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BOM-DEL-BOM On IC A320/AI 743 Combi DEL Fog (Pics)  
User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 527 posts, RR: 3
Posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 9407 times:

Sector: BOM-DEL
Airline: Indian (IC)
Flight: IC 806
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Registration: VT-EPC
Seat: 26A
Scheduled Departure: 0800 Actual Departure: 1055
Scheduled Arrival: 0955 Actual Arrival: 1250

I booked myself on an early morning IC flight from BOM to DEL on the Christmas weekend. This was the annual fog season in North India and DEL airport had seen a string of delays and a few cancellations in the past few days. IC is one of the domestic carriers in India that boasts of CAT-III ILS trained pilots, so I was hoping that we would get away with only a minor delay. Waking up at 0500, I switched on the TV, and found all news channels were flashing stories of how the RVR (Runway Visibility Range) at DEL had fallen to below 50m and that the airport was not taking in any flights! Nevertheless, I left my place at 0615 in anticipation of an on-time departure. The first inidcation of a delay came in the form of a call from the IC office informing me of a one-hour delay in departure. As I was only 15 minutes away from the airport at that time, I thought – what the hell, it would give me some extra time to survey the happenings at the airport.



There was a decent queue at the IC check-in counters as the airline had quite a few departures in the morning. There were two departures to DEL, one to CCU (which was delayed by three hours!), one to BLR, and another one to MAA. I was only carrying a rug-sack and therefore managed to check-in real quick. I had requested a window seat at the back and was allotted 26A.

Next up, was a long wait and a hunt to find a vacant seat at the increasingly crowded terminal. The seating area before the security check at BOM Terminal 2A, from where IC, IT and G8 operate is already saturated and urgently needs expansion. I finally found a vacant seat tucked away in a corner and read the morning “Times of India” to while away the time. The news channels were still airing the DEL fog stories when the security check for my flight was announced. I then proceeded towards the departure hold, and waited the boarding call.



The boarding call for the 0900 departure came at 0915 and I was surprised to board a bus rather than walk down the aerobridge! Anyway, as soon as I boarded the bus, I saw an Etihad A340 take-off. This was a surprise as Etihad normally brings in its A330-200 to BOM. We began our drive towards the aircraft and as I soon found out, it turned out to be a long one. We drove all the way past Terminal 1B, round Runway 14-32, the international cargo terminal and to the International Terminal 2A. This is where our aircraft, a double bogied A 320, VT-EPC was parked! Now, I am not sure whether this is a regular occurrence for this particular flight or it was just a one-off case due to unavailibility of parking bays at the domestic terminal. Anyway, next to us on the port side was parked an Emirates 777-200, A6-EMG, whereas to the starboard side was an IC A300. It was also the first time I have seen an EK 772 as the DXB-BOM route is normally served by either an A332 or a 773ER.

Another highlight was the leased Air India 767 and the all-white 747-300 for Haj flights. These were parked at the remote bays along with VT-EPX, one of two AI 747-300 Combis and a Shanghai Airlines Cargo MD-11



At around 0940, the aircraft doors were closed and we were pushed back. However, after moving for around 30 metres, we stopped and were pulled back to the terminal! The captain then announced that the weather was still bad at DEL and our pushback clearance had been cancelled! We were asked to “sit back and relax” and that we would move as soon as DEL ATC cleared our flight plan. The EK 772 departed at 1015, followed by the Shanghai Airlines Cargo MD-11.



However, there was absolutely no news on when we would leave. Finally, after sitting in the aircraft for an hour, the doors were closed at 1055, and we were pushed back. We slowly made our way towards Runway 27 and waited there for nearly ten minutes to allow two 9W 737s to land and a Silverback Cargo DC-8 to take-off. The DC-8 take-off was no less than experiencing a Mig-21 taking off. At 1110, we got our take-off clearance and after a longish 39 second take-off roll, we lifted off into a clear blue sky and set course for DEL. The breakfast service began soon thereafter and I chose the non-vegetarian meal, consisting of chicken cutlets & a chicken puff along with bread, fruit plate and apple juice. This was followed by a nice, hot cup of coffee. I felt that the breakfast quantity was slightly inadequate especially by IC standards.



The weather remained excellent throughout and I could spot the Mumbai-Delhi railway line at quite a few locations along with the major towns along the route. The flight was nearly 95% full, but I was lucky to have the entire row 26 to myself  



With no entertainment available on the dated A320, I switched on my iPod and listened to some classic Cliff Richard numbers. After flying for an hour and 40 minutes, we were on the outskirts of DEL and executed a series of right banks. We finally lined up with Runway 28 and made a nice approach. The weather outside was hazy but the dreaded fog was nowhere to be seen. We made a neat landing at 1250, and as we slowed down, I spotted a Blue Dart 757 freighter being pushed back and an Air France Cargo 744F parked at the cargo bay.

As we turned off the runway, a 9W 737 took off from runway 27, which meant that both the runways were in use. So much for the fog! As we slowly made our way towards the domestic terminal, I could see almost all the domestic carriers in operation today parked at the remote bay.



We parked around 300 metres away from the Arrivals area and were taken there by an ageing bus, which looked like it belonged to the DTC!! I was astonished to see the state of the airport buses at DEL as I expected them to be atleast on par with those at BOM. But this was the least of surprises,as I walked into the overcrowded Arrivals area. I visited the “Temporary Toilet” erected by the new airport management and found it to be overflowing – and not just with people! And here I was, complaining about the situation at BOM. Anyway, as I did not have any checked-in baggage, I quickly made my way out of the chaos and into the pleasant Delhi afternoon.

Ratings:

Punctuality: 2/5 (fog delay)

Aircraft condition: 3/5

Cabin crew: 4/5

Food: 3/5

Ground handling: 4/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 3.33

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

Sector: DEL-BOM
Airline: Air India (AI)
Flight: AI 307
Aircraft: Boeing 747-300 Combi
Registration: VT-EPX
Seat: 3C
Scheduled Departure: 1920 Actual Departure: 1915
Scheduled Arrival: 2115 Actual Arrival: 2115

My return flight to BOM was booked on Air India as I wanted to fly on one of only two 747-300 Combis in the Air India fleet. I had flown on VT-EPX “Narasimha Varman” once, and was hoping that the aircraft doing duty tonight would be VT-EPW “Shivaji”

I decided to reach the airport early and select a seat in the front economy class section of the aircraft. The 743 Combis have all economy class seating on the lower deck and business class seating on the upper deck. I reached Terminal 2 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport at 1750, which meant I had an hour and a half till departure. After getting my bag screened (I now had two bags because of all the stuff I had shopped for for folks back home!) I proceeded towards the AI check-in counter, which at that hour looked pretty deserted. I requested for an aisle seat in the front section and was allotted seat 3C. The check-in staff told me that the flight was on schedule, which meant that I would be home before midnight! After collecting my boarding pass, I walked around the terminal, which had a decent crowd. There was an IC departure to a Gulf destination in addition to an SQ departure to Singapore and a couple of AI departures to BOM.



After walking around for 10-15 minutes, and browsing through the duty free shops, I decided I had enough and proceeded towards the security check. This was a breeze and I settled down on one of those nice orange and black seats in the departure hold.



There were quite a few passengers travelling to BOM on AI 307 and in fact, the economy class was 100% full. AI offers really competitive fares on its domestic routes, and for us, its an opportunity to fly on its variety of widebodies. Hope they don’t change their fares when their new widebodies arrive   We were assigned Gate No. 4 and as I looked out of the glass windows, I saw the aircraft that was to take me to BOM. It was none other than VT-EPX, the same aircraft I had flown on on my trip to AMD, a few months ago. Despite its age, the aircraft looked immaculate from the outside.

The boarding call came at 1840, and I was shown to my seat by a pretty young flight attendant. AI and IC have recently hired some young cabin crew lately and it’s a welcome change from the old, depressed looking crew they always sported. The front economy class section in the 743 Combi is no less than business class! Except the first row, which has 2X2 seating, rows 2-6 have 3X3 seating with increasing aisle space between the seats. The legroom also is quite generous, which makes sense as this aircraft does long international hops. The interiors and fittings however, showed their age with rattling armrests, patchwork in a couple of places and creaking storage bins.



The crew then served us the pre-departure drink, which consisted of “Safa” Mango juice, made in the UAE. This tasted almost like the “Frooti” brand that we get in India, and I wonder if the mangoes used in making this were imported from India! The aircraft doors were closed at 1910, and we started pushback at 1915, five minutes before time! Pretty impressive considering Air India’s punctuality record. As were being pushed back, an SQ 777-300 9V-SYK was waiting to dock at our gate. The other aircraft seen at the International terminal were VT-AXH, a 737-800 from Air India Express, another 737-800 from S2, VT-SJG, IC and UL A320s and a JAL 777.

We began our long and slow taxi towards runway 28 and in the meantime an IC A320 landed. There was no activity seen on runway 27, which meant that only one runway was in use. We lined up on the runway at 1930. The Jumbo’s four engines notched up real quick and we rocketed down the runway. Experiencing all this from the nose of the giant gives one a real kick which cannot be experienced anywhere else. We were airborne in 36 seconds and gradually climbed into the dark skies. As the lights of Delhi faded away below us, we banked left and set course for Mumbai. Once the nose landing gear is retracted, the front section is absolutely quiet with hardly any engine noise. It feels as if the aircraft is simply gliding without engine power! I think it was the quietest ride I have experienced so far, much quieter than even the upper deck.

The crew began the meal service and as this was an evening flight, we were served a full dinner. I opted for the non-vegetarian meal consisting of a mild chicken gravy, rice, potatoes, salad, curd, bread and dessert. It was a substantial meal and was quite tasty. Dinner was followed by a round of tea/coffee and the cabin lights were then dimmed to allow people to catch a nap.



I can never sleep in an aircraft and whiled away the time by browsing through AI’s inflight magazine – “Namaskaar”. There was nothing special inside except some snippets on the new aircraft to be delivered to AI and AIX. The weather outside was pretty calm which meant almost no turbulence throughout the flight. The route is also pretty straight and there are no course changes till the outskirts of Mumbai.

After flying for around an hour and forty minutes, we made the first of a few banks and the captain announced that we would be descending into BOM. We lined up with runway 27 and lowered the landing gear. The noise level rose dramatically after the landing gear was lowered. We passed low over the satellite town of Navi Mumbai (New Bombay) and it was great to see the lights of the JNPT port, Palm Beach road and the Vashi railway station. I remember my days watching the Jumbos descend through the morning skies while commuting to college. We touched down real smooth on the runway, but the braking was real hard causing a mini flutter in our forward cabin. We exited the runway and began our long taxi towards the BOM international terminal behind a UL A320. The time was 2115, which meant we were absolutely spot on!!

Terminal 2A at BOM looked busy with a CX 777-300, QF A330-300, UL A320 and an Air Arabia A320 occupying the gates. Terminal 2C on the other hand was pretty deserted as the rush hour had not begun yet. As we were waiting to de-board the aircraft, I got a chance to glance through the log book of VT-EPX. The various entries showed that the aircraft is pretty much restricted to the NRT/BKK/KIX route. I walked through the long corridor of Terminal 2C, down the stairs and waited for my bag to arrive. The baggage handling at Terminal 2C at BOM is horrendous, and last time it had taken 45 minutes for my bags to arrive! I was hoping that it would be quicker this time; however it wasn’t much of a difference. After waiting patiently for 30 minutes, I picked up my bag and walked out of the terminal.

Overall, it was a good experience on Air India this time, considering an absolutely on-time departure and arrival. I think Air India will score a lot of points if they get just this aspect right everytime. Wish them all the best!


Ratings:

Punctuality: 5/5 (bang on time!)

Aircraft condition: 3/5

Cabin crew: 4/5

Food: 4/5

Ground handling: 3/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 3.83

[Edited 2006-12-27 14:11:53]

[Edited 2006-12-27 14:15:44]

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9161 times:

Nice report. Glad to know that AI is atleast trying to be punctual. the food looks a lil better on AI than the breakfast you got in IC.

Loved the pics of course. Thanks for sharing  Smile

Just wish they would improve the baggage service at both BOM and DEL. It takes forever for the bags to come.



come fly with me
User currently offlineBlrsea From India, joined May 2005, 1393 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9145 times:

Nice report vivek. Unfortunately, the photos don't show up

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31573 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 9085 times:

Fantastic Pictures.
Well Documented.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9053 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report & photo's, many thanks.

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
felt that the breakfast quantity was slightly inadequate especially by IC standards.

- Looks ok for 'Y' to me.

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
I switched on my iPod and listened to some classic Cliff Richard numbers

- Amazing, my mum's favorite, I've met him a few times, real nice chap.

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
I could see almost all the domestic carriers in operation today parked at the remote bay.

- Great view, gotta go spoting to India one day.

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
I was shown to my seat by a pretty young flight attendant

- What, in 'Y'?

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 offlinePLANAR From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 8895 times:

Great Trip report.
The pictures look just amazing. Especially the rows of jets standing - Simply astounding!

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 4):
Looks ok for 'Y' to me.

Not really adequate according to "Indian" airlines' standard. I remember on my morning flights going home to MAA from BOM, IC always used to serve a more than filling breakfast. It was more like Brunch, I should say...

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
I remember my days watching the Jumbos descend through the morning skies while commuting to college.

Funny how I remember those days too! For me - Every Sunday morning at around 8:30 Am, AI-747's took off over the Powai lake. I used to stand at the terrace of my hostel to watch them climb over that lake. (Ofcourse, the Sunday morning breakfast special was Aloo Paratha in mess - that was another motivation too!  )

Nevetheless - Absolutely amazing trip report.

[Edited 2006-12-28 07:25:42]


Flim-Flam Balderdash...
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1736 posts, RR: 39
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 8801 times:

Great report with some great pictures. Always good to see AI performing well.

SR 103


User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4869 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 8775 times:

Thanks for a lovely trip report! I sure miss the winters in Delhi.

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
I chose the non-vegetarian meal, consisting of chicken cutlets & a chicken puff

I just love the puffs you get in India! I noticed the Taj catering for IC - the reason for its high standards?

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
With no entertainment available on the dated A320, I switched on my iPod and listened to some classic Cliff Richard numbers

Haha! You call the A320 dated, but Cliff Richard classic!  Wink I think the Shadows were tops... Did you ever see 'Summer Holiday'?

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
I visited the “Temporary Toilet” erected by the new airport management and found it to be overflowing – and not just with people!

Aargh! Unfortunately, toilets are the 'bottom' line to travel in India...

Quoting PLANAR (Reply 5):
Funny how I remember those days too! For me - Every Sunday morning at around 8:30 Am, AI-747's took off over the Powai lake. I used to stand at the terrace of my hostel to watch them climb over that lake.

I remember Powai too! I had my JEE interview there, and ended up serving hard time in Madras, away from my louche partying buddies in Delhi...  Sad


User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 527 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 8562 times:

Mk777, you're welcome!

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 1):
Loved the pics of course. Thanks for sharing

That's strange! They show up just fine at my home as well as office! Maybe a problem with IE settings?

Quoting Blrsea (Reply 2):
Nice report vivek. Unfortunately, the photos don't show up

Thanks, MEL

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 3):
Fantastic Pictures.
Well Documented.

Yup, sometimes miracles do happen  Smile

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 4):
Quoting Vivekman2006 (Thread starter):
I was shown to my seat by a pretty young flight attendant

- What, in 'Y'?

Thanks. I agree, An AI 747 taking off is really an awesome sight!

Quoting PLANAR (Reply 5):
Great Trip report.
The pictures look just amazing.

Thanks, agree with you totally!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 6):
Great report with some great pictures. Always good to see AI performing well.

Yup, saw it! And I was inspired by that movie to hire a BEST double decker bus and drive it across the country  Wink

Quoting Comorin (Reply 7):
think the Shadows were tops... Did you ever see 'Summer Holiday'?


User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4869 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 8385 times:

Quoting Vivekman2006 (Reply 8):
Yup, saw it! And I was inspired by that movie to hire a BEST double decker bus and drive it across the country

Getouttahere! That must have been awesome - how 'bout some pics? I bet you didn't stay a 'Bachelor Boy' for long after that trip...  Wink


User currently offlineVivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 527 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 8317 times:

Naah, I was only inspired by the movie. Never managed to actualy hire a BEST double decker. The BEST authorities would never part with their precious double deckers  Smile

But you are right, I didn't stay a "Bachelor Boy" for long  Wink

Quoting Comorin (Reply 9):
Getouttahere! That must have been awesome - how 'bout some pics? I bet you didn't stay a 'Bachelor Boy' for long after that trip...


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