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Three trips between India and Sri Lanka (9W BOM-CMB-BOM: Jun '11, Jul '11, Oct. 11)

Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:45 am

INTRODUCTION
Hey all!
Some more trip reports from back in 2011 (specially June '11, July '11 and October '11).

Jet started flights between Mumbai/New Delhi (India) and Colombo (Sri Lanka) towards the end of 2010, around the time my father received a transfer order to head a project in Sri Lanka. While it seemed like failures initially, Mumbai - Colombo- Mumbai has grown to become one of Jet's stronger international routes today. This trip report (or this quick series, rather) will feature my experiences from those very empty flights.

Apologizes for the lack of images in the following flights, there's only so much knowledge I had of low light photography back then :P

The inauguration of these routes coincided with Jet acquiring VT-JBT, an ex-Air India Express VT-AYC (was re-fitted with winglets before delivery to Jet). The rotation would mostly be BOM - CMB - DEL - CMB - BOM.
9W256 BOM CMB 0210 0440 B73H
9W257 CMB DEL 0645 1010 B73H
9W258 DEL CMB 1220 1555 B73H
9W255 CMB BOM 2025 2350 B73H

Back then, Jet also had two different configurations for their B737-800s. One of them was 16J/138Y, which had in flight entertainment in the form of seat back TVs. These were deployed on international flights, and key domestic routes. The other configuration was 8J/162Y. This was the 'Jet Airways Konnect' configuration, primarily on the domestic routes and the low-cost no frill flights. VT-JBT was the latter.

THE JUNE TRIP
This trip was comprised of my admission tests, looking for houses, etc. Finding the cheapest fares would usually be flying via Chennai or use up mileage points on the direct flights. We did the latter. This flight acts as a feeder to the European/North American/Asian bank: which meant some bad timings out of Mumbai, as described above.

DEPARTURE DAY
I woke up to web-check in for the three of us. Altough many seats were blocked by travel agents, the flight didn't look full. I was the second person to web check in for this flight. Dad recommend being at the airport three hours prior. So, we left home at around 2200 hours.

CHECK IN, IMMIGRATION, SECURITY....
Going through the traffic, we reached in 45 minutes, only to realize showing up early was not ideal! Passengers on the flights to Bangkok, Brussels, Newark, New York JFK, Toronto, London, Hong Kong and very few to Colombo were checking in, all at once in the same counters. We took the web-check in counter line, because for some reason, they didn't allow Dad to go the Premiere counter for Gold and Platinum Jet Privilege passengers. The chap in front of us, quite obviously intoxicated, was complaining about the low baggage allowance on Jet Airways (was 20kgs in international back then), and for some reason he decided to speak to Dad. However, Dad had none of it and ignored, but Mr Intoxicated decided to cuss Dad. Of course, what followed next was not great, but what's worse is the staff did jack sh*! about it. Wasn't the best way to start a trip :(

Eventually, everything quietened down. Immigration and security took, in total, 20 minutes. Pretty fast for BOM international! The flight was to depart from Gate 12, which meant, unsurprisingly, the bus.

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The airport that never sleeps in the city that never sleeps!

To pass time, I saw the destinations of all flights leaving. I also made an interesting discovery: I was going to fly in the shortest International flight out Mumbai. Great, its basically a domestic flight duration! At around 0050 hours, we went down to our boarding gate. After a wait of about 15 minutes, boarding started, everything looking on time

BOARDING
It was a long long bus ride around Mumbai Airport....
Check out the international traffic at Mumbai, circa June 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBimx-7XVm

There were a couple 9W B738s parked together, ALL of them were in the International configuration, expect for one. That was our bird, VT-JBM. It was going to be my second flight on that bird in less than a year.
A very cheerful crew welcomed all the half asleep passengers. Felt bad for them, none of the passengers acknowledged the lovely crew. I smiled back :)
VT-JBM was not too different from my last flight on board the plane (flew this same bird 9W212 CCU-BOM in Oct '10) .Being an international flight, I kinda expected Jet to have pillow and blanket on the seats, but they were missing. The crew handed out cold face towels. It refreshed me well :D
I was awake for 17 and a half hours at a stretch, and there were still 3 and a half hours to go. As the doors were armed, most middle and aisle seats were empty on this flight. A very low load flight! :D
My second time on JBM, and second time with three seats to myself!

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VT-PPM also being prepared for an international flight..

DEPARTURE
Pushback commenced just one minute behind scheduled departure time, not too bad! The engines were fired up and we slowly taxied towards the active, Runway 27, for our departure to Colombo. We passed many Indian wide bodies (9W A332 and AI B744) and held short of the runway. We waited for a Bangkok Airways A319 to depart.

Start up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-QibGBdtjU
Taxiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEUwfJ8y0mI

After back-tracking upto the end of Runway 27, a pure Boeing 737 take off followed, except for the sound. We hit a few clouds early on and started heading south towards Sri Lanka.

Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb9Pm5d8a-U

IN FLIGHT
Because of a light load and insane flight timings, I was one of few people who were actually awake in the flight. The crew served beer to anyone who was awake. I headed for the restroom (straight up went through Premiere class, no one stopped me ;)) The crew were warming up meals for who ever was awake....

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LMN juice before take off..

Service started about half an hour into the flight. Not too many people had food, the were asleep. I wondered what the snack would be on such a flight!

'Good morning, sir! Would you like to join us for snacks?'
'Yes please!'
'We have tandoori chicken...'
Without letting him finish; 'Yes, I'll have that'
'And a soft drink?'
'Yes, a Pepsi for me.'
'Sure sir!'

He opened a new bottle of Pepsi. 'Enjoy your meal!'
'Thank you!'


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I took ages to finish. Tea and coffee was served after that. Being a party pooper and sleeping in early during my sleepovers with friends, I was given the assignment to stay awake all night, and take a video of every hour (twice) in the flight, so that I could prove to my friends that I am not a complete sleepy head!! :P Its funny, because all I do now is stay up all night and question life decisions. :banghead:

Lights were turned off for those who wished to sleep, which was for about 35 to 40 minutes in the flight. No, not for me. I stayed awake. Despite taking a pillow and blanket, I just laid on the three seats. Just before descent started, while we were still flying over India, I quickly visited the washroom, while the galley, the crew were chattering away, obviously because there wasn't any calls at that time!

DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
Lights were being turned on as I returned from the washroom. It was pretty cloudy, so descent was bumpy. Anyhow, it was all rewarded by a super smooth touch down, which even my father described as a 'carpet landing'. There was an Etihad Airways A320-200 holding short of the runway to head back to Abu Dhabi. There wasn't too much of activity in the airport (or its just I was sitting on the wrong side of the aircraft. :snakehead:

The aircraft was parked at Gate 6, a jet bridge. Everyone got off pretty quickly, while the aircraft had just over 2 hours to turn around and head to New Delhi. Colombo Airport is small, but a very neat airport. But what's more promising was the ads for the new airport in Hambamtota. (LOL! :rotfl:) Bags didn't take too long to come. But the real crowd was just outside the terminal, as people waited to see their loved ones after long times of being away.
Landing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iEsOY4B ... ature=plcp

We had 4 extremely important days ahead of us. Entrance exams in 4 different schools...not ideal, but hey it had to be done. We also looked at many different houses all around the city. With that, a bit of sight seeing as well. Colombo probably wasn't as fast paced as I was used to, but I was positive about the few years in front of me!

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Panning of a tuktuk

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Local train

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Nice views from the train!

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The story of every evening in Galle Face Green: Kites everywhere!

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RETURN FLIGHT - 26TH JUNE
Checked in for our return flight 9W-255. The usual exit row seats were taken for Mum and Dad, while I took seat 27F. The next day, we left for the airport at 2 in the afternoon.

CHECK IN, IMMIGRATION, SECURITY....
Despite reaching the airport about an hour later, we still had about 2 hours to kill. So much for reaching CMB early for spotting....

There was an announcement made: 'Jet Airways flight 9W258 from New Delhi has arrived'. This aircraft would take me to BOM.

Anyway, there were 4 check in lines: 2 for economy, 1 for web check in and one fore Premiere. Since the aircraft had only 8 seats in Premiere, I was sure that line would be used for the rest of the economy class passengers. But that wasn't the case. 9W255 wasn't the only flight out of CMB at that time: 9W251 was to head back to Chennai only 35 minutes after our flight departed. Check in was done pretty quickly, while the boarding passes were already printed for the web check in passengers. We had about two hours to kill. Headed to the Palm Strip Lounge. My father told there were very good views of the tarmac from there. Immigration was also quick, so we headed up into the departures area. There was a 7-series BMW car up for lottery, and, for the first time in ANY airport, AIRPLANE MODELS!! I bought a JAL B777-200. There was a QR A321, UL A320 and A332, MJ A320 and a GF A320 taxiing in. It is quiet rare to see a Boeing aircraft in Colombo, even today!

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Timing! :D

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This sight helped me to differentiate the two types of engines on the Airbus A320.

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Turn around..

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4R-ABK to Kochi (looking at the A330, even that is off to...somewhere...)

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Oh wait, I was right!! :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbkUeAxyU1A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4d7RRQgWdg

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My third Boeing aircraft model...

Just before I took the above picture, I saw the tail EK652 from Dubai and Male. That was only the second Boeing aircraft in the whole airport at that time! I then went to browse the public internet to follow 2011 European Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso had just overtaken Mark Webber and was hunting down Sebastian Vettel for the race lead. Not like it made any difference to the championship....

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The Arabian 'Knights' :D

After all the duty free stuff, it was time to head to our gate, Gate 6, for our flight back to Mumbai.

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Just going a bit ahead of Gate 6, Vesak decorations still around!

VT-JBT was parked there, this would take us back to BOM, 9W's 5.6 year old 'New' addition to the fleet. Security at CMB is quite like SIN - just as you enter the gate, you clear security.

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SriLankan Airlines UL109 to Male.

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And that is our bird, VT-JBT.

BOARDING
Boarding had started a few minutes later, everything looking pretty much on time. No crew member was around at the door :(
Headed back towards my seat, 27A. I was in for a nasty surprise: VT-JBT was the only Boeing aircraft in the airport. The Emirates aircraft wasn't a B773 or B772 as I expected. It was an A332.
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Its not as small as I always thought....

Cold towels were also given out to all passengers.

PUSHBACK
Just four minutes after departure time, the aircraft was pushed back and the engines were fired up. Following a rather slow taxi, and absolutely NO sign of 9W251 from Chennai arriving, we took off into the dark skies and headed north (slightly north west-ish).

Start up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-N24bIj3JQ
Taxiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaXwu6P54Pg
Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SAWoUgJqS4

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IN FLIGHT
I went back to the washroom, just after seat belts signs were switched off. Service started soon, with the beverage run (beer, juices, soft drinks, etc)

The crew took quite some time to get the meals served... It was only until 1hr15min in to the flight did I finally get a meal. I asked for a non vegetarian meal, I received a vegetarian meal, but then got it switched around.

Lights were turned off, and a delay was certain, because of circling around in Mumbai airspace due to traffic congestion. Nothing too surprising there.

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Ads for Sri Lanka

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Thai Chicken curry and naan. Brilliant fusion 9W! :lol:

I went to the washroom one last time, and asked the FA whether or not this aricraft would get PTVs. She said it surely would over the next few months. She also showed me a big IFE box type thing in the over head bins. This looked like a bright future for Bravo Tango! (Its funny because not only has VT-JBT been withdrawn from Jet's fleet, Jet are getting rid of PTVs altogether and employing the WiFi entertainment systems, or wIFE as we call it :D)

DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
Descent was shaky, because of the rain clouds all over. One thing in Mumbai is certain: if your flight is delayed for circling, you know will be delayed for...everything. A knock on effect. That's exactly what happened. After a pretty okay landing, the aircraft taxied SLOWLY towards the international terminal with heavy rains just starting to pour in.

Landing and taxiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UthjDtSS17g
Quite a few interesting birds here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ats5JBIllnU

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The top 3 favourite aircraft of mine in one frame: B77W (to LHR), A332 (to SIN) and B73H! (from CMB)

The coach took FOREVER to arrive. I was one of the last passengers to get off, so the Captain and First Officer were in the same coach as I. Immigration took another 20 minutes, while luggage took another 40 minutes. NO TROLLEYS AROUND! This was only the first time I was going through the Mumbai International Airport nightmares, something which my Dad spoke about a lot, and experienced it. Waiting for the cars took even longer, because two drivers got in to a fight, leading to one of them getting injured. Wow. :grumpy:

This was definitely not the sort of arrival the international folk would like to see. A pretty bad arrival experience at Mumbai T2...so glad the new terminal is ten folds greater!

Things were not looking great the next day, either. Official procedures in Sri Lanka had taken longer than expected, forcing us to delay our departure by about two months at least. In other words, back to school for me. I hadn't even touched any of my holiday homework as I was confident that I'd be out of India in the following weeks after. Troubled times laid ahead, troubled times. It was an interesting summer that was lined up.....


JULY TRIP
Following my previous trip to Colombo, it looked certain that my next trip would be to Bhubaneshwar on Jet Airways Konnect (Nagpur wasn’t my last domestic trip because of the uncertain and long delay). It wasn't looking like the move to Colombo would happen any time soon. One Friday evening, I was locked out of my apartment, so I had to wait around.... just when Dad called up and said I had an interview in school down in Colombo. Yay!

Dad was supposed to go to Colombo for a few days anyway, so guess who tagged along for just a day :D
I got my ticket booked for Monday, 25th July, 2011 and return the same night. Jet Airways had the most expensive, but most convenient deal. So, I was booked on 9W256 and 9W255, once again. I had to miss only one day of school. Eh well, what did I have to lose :D

DEPARTURE DAY
I web checked in myself, for both the flights at once! I selected 15F for 9W256 and 27A for 9W255. It was the usual Konnect configuration. Following a lunch with friends, I set around to watch the 2011 German GP.

We decided to leave an hour early, in order to avoid the long check in lines at Mumbai. We reached the overly crowded entrance to the airport, and took half an hour to reach the airport from the W.E. Highway. I was greeted by the sight of an ancient Air India Airbus A310, being serviced at the Air India hangar. Back then, these were the backbone of AI's fleet, and now there are the B787s, with even longer ranges! Getting in to the terminal

CHECK IN, IMMIGRATION, SECURITY OF THE ANNOYING SORT...
Altough empty, we did not have to go to the Economy check in line, as Dad held a Jet Privilege Gold card back then.

Following a 4 minute check in process, we passed through the quick immigration, and finally reached the crowd: A long security line! It looked like it would take half an hour to get through, but I was waiting to be checked 15 minutes later.. not bad, right?!

When it was my turn to be screened, it was time for them to switch shifts. Great, this meant a wait of another 20 minutes for a personnel to come. It was a little frustrating, because despite the long line of people there, they would just keep chatting with each other and not bother. :shakehead:

Dad got through, but I had to wait another 20 minutes. We reached the departure level, with usual flights leaving: AF, LH, other 9W and AI flights, etc. As we went to have dinner, Dad removed a small bag, in which he keeps important stuff that didn’t have a cabin baggage tag. I remembered the incident at Delhi Airport where an elderly couple had to walk back the entire span of T3 to get the stamps on their bag. I just hoped it would get through. I passed time, by going through the terminal, checking out the Duty Free shops...

Our flight would depart from Gate 13, which meant a remote parking bay for the aircraft, nothing unusual for B737 departures. We waited for an hour and headed for boarding. As we reached our gate, 9W242 was still boarding (to Johannesburg), and 9W61 was just about completed. Dad went ahead and asked: ‘When are you starting boarding for Colombo?’
‘Right away sir, “Passengers on Jet Airways flight 9W256 to Colombo are requested to board the aircraft from gate 13.”

BOARDING
I jumped in front of the line (pole position!) and glanced at the computer screen: the aircraft had 4 rows in Premiere and 33 rows in Economy. This meant the International configuration I talked about earlier. IFE! And they were also marking down seat numbers on the screen as we scanned the boarding passes. This was looking good, an equipment swap!

As I passed through, the screen said: ‘PAX 1: BOARDED’. The security chap looked at Dad’s small travel bag, which didn’t have a tag, and told him to get a tag. I knew, it was my turn for the long walk back to security. The computer then said: ‘PAX 1: OFFLOADED’ I went back up towards security, knowing that it would take more than an hour for the flight to depart. I went to security, and asked them politely to stamp a new tag on the bag. Of course, those screeners decided to make life more difficult than it already was.

Security: What the heck kid, why did you not put a tag on earlier? We won’t stamp it.
Me: I’m sorry sir, please do it for me since the flight is about to leave soon...
Another security guy: He’s lying! Put the bag through the screeners!
Me: Sir, please! My flight will leave!
The other dude: Stop lying! We’ll put you in line (I saw the long line) Tell us where you are going.
Me: My flight to Johannesburg has just about completed boarding! I will miss it if you hold me here!
S1: Ok, we’ll do it now. Never repeat this ever again!
M: I’m sorry, won’t repeat it again.

What a bunch of rude guys. About time India get rid of this dumb tag stamp thing!

I went back down into the gates, and found myself as passenger 37 to board the flight. While boarding the bus, Dad told me that there were 6 passengers in Premiere, 102 in Economy, after he saw the computer monitor screen, and that the aircraft was parked at bay J8.

Couple of wide bodies were around - a Jet B77W to London, Air France 777-300ER to Paris, Lufthansa A330-300 to Munich, among others. Two Jet A330s (VT-JWF to Hong Kong being pushed back and VT-JWG to Johannesburg) were in the remote bay.

Narrow body aircraft were parked in the distance: Air India Express B73Hs, and Air India, Kingfisher A320s. These were followed by many Jet B737s: First one was VT-JGH, followed by VT-JGT and VT-JBF. We came to a stop in front of VT-JNZ. I was disappointed. This was a 10 year old, winglet-less, Konnect configured plane. I thought that my flight, DEL-IXB on VT-JNN would be my last flight on the old 738!

All of a sudden everyone was awake: ‘Its Jet Airways Konnect! No food even on international flights! What’s happening to them!’ They were disappointed because they thought they would not get food. Made my way into the aircraft. The smiling crew (how can they keep smiling at 1 o clock in the morning!) welcomed us onboard. I took my seat, while Dad went to his usual emergency exit seat. I was surprised to see a Jet Wings International magazine in the seat pocket! I went back to the restroom real quick... there was some weird noises coming, probably the auxiliary units.

DEPARTURE
Push back was about 14 minutes after scheduled departure. The 'older version' of the CFM56 engines were fired up, rattling the whole aircraft while doing so. A UPS Boeing 767-300F taxied by us while our engines were being fired up. That was followed by a rather slow taxi and powerful, musical (noisy for a few :P ) Boeing 737 departure. I also missed the Air Mauritius A330-200 landing, but you'll see it in front of Terminal 1A in the take off video, let the videos do the talking now :)

Start up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORxhInJZ2qg
Taxiing (first): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SOWR6q_E5E
Taxiing (second): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDXJks3igt4
Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUSI1dcx-WU

IN FLIGHT
We leveled off pretty quickly, at FL350. Food service followed, this time, it wasn't tandoori chicken. It was a chicken quiche instead. With that, a boiled potato, with seasoning (tasted pretty good!) and an Indian Sweet. I also took a Coke this time. Beer was also given to anyone who requested it.

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Surprisingly, the cabin was quite 'alive' as compared to my previous flight on 9W256: not too many people were asleep! The Captain came over the PA, giving us details about the flight. He welcome us on the 'Boeing 737 Next Generation'. He also gave us details of our altitude, arrival time, speed, etc. Following that, the flight was uneventful, lights turned off for those who wanted to catch up on sleep. But me? Well, I had to make my crucial decision for my IGCSE O level subjects. I listened to my iPod (and slept a bit, I didn't have the stay awake challenge this time!) for the rest of the 20 or 25 minutes.

DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
Once again uneventful, and for once, smooth. We landed pretty quickly, 2 minutes ahead of schedule. CMB was silent, just like last time, with the monsters (UL wide bodies), silently getting prepared for their long hauls. As usual, Dad and I were the last ones off the aircraft. I looked at JNZ once more, which was being turned around for its flight to Delhi. And I was sure, JNZ would take me back into Mumbai that very evening. We left the airport, and headed for the Cinnamon Grand. A quick breakfast later, we went to the room. I caught up on some well deserved sleep!

My meeting was at 1230 that afternoon. So I got ready and headed off to school. After a meeting of about half an hour, I was officially selected as a student of The British School in Colombo! Headed back to the hotel, and prepared for the flight back.....

CHECK IN, IMMIGRATION AND SECURITY....
That evening, once again for me, it was time to get back to the airport. Despite taking the longest and the most crowded way, I reached the airport 3 hours before departure. Check in was once again divided into 4 lines, for the two flights leaving. The agent asked me to weigh my bag pack, which was at 6.9 kgs, just 0.1 kgs away from what Jet Airways permits. They were not letting me go easily, despite the fact I didn't have any luggage to be checked in. So after a quick immigration, I waited at the Palm Strip Lounge, sipping a Pepsi which costed $1, a steal to be honest. So, time went really slowly, with nothing to do, all alone in the airport.

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So many UL widebodies together!

As the evening fell.....
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[img]http://i1259.photobucket.com/albums/ii552/jbalonso777/7-3.jpg[/img

It was time to head to Gate 6, for my flight back to Mumbai..
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I walked slowly, just to waste time. But by doing so, I noticed the wing of my aircraft. IT HAD WINGLETS! 9W258 was surely not being operated by VT-JNZ! This was a big big surprise as I had expected JNZ to come back on the same day (refer the rotation above), but that wasn't the case! Although this was a new registration log in for me, this was a really old aircraft. It had Konnect decals, and, for the third time in 2011, EYEBROWS ON A BOEING 737NG! This surely is becoming a rarity nowadays, but I am glad to have flown in this aircraft, along with JNN and SIV that year. After a quick security, I had to wait for another 20 minutes.

BOARDING
So, boarding had started at 1955 (ROW WISE, a first time for me :) ), well in time for an on-time departure. While I sat in the holding area, VT-JBJ came in as 9W252, being prepared for flight 9W251, back to Chennai. Weird why Jet Airways used an international aircraft for a 1hr20min flight, when there were flights 2hr30min and 3hr20min long! Anyway, after a warm welcome by the chirpy crew, I entered a really cold aircraft. So I went back to my seat and QUICKLY asked for a pillow and blanket. In the seat pocket, along with the safety card, sickness bag and Jet Wings domestic magazine, there was the inflight magazine of Air France! What a random magazine to find! (since we moved out of CMB back to CCU, Mum has since gotten rid of the Air France magazine :()

Loads weren't looking too good for Jet Airways, but it was good for me, as I once again had 3 seats for myself! This meant that boarding had been completed in less than 10 minutes. There was an infant with his mother and elder sister. The flight attendants commented on how cute the child was, amongst themselves :)

DEPARTURE
Pushback commenced, with the engines being fired up pretty quickly. That was followed by a SUPER HIGH SPEED taxi to the active runway. We were airborne at 2013, 7 minutes before departure time! Pilots were in a big hurry! We turned north and headed out for Mumbai.

Start up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhqwMmDiam8
Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yO_tJkRmPk

INFLIGHT
I went to the washroom, once the seat belts signs went off, while the crew distributed cold towels. Nice of them to get come to my seat and give a towel, even after all passengers got them! Beer and non-alcoholic drinks were served to everyone, but not too many to serve because of the light loads.
The food service followed. And after that, the crew just went out of sight, 40 minutes into the flight. No tea and coffee service, trays were still with us. This was unusual by the Jet Airways crew, why was everyone in a hurry?! The captain came over the PA, giving us the details of the flight. We were cruising at FL370, at a speed of Mach 0.76.
He also that there would be turbulence in the next 6 to 7 minutes, and asked us to quickly go the washroom if we had to, as it was expected to be there till we landed in Mumbai. Well, a long sleep ahead then! Turbulence then hit us, HARD. The whole aircraft was rattling. I'm glad it wasn't a night flight, or else I would have to see the wings almost fall off :P . Everyone's head was bobbing.
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A shaky dinner....

I just wondered who's tray table would be the first one to fall off. The answer was clear. MINE! The aircraft rocked so badly that my tray was the first (and possibly only) one to fall of the tray table. I'm glad my tray was kept on the tray table for seat 27C, or else I would have had food stains all over my jeans. But, luckily that wasn't the case. I frantically called the FA. Unsurprisingly, she looked surprised. With big eyes, she said 'Oh, fuuu......'. Yeah, I'm glad she didn't finish the word, or else it would have been the first time I would have heard it from a FA. As she cleared the tray out, I bent down to get the glass and tissue which had fallen. By the time I got up, she had gone. Oh, well. It was up to the ground staff to clear it then :P 27C also had stains over it.

DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
It wasn't as bad as I expected, but the crew quickly cleared up the trays quickly, just in time for arrival. Once again, a smooth landing, followed up with HARD BRAKING and a SUPER HIGH SPEED TAXI, meant we reached before time. We taxied and parked at parking J7 (I left from J8 that morning). I still didn't figure out why everyone was in a hurry. Probably to avoid the unavoidable turbulence? Or just 10 minutes of extra sleep? Any how, I was much happier after this flight, as compared 9W256 that very day.

Landing and the LONG HIGH SPEED taxi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S2ReP7Xa3w

Immigration was quick. I didn't have to collect any luggage, so I went through customs. Although my trip was over, my episode with CISF wasn't over yet. They asked me to put my bag pack on the x-ray machine for a mandatory check. Fine, no problems there, but what really pissed me off, was the mishandling of my bad with my DSLR in it! Before I could tell him anything I was pushed in front by a set of rude passengers. When they saw the camera in the x-ray. They asked me to open it. Following that, they took me took the head officer there, chewing something.....smelly. No, I didn't feel like being in Jailed Abroad, I just wanted to call up my Mum and say that I have been arrested for taking my camera out of the country for 16 hours. Wow.

A very eventful day. A trip to Bhubaneswar happened next (TR will be posted at a later date), so now on to the third and final CMB trip before we eventually moved to Colombo... I fell horribly sick after the trip to Bhubaneswar: typhoid and some other disease which to date has not been found... Ah well, at least I'm doing okay now! :D

OCTOBER TRIP
After finally having received clearance from the Sri Lankan authorities, things quite literally took off. Dad had a couple of disrupted hurricane trips (that included a Turkish A340-300 that skidded off the primary runway 27) to Colombo. I missed quite a few days of school in Colombo, so if I gained something by heading to Colombo, well I gain something! So, it was onto us to decide which flights to go in. Jet Airways (yes, once again) was the cheapest option. They gave the late night flight from BOM to MAA (9W487), and then the early morning flight from MAA to CMB (9W254). Rather than wasting a night lounging around in an uninteresting airport, we stuck to our normal 9W256/9W255 combination.

CHECK IN, IMMIGRATION, SECURITY...
After web-checking in to seat 25F for myself, and 21F for Dad, I did not get any sleep. So I was awake the whole night. As the day passed, I packed my books, my clothes, etc, but forgot my tooth brush!
It was time we left for the airport. We called a cab, and surprisingly there was TV on the seat back! Weird..no TV’s for the flight, but a TV in the cab!

We reached the usual crowded entrance of the CSI Airport. This time, we were welcomed by an Air India Boeing 777-200LR being serviced. Mighty! We arrived, 3 hours before departure and at the really frustrating scene of ‘NO TROLLEYS’. This was turning in to quite an annoying trend in the airport....

Entered the airport, and check-in at the Privilege counters took an unusual 12 minutes. The agent had said that my Dad had to undergo a ‘Random Customs Check’ before security. The crew of Malaysia Airlines flight to KUL had entered the ‘Crew Immigration’ lane. Our immigration didn’t take too long and lines for security were also pretty short. But Dad had to go to the customs desk, where they asked how much US$ we had. Anyways, they let us go, and completed security, this time making sure ALL bags had cabin baggage tags. We headed down to the departure and Duty Free areas. We had some dinner and bought a few things from the bookshop.

Flight was departing from Gate 13, once again. Again, boarding for 9W242 to Johannesburg was still in progress. Boarding for 9W61 to Bangkok was finished long before. Some passengers were really frustrated about their Kingfisher transit, apparently they missed their flight due to a goof up on their part.

BOARDING
Our boarding had started 20 minutes later. The super-chilled A/C bus was getting quite full. Quite a few planes were around: Jet A330 to BRU/EWR, AI B744, LH B744, BA B77E...

9W76 to Hong Kong was around too. Jet Airways upgraded the service on this sector to a Boeing 777-300ER. VT-JEM had its loud GE-90’s start up, which I could clearly hear from the bus! Some other aircraft were a Bangkok Airways A319, all ready for pushback, an Air India 77W, an Air France 77W and finally, VT-JEG of Jet Airways to London. The aircraft taking me to Colombo would be.....VT-JBM! Third time on the plane within a year, and second time on this route!

Boarded the aircraft, and more smiling crew members :)
Headed to my seat 25F.
9W76 to Hong Kong was on its take off roll...

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You can just about see the Jet Airways livery on the 77W's tail..

There were about 5 or 6 people boarding every five minutes or so. I asked for a pillow and blanket, because it was getting slightly cold in the aircraft. The crew did the safety demo, and distributed cold face towels. This obviously meant boarding had been completed, and my row was empty! Everyone fell off to sleep, expect for a few (me..)

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Tarmac view (and the reflection of my shirt :evil: )

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Bangkok Airways A319 heading for...Bangkok.

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Brace yourselves, the race to Johannesburg is about to begin!! :yes:

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Boeing heavies at BOM: LH and AI 744, BA 772..

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Cabin, oh the horrid ads! :cry:

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Cold...I mean FREEZING face towels..(well, at least for me..)


It was almost 2 am, and I was falling asleep, until, the floor of the 737 started to vibrate, and loud noises started to come. I didn’t know what it was, until, I saw something moving. It was VT-JEG, off to London! A few minutes later, the same thing happened. This time, it was the Air France flight to Paris! Same aircraft, same engines! I was disappointed that I could not take photos of the two beasts, due to lack of light! At 0210 hours, our departure time, a Kenya Airways Boeing 767-300 from Nairobi had arrived. The last aircraft to arrive, before our departure, was our rival on this sector: SriLankan Airlines Airbus A320-200, 4R-ABD from Colombo!

DEPARTURE
Finally, at 0229 hours, our flight was pushed back, and the CFM56 engines were roared into life. The extension of the flaps caused a lot of vibration, but I loved it, felt more like a massage! We taxied by, slowly, passed the AI 77W, KQ 763, LH 744 (with a special livery), AI 744, CX 333, BA 772, SA 332 and a delayed 9W242 to JNB being pushed back.

Taxiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPPEVnuSfo8 (note variety of widebodies!)

We continued our slow taxi towards Runway 27, a Kingfisher Airbus A321 was taking off. We taxied onto the runway, applying power; we took off towards the west and headed south just about 2 minutes after takeoff towards Colombo.

Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TNu2TMjqko

INFLIGHT
As the seat belts signs were switched off, I made a quick visit to the lavatory. Most passengers were sleeping on 3 seats each. Signs of a lightly loaded flights! Drinks service had started. Not many takers obviously. First, they served beer, and then the non-alcoholic drinks which contained Pepsi, Apple juice, Mountain dew, Sprite and Diet Coke. I went for a Mountain Dew, drinking it after a long time!

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Drinkie :P

I was wondering If I wanted the meal or not, risk getting sick again... but anyway, I went ahead. As the trolley came to my row, I opted for a Non-Vegetarian snack, hoping for the big piece of Tandoori Chicken like I had on my first flight to Colombo. I also noticed steel cutlery. As I unwrapped the foil, there it was: the big piece of Tandoori Chicken! Second time on JBM this year, second time the same menu! It also had a appam and strawberry mousse. After about 10 minutes, the crew began the second drink service, this time an option between tea and coffee.

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I was feeling a little tired, so I made the end: lift the armrests, move the seat belts away and recline the seats. And the plushy blanket with that! Cabin lights were switched off, making it a completely dark cabin, except for the few reading lights and people using their iPads. It felt like an ‘extremely cramped’ version of Air New Zealand’s Sky Couch. I dozed off within a few minutes. The last thing I saw? FA's constantly going through the cabin, in case if passengers needed anything, although they were all asleep!

I slept for a good 45 minutes before arrival.

DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
I was then woken up by the announcement of F/A’s, informing us that we were about to start descent, and movement in the cabin would be prohibited in a few minutes. I went to the lavatory once again. I came back; I put my ‘bed’ back into 3 seats. I strapped myself with the seatbelt, put the pillow on the window, and fell asleep once again. Descent had also started. It looked like our 19 minute delay had been covered. I was woken up, for the third time, this time by the flaps being extended. Vibration and loud sound was after all not a ‘massage’. We made a bumpy descent into Colombo. At 0438, 2 minutes before time, we landed smoothly and taxied towards the terminal.

Landing and taxiing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U09PFopRE54

We taxied by a SriLankan Airbus A330-200, and docked at Gate 10. As usual, I was the last one to disembark. I thanked the crew, and saw VT-JBM for one more time, hoping that this was my last time on it. I tried to take a photograph, but there were too many security personnel. Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi, an Airbus A320-200 was taxiing towards the runway for its departure. Meanwhile, arrival announcements for my flight and the SriLankan flight from Male’ were taking place. Immigration was only 7 minutes long, and baggage was picked up pretty early too. We headed out to book a taxi and headed to the Cinnamon Grand hotel. Rested out and prepared for what would be a new stint in high school!

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Mt. Lavinia Beach

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Mt. Lavinia Hotel

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Nothing better than having dinner while watching MasterChef Australia!

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Galle Road

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Galle Face Green

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Galle Road again..

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Sea food!

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Inside of the hotel..

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PRE-BOARDING
4 days of great people, food and places, I was looking forward to my stint in Sri Lanka! 24 hours before departure, I web-checked myself in seat 25A, while dad took 21A.

CHECK IN, SECURITY, IMMIGRATION
Ads for the SpiceJet flights to Colombo, and SriLankan’s destinations on one side, and the under construction Express Way greeted us into the airport. The ultra-rare Airport Express train was at the Katunayke Airport Railway Station. It’s a disappointment no one ever used it because of its out-of-sorts timing. Usual practices, a set of military personnel checked our passports and the driver’s license, and let us go. As we entered the terminal building, we went through the metal detectors and put our baggage in the X-Ray machine. A surprise ad was put up: Aeroflot flights from Moscow to Colombo!

Entering the not-so crowded airport, the passengers had to follow the check-in lanes: SriLankan Airlines passengers on one side, other airlines on the other side. Check in was underway for flight 9W255 and 9W251 (to MAA). There were separate counters for Web-Check in, Transit to Europe and USA, Premiere, 255 Economy and 251 Economy. The Web-Check in line was quite long, so we entered the 9W-255 Economy class line. Our boarding passes were already printed. So, they handed us the boarding passes, and checked in our luggage. Dad had asked the agent if she could put Priority baggage tagging. The agent called her supervisor, and he was kind enough to allow her to put Priority baggage tagging in our luggage! This really speeds up things in arrivals at Mumbai! We headed for immigration, and then towards the gates. The flight was departing from Gate 6, once again. As we had more than one and a half hours to spend, we went to The Palm Strip Lounge.

A SriLankan A330-200 to Male’, a SriLankan A320 to COK, Qatar Airways A321 to Doha and a Mihin Lanka A320 (the far end) side of the tarmac.

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I checked out the gadgets, the die-cast aircraft models, and the BMW 5 series car. It was unusual to see 9W-251 depart from Gate 10, as it is usually alongside 9W-255 in Gate 7. We waited for our flight to depart. I took a quick glimpse of the Airbus A330. It wasn’t there! Where was it? Showing off its big stabilizers and the long wing span! I was sort of scared to see the A330 just ‘disappear’ from the tarmac!

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Headed for boarding because security started to look a little crowded. VT-JBP was going to take us to Mumbai, my second time on the frame.
Loads looked pretty alright as I asked the agent: 3 in Premiere, 118 in Economy. Bags and food were loaded on to the plane, everything was looking good for an on time departure.

BOARDING
At 1935 hours, boarding had started, according to seat rows. First, rows 1 and 2, for the Premiere class passengers and then rows 37 to 20, and then finally rows 20 to 10. This really sped up the boarding process. I headed towards my seat, and to my horror, there were 2 kids, under the age of 5 or 6 years, screaming out for something. Some one came and sat in Seat 25C, and I hoped 25B would be empty.

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DEPARTURE
Doors were armed at 2000 hours, and pushback began at 2004 hours. I realized that the captain for this flight was the same as my incoming flight! The engines were fired up and most of the crew were distributing out cold towels, while the In-Flight executive had started the safety demo. Half of the passengers were given the cold towels, not the others. Messy!

As the safety demo went on, we started our taxi, going past Qatar Airways 303, and Emirates 653 to Male’ and Dubai, a Boeing 777-300ER (a frequent equipment change, just like CDG-BOM-CDG on Air France). The F/A’s then hurried for giving everyone their cold towels, and collected back the cold towels of only a few passengers, before they went back to their stations. A bit of a hectic start for them...

We took off and headed northwards immediately, with the kids behind me feeling scared because of the sharp turn. The reflection of the glowing moon was showing on the wings, which looked great, but too dark for a photograph.

Start up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR936LpWc08
Take off: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZvOoESZg5g

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Just after lights were turned on for service..

INFLIGHT
About 10 minutes later, the flight attendants handed out towels to all who didn't receive one. Drink services followed. It was the same options as the incoming flight. This time I chose a glass of Pepsi.
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As everyone finished, the F/A’s asked all passengers if they wanted a second round. All passengers drinking beer took a second round, while me, and along with a few others took a second round of non alcoholic drinks. This time, I took a glass of Apple Juice.
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Meal service had started a few minutes later, but they were really slow. This was something unusual with Jet Airways. But anyhow, I got my dinner, which had complete Indian food. Tea and coffee service started about 20 minutes later.
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This was truly AWESOME!! :D

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Perfectly focused cabin shot! :D

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Exit seats, 4 rows ahead..

As food services were complete, I went to the washroom, which looked pretty ordinary for a Boeing 737 (oh wait, this is a Jet Airways Konnect aircraft, but its brand new!). No soaps, no lotion, etc.
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I slept for a bit, and woke up about 45 minutes later, almost time for arrival. Woke up at 2217 hours, about half an hour before arrival.

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Safety card..
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FAs kept going through the cabin, kept checking on passengers around, so I asked for a water, given really quick!
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DESCENT AND ARRIVAL
Cabin lights were turned on, one the F/A’s sprayed the ‘pretty nice smelling insect killer’ (they did on all the 5 previous flights I wrote a TR on, sorry didn’t mention it.) and were preparing to land.
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We didn’t have to circle over Mumbai and we landed on Runway 27, as usual, reaching pretty much on time.
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A long taxi followed, and we parked near an Air India Express Boeing 737-800.

Super long, landing :) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOPcDOYNlUM

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Last arrival into Mumbai for a while!

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Can you spot the Austrian Boeing 767?

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Again, I was the last one to get off the aircraft, I thanked the crew for the lovely flight.

This time, as I went down the stairs, I had my camera strapped beside me, so I got a few angled photos of JBP.
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I was the last person to board the bus, and we drove past the under construction New international terminal. By then, VT-JEM had arrived from Hong Kong. And we raced with it until we reached the terminal. JEM docked at the gate right in front of the arrivals hall. I was literally pushed out of the bus, so it meant no photo. Immigration looked empty. So, this took a remarkable five minutes. Dad called me up, asking where was I. I told I had reached the baggage claim area. He was surprised to hear and told me that he just entered the immigration line. To follow up my usual practice at the arrivals, I went to the wash room, with my bag. As usual, the security, rudely asked me: “where you going?” I said I’m going to the toilet. He then let me go. 3 out of 4 stoppages for me in this! We waited for the bags to arrive, which took a long time. Even with priority baggage tagging, we had to wait for half an hour. Arriving in Mumbai International at night is a horror! Air India from Dubai also had its passengers irritated.

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Priority Baggage tags..clicked at home..

We came out, into a crowded car waiting area. And from there, I went back home, for my last few days in Mumbai.

And that then is the end of the three trips to Colombo - very similar yet quite different flights on Jet Airways :)

I will be sharing a TR from 2016 in a couple of days :D

Regards
CollegeAviator

My other trip reports:
2016
Summer '16 trek back home - Part 1: Sun rise onboard the long range CRJ (DL GFK-MSP CRJ-900, May '16) (video trip report)
The pencil jet(s) for spring break! (+ Iron Maiden bonus): Delta MSP-FLL-MSP, March '16 (DL1608 video trip report,DL2027 video trip report)
De-iced & Delayed, cold onboard a CRJ! (ORD-MSP-GFK on Delta, Jan '16) (ORD-MSP video report) (MSP-GFK video report)
Delta's aged B767-300ER across the Atlantic! (CDG-ORD in Y, Jan '16) (video report)
Air France's NEW Economy (B777-200ER, Bengaluru to Paris, Jan '16) (video report)
Delays and despair: stressed out in the middle seat! (Jet Airways B737 Mumbai - Bengaluru, Jan '16)
Air India's hybrid babybus from Kolkata to Mumbai (Jan '16, Y) (video report)

2011
To India's Orange City: Mumbai - Nagpur - Mumbai on Jetlite & Tadoba National Park (May 2011)
My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines (and 2 other Jet flights, May '11)

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