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SIN-DEL-BOM-GOI On Air-India  
User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 12 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9312 times:

After being really busy the last couple of days and after reviewing my tasks for the next days, which will definitely keep me busy, I decided I need some change… so I will include my trip report in the database, which is already 2 years old, but should give some clue on my last and best experience with Air-India! Enjoy, and please comment, criticize etc…! (a good change to the issues I had in the non-av forum today with some people who think that they and only they understand international politics):

__________________________________________________________________


29. December 2002: SQ KUL-SIN
30. December 2002: AI 411 SIN-DEL-BOM-GOI


Well, that year I had the pleasure to go to South-East-Asia the first time. Before going back to another term at Uni, I wanted to fade out 2002 in Goa with some friends. My trip actually started with an AF flight TXL-CDG-SIN two weeks before and ended with BOM-CDG-TXL in the New Year. But I will just skip these details, because they were rather unspectacular (nice aircrafts though: 320 on the short-haul, 777 to SIN and 343 back to CDG).

I decided to pay a visit in KUL (or ‘KL’, as locally branded). So I inquired about how to reach SIN on time in order to reach my flight I had booked at for incredible S$ 450! I thought about inquiring in the local AI office in SIN first. It seldomly happens that one meets so nice and polite staff. They told me that AI’s service on certain days was extended from SIN to KUL and offered me, should I wish to depart that date, to put me in on the plane in KUL for free. Too bad, the day I wanted to leave no flight started in KUL, so she recommended me to take the MH/SIN shuttle from KUL-SIN, which was the cheapest alternative. She also changed the departure date free of cost (I extended a day).

KUL-SIN on SQ:

The MH/SQ shuttles – a cooperation of both airlines – are organized as following: One pulls a number, and if there are any free seats on an MH or GQ flight from KUL-SIN, one pays and can proceed to check-in. After hearing from multiple sources what great airline SQ is, I sincerely hoped that I will have the luck to catch an SQ flight. And.. here you go! My number was announced for the SQ flight. Checked in until GOI while showing the separate ticket, I proceeded to the aircraft. It was a brandnew 777, beautiful. Not more than 30 people on the entire flight made an interesting ratio of FA’s and passengers. Indeed, I had a quiry about receiving my boarding-card for the connecting flight they could no issue in KUL and raised my hand. A handful of FA’s came immediately and assisted.. real good service. Flight was hardly 30 min. Hence, the experiences were limited but good.

AI 411 SIN-DEL-BOM-GOI:

After having about three hours layover at the beautiful Changi Airport in Singapore, with free internet at that time, good shops etc. I proceeded towards my AI Aircraft to take the flight (more than 10 hours), which resembled, considering the routing, rather a local bus-service. Since I was not really interested in airliners that time, I did not note the registration.  Sad Boarding had already started. Ratio of ethnic Indians and Foreigners was about 50/50, flight was almost full. Boarding went quick. Then I entered the A310 Aircraft, The first impression was the wall-paper in the area of the door, which reminded me at the interiors of houses in the GDR in the mid-60s. There are nice German films showing them, and in some houses here in Berlin, one can still discover their remainings.

People, my child dreams came back. In our age, these modern jets take away almost all pleasure of flying: everything so hyper. But it was nice to see an aircraft again, where you can see the screws coming out of the seats in the area of the joint with the soil. Nice to see some simple-designed seats. Nice to see cheap interiors, and, as Jaysit always says, 70s style projector screens!

Well, as in every AI flight, every passenger had four pieces of hand-luggage, which they started to store very carefully in front of the emergency exits. The Chief FA told them very politely that they were not permitted to do so. The next ½ hour, he was busy in helping to store the baggage at alternative places in the plane, also in the business-class.

My neighbor was an Australian guy, who already had the smell of cheap alcohol. Nevertheless, he was an entertaining guy, as we see later. Take-off was, considering the antique aircraft, smooth. After the seatbelt signes went off, food was served. The days before, I had browsed AI’s meal choices and decided to order a Guju-Meal, just to try. Of course, it happened that they did not have the meal. As I asked the FA, instead of receiving an excuse, I received such a charming: “Oh Sir, this is almost Gujarati!” with the complementing veggie meal.. OK, whatsoever I thought and started to enjoy the delicious Veggie Biriyani. Everything accompanied with adequate beverages.

One thing special with Air-India is the way kids and old people are treated. Instead of ‘following the economies of scale concept’ and asking the passengers what they wish and handling upon their requests, my other neighbor on the opposite of the aisle, a very old and charming Punjabi lady, had to endure the following conversation with the FA: “Mataji, you have to eat”. “Nahim nahim” [No, no]. After the FA repeated her plea four times, she finally agreed, and after the former disappeared, she would tell me: “Accha, le lo, beta [OK, eat my son]”. I tried but could not argue against and had my second Biriyani. Yummi!

During that time, the projector was running. But taking Jaysit’s logic.. it was indeed partly broken. Only half the screen was working (already the security comic – in four languages – was difficult to see). Some passengers complained because they could not view the Bollywood movies. And (Jay, I am not kidding), the FA hammered a couple of times against, it worked! Some weird movies (I am not the Bollywood Person). So my Australian neighbor and me went in the back and asked for some more Whisky. Indeed, we kept on chatting in the back of the plane, supplied by the friendly Fas with Whisky and Cashew Nuts. A nice Indian doctor joined. Then, you can imagine, boose makes you tired. So I wanted to sleep. The nice FA, who had distributed the food, saw my wish to go to sleep and showed me another place where I could sleep better, because an additional place was free. I followed her hint thankfully.

Well, I am a very good sleeper on planes. 3’o Clock in the night, the loud-speakers turn on loudly, and the captain announces the sleeping passengers that we have arrived Indian Airspace and are approaching Bhubaneshwar.. Then he continued that he further wishes us a nice sleep.. Thanks! Rest of the flight is again out of memory, but I woke up at every stop of the aircraft and every times for snacks (I told them to wake me up when something is served – I am an Airline-Food-Junky and especially appreciate the AI Cuisine!). They served food on every leg.

In BOM, although the flight had the same flight number, we had an equipment change. I was requested to contact the transfer desk after arrival. Before leaving, the same FA who served food gave me a bag and said: “Your stay in BOM is long, and I saw you enjoyed the two meals. I have packed you some food!” This was really nice. So I had another of these wonderful meals. In BOM, after proceeding to the transfer desk, they gave me a voucher for breakfast and told me that it was ‘part of my flight package’. Well, I thought, why not and proceeded to the snack-bar. OK, the food quality and variety there was really not representative, but nevertheless it was free and better to sit there and eat than sleeping on the couches in the BOM transit area and being eaten up by the hordes of mosquitos there (it is horrible there, really!). I chatted with some other passengers, who mostly were on the way to the Middle East, before boarding the ½ hour flight to GOI, which was packed, especially with Europeans. The flight was pleasant and even with another full meal – for the short flight not bad. I also appreciate the pre-departure drinks.

In conclusion, I say that the service and food was distinctive. The routing could have been more convenient, but for the price no problem. Aircraft interiors and IFE need an upgrade. But I really want to point out that the individual and charming nice way I was treated puts AI on my priority list. It is nice to see the personal touch and not the Euro-American mentality: you get what you pay for with the standartized service and the ‘chicken or pasta’ choice. Especially if you give the FA a smile and a nice word, they are extremely friendly… - something where AI erns distinction: if old people travel – never seen staff being so polite and respectful. If kids travel: never seeing staff being so patient, taking the babys in the arm to help the parents and being kind to the kids. Really great!



I know, rather a story than a factual trip report, but maybe someone or the other enjoyed. Tell me what to improve.. it was my first!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

P.S.: Too tired to speck chell-checking Big grin


[Edited 2004-10-05 00:52:19]

[Edited 2004-10-05 00:59:57]

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFlyingKangaroo From Australia, joined Apr 2004, 532 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (9 years 12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9080 times:

I was in Goa about 3 weeks ago, flying Air Sahara from DEL-GOI. A shame i was only there 1 day.......

Nice trip report!

flyingKangaroo



QANTAS-- The Spirit of Australia
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (9 years 12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 9073 times:

Sounds like a really great flight with equally great service on AI. Just gotten off SQ16 SIN-ICN two days ago. Flight was full as it was a code share with AI to SFO. Plane was 50% Indians, 50% others... service was polite, and efficient, but nothing like what you got on AI.

SQ losing it's charm again? Maybe...


SQ772@ICN



There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineVimanav From India, joined Jul 2003, 1516 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (9 years 12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 9064 times:

Mrniji

Good report... just remember everyone makes a start somewhere.. you just get better as you go along. And as for your description, fits the picture to a T.
Particularly right about old folks and kids getting the special treatment on AI. As a kid I definitely recall AI treating me like a Maharajah (without prejudice, they still do so I can't complain).

Keep sending those reports in. I see you have an LH flight out of DEL in July. If you need any assistance with LH in DEL do let me know.

rgds//Vimanav



Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
User currently offline9V-SVC From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 1797 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (9 years 12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 9053 times:

What a great report , enjoy reading this report. Might try flying AI one day.


Airliners is the wings of my life.
User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 12 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8990 times:

You're right about the cabin crew insisting that everyone eat.

"Eat, eat, you look so thin" is their motto. I guess they want everyone to look like them.

As far as carryons go, I hope that AI order 777s. Only those gigantic bins can hold the entire range of kitchen appliances (stoves, microwaves, etc) that Indians lug back to the mother country.


User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8807 times:

First, thanks for your comments! Sorry for answering only now, since I was banned for three days.

"Eat, eat, you look so thin" is their motto. I guess they want everyone to look like them.

Jay, i told you that your comments will kill me once Big grin Right, but have you seen some of the newly recruited FAs?? I can only say  Wow!

I will contact both you in Singapore soon, maybe we can meet up there when I will be there shortly..


User currently offlineBandA From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 341 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8766 times:

Mrniji!

Absolutely one of the best trip reports my friend.

as Jaysit always says, 70s style projector screens!

Haha, don't worry, up til now my JAL flights featured the same quality IFE hehe...

Well, as in every AI flight, every passenger had four pieces of hand-luggage

Oh my god... that brings back the visuals hahahaha... its not just AI, basically ANY flight we got Indians on is the same... I recall an AC flight similar.

FA: “Mataji, you have to eat”. “Nahim nahim” [No, no]. After the FA repeated her plea four times, she finally agreed

That does remind me of my sole flight on AI and the warm treatment me and my brother had received as kids... I have fond memories of that flight that I will never forget...

It may not mean a lot to some people but IMO its priceless to have that sort of treatment on a flight taking you away from your home in India... makes you miss your home a little less...and same when you return...

The nice FA, who had distributed the food, saw my wish to go to sleep and showed me another place where I could sleep better, because an additional place was free. I followed her hint thankfully.

You mean the crew bunks? wow thats nice!

well Mrniji, its just nice to see a Trip Report such as this... if AI indeed upgrades its fleet, I too one day hope to take a flight and perhaps experience the same treatment that I did over a decade ago.



"They [Terrorists] never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." - GWB
User currently offlineCarmy From Singapore, joined Oct 2001, 627 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 8740 times:

Nicely done report. I might have missed it, but what was the load factor like on the flight to DEL and BOM?

SQ772: (Enters defend SQ mode Big grin)I wouldn't say that SQ is losing its charm per se, but it's more that there really isn't much they can do in YCL. Ok so I honestly wouldn't expect too many SQ FAs to insist that everyone eats or pack food back for pax, but it still remains an airline where pax can be assured of a certain level of quality in service and IFE. In any case, the FAs are always happy to indulge in small talk if anyone initiates conversation with them isn't it? And I honestly wonder aloud how a Singaporean would take to it if an SQ FA offered him/her food to bring back home! Big grin


User currently offlineB747-437B From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8733 times:

You mean the crew bunks?

There are no crew bunks on the A310. The crew rest consists of 2 seats with a curtain around them. Pretty crappy.


User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8714 times:

Nicely done report. I might have missed it, but what was the load factor like on the flight to DEL and BOM?

Flight was almost full (let's say 99 %). There was one or the other place free.. - I slightly remember in DEL considerable pax leaving (I was sleeping, so my memory wasn't the best), but when I woke up before landing, I realized the plane to be full  Smile - but the flight was nearly full on all segments.. In the very front, there were two places free, so referring to your question You mean the crew bunks? wow thats nice! , BandA, unluckily not  Smile But still, this was very comfortable and generous..

Thanks people for the complements  Smile




User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 8714 times:

Hi Subin,

this is a very entertaining report, it was a great read!

Sounds like AI is providing excellent service, I have to try out them by myself one day after I heard so many positive comments, maybe on a FRA-LAX flight although I would love to visit India some day but unfortunately is India not a famous country to travel to for Germans. The Indian board of tourism should really promote their country more in the German media so that the people get to know all places which are of interest for tourists.

So my Australian neighbor and me went in the back and asked for some more Whisky.

This is what I love on long-haul flights, hanging out in the back of the plane near the galley to have a few drinks and a chat with fellow passengers. I really enjoy these small talks every time because you get to know very interesting persons.

I am looking forward to read more of your reports!

Patrick


User currently offlineMrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8689 times:

Hi Patrick!

Thanks for your comments!

I would love to visit India some day but unfortunately is India not a famous country to travel to for Germans. The Indian board of tourism should really promote their country more in the German media so that the people get to know all places which are of interest for tourists.

Actually, the "Indische Fremdenverkehrsamt" in Baseler Str in Frankfurt does a great job. go to http://www.india-tourism.com and choose their page.. they have nice publications.. the persons there are old friends of my parents and very nice and helpful. At the same time, I see an increased amount of tourism vice versa.. I am planning to be back in India next year, so give me an email if you wanna drop by  Smile

This is what I love on long-haul flights, hanging out in the back of the plane near the galley to have a few drinks and a chat with fellow passengers. I really enjoy these small talks every time because you get to know very interesting persons.

and exactly this is the one reason why - this sounds akward - I love AI's 74Ds (OK, this report is on the one and wonderful A310, but my last flight FRA-DEL-FRA was on a 74D) - most comfortable a/c I have been!!! They only have a two-class config, since the back zones are for cargo. Hence, Business is upstairs, and economy begins 'in the nose'! I sat row 2 (!) last time, in the nose, facing a picture of the Taj Mahal. The good thing is that if you sit in that section, there are only two colums with seats, i.e. 3-3 (in the front 2-2). You can imagine, as the aisle becomes broader, space increases.. You have so much place in the first cabine - and since moving is actually possible, you chat with other people, or stand at the gallery in the back of the first cabine with a drink and read some of the stuff on board.... You can virtually 'run around there' (3-3-3 begins in the next cabin only), stand at the galery and move comfortably - a 'mini-business-class forbudget-people like me  Smile... When I have the time I will write a short report on a flight with that a/c, too..

If you ever take that a/c, make sure you sit in the first cabin.. from the second on, it is only standard again...

Cheerio!


User currently offlineBandA From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 341 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 8675 times:

Sean & Mrniji,

Good to see you guys Unbanned!  Big thumbs up

There are no crew bunks on the A310. The crew rest consists of 2 seats with a curtain around them. Pretty crappy.

BandA, unluckily not But still, this was very comfortable and generous..


oops, my bad. I totally forgot that it was a A310. But still that is a very nice gesture.

I dont believe I have ever flown on a 74Combi. From Mrniji's description that 2-2/3-3 nose section seating does sound excellent!

From all of the trip reports on AI done by Sean, Mrniji and other pax, its obvious that a great amount of attention is given to the food. I wonder who does catering for AI or is it their OWN inhouse kithen? if so where is most of it done?

Regards!



OH and ONE more thing Mrniji, since you fly more often than someone like myself.. you should do what Sean does lately... take a digi cam with you!!! pictures are worth a thousand words!!! give it a thought!

[Edited 2004-10-08 00:13:20]


"They [Terrorists] never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." - GWB
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 11 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 8595 times:

Hi Subin,

thanks a lot for the link, the site is really providing a lot information about India, very interesting!

I am planning to be back in India next year, so give me an email if you wanna drop by

Thanks a lot for this offer! Until now I don't have plans where I should spend my next summer holidays but India sounds very interesting and is definitely on my "must visit" list, especially when an insider can show me all the interesting places.

The cabin layout of AI's 74D's sounds very comfortable. I saw a similar layout on EVA Air's 744's, they have the Evergreen Deluxe Class in the nose (also 2-2 seating), that looked very spacious. I also found out that the steps to the upper deck are a great place to hang out during the flight, a few months ago I met there with a few other passengers on a flight from SIN to FRA, the big advantage is that you can use the steps as seat, that is especially helpful when you had a few alcoholic drinks  Big grin.

Patrick


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