dredgy
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Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:16 am

Hi all! First trip report I think. First up - here's a video, that details the flight (and the trip overall) in an easily-digestible format (not a photo slideshow!):
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEgC4DlBGTs

I'm a better video maker than I am trip report writer, so I strongly suggest watching the video. Subscribe if you want to see my future business class videos which include: Lufthansa A380, Lufthansa 747, TAPExpress E190, Turkish 777 and Air New Zealand 777. I will probably not get around to writing them all up.

For those who don't want a video, however:

I was able to secure 3 months off work, and decided to spend most of that travelling - it has been several years since I've travelled solely for fun and I decided a good goal would be to make a video in every country in the world, so I planned a trip and booked a Lufthansa/Star Alliance RTW fare in business class. Countries I visited on this trip include: India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Portugal, Mauritania, Suriname, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and New Zealand. My first leg was Brisbane (BNE) to Delhi (DEL) via Sydney (SYD) with Air India.

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BNE-DEL was operated by Qantas. It was an irritatingly early flight (especially since I live quite a long way from BNE) so I wasn't in the mood to take alot of video or pictures on this flight. It was my first time trying the new Qantas business class lounge in Brisbane, which was nice enough - but again too early for me to even attempt to eat, so I just sat around and got on the plane when it was time. I fly Qantas alot for work, plus being Australian means its the least exciting airline in the world for me so I try to fly on literally any other airline if I have the choice - but their business class product is very solid.

After takeoff, I started to wake up a bit so had a meal and enjoyed the view coming into Sydney. The meal was some kale fritatta thing. It looked great and tasted alright. The other option was scambled eggs, which I didn't have due to PTSD (I used to work in breakfast buffets at a 5 star hotel, to this day the smell of breakfast food - notably eggs, bacon and coffee - make me physically nauseous).

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Air India's reputation is pretty abysmal, but I was excited to fly them - they are the only Star Alliance carrier that operates to Australia that I haven't flown before (well, I haven't flown SAA from Australia either, but have on short haul). My bags were checked through from BNE-DEL which I hadn't expected, and I had therefore left my Indian E-visa in my bag. I had to go through the kerfuffle of printing off another copy at the airport, but check in and passport control were extremely quick by SYD standards.

I had about 2 hours to kill so had a free cognac tasting at duty free then went up to the Qantas International Business lounge in Sydney. I've always liked this lounge, and enjoyed a few drinks, notably some fresh squeezed pineapple+watermelon juice while overlooking the city. In the distance, the Air India 787 that would take me to Delhi was just visible:
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I got bored of the lounge very quickly and poked around duty free for a bit. Somehow I missed the boarding calls for my flight and was hurriedly bussed onto the plane. My original seat was 1J, but the guy next to me was obviously irritated by my camera set up so I moved to 3J where I had the seat pair to myself. Business class load factor was about 70%.

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Now, I've heard alot of bad things about Air India - including the 787. Bad things like: worn cabin, not clean, bad service, bad food. Only of these is (partially) true. The cabin was very clean, the seats seemed fine. I quite like these seats for business class (I forgot the name, quite a few airlines use them) - they face forward and are wide, which makes them considerably more comfortable than a lot of the angled products floating around. Since I was the last person on the plane, a welcome drink (orange juice in my case) was immediately provided.

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The biggest problem with these seats is the sheer lack of storage that's accessible. While there's ample storage in the shoe cubby and a small little cubby next to the IFE screen, you can't get to any of it without getting out of your seat. There was less storage in my original front row seat. When you raise the privacy divider, you can sort of wedge an ipad in under the armrest, but it's too tight of a fit with the divider lowered.

Now the cabin crew were incredibly attentive, friendly and polite. Service was efficient the entire flight. First up food orders were taken, then a drinks trolley was rolled around. I opted for a coke, and a bowl of nuts was provided.

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Now the food was quite disappointing. The appetizer looked disgusting, but tasted delicious. The main meal tasted fine, but was of economy class standard. They also got my order wrong, which didn't really phase me. No proper crockery was provided for the main course - I'm not sure if they serve this in economy as well, or if economy passengers get something worse. Again - the taste was fine, even good (the dessert cheesecake was excellent), but this was my first flight on a massive trip, I was hoping for at least a little bit of style :P

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After dinner, time for bed! Again, I love these seats - they're wide and you don't have tuck you feet into a tiny space. Seat padding was very comfortable, as was the provided bedding.
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I'd planned to watch a few episodes of TV shows, but the IFE kept having loading issues. More annoyingly, I'd have to sit through a 30 second ad before the video failed to load:
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So I slept. For about 8 hours. Absolute rock solid sleep too - the 4AM start had taken its toll :p
I woke up on my own time and ordered a Grand Marnier on ice.

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A second meal service ensued just before approach, which didn't involve another round by the drink trolley. The food was good, but still rubbish presentation and the desert (lemon tart) wasn't as good.

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Just before landing an amenity kit was passed around. Not sure why it was so late, but I was grateful to get it (I keep them as souvenirs for my mother). It was a very well stocked amenity kit too - probably the best one I received on the entirety of this trip. The souvenir mirror was great.

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And that was it - the experience was, overall, pretty good. Improved meals would be nice, and working IFE especially so! Given the length of the flight, I was extremely glad I had a bed since I had a tour to the Taj Mahal leaving just a few hours after arrival in Delhi and I wouldn't be getting much sleep!

Thanks for reading, I welcome any comments or questions.
 
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SQ22
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:32 pm

Thanks, nice and interesting report. Happy new year.
 
debonair
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:41 pm

BNE-DEL was operated by Qantas.


You mean SYD - right?!

BTW. didn't know, that it is possible to use the Qantas/OW Lounge @ SYD with an A/*AI RWT ticket - even holding OW status.
 
dredgy
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:21 pm

debonair wrote:
BNE-DEL was operated by Qantas.


You mean SYD - right?!

BTW. didn't know, that it is possible to use the Qantas/OW Lounge @ SYD with an A/*AI RWT ticket - even holding OW status.


Yes, I meant SYD!!!
Most airlines in SYD without their own lounge use the Qantas lounge iirc. I don't fly internationally from SYD very often but nearly always end up in that lounge. It depends on the arrangement with the airline and the lounge for the flight. Anybody on AI business class on that flight gets access to the Qantas lounge. If I was booked in economy, I don't think my QF/Star Alliance gold statuses would get me in. Maybe though.
 
Gr8Circle
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:31 pm

dredgy wrote:
Air India's reputation is pretty abysmal, but I was excited to fly them


Good to know you enjoyed your flight on AI....hope you enjoyed the India visit.....as you mention above, AIs reputation is "abysmal" mainly here on a.net, where we have a lot of armchair experts who form their opinions from the safe confines of their homes based on what they read here.......in reality, AI has a very decent service, albeit with some weaknesses that lead to all the criticism....
 
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eastafspot
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:41 pm

Interesting report,
Hope you will post the Mauritania part, as I reckon there is one and only report about it

Thanks for sharing
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
 
dredgy
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:12 pm

Gr8Circle wrote:
Good to know you enjoyed your flight on AI....hope you enjoyed the India visit.....as you mention above, AIs reputation is "abysmal" mainly here on a.net, where we have a lot of armchair experts who form their opinions from the safe confines of their homes based on what they read here.......in reality, AI has a very decent service, albeit with some weaknesses that lead to all the criticism....


Yes, it was far from the worst airline I've ever flown, and I much prefer these seats to the ones on Lufthansa/Air New Zealand etc. Turkish has a much better set up for the same seats though - well more storage compartments. The service was on par with most other flights I've taken. And I loved India :) Pollution in Delhi was horrendous when I was there, but loved the food, the people and the scale of the temples I visited. Can't wait to go back!

eastafspot wrote:
Interesting report,
Hope you will post the Mauritania part, as I reckon there is one and only report about it

Thanks for sharing


Thanks, I've filmed and edited my report on my time in Mauritania. It needs to be sound edited, but if you want to see it, shoot me a PM and I'll give you the link. I didn't do the flights because, well....they were really boring flights. Binter Canarias LPA-NKC and then Mauritania Airlines NKC-NDB-CMN, then Royal Air Maroc CMN to LIS. For both flights I had checked my camera gear so that my footage from within the country didn't get searched, but a few shots on my phone probably exist. I'll likely have to go to Mauritania again for work this year though, so remind me to make a report :P

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Also, thank you for your Rwandair review, they're on my list of airlines to fly on my big Africa trip now :)
 
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DDR
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:07 pm

Nice trip report and I highly suggest people view the video, very well done. I have only flown business in an AA 787. I found the seat and cabin to be very comfortable. I like the 787 very much but I'm not sure I would like it as much in economy.
 
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MoKa777
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:13 am

Economy style meal service, uncooperative IFE and amenity kit at the end of the flight?! In Business Class?! Premium cabins are supposed to be all about attention to detail.
Never be proud. Always be grateful.
 
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millionsofmiles
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:02 am

Nice trip report. Even during it's arguably most abysmal stage several years ago (long haul flights operated mainly by decrepit 747s, etc.), you could depend on their elaborate (and generous) meals. That main course in the economy disposable plate is just embarrassing. It looks like the days of AI's investment of monies in catering (even when everything else was falling apart) are over. Sad.

Thanks for posting.
 
dredgy
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:15 am

MoKa777 wrote:
Economy style meal service, uncooperative IFE and amenity kit at the end of the flight?! In Business Class?! Premium cabins are supposed to be all about attention to detail.


While it’s not a great look I agree (and it should definitely be improved) - I don’t fly business class for luxury, I fly it to make sure I’m rested when I reach a destination. Things such as priority lanes at immigration, meals in lounges etc. First class is for luxury.

My priorities are also switched from most people depending on flight length. On short haul flights I like good entertainment, good food and an enjoyable time - makes an hour or two pass much quicker. On longer flights the only thing I really care about is a bed. I flew Air New Zealand this trip as well - on EZE-AKL - and while the food and entertainment is *massively* better, the bed is much less comfortable so I preferred Air India overall. Whereas on the short haul flight from AKL to BNE I watched a couple of movies, had a wine tasting, two meals etc and had a great time.
 
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hirofumi
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:26 am

What a disgrace for providing economy-style foiled plate food in business class. They do have proper plates for main dish though, not sure why didn't provide one. The amenity kit is meant not for in-flight use but rather as a souvenir, i.e. who would use a bar soap onboard!

Thanks for sharing the "reality" of AI. I'm based in Delhi and have flown with them for more than 40 times mainly on their economy, which is quite good for domestic but never inclined to use business class precisely because of the experience like on this report. The plus side is that at least it offers comfortable flat-bed on 787s.
 
dredgy
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:07 am

hirofumi wrote:
What a disgrace for providing economy-style foiled plate food in business class. They do have proper plates for main dish though, not sure why didn't provide one. The amenity kit is meant not for in-flight use but rather as a souvenir, i.e. who would use a bar soap onboard!


The meal totally didn't phase me that much at all, it seems to upset a lot of people though...I had read reports before I left that they had replaced the packaging with proper plates, though it wouldn't have changed the taste of the food.

Amenity kit was a great souvenir kit but I would have liked to have a toothbrush before my nap. I'd accidentally checked my bag from BNE-DEL, but I had originally planned to pick it up in SYD and take it as carry on - so was missing my toiletries onboard. Though even if the amenity kit had been passed out earlier, I probably wouldn't have use it and kept it as a souvenir still haha
 
jetwet1
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:50 pm

Something went wrong with the catering there, normally curries are served in a bowl or a plate in J.

Gr8Circle wrote:

Good to know you enjoyed your flight on AI....hope you enjoyed the India visit.....as you mention above, AIs reputation is "abysmal" mainly here on a.net, where we have a lot of armchair experts who form their opinions from the safe confines of their homes based on what they read here.......in reality, AI has a very decent service, albeit with some weaknesses that lead to all the criticism....


Agreed, the issues with AI isn't in the air, it's their total lack of competency on the ground that hurts them.
 
KiloRomeoDelta
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:38 am

The meals in Economy Class style foil could be the SYD-based catering gaffe? Because when I flew AI Business Class on their 747 last year, this is how my meal was presented, that too on a 1.5 hour domestic leg -->

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dredgy
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:56 am

KiloRomeoDelta wrote:
The meals in Economy Class style foil could be the SYD-based catering gaffe? Because when I flew AI Business Class on their 747 last year, this is how my meal was presented, that too on a 1.5 hour domestic leg -->


Is their a particular gaffe you're thinking of? Another trip report of the same flight 3 years ago (originating in MEL though) shows the same standard of meal: https://www.ausbt.com.au/air-india-boei ... urne-delhi

So it seems to be normal on Australia-Delhi flights.
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:59 am

dredgy wrote:
After dinner, time for bed! Again, I love these seats - they're wide and you don't have tuck you feet into a tiny space. Seat padding was very comfortable, as was the provided bedding.


These appear to be the same seats LATAM use on the 787. I agree with you completely about the not having to tuck your feet into a tiny space. That is the biggest downside of many of the current generation of seats, the tight foot well.

That catering presentation is woeful for a business class flight. I would have made a complaint about that as it looks like you just got an economy class tray. Not good enough for all the extra money you pay for business class.

The amenity kit looks great and glad to hear the service was good! Great report - I think your written reports are excellent so keep it up!
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
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eastafspot
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:37 pm

dredgy wrote:

Thanks, I've filmed and edited my report on my time in Mauritania. It needs to be sound edited, but if you want to see it, shoot me a PM and I'll give you the link. I didn't do the flights because, well....they were really boring flights. Binter Canarias LPA-NKC and then Mauritania Airlines NKC-NDB-CMN, then Royal Air Maroc CMN to LIS. For both flights I had checked my camera gear so that my footage from within the country didn't get searched, but a few shots on my phone probably exist. I'll likely have to go to Mauritania again for work this year though, so remind me to make a report :P

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Also, thank you for your Rwandair review, they're on my list of airlines to fly on my big Africa trip now :)


Yes sure, I definitely would like to get the link to your video when it's completed :)
Don't worry your safety concerns are obvious!
Feel free to post here a TR (even short) if you can!
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
 
KiloRomeoDelta
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:24 am

dredgy wrote:
Is their a particular gaffe you're thinking of? Another trip report of the same flight 3 years ago (originating in MEL though) shows the same standard of meal: https://www.ausbt.com.au/air-india-boei ... urne-delhi
So it seems to be normal on Australia-Delhi flights.


By "gaffe" I meant that particular route seems to have a catering agency providing Biz class meals in those economy-foils and the crew just serves it as-is. Not excusable, the crew still needs to put some effort into presentation of Business Class meals, but just wanted to show that this is NOT the norm all across Air India.
 
lychemsa
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:22 pm

How much does a Business Class round the world ticket cost?
 
dredgy
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:19 am

lychemsa wrote:
How much does a Business Class round the world ticket cost?


Depends on airline (and destinations). Finnair starts from about $5500AUD, with Qantas/Cathay/LATAM flights between Australia and the Americas/Asia. This is a very popular flight for Australians as its a relatively cheap way to earn bulk QF points/status.

Mine was a Lufthansa ticket, cost $6600AUD, and I think the entry level price for that is around $5900. Either way, cheaper than a return fare to Europe. Austrian and Swiss offer their own fares that are slightly cheaper too. Going via South America as opposed to North raised the cost a bit. Going via Africa instead of Asia would have added another $1000 or so to the ticket. The biggest annoyance for me, is that I couldn't use Star Alliance partner TAP to fly LIS-BEL, I HAD to fly Lufthansa LIS-FRA-GRU and then buy addon flights to get to BEL.

I used the RTW ticket to give me bases to launch to the more obscure destinations I wanted to visit, and some of the addon flights were expensive (coughSurinamecough). The entire trip probably cost about $30k at the end of it, with flights coming in at about $10k total. I am waiting on insurance to pay off a few thousand dollars of that though.

And yes its expensive - but points earned means I'm able to do it all again for cheap. I took out 5 credit cards with sign up bonuses of between 75000-100000 Qantas points and just used those on spending to ensure I hit the minimum spend and then paid the card off and switched to another one. All in all I earned about 450000QF points from credit cards, plus 65000 LH miles (which bumped me up to Star Alliance Gold) so I can actually do at least on RTW trip and one return trip to Asia on points earned from this trip alone if I'm smart about it. So totes worth its :p [/justification]
 
lychemsa
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:30 pm

I just flew Business round the world with Ethihad and Cathay with points. When I priced it on Expedia and the One World Alliance website it came to about US $9,000 and $3,600 in economy.

Good to know one can get them at around US $5,000. Thanks.
 
dredgy
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Re: Air India Business Class 787 SYD-DEL

Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:12 am

lychemsa wrote:
I just flew Business round the world with Ethihad and Cathay with points. When I priced it on Expedia and the One World Alliance website it came to about US $9,000 and $3,600 in economy.

Good to know one can get them at around US $5,000. Thanks.


Fare rules are incredibly complex on these tickets, but they can be as low as $1400AUD for economy. Booking through expedia or a true alliance fare will drive the price up something insane - which is why I had to fly Lufthansa to South America instead of TAP. I used a RTW ticket specialist in Australia: Roundabout Travel. I tried, and failed, to match their fares myself.

Hope your award trip was fantastic!

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