will compete against EK, EY etc.!

You are right, at best this is a regional product. However if you compare it to 9W, they send these birds to SIN where they compete with SQ widebodies.

Quoting AlwaysOnAPlane (Reply 6):
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Thank you for stoppin by and reading it.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
Nice TR, thanks for posting, made good reading.

Thanks, always good to hear your feedback.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
- Agreed, though I still prefer the original Tristal Golden Falcon scheme.

Agreed!

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
- Were you the only one up front?

Actually no, I took the cabin shots before everyone else boarded. The GF flight was full, all 16 seats.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 7):
Overall Jet seemed pretty average, I expected more - food looked weak too.

That seems to be the common phrase after a Jet Airways flight these days.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 8):
Thanks for an interesting comparison!

Thank you.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 8):
I sincerely hope that GF has finally realized that its onboard amenities need to be improved.

It seems like they have, but I guess I would have to fly them a bit more to see if they consistency perform this way.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 9):
Very interesting report with nice pictures!

Glad you found it interesting.

Quoting Burj (Reply 10):
The thing that really amuses (and scares me a little) is that American comedies are not only available overseas, but are popular...

You know, its actually is a very popular comedy in India these days and my friends living in Bahrain say the same. Side effect of Globalisation you could say.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
What a pleasant surprise! It has been a while since I read any report of yours. I was kind of missing you, and look what you come up with. Gulf Air!

Thank you for the Suryo, never thought anyone would miss my trip reports. I appreciate that.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
Would you mind sharing me the recipe of Badami Chicken from the menu? You make me craving for Paneer!

Sure, I'll send you a larger copy of the menu!  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
Even compared to DEL T3. Look at the somewhat claustrophobic corridors! No natural light at all!

I have not had a chance to try out DEL T3 just yet, but it looks much nicer than BOM's current terminal. However BOM does have a new terminal in the works, but I think someone like Ojas can give you more details on that.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
Interesting, I did not encounter such control in DEL. Is it typical BOM?

The last few times I have flown out of BOM, it is no matter what airline you are on.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
What a nice touch! Was GF used to be that way or has GF followed EK’s example?

I quite honestly could not tell you who did it first.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
What was he trying to say? ‘Get on! Hurry up!’?

I see you picked up a bit of Hindi during your trip.  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
Excellent installment, Anosh! Somehow you make me want to return to India.

Thank you for the compliment. Hopefully you get to return and experience even more of !ncredible !ndia.

Quoting ojas (Reply 12):
an excellent TR and as usual. Well written and aptly described.

Coming from you, thats quite a compliment Ojas.

Quoting ojas (Reply 12):
I agree, unfortunately that is the only "best" thing Gulf Air has.

Now, now, you have to be open minded!

Quoting ojas (Reply 12):
Interesting to note that 9W's cooperation with EY, GF has benefited all the 3 airlines. Especially the complementary timings 9W provides feeds to GFs and EYs network via BAH, AUH respectively.

9W definately has better suited timings for O&D, one of the reasons that attracted me to them for this trip.

Quoting ojas (Reply 12):
Very poor presentation, that disposable container in your plate is just unacceptable.

Agreed. Even most airlines in the US don't do that in domestic First Class.

Quoting ojas (Reply 12):
I'm glad Gulf Air is improving and you had a wonderful experience with them and I know many people who say GF has got better over the years with average service and decent overall experience. I ,honestly, would never fly them unless there is a strong reason (like say exotic aircraft, free ticket) otherwise even it were the lowest charging airline on a sector I would not fly them. If I see 15-20 reports on A.net that glorify GF then only will I choose GF.

Yes I know, pigs will fly before I ever see you step foot on a plane with a Golden Falcon on its tail!

Quoting ojas (Reply 12):
As far as 9W is concerned, yes their service is above average at best. Real time surveys, polls, etc suggest 9Ws overall soft product is pretty inconsistent. Your experience is what the majority experience on 9W.

I am starting to slowly realize that.


User currently offlineojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2919 posts, RR: 24
Reply 14, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 17731 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 13):
Now, now, you have to be open minded!

I know, one should never say never.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 13):
Yes I know, pigs will fly before I ever see you step foot on a plane with a Golden Falcon on its tail!


I might just actually fly this for the sake of curioisty

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 13):
but I think someone like Ojas can give you more details on that.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):

What pictures you see in this TR is a partially built structure in the grand scheme of things. The long term plan is to have an integrated terminal with international as well as full service domestic carriers operating from here. Then you will have all the bells and whistles, natural light, flora, fauna and what not! You would be amazed to know only 66% of the existing capacity is being used, and amidst this there are operations going on smoothly.

[Edited 2011-05-08 11:05:00]


A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1881 posts, RR: 25
Reply 15, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 17515 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report, SR 103!

Gulf Air looks very impressive. How nice to get upgraded! I don't think there is a better feeling in the world when that happens!  

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 16688 times:

SR 103,


I heard from the GF folks on American Samoa Island, and from the 9W folks on Easter Island that they knew you were going to be onboard their flights ... they personally invited me to an emergency board meeting to discuss your welcome         


Excellent comparison between two airlines more or less competing on the same route. True they are partners, but Jet Airways is very smart to codeshare with all the Gulf carriers  

One can dream of getting two consecutive upgrades on two different airlines as part of one trip! You are indeed lucky, and this reminded me of your onboard upgrade to Diamond First Class on EY to JFK!  

Though my experience on Jet Airways last year was a little bit of a let-down, i am still surprised to see that the level of service on your flight could have been a tad better. They have great potential, and one of the world's largest local catchment area is right at their doorstep.

As for Gulf Air, many of the recent reports on them are quite positive, and evidently, this trend seems to continue in your experience. As for what the future holds for them as a company? Well, this we wait to discover in anticipation  
Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Back then when you saw a gleaming L1011 with the Golden Falcon on the tail, you stared in awe.

How i wish those days would return!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
over the last couple of years Jet Airways has made great strides in trying to capture the local market for themselves between India and the Middle East. While the big three Middle Eastern giants use their respective hubs as a springboard to the rest of the world, Jet Airways has quietly crept in and stolen a large portion of the Middle East - India traffic away from these three giants.

And perhaps one of the reasons that fast-tracked EK's progress in streamlining it's onboard product!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
“Mr, SR 103 I am afraid we do not have any window seats left, however I do have some in business class so I have upgraded you.

Amazing!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Business Class boarding pass

And i thought DNATA's boarding passes were plain! This one is worse!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Sadly, Mumbai has a long way to go when it comes to matching Dubai or Schiphol in terms of Duty Free.

No one is like Schiphol  
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Say what you want about Gulf Air, but their livery really is one of the best in the world in my opinion

Agreed!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
“Would you like a hot or cold towel sir?”

Nice. Not many airlines offer a choice. And from my experience, i've had it on Royal Brunei and good ole' SriLankan  
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
I eventually settled on The Social Network, as I must be the only person left on the planet that did not see this mega blockbuster of a movie- at least that’s what I have been told by all my friends.

So this leaves me as the only one left that has yet to see this movie haha.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
This is where it became tricky with the ‘digEplayer’ as there was no place to store it once the meal tray came. I manage to squeeze it in on the side of the tray table while I kept the meal tray on the absolute edge of the table and armrest. I really wish some airlines would think about this when they introduce these hand held portable devices.

BizBed on OpenSkies has just the solution for it  
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
The appetizer consisted of vegetables mixed with masala and pine nuts. It was something that did not really appeal to me, but I guess works for the largely ethnic clientele on this particular route.

This appetizer looks mouth-watering!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Check In: I arrived at the airport just shy of the three hour mark, but a line was already forming around the yet to open Jet Airways check in desks. I knew that if I did not join the queue now, I would be waiting a very long time. As 6:40 rolled by, three check in desks were open and accepting customers. Ten minutes later it was my turn and I approached the desk only to find an unsmiling twenty something male in a Bahraini airport uniform holding out his hand “passport and ticket!”

My experience was quite positive in Bahrain. The agents were friendly, just a little slow.

If i rememer correctly, Jet Airways is one of those airlines that train the ground handlers on its specific requirements so this lack of service should not be excusable at all.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
Once you pass security, you are greeted by a bunch of Duty Free shops. As I had nothing but time, I figured I would get some shopping out of the way. After a while I proceeded out towards gate 12 where the boarding of a Gulf Air EMB-170 to Erbil was about wrapped up. I walked further down and found an empty seat with a good view of the gate. There were a few ‘Batelco’ free internet stands which I took full advantage of.

You should have gone upstairs to look at the CX lounge   I still am in 'awe' after seeing that lounge when i was there last!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
I was greeted at the door by a flight attendant (Manesha) in her distinctive bright yellow uniform.
“Welcome onboard sir, your seat is 18A which is all the way down. Please enjoy your flight.”
I proceeded down the cabin towards what looked like a very packed economy section, and my fears were proven right. When I reached 18A, there was already someone in the seat. From a distance Manesha saw this and rushed down to my side. She first asked the passenger in 18A for his boarding pass, and once we both saw it said 18A Manesha glanced around the cabin and said “come with me.”

She led me to the front galley and said; “please wait here for a minute. Let me see what is going on.” While I was standing in the galley another flight attendant (Prita) was going about her normal duties by serving drinks and hot towels in business class. I casually said,
“Sorry if I am in your way, just let me know where I should move to.”
“Oh not at all you are fine. Would you care for a drink?
She pointed to a tray full of lime juice and watermelon juice.
“Mind if I have a watermelon juice?”
“Please go right ahead.
I gulped down my juice as Prita proceeded to attend to her activities in the business class cabin.

Manesha came back down the jetway with a smile on her face.
“Sir I have found you a seat, please come with me.”
Half expecting some middle, last row, non-reclining seat I followed her with my head down and began my walk of shame. I almost ran straight into her as she had abruptly stopped at row 4 pointing towards a pair of empty seats.
“Four Delta and Fox trot are available; please feel free to use either one.”
After thanking her profusely, I stowed my luggage and sat down. Then it dawned on me exactly how lucky I had just been. Two upgrades in three days on two different airlines without any Elite status. I never get this many upgrades with the airlines I am actually elite with!

That was handled in a very professional manner!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
I moved on to the main course of chicken and mushroom quiche. The quiche was nice and warm and the crust was still flaky but not overcooked. The chicken satay with peanut sauce was a bit of a disappointment though. The chicken was a bit dry and overcooked, while the peanut sauce had solidified into a brown jelly like substance which made dipping the dry chicken into it futile.

The main course looks horrible!


Thanks a lot for sharing! Definitely looking forward to more SR 103 TR's  

Cheers,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2429 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16473 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 13):
Thank you for the Suryo, never thought anyone would miss my trip reports. I appreciate that.

You are welcome, Anosh.

Quoting ojas (Reply 14):
What pictures you see in this TR is a partially built structure in the grand scheme of things. The long term plan is to have an integrated terminal with international as well as full service domestic carriers operating from here. Then you will have all the bells and whistles, natural light, flora, fauna and what not! You would be amazed to know only 66% of the existing capacity is being used, and amidst this there are operations going on smoothly.

Thank you for the clarification, Ojas. You make me want to try BOM one day!   



Friends forever
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26480 posts, RR: 58
Reply 18, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 16420 times:

Hey nice report and your right about GF , people dont have good things to say these days. I think people do remember the old days of the Tri Stars  

I flew J class over 10 years ago LHR-AUH-BKK and back then I sat with a pilot who said they were going down hill ! Good to see you had a nice experience. I doubt they will ever get their elite status back as their neighbours have upped their game and taken the lead but I hope they do well in the future.

Thanks for sharing

OA260  



AEGEAN-OLYMPIC AIR - ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑΚΗ " μέλος στη Star Alliance
User currently offlineryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4738 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (2 years 11 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 15558 times:

Anosh,

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
This shall not be the first Gulf Air business class BOM-BAH trip report on this board as Alex posted (a rather negative) one back in 2009.

Who is this character? Should I know him?

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
“Mr, SR 103 I am afraid we do not have any window seats left, however I do have some in business class so I have upgraded you. Though I am afraid you will not be able to use the lounge here in Mumbai.”

This is not fair. In my life, I think I have only been upgraded 3 times since 1985. But it seems to be happening so often to people here! What am I doing wrong? I know I am mostly on LCCs these dyas... But still...

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
Hassan made a follow up announcement to welcome us onboard and specifically mentioned that today’s crew “in addition to English, speak Arabic, Hindi, Malay and Thai.”

I expected more languages to flow out of the purser's announcement. But then again, it was a small plane with an even smaller number of cabin crew to match.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
I eventually settled on The Social Network, as I must be the only person left on the planet that did not see this mega blockbuster of a movie- at least that’s what I have been told by all my friends.

Err... Count me in. I have not caught this movie as well.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 1):
A plate of ‘gulab jamun’ was delivered with a smile a few minutes later. Nothing much to say about it other than the fact that it tasted just fine. It’s a very popular dessert in India, but at times it is a bit too sweet even for me, and I have one heck of a sweet tooth!

Gosh I could NEVER stomach even half a ball, let alone a pair! Indian desserts are just not my thing. Far too sweet for my liking.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
However our good friend Alex has written a very complementary KWI-BOM trip report on their Business Class offering. After numerous glowing reports (mainly from Alex) regarding the Jet Airways product, I was eagerly looking forward to the flight.

There is this character again... Is he someone you look up to or someone you would like to skewer?

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
Two upgrades in three days on two different airlines without any Elite status. I never get this many upgrades with the airlines I am actually elite with!

I officially hate you, did I tell you that?

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 2):
“Sir what would you like to eat for dinner?”
“Do you have any of the quiche left?”
“No.”
“How about the prawns?”
“No.”
“Then I guess you have tell me what I can have?”
She then burst out laughing, “Everything is available, I was just joking. Quiche and chicken satay?”

LOL!!! That's hilarious! I just wished this carried on for the rest of the flight but looks like service extraodinaire pretty much ended right here. Pity...

I had fairly mediocre flights with GF in the past in YCL on long-ish flights requiring 2 meals to be served. Needless to say, I walked away unimpressed with the offerings. From service, to food, to hardware, GF just seemed so aimless and this translated down to the way cabin/ground crew carried themselves. Often surly, disinterested and negatively casual when engaging customers. All these observations were made from just a round trip to Sydney with them. It definitely wasn't worth my money then.

But from a slew of reports I have read, GF seems to be trying hard to gain footing and it remains to be seen if it is paying off. I never like to see an airline fail - especially GF, simply because of the history this airline has which is rich with adventurous endeavours which was ahead of its time in the good old days. Somewhere along the way, they fumbled
and we are left with an airline which is nothing but a shadow of its former glorious self.

I would rather they be what they are now and concentrate on doing a good job regionally rather than stretch themselves so thin trying to compete inter-continental with the big boys. Yes I miss looking at a GF jet here in SIN, but hey - they need to do what they can to survive. Although I am still rather mystified by their decision to go E-jets on routes to southern Europe (??)...

Cheers
R



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineojas From India, joined Mar 2008, 2919 posts, RR: 24
Reply 20, posted (2 years 11 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 15275 times:

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
Who is this character? Should I know him?
Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
There is this character again... Is he someone you look up to or someone you would like to skewer?

The person is the author of this TR.
Tunisair TU 724: DEC/10: TUN-ORY: J Cabin (by abrelosojos May 6 2011 in Trip Reports)

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
What am I doing wrong?

Ryan, maybe you need to impress the check-in staff a bit more, I leave it to your talent as to how you manage it.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
But then again, it was a small plane with an even smaller number of cabin crew to match.

And many a times with even smaller number of passengers, so the number of languages known by the crew is pointless.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
Count me in. I have not caught this movie as well.

Me too   

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
Although I am still rather mystified by their decision to go E-jets on routes to southern Europe (??)...

Gulf Air circa 2011 is as clueless as they were in 2001, just that the soft product has risen from -10 to -2, while that's an improvement by 8 points it is still below acceptable levels. I wonder what sort of people are filled in their planning department.



A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep
User currently offlinemk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 14627 times:

Hey Anosh,

Nice TR after a very long time...hope all is well.

Seems like GF was a great experience right from check in till you made it to Manama. The food looked great and the crew was very impressive and warm.

9W, from my perspective, after your insight, tells me that they are trying really hard to please their customers. I think the robotic crew is a manifestation of that. If they are just able to engage their pax and try and enjoy what they are doing, i think it would have made for a memorable flight.

Honestly, the food on the 9W leg seems not upto the standard along with its presentation which you can clearly decipher after comparing with GF.

Nonetheless, you lucked out with the upgrades, so that was awesome!!

As always, a pleasure to read and a balanced look into these 2 airlines' service on the same route.

Hope to read more from you soon on your next travel escapade.



come fly with me
User currently offlineAirIndia77W From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 14511 times:

Nice trip report! Thanks for posting.

--Nate


User currently onlinenethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1044 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (2 years 11 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 14425 times:

Great products from both airlines on their regional aircrafts.
Thank you for all the pics and very detailed story.
nethkt



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 24, posted (2 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 13504 times:

Quoting ojas (Reply 14):
I might just actually fly this for the sake of curioisty

Your going to have to, I can't wait to read that trip report!  
Quoting 767747 (Reply 15):
Great report, SR 103!

Thank you.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
I heard from the GF folks on American Samoa Island, and from the 9W folks on Easter Island that they knew you were going to be onboard their flights ... they personally invited me to an emergency board meeting to discuss your welcome

Oh Roni, if only you did!  
Hopefully you don't get into too much trouble with you know who for that comment.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
Excellent comparison between two airlines more or less competing on the same route. True they are partners, but Jet Airways is very smart to codeshare with all the Gulf carriers

Thank you, appreciate it.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
One can dream of getting two consecutive upgrades on two different airlines as part of one trip! You are indeed lucky, and this reminded me of your onboard upgrade to Diamond First Class on EY to JFK!

I have been very lucky (touch wood) with upgrades, but then again I fly so much so maybe the numbers are in my favor.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
Though my experience on Jet Airways last year was a little bit of a let-down, i am still surprised to see that the level of service on your flight could have been a tad better. They have great potential, and one of the world's largest local catchment area is right at their doorstep.

They have so much potential. 9W reminds me a lot of EK and EY, a carrier that has grown too fast and can't keep quality control on their product.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
No one is like Schiphol

I can only agree with you on that.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
BizBed on OpenSkies has just the solution for it

If only more airlines paid attention to this. I however had the same issue with OpenSkies when I tried out their BizSeat product.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
If i rememer correctly, Jet Airways is one of those airlines that train the ground handlers on its specific requirements so this lack of service should not be excusable at all.

Agreed!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
You should have gone upstairs to look at the CX lounge   I still am in 'awe' after seeing that lounge when i was there last!

I think I'll just wait for you to write a trip report on CX out of BAH. That way we can all see not just the outside, but the inside as well.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 16):
Thanks a lot for sharing! Definitely looking forward to more SR 103 TR's

Thanks for the compliment, but I think I have to go into hibernation, at least for the rest of the year. However if I do any non Star Alliance flying, you have my word there shall be a trip report.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 18):
Hey nice report and your right about GF , people dont have good things to say these days. I think people do remember the old days of the Tri Stars

You are right, not many positive things can be said about GF these days. They definitely had a very different reputation 20 years ago.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 18):
I doubt they will ever get their elite status back as their neighbours have upped their game and taken the lead

I doubt it as well, but stranger things have happened.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
This is not fair. In my life, I think I have only been upgraded 3 times since 1985. But it seems to be happening so often to people here! What am I doing wrong? I know I am mostly on LCCs these dyas... But still...

Maybe you should fly with me, your luck might change.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
I expected more languages to flow out of the purser's announcement. But then again, it was a small plane with an even smaller number of cabin crew to match.

Only four cabin crew on the plane so nothing much to expect.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
There is this character again... Is he someone you look up to or someone you would like to skewer?

I do not have any intention to praise or skewer this individual. Just casually stating the fact that someone else has written a trip report on similar flights. Nothing malicious here.

Quoting ryanair!!! (Reply 19):
Although I am still rather mystified by their decision to go E-jets on routes to southern Europe (??)...

You know my longest E90 flight was LAX-MKE with a total of 4 and a half hours with no IFE or meals. I think the GF passengers to ATH on the 4 hours E90 equipped with AVOD and meals are very lucky. I am always a believer in an airline should fly the right sized aircraft, no point in flying a big plane if you can not fill it profitably (like some Asian and Middle Eastern carriers!)   

Quoting mk777 (Reply 21):
Nice TR after a very long time...hope all is well.

Everything is fine on my end, how about you?

Quoting mk777 (Reply 21):
9W, from my perspective, after your insight, tells me that they are trying really hard to please their customers. I think the robotic crew is a manifestation of that. If they are just able to engage their pax and try and enjoy what they are doing, i think it would have made for a memorable flight.

My international experience with IT and 9W is limited and it certainly would not be fair to compare my experience on IT's A330 to this 9W 737 experience. However from a domestic perspective, I would take Kingfisher any day when given a choice. I think Kingfisher tries a little harder while Jet Airways is sitting back and resting on their reputation.

Quoting mk777 (Reply 21):
As always, a pleasure to read and a balanced look into these 2 airlines' service on the same route.

Thank you for the compliment, much appreciated.

Quoting AirIndia77W (Reply 22):
Nice trip report! Thanks for posting.

Thank you for reading it.

Quoting nethkt (Reply 23):
Thank you for all the pics and very detailed story.

Glad you enjoyed it.


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