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My First Flight On The B737-900 Just 3hrs Ago!  
User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1516 posts, RR: 14
Posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6745 times:

I was due to proceed to BOM from DEL for an urgent day meeting today 10DEC03 - a plan only finalized late last evening. My options were IC, 9W or S2. Seeing the B737-900 (an airplane I had never flown on before) on the DEL/BOM/DEL route with 9W, my choice was made.

DEP 9W332 / 10DEC DEL/BOM 0650hrs aircraft B737-900 VT-JGD

As I planned to return the same evening, I decided to drive down to the airport instead of taking a cab. It was already late when I left home at 0550hrs in pitch darkness. I covered the 15km distance in exactly 11 minutes thanks to the empty roads.

A pleasant and professional 9W check in agent checked me in at the Economy class counter at 0620hrs and allocated me seat 31F as I insisted on a window seat (it was the last one left). My return boarding card for 9W353 (also a B739) at 1700hrs was also given to me (seat 22F). Morning DEL temperature was approx. 13 degrees celsius. The pax bus deposited us at the front stairs of the B737-900/VT-JGD. My seat being 31F I was directed to the rear stairs but I insisted on boarding from the front door as I wanted to check out the interiors including J/cl.

The aircraft itself was spotlessly clean (a feature of 9W planes) both outside and inside. J/cl has 32 seats while Y/cl has 138. J/cl with its dark blue seats was looked spacious and comfortable. Joining load in J/cl was very poor and did not have more than 8-10pax. Y/cl on the other hand was full. The only negative aspect ws the seat pitch. I am not very tall - about 5ft 7in, but even for me the leg space was extremely cramped. The minute the passenger in front leaned back the situation just got worse... you could not even open the inflight mag without the pages getting jammed on the seat in front.

Departure (off blocks) was on the dot of 0650. We took off from runway 10 in an early morning mist. Besides a host of IC A320s, CD B732s and S2 737s the rarer aircraft that morning at the international terminal were a CX A330, GF A330 and a private B721 (with winglets) belonging to Vijay Mallya of the United Breweries Group. There was also a Gulfstream IV whose origins I could not identify as we commenced our take off run.

And what a take off it was. The CFM engines at take off power in my opinion were almost as loud as the V2500s on the A320 (without the musical hum). Boy, did she climb!! The last airplanes I saw as we lifted off were 2 IAF IL76s, an AN32 and an IAF B707 (an ex AI aircraft). Even though the load was approximately 150 pax, the 739 swiftly and silently cut through the early morning smog and in about 10 minutes we were in clear skies. I decided to skip breakfast and took a brief nap, before waking up to visually savour hilly terrain of Madhya Pradesh wreathed in clouds which seemed like large lumps of chocolate topped with vanilla.

Approach to BOM never ceases to amaze me. Especially the slums of Dharavi, believed to be the largest in Asia which come right upto the airport boundary walls. I have often thought of some madman with a manpad who could easily take a pot shot at airliners approaching VABB from these clusters and then disappear into their labyrinthine bylanes. We touched down on time at 0845hrs. Besides an AI 743 and a couple of A310s, the international terminal at BOM just had a Saudia B743 on ground at the time. A Fedex A310 was also parked at the Cargo terminal.

We deplaned and I proceeded to my meeting, looking forward to my return trip at 1700hrs.

DEP 9W353 / 10DEC BOM/DEL 1700hrs aircraft B737-900 VT-JGD

Having already checked in for my return, I reached the airport at 1615hrs. The private airlines terminal at BOM has undergone a major facelift since I last used it. The departure gate for one had a new glass facade and the interior lighting at the terminal was more mellow and soothing to the eye. I feel that the two bookstalls at this terminal have a better collection of books than either the IC terminal or the international one. A series of decisions bordering on stupidity, from my part ensured that I not only missed breakfast but lunch as well. I was famished. Luckily (or so I thought), I met a friend of mine working with 9W who issued me a Lounge card and I rushed there in the hope of finding something to snack on. It was just not my day, just as I grabbed a plate, a 9W staffer came in paging for DEL pax and upon seeing my boarding card practically shooed me to the airplane. What the hell, I'd grab a bite on board.

Surprise surprise - the aircraft for the return leg was also VT-JGD. The flight did not seem as full as the morning as I settled into seat 22A. I spotted IC's last surviving A300B2 VT-EFX along with two other A320s at the IC terminal. It was a nostalgic moment as I recalled the innumerable flights that I had taken on the A300 - now a fast disappearing type in this part of the world. The AI 743C I spotted in the morning was still at the same stand with its main deck cargo door open. A couple of AI A310s and an Oman Air B737 were the only other airplanes that I spotted at the international terminal. An IC A300 with the tail logo painted over, without engines and fuselage caked in dust sat outside the IC hangars while an AI 742 in a similar state sat outside the AI hangars on the other side of the runway. Three B747s (I could not make out their marques) of AI sat in the hangars, but I suspect these are B742s already retired from the fleet and awaiting disposal.

Departure was once again on time. We held short of the runway for a couple of minutes as a 9W B738 screamed in burning rubber as she touched down. We took off westwards over the Arabian Sea. Every time I take off from BOM, I think of one event - the crash of AI B742 Emperor Ashoka into the Arabian Sea (with a total loss of life) as she took off on New Year's day 1978. We climbed over the sea, turned landward and settled on a North North Easterly heading which would take us over Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and into DEL in 1hr 55 mins (the crew however announced 1hr 30mins). Wet towels were handed out to passengers even in Economy class and service commenced soon as we settled into cruising altitude. Choice of soft drinks were between lime and orange juice. The meal trays came along shortly. My non-veg choice had a very peculiar combination of snacks: a potato stuffed snack which seemed like a cross between a masala dosa and a bonda, three pieces of chicken tikka and two pieces of dhoklas supplemented by a vegetable bread roll. Those of you from this part of the world will agree to the weirdness of this combination... anyway I was too hungry to care then. Dessert was slices of water melon and butter scotch ice-cream which the crew distributed from a thermocol container. The meals were impeccably presented. Cloth napkins and plastic cutlery to go in line with DGCA directives. I found it paradoxical that the plates were still made of bone china.. I mean could a potential hijacker not break one and use its jagged edges like a dagger or something ??? (or is it just my imagination running wild??)

A word about the inflight service on both legs. Young, smart and well dressed cabin crew as opposed to the pot bellied uncles and aunties that we usually see on AI and IC. The girl making announcements on the DEL/BOM leg goofed up her punctuations and Hindi grammar (but it was okay otherwise). I also noted that on this aircraft, rows 1 - 8 (J/cl) had life jackets under the seats. All seats in Y/cl had seat cushions which could be used as flotation devices. All announcements were remarkable for the unhurried and precise manner in which they were made. Full marks for clarity and diction. The F/O (sounding more like a young kid) came on a couple of times to tell us the speed (mach 0.77) altitude, outside air temperature and the usual trivia which of course I find terribly interesting. He even came on to tell us when we were overhead Jaipur and commencing descent into DEL "landing in 20 minutes".

But that was not to be. Traffic over DEL meant that we circled somewhere far out for a good twenty minutes beyond our STA touching down at about 1915hrs (so much for their 1hr 30min flying time announcement, bah!). As I came out of the plane, I took the chance to do a bit of a walk about near the aircraft to observe it closer. Even as I drew suspicious glances from the 9W security staff, I noted the following:

1. All up weight of this particular aircraft was 74389kgs while empty weight was 42414kgs (any guesses why they write it on the fuselage of India registered aircraft?)
2. A tailskid of a distinct design (difficult to describe here) but quite different from those on B734s.
3. The 737NGs appear to their fuselages a wee bit higher than their classic cousins. It was distinctly visible as our 739 had parked right next to a 9W 734 making comparison easier.

I wished it was day light and I could have studied the aircraft closer a bit more. The last passenger bus arrived in the meantime to pick up the stragglers - just me and an old couple were left. I boarded the bus back to the terminal eminently satisfied at having chalked up a flight on the B737-900. That leaves me with just the -100 and the -600 left to sample in the 737 series. The former, I fear, will remain just a dream. I was grinning to myself all the way back home.

rgds//Vimanav

P.S. Guys this is my first trip report and I'm afraid its nowhere near most of the trip reports that I have read here - they seem more like investigative analyses and theses to me - so well researched and descriptive are they. I look forward to your feedback.


Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRyanair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6549 times:

Great report.  Smile

Its not often you get a 9W trip report on here, I enjoyed reading it. It must have been great to fly on the 737-900!

Ryanair737


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 6438 times:

Great report Vimanav! Next time you are headed to BOM, please drop me a line and we can try to meet up - I'll be here for the next month at least. Heck, I'll even take you to lunch so you can avoid the hunger pangs that Jet Airways inadvertently subjected you to!  Big grin

The only negative aspect ws the seat pitch. I am not very tall - about 5ft 7in, but even for me the leg space was extremely cramped.

I know exactly what you mean. I'm just over 6ft myself and I find the 29" pitch aboard Jet to be downright unbearable in anything other than an aisle seat (where you can at least stick your legs out into the aisle).

The private airlines terminal at BOM has undergone a major facelift since I last used it.

Cosmetically it has definitely been improved - but it is still nowhere near international standard for processing efficiency. Still, compared to the horrific nightmare it was a few years ago (and that international Terminal II-A still is), I will take it any day of the week!

an AI 742 in a similar state sat outside the AI hangars on the other side of the runway. Three B747s (I could not make out their marques) of AI sat in the hangars, but I suspect these are B742s already retired from the fleet and awaiting disposal

The 742 without engines sitting outside the hangars is VT-EFU aka "Krishna Deva Raya". She has been there since April this year awaiting scrapping. The 747s in the Kalina-side hangars should have been one of the 742s in scheduled line maintenance, plus VT-ESP (undergoing a landing gear change) and VT-ESN (being reconfigured back from VIP configuration). There may have been another 747 in the Andheri-side hangar over by Terminal II-C but that would not have been visible from your taxi patterns.


User currently offlineSrilankan_340 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2002, 201 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6371 times:

An excellent report. Made for quite an interesting and entertaining read.

Looks like 9W are maintaining their high service standards as usual.

And also thanks for mentioning some of the other aircrafts at the two airports - I find a report that much more interesting to read thatway.


Srilankan_340



People are often unreasonable, illogical and self- centered: Forgive them anyway - Mother Theresa
User currently offlineRyanair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6352 times:

The tailskid is slightly different on the 737-400 than on the 737NG.

737-400


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Photo © Paul Harvey



737-800


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Photo © T Silgrim



Ryanair737


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 5, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6301 times:

Excellent report. Thanks for the detail as it comes in handy for me. I shall be flying BOM-DEL in January and this trip report was an excellent source of information. Glad to see Jet Airways lives up to its reputation.

SR 103


User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 6248 times:

Great job...29" though??? That is appallingly small...does that have anything to do with Indians/Asians generally being on the short side heightwise???

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6209 times:

Nice report da!

the -900 doesnt seem to be all that larger than the -800. In 9W's "pack-them right in" config, -800 seats 156 (28J+128Y). So 170 seats for the -900 means just around 2 rows more?

Just how much difference does that make?

9W's seat pitch in economy is abut the WORST among the pvt airlines. Just 29.5"? Even IC has 32" on teh A320/B737's and 33/34" on the A300's in Y. In J both have what 38". I believe S2 is the most generous in J and seat pitch can go upto 42" on their 737-400's and 38" on the -700's?

What about the food. How would you rate the food on IC and S2 against the offering from 9W?

-Roy


User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1516 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 6187 times:

What about the food. How would you rate the food on IC and S2 against the offering from 9W?

Though the offering on this flight (the combination i.e.) was a bit weird, the food was tasty and sumptuous for that time of the day (1700 departure).

In my opinion, S2 has absolutely the best inflight food I HAVE EVER HAD on any short haul flight. I was very impressed with the Y/cl meal and then I sampled J/cl. They simply pamper your tastebuds silly with the widest array of delectable grub ever laid out on any domestic flight I have ever seen.

9W is close. Excellent food in both Y and J. J/cl food quantity is top notch and choice is excellent but a couple of degrees lower than S2.

IC: Y/cl is bad.. its boringly predictable. Baked beans for breakfast and an omlette. Veg choice is equally sad with vadas and sambar you'd want to stand up for, in deference to their age. J/cl is however excellent and I would rate at par with 9W J/cl.

Hope this helps.

rgds//Vimanav



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5766 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 6086 times:

Excellent trip report.
When I saw the title- first flight on a 737-900, I had hoped that you had flown Continental, and that I could read a report on their service. BUT- I end up being more impressed by your more 'exotic' report. I will probably never have the need/opportuinty to go to India, but if I do, I will know what to expect on a Jet 739!

29 inches? That's worse than anything here in the States. The least I have heard of is 30. And that's WAY tight. 31 is more common- DL, CO, UA.

Randy


User currently offlineGamps From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 469 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (10 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 6017 times:

Nice report Vimanav.

As others have already mentioned I am also surprised at the 29' seat pitch.

In my limited flying experience with Jet Airways on Bangalore - Delhi (once in Club Premiere), Bangalore - Mangalore (10+ times on an ATR) what impressed me was the on-time performance and near new looking aircrafts - both interior and exterior. And ofcourse the food. Even on a 55 minutes hop they serve hot lunch!

FAs - all of them women or were there guys? On ATRs they seem to have more guys than girls for some reason. Or may be it got to do with Mangalore being a second rung station. Especially on Mangalore it appears crew is HYD based as they fly HYD-BLR-IXE-BLR-MAA-BLR-HYD in the same ATR in one day.

Only gripe I can think about 9W is one unforgettable image of this FA dude behaving badly with an elderly passenger who did not know English nor Hindi. I guess that is typical of any convent educated young brats these days in India  Smile

How many 737-900 do they have in their fleet now or any info on how many more expected? I will be heading to Boeing factory Everett in Jan so hopefully can see them if they are being built!

Later


User currently offlineLfutia From Netherlands, joined Dec 2002, 3339 posts, RR: 27
Reply 11, posted (10 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6001 times:

Hey there! Nice trip report... Reminded me of when I was in Mumbai in August of 2002... Has it changed since then? Last time I was there, there was construction. I think I am going to Mumbai in August.

Leo/ORD



Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1516 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (10 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5942 times:

FAs - all of them women or were there guys?

There were a couple of guys as well, including a very young kid who kept smiling at everyone like it were his first flight. He was also a bit clumsy, knocking my neighbour's elbow with the food cart hard enough to make him jump.

How many 737-900 do they have in their fleet now

Two B737-900s in the fleet VT-JGC and VT-JGD. No more -900s expected at the moment.

rgds//Vimanav



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineMog From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (10 years 8 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 5829 times:

Thank you for the trip report, excellent read, on a route (BOM/DEL) which has become like a commute for many people. I hope the Jet Airways big-bosses are reading this, (are you there, GS?) especially about the (a) horrible seat-pitch in Economy and (b) wierd snacks and (c) attitude from staff especially at DEL. I've pretty much gone off Jet Airways for this very reason, the seat pitch and the chi-chi baba log/baby log kind of cabin and cockpit crew. The ultimate was when a friend wrote in about a F/A serving with a dirty BandAid on one of her fingers. Considering they are the costliest in India.

Holding pattern pre-arrival DEL is mundane, but if you are lucky enough to get stuck outside BOM, then a window seat in the daytime gets you some of the most spectacular scenery this side of the Grand Canyon. The Sahyadris (Mountain Range) are "old", the jagged peaks amazing, and at some places, the almost perfect circle/semi-circle shapes bring you to wonder about the meteorite hits aeons ago. Landing at BOM a few minutes later makes you wonder, amidst this mass of humanity, how something so desolately beautiful can be just a few minutes away.


User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1516 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (10 years 8 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 5818 times:

Holding pattern pre-arrival DEL is mundane, but if you are lucky enough to get stuck outside BOM, then a window seat in the daytime gets you some of the most spectacular scenery this side of the Grand Canyon. The Sahyadris (Mountain Range) are "old", the jagged peaks amazing, and at some places, the almost perfect circle/semi-circle shapes bring you to wonder about the meteorite hits aeons ago. Landing at BOM a few minutes later makes you wonder, amidst this mass of humanity, how something so desolately beautiful can be just a few minutes away.

I strongly second that. The paradox of seeing those mountains in their desolate beauty stands in sharp contrast to the slums of Dharavi which appear shortly afterwards sprawling across the landscape.

rgds//Vimanav






Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31679 posts, RR: 56
Reply 15, posted (10 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 5644 times:

Nice report.
regds
HAWK



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