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BOM-HYD-BOM On Air India/Indian Airlines (pics)  
User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 541 posts, RR: 3
Posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 19234 times:

Sector: BOM-HYD
Airline: Air India (AI)
Flight: AI 442
Aircraft: Airbus A310-300
Registration: VT-EVW “Cauvery”
Scheduled Departure: 0540 Actual Departure: 0625
Scheduled Arrival: 0655 Actual Arrival: 0730

My office car dropped me outside Terminal 2C at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM) at 0145. My flight was at 0540, so I had nearly 4 hours to kill. What would be better for an aviation enthusiast like me than spending a few hours during peak international traffic at Mumbai airport?

Anyway, I was flying Business Class to Hyderabad on AI 442, my first time on an Airbus A310-300. This is a flight from Mumbai to Singapore with a halt at Hyderabad. I showed my e-ticket to the pretty hostess at the reception of the special entrance for Executive & First Class passengers and she greeted me with a warm smile   She then escorted me to the exclusive baggage screening machine and then to the Executive Check-in counter, lined with a blue carpet and all. I was beginning to feel like royalty already!  

I requested the person at the check-in counter to give me a window seat and because I was the first one to check in, I was assigned seat no. 1A. He put a “Priority” tag on my bag and handed me my boarding pass and an invitation to the Maharajah Lounge. Passengers travelling on a domestic sector on Air-India have to fill-up a customs form for declaring any high value items they might be carrying. I filled up the form, handed it over to the Customs desk and proceeded to the lounge. More warm greetings followed and I settled down on a nice couch with a great view of the action outside. The first sighting of the day was ol’ pal VT-AIQ, an Air-India 747-400 aptly christened “Elephanta”. I had flown by this aircraft to Ahmedabad a few months ago. Today again, it was headed to Ahmedabad as AI144.


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Parked next to VT-AIQ was another Air-India 747-400, “Velha Goa”. I had clicked a picture of this baby around a month ago and it can be found on Airliners.net.


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At around 0245, I spotted a Delta 767 leaving for New York (JFK) via Paris (CDG). A friendly waiter asked me whether I would like to have anything and invited me to have a look at their nicely laid demonstration of the fare on offer. I chose hot chicken savories with a fruit cake and some hot coffee. I needed the coffee to keep me awake for the next three or so hours till departure time. There was another flight – AI 828 leaving for HYD at 0300. This flight was originally scheduled to depart at 0150 and was now obviously late! At 0330, I spotted Lufthansa 747-400, D-ABVD leaving for Frankfurt, and this was followed ten minutes later by VT-AIQ, which left for Ahmedabad. Meanwhile, I saw a couple of Air India A-310 arrivals and these were parked at the remote bays.

At 0425, a late running SriLankan Airlines A320 rushed to the runway on its way to Colombo. I decided to rest for a while and browsed through a copy of “India Today” while sipping on some ice-tea. At 0500, an Emirates A330-200 took to the skies towards Dubai closely followed by a Blue Dart 737 freighter. Just before leaving the lounge, Yemenia A330-200, 7O-ADT arrived and docked at gate 51.


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Our call for boarding came at around 0520 and I proceeded towards security check and then to gate no. 20 where a bus drove us through some heavy rain to our waiting aircraft, an A310-300 registered as VT-EVW and christened “Cauvery” I was greeted on board by a senior looking male cabin crew who “guided” me to my seat. One look at the interiors, and it became clear that this Air India aircraft had seen some abuse. Even business class seats showed signs of ageing and had some patchy paintwork along with creaking arm-rests. The seat covers badly needed a change as did the forward wall panels.


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Another senior looking flight attendant offered me a choice of welcome drinks from the stock Air-India watermelon juice/lemonade. The flight was quite full and there was absolutely no availability in Economy. The Executive Class cabin was just 50% full. Anyway, it was becoming apparent now that we might be delayed as there were no departure announcements even at 0545. Finally, at 0600, the departure announcement was made and we were pushed back only at 0610. The captain came on line and announced that we were delayed due to “traffic congestion” at the airport. I spotted a Kuwait Airways 777, 9K-AOB as we began our taxi towards runway 09-27. We began the take-off roll at 0625 and after a fast 35 seconds run, lifted off into the early morning skies.

There was turbulence as soon as we banked left and changed our heading due south-east towards HYD. This continued for another 10 minutes after which it became considerably clear. I stretched my legs and tried to catch a quick nap, but the noise from the A-310’s port engine did not allow me to sleep. I noticed that the A-310 is considerably louder than the A-320. Soon, we were served a petite snack consisting of a sandwich garnished with cheese, a cold slice of minced chicken served over bread and mango cream pudding. Hot coffee was served from neat silver flasks and I relished it as it really freshened me up.


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Nothing much could be seen outside as most of central and south-central India was under thick monsoon cloud cover and I took a walk along the passenger cabin

The weather became clearer as we approached Hyderabad and I could make out houses and factories. We executed a series of left and right banks and lined up with the runway. The airport at HYD is right in the middle of the city and I could make out a lot of the city landmarks. We made a smooth landing at 0730 and after a long taxi till the end of the runway, we parked at the Rajiv Gandhi International Terminal. The crew came on line and requested the Singapore bound passengers to remain seated and that the halt at HYD would be for an hour. I exited the aircraft through an aerobridge and proceeded towards the baggage collection area. After a wait of around ten minutes, the baggage started arriving on the conveyer belt. I could see bags of varying shapes and sizes bearing some strange symbols marked with white chalk. I was told that this was a code marked by the baggage handlers for the benefit of the customs personnel. How ingenious!

Anyway, my bag showed no signs of arrival even after twenty minutes and finally, all the baggage was offloaded! I enquired with the person in charge of baggage handling and he sheepishly told me that it might have been misplaced at BOM and requested me to fill up a missing baggage form. I lost my cool now and gave the poor guy a piece of my mind. He then called up a colleague who was equally clueless. Finally, as I was about to leave the terminal in despair, someone had a brain storm and requested me to follow them to a baggage hold area. Apparently some baggage had arrived by the earlier flight and sure enough, there was my bag waiting for me!!! Now, that’s Air-India “Priority Baggage” for you – where the baggage arrives at the destination before the passenger!!!

Anyway, I left the airport laughing at this amusing incident and hoping to catch up on some much needed sleep.

********************************************************************************************************************

Sector: HYD-BOM
Airline: Indian (IC)
Flight: IC 618
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Registration: VT-SCC
Scheduled Departure: 1600 Actual Departure: 1625
Scheduled Arrival: 1715 Actual Arrival: 1730

After feasting on some nice, hot Hyderabadi Biryani, I reached the Departure Gate No. 2 at the N.T. Rama Rao Domestic Terminal at HYD at around 1430. After getting my bag screened, I proceeded towards the check-in counter which was almost deserted as the flight was around 90 minutes away. I always like to reach the airport well in advance as it gives me plenty of time to check out the airport as well as the action unfolding outside. I was assigned seat no. 21F, which on an A319 would be one of the last rows. After collecting my boarding pass, I strolled around the terminal and checked out the business class lounges and the little “observation deck”. One drawback I noticed is a passageway between the glass window facing the tarmac and the observation deck which makes clicking good pictures almost impossible unless you have at least a 10X zoom lens.

At around 1515, we were called in for security and I proceeded towards the departure hold area, which has some really nice views of the tarmac. I spotted a Go Air A-320 VT-WAA in the blue livery taxiing towards the runway.


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Ten minutes after the Go Air aircraft took off, a Sahara Boeing 737 landed. The aircraft parked at the gate right in front of me!


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After a wait of around twenty minutes, our boarding was announced and I proceeded towards our waiting aircraft from aerobridge no. 2.


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The A-319 looked spanking new and the new “Indian” livery looks absolutely awesome. I was in for more surprises as I boarded the plane. I was greeted by a really pretty looking, young flight attendant! In fact, three out of the five female flight attendants were young and quite pretty. I guess, they must be from the new batch of flight attendants that was recently hired by the airline. I had a nice conversation with one of them and she was in fact quite surprised at my knowledge about the aircraft and the airline   Unlike the usual IC crew, she was quite happy to let me click pictures of the passenger cabin.


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The passengers were taking their own sweet time in boarding the aircraft and the doors were still open at our departure time of 1600. The doors were finally closed at 1610 and we started pushback at 1615. By then, another Sahara Boeing 737, VT-SAY had arrived and parked next to us.

I spotted a couple of IC A320s waiting for departure and another one inside a hangar. I was looking out for an Air-India A310 which was nowhere to be seen. Delayed as usual, I thought! After a quick taxi run, we lined up along the runway for take-off. The take-off roll was one of the longest I have experienced at 44seconds and I found it quite surprising for such a small aircraft! The skies over HYD were quite clear and I could easily spot the Sanathnagar freight train yard & railway station near the airport.


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The meal service started in around 10 minutes and I was eagerly waiting for it. The meals that I have been served on Indian Airlines have been undoubtedly the best meals I have ever had in the air – both domestic & international! And I wasn’t disappointed this time as well. The meal was sumptuous and really tasty and was accompanied by some nice, hot coffee.


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The weather started deteriorating as we were nearing Mumbai. It was especially bad over Pune & Lonavla and the captain had to request even the cabin crew to remain seated.


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It cleared a bit as we approached Navi Mumbai and we lined up for runway 09-27. The approach was quick and I saw three aircraft queued up for take-off as we touched down.


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As we exited the runway, the Jet Airways Boeing 737-800 pictured above, took-off, followed by the Air-India A310. As I entered the Arrivals hall – Terminal 1A, I noticed that the toilets had been knocked down for renovation by MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited). MIAL is in charge of the airport modernization & restructuring program.

This was a great trip overall and gave me an opportunity to compare the two state run carriers – Air India & Indian. Here is how I would rate them:

Air India

Punctuality: 4/5

Aircraft condition: 2/5

Cabin crew: 2/5

Food: 3/5

Ground handling: 1/5

Value for money: 3/5

Indian

Punctuality: 4/5

Aircraft condition: 4/5

Cabin crew: 4/5

Food: 5/5

Ground handling: 4/5

Value for money: 4/5

[Edited 2006-08-03 10:48:54]

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTruant From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 18969 times:

Thanks for the detailed report. I agree, that IC livery looks fantastic.

User currently offlineKaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2892 posts, RR: 18
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 18939 times:

Great report as always mate,

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
Apparently some baggage had arrived by the earlier flight and sure enough, there was my bag waiting for me!!! Now, that’s Air-India “Priority Baggage” for you – where the baggage arrives at the destination before the passenger!!!

Anyway, I left the airport laughing at this amusing incident and hoping to catch up on some much needed sleep.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA i am dying in amusement here after reading it, PRIORITY indeed.

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
The meal service started in around 10 minutes and I was eagerly waiting for it. The meals that I have been served on Indian Airlines have been undoubtedly the best meals I have ever had in the air – both domestic & international! And I wasn’t disappointed this time as well

Second that opinion , they really are the best

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
Aircraft condition: 4/5

Why a 4 on 5 rating i thought it was a brand new A319.


Karan


User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5124 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 18829 times:

The food onboard IC looks fantastic.

-A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineBlrsea From India, joined May 2005, 1425 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 18784 times:

Good report!! IC airhostess are really cute  Smile The last time I flew IC BLR-SIN, 2 out of the 3 FAs in economy were pretty female FAs Big grin

User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3257 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 18742 times:

Great report Vivek!

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
She then escorted me to the exclusive baggage screening machine and then to the Executive Check-in counter, lined with a blue carpet and all. I was beginning to feel like royalty already!

Any pictures of the J class check-in counter etc? I'm going to be at the same airport and same place in 10 days (15/August)!

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
A friendly waiter asked me whether I would like to have anything and invited me to have a look at their nicely laid demonstration of the fare on offer. I chose hot chicken savories with a fruit cake and some hot coffee

Once again - any pictures of the lounge and the spread at the lounge? Was the lounge busy at that time? Also was it only softdrinks/coffee or some wine/ beer/ spirits as well?



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8561 posts, RR: 54
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 18625 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report & photo's, many thanks!

I really enjoy reading the TR's from India, I think because I'd love to go there for some plane spotting.

One day perhaps.............

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 541 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 18599 times:

Here are a couple of pics of the lounge and the food served.





Yes, the lounge was busy and they do offer wine/beer/spirits.

Quoting Nimish (Reply 5):
Once again - any pictures of the lounge and the spread at the lounge? Was the lounge busy at that time? Also was it only softdrinks/coffee or some wine/ beer/ spirits as well?


[Edited 2006-08-04 10:32:10]

User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3257 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 18500 times:

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Reply 7):
Yes, the lounge was busy and they do offer wine/beer/spirits.

Great - thanks for the pictures - does not seem very impressive  Sad But I guess I'll keep busy sampling the spirits on offer! Big grin

Did you choose to fly AI J because of the flight timings or was it the only option available?



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineKaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2892 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 18377 times:

Quoting Nimish (Reply 5):
Once again - any pictures of the lounge and the spread at the lounge? Was the lounge busy at that time? Also was it only softdrinks/coffee or some wine/ beer/ spirits as well?

Hi Nimish i had posted around 10 pics of the lounge and what was available in my trip report on 9W 343 in Biz class.


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Just for reference here is the trip report again,
Jet Airways 343/AI 310 Buss Class, Security? [48 Pics] (by Karan69 Aug 1 2005 in Trip Reports)

Karan


User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 541 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 18285 times:

It was mainly the timing of the flight. I wanted to fly as soon as possible and therefore, I drove directly from the office to the airport. And yes, Economy was full on the flight, so decided to try out "J"

Quoting Nimish (Reply 8):
Did you choose to fly AI J because of the flight timings or was it the only option available?


User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3257 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 18156 times:

Quoting Karan69 (Reply 9):
Hi Nimish i had posted around 10 pics of the lounge and what was available in my trip report on 9W 343 in Biz class.

So it is the same lounge shared by 9W and AI? Wow! That's something



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineKaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2892 posts, RR: 18
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 18144 times:

Quoting Nimish (Reply 11):
So it is the same lounge shared by 9W and AI? Wow! That's something

Common mate, dint read my trip report??i took so much pains to write wink 

That time the 9W 340 was WET LEASED by AI to operate the BOM-LHR and BOM-AMD-LHR sector for 26 days.
9W and AI operate from seperate terminals at BOM, 9W uses the pathetic Oberoi lounge

Karan


User currently offlineNimish From India, joined Feb 2005, 3257 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 18102 times:

Quoting Karan69 (Reply 12):
Common mate, dint read my trip report??i took so much pains to write

I guess I looked at the title, and skipped reading the report - since the report title says Jet Airways 343 - that's probably as far as I got  Sad

Now that I've re-read the report - yes - good to see the full lounge and business class treatment on offer at BOM. However, there's a 2% chance that I might fly direct to BLR, and miss this opportunity to fly AI J class (even though it's an IC aircraft that does the BOM-BLR nightly run).



Latest Trip Report - GoAir BLR-BOM-BLR
User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 541 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 17805 times:

You're welcome!

Spotting in India is at its infancy at best. However, there is a huge variety of aircraft both domestic & international, so your trip would be worth the effort.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 6):
Nice report & photo's, many thanks!
I really enjoy reading the TR's from India, I think because I'd love to go there for some plane spotting.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 23 hours ago) and read 17761 times:

Nice TR.Great Pics Especially the Landing at BOM.
regds
MEL



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