Karan69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2898 posts, RR: 17 Posted (9 years 10 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
I do not know about the rest of yoll but iam sure like many aviation enthusiast who are about my age,I too have made a list of aircraft types and airlines i would like to fly in my life time.
I have always wanted to fly on the A343, so that i can effectively participate in its discussions on the forum and have always wanted to experience first hand for myself-- how slow can it really be??
The opportunity presented itself to me when our very own Air India wet leased an A343 from JetAirways for a month to fly AI130/131 on the BOM-LHR sector 5x weekly and AI120/121 on BOM-AMD-LHR sector on FRI and SUN.
My list contained the 9W 343 and since it is gonna go back to its owner-South African Airlines,i dint want to miss such an amazing opportunity to have many firsts--
-First time on Air India
-First time on Jet Airways LongHaul product
-First time on Domestic Bussiness with Longhaul Aircrafts
-First time on the Airbus 343-313X
-First time on the 744 Upper Deck----or so i thought
From the first day of the week, i was checking up flights to see which was the best way to go and come back ASAP from AMD, doing one leg on the 343, which departed in the early morning hours.
Unfortunately of all flights out of BOM on FRI and SUN the earliest return was not before 5-6 in the evening.Having already seen AMD city properly i dint want to spend much time there so i looked for possibilities of doing the A343 on the AMD-BOM return leg.
This seemed to be the best connection,
AI 144, BOM-AMD on 18th July on a B744 which got me there at 3:50 am and after 3-4 hours transit time i would catch my 343 operating AI 120 on LHR-AMD-BOM,
But i had a problem as on Monday there was college and my parents would not let me miss that.
BUT as it is said "the GODS of PLANES" were on my side and Monday was declared a holiday in college due to some "EKADARSHI PUJA"
I finished my Accounts Tuitions and after much pursuasion with my dad, drove to the AI booking office at the International Terminal, went to the Grandmother type Lady at the ticket counter,
i was pretty dissappointed with her attitude towards me
me:Madam do you have seats on BOM-AMD-BOM sector for tomorrow? Her:One Minute (a bit rudely)
After a few seconds, while see had been figiting on her computer
me:Madam, i am looking at AI 144 and a return on AI 1.... Her:Do not disturb me, it will cause me to loose my concentration.
After 2 minutes.
Her:We have seats available for the 250am departure and the return at 5am. me:But i want a return on AI 120
While i said that i pulled out a piece of paper on which i had jotted down the schedules of my flight.
Her:You dint tell me this in the first place me:I tried to but you told me, not to disturb you as it would effect your concentration. Her:Whatever, and lower your tone when you speak to me.
At this point i knew it was useless arguing with her, i just gave her that piece of paper and with the permission of my father told her to book me in Bussiness Class.
She was a bit shocked that one could go for such a short time and blow up money just for the sake of his passion and tried to tell my Dad, not to listen to me..
My dad told her politely to do her job as "My son is paying for this from his own pocket".
At this she silently sat down, took the cash from me and gave me my tickets, i requested her if she could give me a Window Seat on both legs---To which she rudely replied "it is not in my hands, come early and at check-in they will give you what you want, DO NOT EAT MY HEAD"
Her attitude pissed me off and when i walked out of the ticket office i wanted to call her a "B***H"., but I held myself.
Anyway, I walked into the terminal building and went to confirm my window seat.
The counters at 1900hrs were obviously empty and I asked the lady at the counter if she could pre-book me on a Window seat., she smiled at me and took my ticket.
However she said that she would only be able to confirm me on a window seat for the BOM-AMD leg, for the AMD-BOM i would have to book it from AMD.
I agreed and requested her to give me an Upper Deck seat as it was scheduled to be a 744,
She looked at her screen and told me
“It’s a normal747, without an upper deck”
My look of confusion and shock must have made her think that I didn’t hear her correctly, and she repeated herself, saying that
“It’s a normal 747, no upper deck”
Now my brain cells were telling me to laugh on her face, but I somehow held myself back and with a wry smile told her to check again for the Upper Deck section.
She figited a bit on her keyboard, and then apologetically said which seat would you want 10K/11K/12K, I told her to prebook 12K and she even checked me in and gave me my Boarding Pass with a Maharaja Lounge Invitation.
Drove back home with my Dad and went for my usual swim and workout in the evening.
I checked www.baa.org to see if AI 120 had taken off on time--it unfortunately took off 40 odd minutes late which meant more boredom at a dump like AMD.
I also tried to search for info on AI144 which was due from EWR-CDG but the AI website has no such information regarding flight status.
Then i did something which really helped me in the coming few hours, i printed the DGCA permit which allowed pictures to be taken by passengers at Indian Airports and i would strongly suggest that any pax who wishes to take pics at any Indian Airport carry this slip as a precautionary measure.
Was done packing my small college bag with my camera and a few books, i dint eat any dinner as i would enjoy myself at the lounge.
A picture of my ticket,boarding card and Lounge Invitation
Mumbai Airport and The Maharaja Lounge
My parents dropped me off at the airport and they said "we cant believe you are still doing this"
I smiled at them said thank you, then winked at them and said "this is just the begining, see you at 930 in the morning"
Entered the Terminal 2C building from the gate exclusively for AI Executive and First Class pax and was escorted by two hotties into the building, after i told them i had already checked in and had my boarding card they left me pointing me towards the Maharaja Lounge.
As i was walking towards the Lounge i kept turning back to glimpse at those two and thought to myself AI has actually done a good job in their last selection process.
Anyways reached the Maharaja Lounge, handed the attendant my invitation and he welcomed me with a bright smile, i walked ahead and made myself comfortable on a sofa facing the televison
I just changed the channel, when an attendant came upto me and said
"Good evening Mr Bindra, i am Desmond, would you like to smoke"
I smiled at him and said,"i dont smoke and tell me what non-alcoholic drinks can you get me"
"Any drink you want sir,"
"Get me a Sprite please, and what is there to eat"
I was begining to feel hungry at that time.
"Veg or non-veg sir"
In the meanwhile i tuned into CNBC and started watching my Sunday late night
regular show --"Generation Next"
Desmond came back after a few minutes, and this is what he brought for me.
I was so hungry that i did not even realise that the food was cold, but the taste was preety good.
After finishing it i asked him what else he could get me and also told him that i did not eat my dinner and had just finished a long swim so was really very hungry.
He again asked me if i ate non veg to which i told him that i do eat Egg and i am not a pure Gujarati type Vegeterian, but nothing else other than egg.
He asked me if i would like an Omelete Sandwhich to which i happily agreed and asked for a lemon Ice tea with it.
I then sat on one of the unoccupied computers to check the latest happenings on A.net and logged on msn to see none other than B747-437B online.
Told him that i was in the Mahraja Lounge and began chatting on the various possiblities i could encounter at AMD. We also discussed the possiblity of AI serving "Dhokla" on their AMD flights
I snapped a shot of the AI 744 which was scheduled to fly me that day the aircraft "TANJORE" which DID NOT fly me
They both were delicious, but i would have preferred if it was brought in seperate plates and the size of the pastries were bigger
It was 02:15 by this time and boarding for my flight had been announced, so i said thank you to Desmond and gave him a tip for filling a hungry guys stomach and finally left the lounge.
No hassles at security only the announcements were misleading as they kept changing the Gate of my aircraft from 40 to 18 to 19 to 20.
I reached gate 20 in like 10mins and sat in the bus and then we waited for 25mins for the bus to fill and the doors to close, during that time i saw an AI 747-400 aircraft come right at the side of our bus--i think it was the "SANCHI"
This is one of the most beautiful sights to see a Jumbo Jet taxi right upto you.
We taxied to the aircraft at around 0240hrs along pass all the heavies--those familiar with BOM airport schedules will know that this is a peak time for International departures, and sure enough i saw BA 744, LH 744,DL 763 amongst several AI 310s and 747s
Got off in front of the aircraft and saw that it was an Airbus 310
But as HAWK21M would say "think of the brighter side"--the 310 of AI was also on my above mentioned must fly lists and i was mainly concerned with flying the 343,so i proceeded to board it.
I walked up the stairs to be welcomed at the doorway with an Air hostess in the traditional "Namaste" pose. and i could swear that she looked like Cobra snake who was out to snap at me at this hour of night.
Inside the aircraft the big belly senior puser welcomed me and requested me to take any seat i wanted to, i chose the Bulkhead window seat 1H, as this would give me a view of the airport on taxi and on takeoff. the view from my seat of the Combis
No such id
Screeners please note that some of my photos on myaviation.net keep getting deleted. where ever yoll see "no id" written those photos have been deleted??? photo ids 405444,405447,405449 have been deleted. previously even 6 photos were deleted which i have re-uploaded--please check
It was 0300am already and we should have atleast closed doors, but then the pilot made the announcement
"As you have noticed that we are past our scheduled departure time,this is because we are waiting for pax connecting on the other flight come from Newark and Paris"
Hearing this a few worried pax came from the economy section upto the purser and asked him to please depart the aircraft on time, as some of their family members at AMD were fighting death and they would like to see them before they die, the purser did a good job in trying to calm the two men
down and explain the situation to them, that this was a continuation leg of AI144 and they had to wait for the pax, from EWR and CDG.
The service AI is famous for began with hot towels being given as freshners and a selection of the newspapers and bussiness time magazine.
To wile away some time i clicked a few photos the buss class seats on Air India
I called the purser and asked him if he could request the pilot for a cockpit visit by me after landing, he came back within 5 mins and said that the Captain agreed, i was preety pleased at that.
At 0331hrs pushback began and the safety demonstration plyed on the central screen. On pushback i saw all the gates which were previously occupied by the heavies of BA/LH/DL etc.. and which technically should have still been there if we would have had an ontime departure--All those freaking gates were empty, except one which had been occupied by EK. the sole EK aircraft at the gates
No such id
We began our roll after a long taxi which took 10mins on Runway 27 and at 0346am we were airborne.
YES-0346am ----6 minutes after we should have arrived
The meal service began almost as soon as the seat belt signs went off,
This was rather disappointing, as i had heard good stuff about AIs catering, but not on this short flight.
meal service on board
No such id
Open cheese and pineapple salad sandwhiches,
sponge and jam cake???
Aloo and Kaju Tikki
I dint enjoy the food all that much, but for all the Lounge food i had enjoyed , i could not complain about this one.
We covered the short distance of 465Km in time as i listened to the selection of Audio channels and watched a few Just for Gags which was being telecast on the central screen.
The Audio selection was good and had a nice selection of Trance and Techno music.
After about 50mins we had a REAL ROUGH and BUMPY touch down at AMD, and parked on the wide-open space, and were the only aircraft at the airport.
i picked up my hand luggage and proceeded to the cockpit and was nicely welcomed by Captain Randhawa and his FO. they even let me take a picture of the cockpit. the cockpit of the "Tista"--thanks to Captain Randhawa and his crew
I got off the bus and walked into the miniature terminal building, and as soon as i entered the premises, one of the young ladies of AI or AMD not too
sure, came up to me and inquired if i had taken a picture of the aircraft, to which i simply said,
"I have the permission slip"
and gave the DGCA photography permit slip to her,
After she had gone through it along with her colleague, she told me that the date written is of 9th December,2004, and how was she to verify its validity.
I calmly replied to her and told her that Rules are not written everyday.
She kept telling me "How do i verify this"
I lost my cool and with a Stern voice replied that "Does the Police make new laws for the land every single day with a new date typed on them"
It wasn’t my smartest reply but it did manage to get the point across to her, and in a dimmed out voice she said
"Whatever happens now, is between you and the Airport Staff"
I walked passed the immigration line being a domestic passenger and went outside to enter the departures hall of AMD.
AMD departure terminal and the photographic Security Issues
The check in counters were not yet open, and I made myself comfortable in the waiting area.
30 mins later, the counter opened and i happily booked myself on windowseat 3A. and proceeded to the waiting area where there was not a soul except for a few sleeping cops.
About 15mins later as i was reading Business times, a man came upto me and asked me for my boarding pass, he seemed to be some AAI official so i handed it to him. He scanned through it, said Thank you and handed it back to me.
I continuoed to read and wile away some time, then after about an hour that same man came with one of his senior colleagues. This is what followed.
----the conversation was in hindi but this is the english version roughly translated.
"Sir, are you a proffesional photographer?"
"Did you capture the image of the Air India aircraft?"
Me-"Yes, but i do have the permission slip"
I put my hand in my pockets to remove it,
"Is this it?"--taking out the slip from his pocket.
He gave it to me saying ,” you had left it on the chair in the waiting area"
"Do you have any identification"
I gave my M.I.G cricket club card to which he said
"So, you play Cricket for your club too"
Me--"Yes, I used to"
"You have a good personality"
Me-"Thank You, By the way, who are yoll" "I am the sub-inspector of vigilance at AMD and he is my deputy"—showing his card to me as he said that.
After a few endless seconds of silence that seemed like an eternity, i inquired
"Is there any problem, Sir"
"None at all, we just had to do our checks regarding the photograph you took"
Me-"But is it not allowed????"
"It is and has been announced in the papers too, but not many are aware, its a good thing you had the slip with you"
Me--"I simply have a passion for aviation just like many would have for cars,i hope you do understand"
"I most certainly do"
After saying that, he smiled at me thanked me for my co-operation and handed me back the slip.
Well i said that’s a close one, but after 10mins or so i saw his deputy coming towards me, and i thought to myself---
"NOW WHAT HAVE I DONE"
He smiled at me and said "Sir,if you dont mind can i borrow your permission slip, i want to make a few copies of it for my records and for some of the AAI staff"
"SURE" i said after much relief and handed him the slip.
He came back after a few minutes and we had a long conversation regarding the security concerns at AMD airport, and all the riots and terrorist attacks that the city had encountered in the past week and the past year.
It was after this that i understood their concern as a few of the terrorist that had carried out the attacks had arrived from this very airport. And they were just doing their job of being Vigilant----And who can blame them to suspect me--
Who in the right mind would arrive from one flight and depart from the very next one without leaving the airport premise.
Time began to pass by and the waiting room soon started filling up with all sorts of Uncles and Aunties and Daughters with American accents and locals who wanted to speak but could not pronounce english properly.
20mins before SDT, they announced boarding and at the same time i heard the announcement of the arrival of AI 120 from LHR, as expected it was gonna be late.
I was the first to clear the "Hand checked" security as the X-ray machine had broken down, and there i could see our aircraft, which looked beautiful.
You would have thought that after all this.....i went through i would not take another photo atleast at AMD.
But what can stop a true aviation geek????---NOTHING
my aircraft, nice to finally see her after no sleep for the last 20 hours
As i was snapping these photos, one of my fellow pax, who was also holding a digital camera in his hand, came upto me and requested me to take a photo of himself sitting on the seat,i agreed and after clicking his requested him to take a picture of me sitting on the seat.
Karan69 enjoying the Club Premiere seat
We began our long taxi and i clicked a few photos of the tiny AMD domestic airport--I use the word "tiny" in comparison to the number of operations and pax it handles.
A Jet Airways 738 parked at the side of our aircraft
After about a 10 minute taxi, we reached the runway and began our smooth takeoff.
I do understand now, how slow the climb of the A340 is in comparison to its competitors, but it is one of the most smoothest ones and makes you enjoy your flight.
This is what it would be in a 180 degree flat position,
Unfortunately, the TV monitors had been switched off for this short flight, nevertheless the music was decent and had a good mix of hindi and english songs.
I went through the IFE guide and was amazed to see the host of movies Jet Airways, was offering on this segment.
Within a few minutes, breakfast service began,i dint enjoy it on this segment as i am one of those guys who would prefer a hot meal rather than a cold one especially in the morning. AI meal on the 9W leased aircraft
After a pleasant flight and a much more comfortable landing than on the 310, we had a very bumpy taxi, during which i managed to capture a few photos of the domestic traffic and some international one.
the classics meet the mordern fleet at AI mx hangars
Walked out of the airport and was home by around 10am, to tell the story to my parents and finally get some sleep.
Aircraft--5/10---old aircraft and not in that good condition.
Service--8/10---not too bad for a 50 minute flight
Seats---3/10---not at all good enough for a J class domestic flight let alone the international destinitions it flies to.
AI 120--Jet Airways wet lease
Aircraft--10/10--top notch shape and condition
Service--8/10---preety decent for a 50 minute flight
Hope yoll enjoyed reading it as much as i enjoyed flying and staying awake.
Any comments/criticisms/suggestions are more than welcome.
HAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31775 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting Karan69 (Thread starter): me:Madam, i am looking at AI 144 and a return on AI 1....
Her:Do not disturb me, it will cause me to loose my concentration.
You should have noted down the Staff details....You might not be the only victim.Reminds me of the Incident when I was a Young AME travelling on IC A300 to rectify a AOG aircraft & we [Me & another Young AME] met a Elderly Cabin Attendent who refused to serve us Tea In spite of asking for it & served us Fruit juice saying it wasn't our Age to drink Tea The Older AMEs with Us had a good laugh.
It was only on Landing The Attendent realised who I was & was embarrased.
Quoting Karan69 (Thread starter): Then i did something which really helped me in the coming few hours, i printed the DGCA permit which allowed pictures to be taken by passengers at Indian Airports and i would strongly suggest that any pax who wishes to take pics at any Indian Airport carry this slip as a precautionary measure.
AirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Very enjoyable report, but to be honest I'm not sure of your routing still. Perhaps it's just too early in the morning and I'm delirious...AMD-BOM-LHR? How did you find your parents on both ends of the trip?
Mrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Lovely report with lovely photos! Good job.. keeping in mind that I haven't moved my ass yet and still have about 5 reports to come... - a bit more inflight info would have been nice though, but since it was 50 min, no real ned
Quoting Karan69 (Thread starter): with my dad, drove to the AI booking office at the International Terminal, went to the Grandmother type Lady at the ticket counter,
i was pretty dissappointed with her attitude towards me
AIs groundstaff is horrible.. just today morning, when my baggage was declared as lost, I asked the AI baggage counter where I could complain for QR... she didn't even look in my face, as she was busy phoning with a friend.. I could tell many other stories but will refrain now.. staff in the caibn was n ice though
Quoting Karan69 (Thread starter): i printed the DGCA permit which allowed pictures to be taken by passengers at Indian Airports and i would strongly suggest that any pax who wishes to take pics at any Indian Airport carry this slip as a precautionary measure.
It is a pain n the butt.. before I travelled to NBO, they denied me taking photos in the terminal.. nice you had the slip along (though I doubt that the people who prohibited it probably wouldn't have understood it). Hillarious story in AMD, but a shame they do not nstruct their staff and do not have the material themselves.. stupid GOI-AAI
Quoting Karan69 (Thread starter): As i was walking towards the Lounge i kept turning back to glimpse at those two and thought to myself AI has actually done a good job in their last selection process.
now don't tell me it came from a intercontinental..
Quoting Karan69 (Thread starter): Seats---3/10---not at all good enough for a J class domestic flight let alone the international destinitions it flies to.
AIs J class on the 310 is horrible.. when I boarded my last 310, I thought: "What a bad economy class as compared to SQ".. then only I realized it was J! Their seats on the 744s look neat though.. still, no businessman would select them (only if the flight is significantly cheaper,,)
HAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31775 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting Mrniji (Reply 8): Quoting Karan69 (Thread starter):
i printed the DGCA permit which allowed pictures to be taken by passengers at Indian Airports and i would strongly suggest that any pax who wishes to take pics at any Indian Airport carry this slip as a precautionary measure.
It is a pain n the butt.. before I travelled to NBO, they denied me taking photos in the terminal.. nice you had the slip along (though I doubt that the people who prohibited it probably wouldn't have understood it). Hillarious story in AMD, but a shame they do not nstruct their staff and do not have the material themselves
Karan....Personally I feel you were very Lucky to get the Security guys to believe your story since you had clicked the Photo on the Tarmec which is still restricted Area for Photographs.Guess The Security guys never read the circular properly or never seen the Pic on your camera.
Currently Aerodrome Photos inside Terminal Bldng are permitted & As a Scheduled Pax in aircraft can take pictures from Inside the Aircraft of the Insides or outsides from the Aircraft.
Quoting AirIndiaOne (Reply 2): Then how come the 310 equipment was used ? Does it have that kind of range ?
The flight was delayed from EWR-CDG as usual, hence they wanted to leave for AMD asap, thats why they accomodated the pax on a spare A310, i actually do not know much more than that.AIs website says 744 for many domestic routes, but i believe EQV change is quite common.
Line MX area, where the 777 was parked, when she first came, see the picture of the combis, just at the side of that.
Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4): Its always nice to Do what you dream about & Im happy for you
Glad to know i have your support
Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 7): Very enjoyable report, but to be honest I'm not sure of your routing still. Perhaps it's just too early in the morning and I'm delirious...AMD-BOM-LHR?
I think it is too early in the morning , my routing was BOM-AMD-BOM.
Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 10): Currently Aerodrome Photos inside Terminal Bldng are permitted & As a Scheduled Pax in aircraft can take pictures from Inside the Aircraft of the Insides or outsides from the Aircraft.
This line itself as written on the slip is confusing, and hence you can get away with it if you are good in conversation and your lucky.
Here are the remaining picture which had been deleted
Mrniji From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Btw, has the wetlease been extended, or will the routes served by AI744 again? Just wondering whether mrs Nancy from Jet USA has put down her claims.. is 9W permitted to serve the states now? If not, what is going on with the 343 of 9W? Thx!
The last time I was around the spotting area at BOM on 5th Aug, i happened to see the VT-JWC A343 arrive at around 11:30 am. It has its own callsign.
Also saw the other 2 343's parked at the intl apron.
"You don't have to be crazy to be in aviation, but it helps", JRD Tata
Desiguy2447 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 96 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 30623 times:
I'll be posting a trip report on Jet Airways which I'm flying from LHR to Mumbai then Jet Airways domestic from Mumbai to Delhi. (Flying Feb 12). Then
Jet Airways DEL to LHR (FEB24th) Flying Business class on Jet Airways.
Using Northwest to get from the USA to LGW, and back also in Business class.
Will be doing a Airport transfer between LGW TO LHR, and LHR to LGW.