December 18, 2006
102 Airbus A320 Reg: VT IND
STD: 10:10 am STA
: 2:20 pm
ATD: 10:45 am ATA: 3:05 pm
After a great weekend in BLR
with my friend, it was time to say good-bye and head over to my birth town and my hometown before I moved to the US. My flight was scheduled at 10:10 am so I left my friend's home at around 8:00 am. His driver dropped me off at the airport and when I was checking-in, I came to know that my reservation had been canceled. I spoke to the manager and the explanation given was that since I used an in-ternational credit card, they thought it was fraud. I produced the same CC
and I was booked on the same fare and same seat w/o any problems. Still a little strange. I thought, great, a perfect start to this trip. But turns out, it would turn out to be a decent day afterall.
The security line was huge and it took me about 40 mins to get to the security area and then I cleared it again with breeze. Then our boarding time came and it went. Due to fog at BLR
, the flight had been delayed 30 odd mins. After about 20 mins, boarding was an-nounced and we were again shuttled to the A/C at a remote stand. I boarded through the rear door this time and found my way to 15F. This time the seats next to me were not empty. There were 2 guys sitting next to me. The exit rows were empty and people tried moving into them, but were advised to go back to their original seats and getting exit rows required them to pay an extra Rs. 100 at the time of booking.
We pushed back at around 10:45 am and were airborne at around 11:00 am. We were #6 for the takeoff due to the high traffic and later arrivals into BLR
due to fog. The takeoff was powerful, although not as powerful as a B737. The plane looked brand spanking new and this flight was not a snack service flight. Only water was available for free. Soft drinks and snacks were available for purchase. I ended up purchasing a pepsi and some shortbreak cookies as I did not have any breakfast and I was very hungry. Landing at PNQ was nothing special, but no photography was allowed since it's an Indian Air Force Base. The transit time was 30 minutes but this time was reduced to about 20 min-utes due to the delay at BLR
. A lot of people disembarked at PNQ and the people that were going to DEL
were advised to stay on board. The new passengers boarded and soon the doors were shut and we were ready to depart for DEL
. We were to fly over Jaipur and then start our decent 40 miles south of DEL
. The flight from PNQ-DEL
was about 85% full and luckily, I had 3 seats to myself. I took this opportunity to spread my legs and catch up on some sleep while listening to my fav. music. Flight time to DEL
was about 2 hrs so it was a good nap I had. Landing at DEL
was nothing special and then again we were shuttled to the arrivals hall and I waited for my bag to arrive. I then pur-chased a pre-paid taxi service to New Delhi's railway station as I was to catch a train to Ludhiana.
Overall, it was a decent flight. It got me from Point A to Point B via Point C.
but I would definitely use this airline again. Although I would advise the FA
to actually smile while they are doing their job. Smiling goes a long long way. But it was a decent ex-perience and for the price I paid, it was good.
Check-in: 6/10 (- pts. for cancellation etc.; otherwise no problems)
Crew: 6/10 (Decent looking; could def. use smiles)
Service: 5/10 (Water was nice touch)
Bag Handling: 7/10 (Was out on time w/o any damages)
On Time: 7/10 (Effort made to make up time)
Check-in Area at BLR
Before security at BLR
Waiting area at BLR
before boarding, after Security check
Waiting area before boarding at BLR
View from my seat, an IT
Indigo Air's Interior Picture
International Terminal at BLR
w/ Gulf Air and Sri Lankan Air Jets
Sri Lankan Air A343
View after Takeoff I believe
on Amritsar Shatabdi Express
Seat was in AC
Chair Car in Bogey #3.
I reached the train station and the train quickly arrived at the platform. I boarded the train and before boarding I purchased some reading material as it would be close to 4 hrs of travel time. The train left the station at the right scheduled time. My camera was running out of batteries so I could only snap one picture. After the train departed, the train atten-dant (or waiters as they were being called) came with a 1L bottle of water. I wasn’t ex-pecting any sort of service on this train ride; however it came with a full snack, then later at night with full dinner service that included rice, bread (romali roti), butter chicken (not boneless though) and lentils served with yogurt and a mango drink. Before reaching Ludhiana, vanilla ice-cream was served. Coffee and tea were available on demand. The waiter would give you a little kettle of hot water whenever you wanted coffee. I had about 3-4 cups of coffee but I definitely wouldn’t recommend eating food on this train. It kinda made me sick by the time I got home. The train reached Ludhiana at 8:15 pm and my cousin was outside waiting for me. He picked me up and I was on my way home for about 5 days.
Dec. 23 The Train ride back
on Amritsar Shatabdi Express
Seat was in AC
Chair Car in Bogey #4
After a week of meeting really old friends, attending a cousin’s wedding, which was a complete blast, I was ready to go back to BOM
for more partying etc. I would be head-ing back to DEL
and then flying Kingfisher airlines from DEL
. I was excited since I would get to see the Kingfisher Experience that people rave about. But this day was to be a very long and a trip from hell was the result. I reached the train station at around 7am. The train is scheduled to leave the station at around 7:15 am and only stops there for about 2-3 minutes. So I had to be quick. A suitcase weighing 40kg wasn’t helping either. So, the train came in late at around 7:45 am and then I boarded with haste. I found my seat next to some foreigners. It was nice since I could speak to them about their experiences. Turned out one was from UK, others from South America heading to Delhi to go back to their respective countries. This train ride was to feature breakfast service. Remembering how bad the dinner was, I skipped the breakfast. But I did have coffee as usual, but since I was so tired I fell asleep. The train was to reach Delhi at 11:15 am and then I had a rental car hired so I could see around Delhi before taking my flight to BOM
. I am still familiar with roads and such so I thought it would be perfect. I called Kingfisher to inquire and my flight had been delayed to 8:20 due to fog. Perfect I said, more time for me to roam around Delhi. Turns out, my train was delayed due to fog and instead of arriving at 11:15 am as scheduled; we arrived at 1:30 pm.
The place was compete chaos. My rental car didn’t show up and I was pissed off. Luck-ily I found friends who were also heading to Bombay. Talk about a coincidence. I met them at my cousin’s wedding and they had rented a minivan and there was room for me. So I tagged along with them and we went and had very nice lunch. They were flying Spicejet and their flight was also delayed from 5 pm to 7:40 pm. So I had no choice but to go to the airport with them at 5:30 pm. Here is where the Kingfisher experience be-gins. A porter comes and asks me if I’m traveling Kingfisher. Upon saying yes, he takes my 40kg bag gets it cleared from security and brings it to check-in. At check-in, I’m told that my flight is delayed to 10:30 pm. Great I’m thinking. It’s only 6 pm and I have 4 hours to kill. The lady checking me in asks what I’m carrying in the luggage and why it’s so heavy. I tell her that I’m from the US and I’m taking traditional sweets back home. She’s smiles and lets me go w/o paying extra on the luggage. Allowed luggage is 23kg. I decided to go out and take a cab to Cannought Place to find an Ipod Charger. I go to Palika Bazaar and find a very cheap one. Then while walking, I find a TGIF. I go in there and boom, happy hour. Buy one drink, get one free. Perfect it was. A guy was sitting next to me and I started conversing with him. He was from London and we talked for about 2.5 hrs. I asked him how his experiences were in India and where all he’s been etc. After 6 Heinekens and 2 Gin/Tonics, it was time to head back over to the airport. As I already had my boarding pass, I was just to clear security. I got more bad news though, my flight had further been delayed due to fog and the A/C not arriving on time. My flight departed after midnight and I arrived in BOM
at 2:30 am. My friend was there to pick me up and the Kingfisher experience was decent. Nothing special.
After boarding, we were given water. First of all the crew on this flight was OK
, nothing extraordinary. The head purser, service the first class, was good looking. Also, the crew could use smiles again. After take off, the crew came about and distributed the amenity kits. They were simple, and included head sets, some mints and a packaged refreshment towel. After that, they started the food service. Dinner was served. Dinner included some Chicken Tikka Masala with bread and basmati rice and dessert was shrikhand. It was delicious. Being super tired, I fell asleep and the FA
woke me up asking me to put my seat in the upright position (no please was used). The entertainment screen was working but I didn’t bother playing with it as I was exhausted plus the alcohol I had wasn’t helping the cause either. But I did manage to get sleep. The seat pitch was pretty much like any other economy product and I guess I didn’t experience the Kingfisher ex-perience like it’s meant to. But I would soon get to experience it later (more on that in Part 4 of my trip report).
Also due to my tiredness, I didn’t get any flight details. I just boarded and tried to sleep.
Check-in: 10/10 (help w/ luggage; no extra charges for excess weight)
Crew: 8/10 (Decent; friendly; but could use smiles)
Service: 10/10 (Full meal, water, other drinks)
Bag Handling: 8/10 (My bag came out late and it was very dirty)
On Time: 6/10 (Very very delayed flight. About 5 hours, but due to fog. They claim they have clearance in fog and that’s their selling point in India.)
Train Ride from Delhi to Ludhiana
Delhi Domestic Airport Terminal
Waiting Area at Delhi’s Domestic Terminal after security check
Interior of Kingfisher Airlines