Background I was planning to visit my sister who stays in Manhattan. My initial plan was to take off from work and be there in the mid-month of July. But considering the 4th of July long weekend along with the scenario at workplace, I finalized my holiday duration from 3rd July to 18th July.
I was keen on flying the AI 77L and was looking for good deals. Fellow members Vivek & Karan might recall my telephone call, seeking ‘good travel agents’. After a few calls here & there and looking up the net, I finally got the best deal online at Travelocity !!
On 2nd July, I left early from work & did my last minute packing. I estimated the drive from Chembur to Sahar to take 90 mins considering the slow moving traffic on the WE highway.
At the airport As being discussed here , MIAL has restricted the entry to Terminal 2 from the flyover that was used earlier. Instead, the route now is to climb up from the left side of Terminal 2 (this goes along the AI hangar) and travel across what earlier was 2C (now Gate A) and onto 2A.
After saying my good-byes to my folks, I entered the terminal building at about 2210 and proceeded towards baggage screening. There were just about 5-6 people in front and the screening was finished in less than 5 minutes. I observed that none of the bags were being tagged with ‘The Nonstop’ tag.
There were 3 counters for AI 140 and each had about 1-2 persons in the line. There was some problem with the tag printer and I had to stand for about 15 minutes before my turn came. The check-in agent apologized for the delay and asked for my passport & ticket. I was also asked to write the local address in NYC where I would be staying. I was issued my boarding pass and the customs form.
I made a quick call to my folks and then went onto clearing the customs. I was asked about my purpose of travel and the whole procedure was over in about 5 minutes. I then cleared the security check, went down the escalators and through the duty-free. There is a lot of construction activity going on inside Terminal 2 and im sure the revamped terminal will really look world-class.
I roamed around a bit, observing the numerous lounges & gates as it was my first time here.
At about 2340 I proceeded towards Gate 8 where my hand baggage & shoes were scanned again. I sat down and waited for the boarding announcement. The boarding call was announced at about 0000 hours.
I had requested for a window seat at check-in but changed by seat to an aisle one. Most passengers were senior citizens, supposedly visiting their grand-children in US. The push-back started at about 0050 and we started our taxi towards RWY 27.
A small flight amenity kit was provided in economy which consisted of socks, a small bottle (I didn’t bother to check what it contained), face napkin and an eye-mask. While taxing, the flight safety demonstration was played on the PTVs and the big screens above the aisles were off. I was hoping to catch the take-off video from the front camera but this didn’t happen.
As we started rolling on the runway, one of the overhead bins opened and a small bag hung half out of the bin. This was scary as it could have easily harmed the pax sitting below. There was no action taken by the FA’s and few seconds after the take-off, the pax himself stood up and closed the bin.
Flight service started about 45 minutes after take-off. At this time, half the passengers had already slept. I chose the vegetarian meal which consisted of rice, biryani, aloo-gobi & a sweet. Sorry folks, didn’t take any picture of the nice Indian food that was served onboard.
I decided to check out the IFE system. I found the touch screen’s response to be a little slow, but overall AI has a nice range of movie & music collection on board.
Due to poor loads, every alternate row of seats was occupied by only one pax. Such lucky people got to enjoy a flat-bed by removing the two arm-rests & using the three seats as a nice comfy bed! I on the other hand had only the option to recline. I then put on some instrumental music & dozed off. After a while, I woke up after some time to use the bathroom. I then decided to click a few random pictures of the cabin.
View of the front right side of economy
Later in the flight, we were served continental breakfast. Further in the flight, self-service had begun and passengers were helping themselves with cold-drinks, nuts, juices etc from the stow area.
I spent my time listening to the wide variety of music & watching the hindi flick ‘Life in a Metro’. There was another full meal service later on. This time I chose non-vegetarian. This included chicken, plain rice, peas alongwith curd, sweets and papad.
After a few hours, we started to descend & I got hold of a window seat. Armed with my camera, I started to click the view that I had from my seat.
We touched down on RWY 22L at about 0640, about 30 minutes early. The taxi route was long and it took about 15 minutes to reach our designated bay at Terminal 4.
Video of the landing at JFK
VT-ALB standing at the tarmac next to VS
View of the apron from the terminal building
El-Al getting ready for departure
I had a really good experience overall in the 773. Baggage clearance was quick & after clearing customs & the security procedures, I was out in another 30 minutes.
After having spent 16 odd days in NYC, having a ball of time, it was time to head back home. I had registered for a pickup service that got me to JFK at about 1910. I entered the terminal building & located the AI counter. There were about 3 counters for AI 140 and there was a huge line in front of me.
By the time I reached the counter, it was 1930. I observed that out of the three counters, two were operated by trainees who were being trained & supervised by more experienced staff. After a long wait, I got my boarding card just on the basis of my passport. They did not ask for my ticket. I noticed that the boarding time printed was 2030, 75 minutes before departure.
I noticed that there were signs put up by TSA, instructing passengers to not lock their bags. It was mentioned that TSA, if required, had the rights to break open your bags if they were locked. I unlocked the bags and deposited my bags for screening.
I decided to check out the terminal and went around looking to buy some chocolates. I killed some time roaming around and spending time with my sister.
Till about 2100, there was no announcement for boarding. There was a long queue at the security check & I decided to go ahead.
I boarded the flight at about 2130 & the gates were closed in another few minutes. I was expecting the loads to be the same as my onward journey but was surprised to see that the flight was almost full.
I discovered that my aisle seat had no foot massager. I called the in-flight manager & asked for an explanation. The most he did was bend down, verify its absence & walked away saying that this seat indeed has no foot massager.
We started our pushback & taxi and this time they had the nose cam video broadcasting on the LCD panels. After a long taxi, we started rolling. As strange as it may sound, there was again an instance of the overhead bin opening mid-way during take-off. But the pax sitting below took instant action by unbuckling his seat belt, standing up & closing the bin.
All through the flight, I noticed that the FA’s were not allowing any of the passengers to keep the window shutter open. The reason might be that they wanted the mood-lighting to be effective.
Somehow the duration of the return leg did not feel that long. I spent most of the time sleeping.
Before I could even digest the fact that my vacation was over, it was announced that we have started our descent into Mumbai. Thankfully, it wasn’t a cloudy day and the front camera gave a fantastic view of the approach into Mumbai.
The aircraft touched down well before its ETA and we reached our assigned gate.
View of the First Class section
The queue at immigration was terribly long and it took about 45 minutes to clear it & claim my bags.
This is my first trip report. I’ll be glad to receive your feedback / comments.
"You don't have to be crazy to be in aviation, but it helps", JRD Tata
Nice report! I flew JFK-BOM last year in Nov and had fantastic flight since partly because I had three seats to myself. It was a very nice experience on AI and highly recommend AI over EK at least when it comes to the 77L.
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
very nice TR. I was happy to see photos of the cabin,because when i flew last June JFK-LHR with AI the kind FA told me to cancel every photos of inside airplane and outside because was prohibited taking shots on AI( fortunately i just changed my cards so i was able to keep anyway a lot of photos )
Nice report and pictures, really enjoyed it, thanks.
Quoting AirIndiaOne (Thread starter): discovered that my aisle seat had no foot massager. I called the in-flight manager & asked for an explanation. The most he did was bend down, verify its absence & walked away saying that this seat indeed has no foot massager.
- So funny, really made me laugh.
I'm not keen on 777's so the 773, 77L & 77W are still missing from my flight log, I'm quite tempted to take the AI 773 from LHR-JFK during the off season, AI seems to have an improved product these days.
Quoting Karan69 (Reply 9): I was very surprised they were insistent on keeping the shutters down while take off
The shutters were open during take-off & landing. Its just that during the course of the flight, they wanted the shutters closed.
Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 10): Is the loads always that light or was it a one way exception?
Before booking the tickets, i had been reading about the poor loads on AI. The possibility of reducing frequency to 3 times a week was also being discussed. I was expecting even poor loads on my return leg but was surprised to see the opposite.
"You don't have to be crazy to be in aviation, but it helps", JRD Tata
Quoting AirIndiaOne (Reply 16): Does anyone have any information on whether AI has cut down its frequency on the BOM-JFK nonstop ?
It was being contemplated in mid june that Air India would reduce the flight to thrice a week
It's still showing as daily. I don't think it would be smart of AI to reduce their BOM-JFK flights because it's very difficult to remain competitive in U.S. markets with low frequencies.
Great TR. Felt like I was there. Nice to see BOM change, but still a long way to go.
I only hope AI maintins this excellent service and extends it to all routes and aircrat type.
Would you fly AI again on this route?