The onward trip to TLV can be read here
The view frm my hotel at Tel Aviv. The beach is excellent for a dip as well a stroll at nite..
After a 3 day stay in Tel Aviv which was exteremely hectic, i was ready to fly back to India. My flight was at 0700 hrs and in Tel Aviv tht meant reaching the airport atleast by 0400hrs!! The last time I was there, i reached like 2.5 hrs before and every security and airline personnel I encountered was aghast tht i was coming in so late!!!
Anyways, decided to stay awake and watched sm TV in my hotel and finally at 3:15 set out to the Ben Gurion Airport in Jaffa.
Reached there with lotsa time to spare. Immediately went to Level -2 where OS , LH and Lot check in counters are. This definitely is an anomaly in an otherwise beautiful airport!! Had a female Israeli security agent, check out my tickets and passport and ask me abt whr i stayed, purpose of visit, who packed my bags, whether my bags were out of my sight ever, if i was carrying any souvneirs etc. This set of questions wud be repeated 4 times before i Check in. The next agent was of Indian origin and she chatted with me abt India and Mumbai. incidentally India is a hot tourist destination for young Israelis, esp. after their compulsory military draft. Got lotsa namastey, kaise ho, sab kuch theekh hain thru out my stay!!
The security agent stuck sm stickers on my bag and it was loaded into a huge xray machine, at the end of which it was tagged with a bar code. After the xray machine, I had to wait in line to get my bag manually checked. After inspecting my suitcase, the security agent ran a probe inside the bag to check for explosives. Pretty intense security check, can get irritating at times.
Since my seats on this leg were pre selected, check in was a breeze. After collecting my boarding pass,i proceeded to climb up to Level 1 from where proceeded to secuirty check n immigration. The security check took some time as I was carrying my laptop and its peripherals. Had to take them out and identify each one!!
Immigration was quick and soon i was walking down the huge ramp leading to the waiting area. this part of the airport with two massive ramps in opposite direction for incoming and out bound passengers is an excellent technique by the security folks... they can easily screen any passenger who looks suspicious!!
Anyways, went down to my gate, grabbed a sandwich n coffee and tried killing time. Lot fo interesting birds in TLV at tht time . a CY to Larnaca, sm former soviet republics, and a massive LH A340 i guess to MUC. Went around the duty free and grabbed sm stuff for frens n family n proceeded to the gate. Turns out I was the last to board and soon we were on our way taxing from TLV.
My lack of sleep did not deter me frm staying awake during this leg of my journey!! We cruised over the beautiful greek islands onward to Hungary. The breakfast was very good. The movie on board was "Bollywood Bride"!! surprising on an OS flight from TLV to VIE!! neways the movie was so-so with a B-grade bollywood actress portraying a top heroine.
Landed in a cold foggy VIE airport. sm pics taken during our trip to the stands.
An SU Airbus
The OS B767 in Star Alliance color, back frm BOM and which i expected to be my carrier today.
Normally the flight frm Tel Aviv parks at Terminal A at a gate adjacent to the one of the BOM flight. But today the TLV flight was parked remote and we had to be bussed to the terminal. That was a disaster for me!!! TLV was a pleasent 18-20 deg celsius, BOM is never cold!! So i had packed in my light jacket, which I wud use later from BOM-BLR. But tht brief 30 second trip from the a/c to the waiting bus and frm the bus to the gate in near zero temp was enuff to gift me a case of sneezing n runny nose!!
More bad news in store, as the BOM flight now departs from Terminal C, tht means another bus ride.
This takes us close to our flight for the day - "Malaysia"
The security had a problem with my duty free purchases from TLV as they were not in the transparent bags as per the new EU regulations!! Finally managed to squeeze ina s much as possible into two bags and was finally left with a choice to make - a bottle of holy water or sm liqour i was carrying for a fren!! What a choice!![ ]
Anyways made it to the flight, again one of the last to board!! The flight was not all tht full , probably abt 70% load factor in Y. Soon we were taxi-ing towards take off.
The baby tht got me to VIE frm TLV
an OS fokker ahead of us.
Seat pitch in OS 767
Lining up for take off
The sleepless night before, combined with the exposure to extreme cold, meant tht I was asleep for most of the flight. Woke up for meal service and caught sm parts of The Devil Wears Prada.. interesting movie..
inflight shot of the cabin
Sunset over Iran
The airspace over BOM was heavily congested and tht meant we were on a holding pattern over Mumbai for almost 40 mins. Gave us an excellent view of south mumbai all lit up!!
Landing in mumbai was one of the smoothest i hv ever experienced. Taxied down past sm AI flights and we were soon followed by the LX flight from ZRH.
The rear Y section on the OS flight
Aft Y section
The immigration counters in BOM hv been improved vastly and it was a quick affair. Collected my baggage and was thru customs in no time. Went str8 away to the 9W check in counter in the international arrival section and checked in for my flight to BLR. Now thts another trip report!!
P.S. if the pics dont appear here they can also be viewed at http://new.photos.yahoo.com/cool_chap_21/album/576460762384220285