Airline: Jet Airways
Flight: 9W 325
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 with winglets
Seat no: 27F
The departure from Terminal 1B at BOM was scheduled at 1655. I reached the airport at around 1530 - well in time to explore the terminal and also to get a seat of my choice I was only carrying my small rugsack, so I decided to use the Kiosk Check-In recently introduced by Jet. I entered the terminal and found huge queues at the 9W check-in counters. I found the Kiosk and swiped my credit card for identity verification. After this, it asked me for my PNR number which I entered using the touch screen keyboard. Pretty neat! After confirming my name and my sex (!!), it gave me an option to select the seat. Now, I was flying northward in the evening, I decided to select a seat on the starboard side. On checking availability, I selected seat no. 27F. This would give me an opportunity to easily click the cabin as well (plus be amongst the first ones to be served with the meal ) Anyway, I confirmed my selection and out came the nicely printed boarding pass. With the formality done, I took a walk through the terminal which was slowly being filled up with the approaching rush hour. This time sees a slew of domestic departures from all the airlines. Terminal 1B looks really modern and neat with the huge dome roof and no beams and pillars so typical of Indian airports. The terminal is being expanded and will shortly have double the number of check-in counters that currently exist. With nothing to do till the security check was announced, I headed straight to the Sky Cafe - a tiny restaurant which serves hot snacks and beverages. They have a cybercafe there as well for people to catch up on their emails and stuff. Once the security check was announced, I joined the line of people queueing at the entrance. This was done within five minutes and I entered the departure hold which resembled more like a railway waiting hall with people all over the place. There were atleast 4-5 9W departures, a couple from Deccan and one from Spicejet - to Goa!!
Soon, it was announced that our flight - 9W325 would be delayed due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft. This was not something I thought I would experience with Jet but anyway...The new departure time was announced as 1730. Thankfully, it would still be bright daylight I thought! I settled down and caught up on some reading when the second jolt came. The departure was further delayed to 1750 as the aircraft had still not arrived. Damn! I thought it was a curse from all the low cost carriers I had abandoned because of this very reason. With nothing else to do, I simply waited. Finally, after an endless wait, the magic words were announced on the PA system calling us to board the aircraft. I finally stepped onto the tarmac after spending two hours at the terminal. There were four-five 9W departures around that time which meant a mini-traffic jam of the Jet buses ferrying people to the aircraft. Funnily, a Jet staffer came on board the bus confirming that all passengers were bound to Ahmedabad!! Read an incident some days ago in the paper about how some Bollywood actress landed up at Ahmedabad instead of Hyderabad after she boarded the wrong plane! Anyway, we soon arrived where our aircraft - a Boeing 737-800 with winglets (VT-JGH) was waiting. This was my first time flying on a 737 with winglets! I was handed over the customary fresh lime juice on boarding and I settled down in my seat. To my surprise, I saw that the aircraft had a single class configuration!!
Photo © Vivek Manvi
Maybe Jet used this plane on high density sectors. We were pushed back after a wait of 15 minutes and we taxied towards the edge of runway 09-27. The international terminal had a Kuwait Airways 747-400 and a Saudi 747-300 in addition to the usual Air India planes. The take-off was swift and smooth and we were soon airborne. One neat bank to the right and we were on course to AMD. As soon as the seat-belt sign was off, I was off as well - to click some pics of the cabin. The cabin crew got down to their task of serving meals pronto. The choice on this flight to Ahmedabad was Vegetarian & Jain Vegetarian. I think the Jet management should really do a survey of how many Gujjus relish non-vegetarian food or visit one of the numerous bars & restaurants in Mumbai to see them gulping down Tandoori Chicken or Seekh Kebabs! Anyway, the snack consisted of a Hara Bhara kabab, a paneer kabab, some cheese-peas mixture stuffed in a pita bread & ras-malai for dessert. The weather outside was nice and sunny and the flight was pretty smooth.
We were on the outskirts of Ahmedabad within minutes of finishing our meal and the announcement was made to fasten the seat-belts. The captain executed a number of nice banks to align the aircraft for final approach. The announcement for the crew to be seated for landing was then made. This is when an ultra-stupid Gujju uncle had a desire to get up and pee. He was promptly sent back to his seat by a stewardess. The plane now descended gradually and one could see the traffic around the northern suburbs of Ahmedabad. We were now at around 1500 feet when this smart ass got up again to go to the toilet. This time the stewardess asked him sternly to return to his seat. And he, with a moronic smile returned, unashamedly telling his companion that the stewardess asked him to wait till we landed. We landed in the next two minutes and the captain engaged full reversers to swiftly decelerate the aircraft. We slowly taxied to our parking bay next to an Indian A-319, VT-SCA which looked glorious against the setting sun.
Photo © Vivek Manvi
The arrivals board told me that our flight was a multi-hop from MAA-CJB-BOM-AMD. As I made my way out of the terminal, an Air India A-310 took off gracefully and flew into the sunset.
[Edited 2006-07-23 10:24:14]
[Edited 2006-07-23 10:45:16]