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.