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MAA SIN BKK MAA On Indian Airlines

Thu May 16, 2002 7:32 pm

Recently had to visit Bangkok for a meeting.Indian Airlines operates a thrice weekly service on the route on Tue/Thu/Sat. Howver since my meeting scheduled to start on a Monday, decied to take a connection via Singapore on Sunday.
Indian Airlines has now a daily Singapore Bangkok flight (IC856) which contines onto DEL. Hence I was able to do the entire routing on Indian Airlines.

MAA SIN IC 555 10 Mar.
Reached the airport well ahead for the 0050 departure
only to be refused entry to the terminal stating I was too early. Finally an annoucement was made at 2100 requesting passengers to check in and only then the passengers were allowed entry to the terminal. Went inside and found that the delay was due to to staff not being avaialbe to xray the checked baggage. Economy class check in was smooth and efficient. Since I was early there was no que. Requested at the check in desk to check through my baggage to BKK and this was done without problems. Was issued a boarding pass for the MAA SIN sector and was informed I will be able to collect the SIN BKK boarding pass at SIN. Requested for a window seat and was given one at the front row.Went through immigration and customs to the departure lunge where there was a hand baggage x ray and security screening. The security staff were going out of the way to be polite to passengers which was a pleasant surprise for Indian airports. Flight was caled around 12.10 and there was ladder point frisking and all hand baggage were again opened and checked before boarding. Again security staff were cordial helping pax repack the bags if needed.
Since we had used the gound floor lounge, pax just walked across to the aircraft to board.The aircraft was a AB300 configured 2 4 2 in economy and I found I had a window seat near the front of the cabin.There was a Malaysian Airlines 330 in the next stand which took off soon afterwards.Among other aircraft was an Indian Airlines 320 going to BLR and a BA 747 just landed from LHR.The AB3 was packed to capacity in Economy.Flight took off on time and service was of a high standard. Since I was flying Indian Airlines on their international routes for the first time, I was a little apprehensive when I choose them but my fears turned out to be unfounded, The cabin crew were going out of the way to accomodate requests of passengers especially those with young children. The food and beverage service were both good. Since Indian Airlines do not have a separate fleet for their International services, there were no movie screens but since the flight duration was only of about 4 hours this was not much of a problem. Slept briefly and woke up to find that we were descending to SIN. Arrived exactly on schedule at 0720 and taxied to the stand on terminal 1 without delay.

IC 856 SIN BKK 10 March
Was told by a customer service agent at the end of the jet away to proceed to the transit check in for connecting to my onward flight for BKK. However since the flight was only at 1155, was told that I will be able to check in only two hours before. However I decided to try my luck at the transfer desk straightaway and one of the agents issued me the boarding pass immediately. Requested again for a window seat and was given one.
Since I had four hours to kill and this was my first time at Changi , went exploring the terminals and had a relaxed breakfast at the food mall. Went to the gate at 1050 and passed through security which was efficient.
The flight was operated by an A 320 which operates SIN BKK DEL. The flight was only half full from SIN and had the luxury of one full row to myself. The flight was uneventful and the service good .The aircraft arrived on time at BKK at 1310. Passengers contining to DEL were asked to to remain in the aircraft.Also there was a checking of boarding passes at the jetway exit to ensure that only BKK pax left the aircraft.
Went quickly through immigration since I had obtained a visa already before departure and my bags were one of the first on the carousel. Since this was a noon arrival, there was not much queues at immigration or customs and was able to leave the airport within 20 min of arrival.

IC 980 14 Mar BKK MAA

Indian Airlines operates thrice weekly BKK MAA and except on Tuesdays these flights continue to BLR and HYD. The scheduled departure was 2100 but reached the airport at 1900 hrs to only to discover from the flight info boards that there a 75 min delay. Went to the IC check in counters to find them crowded with alteast two groups. Hoever was waved forward to check in ahead of the groups. Check in was efficient and was informed of the flight delay and asked to proceed to the next counter to pick up a meal voucher. Asked for a window seat and was told that that the only one avaiable was right at the back. Accepted the same and collected the meal voucher which turned out to be one for KFC! Decided to junk the same and had a proper meal at one of the restaurants at the food mall upstairs. Also went to the viewing gallery for a bit.
The gate was open at 2100 and handbaggage was xrayed twice at the gates. Also bags were opened and checked. We boarded at 2145 to find the flight chock full. My window seat turned out to be the last but one row at the back, but I was warned about this earlier. The aircraft was configured 3-3. This is a 3 hour flight and the cabin crew did a good job of it despite a full flight. The beverage cart went around twice and the meal service was also quite good. As soon as the meal service was over w were almost at MAA.By a coincidence many of the cabin crew on the MA SIN flight 4 days ago were also on the BKK MAA flight. Commented about this to one of the crew ho told me that they are rostered on both types (the MAA SIN was an AB3 aircraft).We made up around 15 minutes and landed 1 hour behind schedule at 2330. Although this flight was continuing to BLR and HYD, about 90% of the pax left the aircraft at MAA. BLR and HYD passengeres were asked to remain in the aircraft. Parked at a remote stand and had to wait a few minutes at the tarmac for a bus to arrive.
Since there were no other flights arriving at the same time (Malaysian operates to the domestic terminal), the wait for baggage was not much. Cleared customs and immigration and was on a cab home by 0015.

Overall this was a much better trip than expected.Indian Airlines in flight service was more than adequate and the crew must be commended for this since they generally to have deal with full flights on 3 to 4 hour sectors. The ground handling was good at both MAA and BKK. However since these aircraft are also used for domestic sectors, there is no inflight entertainment system of any sort. But I did not find this much of a problem since the flight are generally n o more than 4 hours duration and by the time the drinks and meal service is finished, it is nearly time to land anyway.

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RE: MAA SIN BKK MAA On Indian Airlines

Thu May 16, 2002 9:54 pm

Welcome to ANET TK!

I am gr8 fan of the A300's as well. Sad to se they will be gone soon!  Crying. Dont the A300's have more seat pitch in Economy as compared to A320's?

The only problem with IC is the lack of IFE. I think they should get those pull down TV screens for Economy. This would be gr8 even for short haul domestic flights. Sahara has just launched 4-channel music on all domestic 737 flights IN ALL CLASSES, and i believe they may get these pull down screens and show some Star-News or something. Hope some of the 43 new Airbuses IC is getting are equipped with some kind of IFE.

BTW, did the A300 have the new interior?

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RE: MAA SIN BKK MAA On Indian Airlines

Thu May 16, 2002 10:46 pm

It is always good to have someone to write a good report about an airline to scatter any misconceptions anyone might have. We do not get a lot of reps about indian airlines so this is a refreshing change.

I guess the service on IC is excellent huh? From what I read, you seemed pleasantly surprised yourself! I wonder why don't they have in flt entertainment? Not even music?
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RE: MAA SIN BKK MAA On Indian Airlines

Fri May 17, 2002 1:04 pm

Thanks Ryan Air/Indian Guy
All my previous overseas trips were both on outside India based carriers. The last two times especially on the legs to/from India the service was indifferent. As posted by some others, many airlines seem to consider the flights to/from India as a sort of "hardship" flights and this results in their service levels going down. In every flight there can be a few passengers who may not be on their best behaviour, but using these sorts of incidents as a blanket excuse for indifferent service is difficult to tolerate. When I mean excellent, I do not expect the wining and dining and pampering you may get in a CX or a SQ longhaul, but compared to what Indian Airlines was earlier, it is a huge improvement and certainly I will not hesitate to use them again.

Indian guy, yes the seat pitch was definitely better in a AB3 compared to the 320. Regarding the interiors, since it has been quite a while I travelled on IC, I am not in a position to comment.
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RE: MAA SIN BKK MAA On Indian Airlines

Fri May 17, 2002 4:15 pm

Nice report! I flew Bkk-MAA on IC a couple of years ago. It was pretty much as you described, although they did have the TV screen on for my flights. The return flights only cost me 6000 Baht which is about £97. Bargain!
I used to think the brain is the most fascinating part of my body. But, hey, who is telling me that?
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RE: MAA SIN BKK MAA On Indian Airlines

Sat May 18, 2002 4:58 am

I agree with the posting above that some foreign carriers consider India bound flights as "hardship" flights and thus the service is lousy as a result. On a Korean Air Airbus to Bombay from Seoul I noticed that food and alcohol choices on the Sel-bkk sector were up to international standards, but on the BKK-BOm sector they only had some generic trashy beer, rotten food, no IFE, and a crew that barked orders - in Business Class. Enough to keep me off Korean (Although their Transpacific services are excellent in general). Needless to say, that my experiences at Korean Airports (as an American citizen of Indian descent) has been awful, and if the open racism of Korean ground staff, and Customs and Immigration at Sel weren't so pathetically laugheable and easy to defeat by a well-placed snub with my U.S. passport, I'd be incensed. I can just imagine what those with Indian passports must face.

Its good to read that an Indian carrier can offer high standards of service, even in the face of outdated aircraft. Currently, foreign carriers must have nearly 80% of the International market from India, and it is appalling that the Indian government doesnt think that its own citizens are worthy of well-financed, managed Indian carriers (Whether privately or publicly owned). IC and AI should be allowed to compete with the best.
Atheism is Myth Understood.
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RE: MAA SIN BKK MAA On Indian Airlines

Tue May 21, 2002 12:43 pm

I agree with the posting above that some foreign carriers consider India bound flights as "hardship" flights and thus the service is lousy as a result. On a Korean Air Airbus to Bombay from Seoul I noticed that food and alcohol choices on the Sel-bkk sector were up to international standards, but on the BKK-BOm sector they only had some generic trashy beer, rotten food, no IFE, and a crew that barked orders - in Business Class.

I even found this to be true on a SQ SIN-MAA flight. The crew were terrible, and seemed to shout at pax continually.


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