Pe@rson
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London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or BA?

Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:50 am

My planned two-month trip to India looks like it’ll definitely be going ahead (I’ll be able to guarantee it tomorrow), albeit with a slight change – I’ll be going for just over 2 ½ months.

I will also now be flying from Kolkata (as opposed to Delhi) but I’ll still be flying into Chennai.

Anyway, I now have two real options, based primarily on price, regarding the airline with which to fly to and from India: Air India and British Airways.

Airfares to India seem to mysteriously increase somewhat from the 1st December, so I’ll be going on the 30th November.

Depending upon the precise date I return (it will be between the 18th and 22nd February, 2006), my options are:

18th February: Air India. CCU-LHR non-stop. 772. 1240 CCU, 1830 LHR. Total cost (including outward trip) including tax = £448.20

19th February: Air India. CCU-BOM. 0315-0600. AC: 310. BOM-LHR. 0910-1330. AC: 744. Total cost: £448.20. ORBA. CCU-LHR. 772. 0445-1035. Total cost: £451.00.

20th February: Air India. CCU-BOM. 0315-0600. AC: 310. BOM-LHR. 1210-1640. AC: 772. Total cost: £448.20.

21st February: Air India. CCU-LHR non-stop. 772. 1240 CCU, 1830 LHR. Total cost (including outward trip) including tax = £448.20

22nd February: BA. CCU-LHR. 772. 0445-1035. Total cost: £451.00.

The outbound options remain the same regardless of which date I return on: either Air India LHR-BOM (1005-0005; 744) connecting onto BOM-MAA (0140-0325; 310), or British Airways LHR-MAA (0940-0110; 744).

Which would you go for and, as crucially, why?

Thanks a lot for your help.

James.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
mrniji
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:05 am

Matter of taste.. if you are flexible and like an adventure and something difficult to anticipate (in terms of quality, everything possible from superb to rubbish), take AI.. if you are bound timewise and want something more consistent in terms of overall service, take BA

However, since you will have the chance to try BA in the future.. if I were you, take AI, you will have an "interesting" experience and will be able to try out both their 744 and 772 (evtl. also their 310 to MAA)
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
Pe@rson
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:20 am

Cheers, Nijiiii.

It's a shame that I'd be arriving in either the early or mid-morning regardless of which option I choose.

Which would YOU personally choose?

AI's departure time from CCU to LHR (1240) isn't too bad, but shame it arrives into LHR at 1830 (I'd have a 3-4 hour train ride from there).
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
Pe@rson
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:10 am

Why such a poor response? Lots of views, very few replies. Don't you have any opinions?  Smile
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:28 am

Hi Pe@rson
I would personally say go BA ,how about going outwards on BA , there are no stops and it will be quicker.
Here are my choices:

Quoting Pe@rson (Thread starter):
Febuary 22nd BA. CCU-LHR. 772. 0445-1035. Total cost: £451.00.

This will mean maximum time in India and , once again , no stop overs.
AND , the BA flight arrives at 10:35, which is good for your train journey
Just my opinion

Wrighbrothers  

[Edited 2005-10-13 23:30:42]
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
Pe@rson
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:01 am

Thanks.

Can anyone, having flown both AI and BA, compare the two in terms of: seat comfort; IFE; and food? I'd be most grateful.

Cheers.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
mrniji
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:39 am

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 2):
Which would YOU personally choose?

AI, no doubt.. I like the adventure and the dessert of the meal 

For you the argument can be emphasized by saying that you won't have the chance to travel AI that often (especially after my phonecall to the Indian High Commission in LON Big grin )

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 5):
Can anyone, having flown both AI and BA, compare the two in terms of: seat comfort; IFE; and food?

seat comfort: matter of taste.. I prefer the 80s seats, as they are quite generous

IFE: BA, no doubt - you do not need to hammer the plug of the headset in the armrest with 90 % of the energy the body provides

food: AI, no doubt - avery person who is not into Indian food will change his/her mind.. you can preorder it on www.airindia.com

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 2):
but shame it arrives into LHR at 1830 (I'd have a 3-4 hour train ride from there).

How about you email M.O.L@ryanair.com and ask him to open a flight for your timings 

[Edited 2005-10-14 01:41:58]
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
Nimish
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:09 pm

James,

The pros/cons of flying AI:

- Very inconsistent product - some of the aircraft may be in tatters
- History of being late - due to the paucity of a/c and the need to redeploy a/c on VIP junkets or due to failure (I seem to remember AI's LAX flights being late every day for more than a month recently - due to a combination of a/c damage and redeployment)
- Too many connections/milk run - this may be good if you enjoy milkruns, but I'd prefer a direct non-stop
- LHR T3 (I think that's what AI uses?) - it's a real mess in that terminal
+ FFP accrual on most fares, ability to earn miles on LH M&M as well (if you're so inclined)
+ Excellent food, and liberal booze
+ Ability to get an Indian experience all the way
+ friendly service on board, bad on-ground service.

The pros/cons of flying BA:
- no FFP accrual on most economy fares
- no excitement - the flights will be mostly on time, no changing a/c etc  Smile
+ LHR T4
+ predictable - flights will be mostly on time, typically not cancelled
+ Given their recent India focus - I'm guessing meals/service should be generally much better now
+ much better IFE (though not AVOD if I remember right)
+ Friendly service on board and on the ground (The BA crew was always better than LH's, and now they seem to be paying particular attention to the lack of satisfaction on the India sectors - so hopefully improvements on the way).

Hence in summary - I would probably end up flying with AI due to the FFP, but if BA improves their FFP, I'd definitely take BA and be sure I reach on time with a consistent product and IFE.
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Catatonic
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Sat Oct 15, 2005 2:44 am

Pe@rson, why dont you consider digging into your pockets a bit deeper, AI buisness fares are a lot cheaper than the likes of BA?
Equally Cursed and Blessed.
 
Pe@rson
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Sat Oct 15, 2005 6:45 pm

All booked. I am flying LHR-BOM-MAA (1x 744, 1x 310) on 30th November and CCU-BOM-MAA (1x 310, 1x 744) on 19th February.

Cheers for all your suggestions.  Smile
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
wrighbrothers
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Sat Oct 15, 2005 7:01 pm

Have a good time

Wrighbrothers  Smile
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
 
mrniji
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RE: London To Chennai And Kolcata To London: AI Or

Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:11 pm

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 9):
All booked. I am flying LHR-BOM-MAA (1x 744, 1x 310) on 30th November and CCU-BOM-MAA (1x 310, 1x 744) on 19th February.

If you had postponed your trip to a year later, you would have either boarded a new 777 with all schnickschnack or a refurbished 744 with AVOD  Wink - too bad..
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)

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