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A date with the queen Air India 747, AI 966 HYD-BOM J Class

Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:06 am

Image20190611_073928 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr
All hail her Majesty, The Queen!!!!


We have an annual conference in Hyderabad and I have know of the only domestic sector that Queen agrees to have interaction with mere mortals was HYD-BOM Sector. Somehow I missed out on the point that there would always be a return flight also , But I kind of assumed that the flight is a BOM-HYD-JED flight with no return to HYD but heading back to COK or BOM. I never did the HYD-BOM sector check. All the 5 years we had conference in Hyderabad, I check for the 747 service to Hyderabad from Mumbai which usually is on a tuesday 3 days before conference and backs off - This time I realized that there is a HYD-BOM Service and with the miles I have already jumped at the chance.

I have been stalking Air India 747 fleet for a while and know that the only major service it does are COK-JED, BOM-JED and HYD-JED, while one of these service originates at HYD/BOM and return back to COK, There is no domestic leg in any of this other than for one option.

The cycle in which they use the Aircraft is kind of like this :

COK-JED-HYD-BOM-HYD-JED-COK (This happens over a 2 day time).

Once the conference was over I shifted to another room and took a well deserved rest... There are manners which you have to exhibit when you meet her Majesty the queen....

Check In

Since the flight is arriving from Jeddah and is extending to Mumbai under the same flight number, This flight is an international departure, With the aim of catching her while landing I started around 6.30 arriving the airport by 7.10, But the flight has landed early.

I have upgraded myself to top deck - Business class - so that I can get the view from a different angle and trust me it was worth every dime.

The checkin was smooth - I have been tracking this aircraft from the moment she has taken off for Jeddah from Cochin so I was well averse in the history of this aircraft.

I got the Boarding pass and the Lounge Invite to Plaza Premium lounge, The only thing that Plaza was worth was the airside view other than for that the whole lounge is bullshit , If I am to go further this is the worst Plaza Premium lounge I have seen and I have seen my bit.

Image20190611_073209 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr


Boarding started on time and there was no seperate boarding for business class and first class. But I was almost among the first set to boarding the flight since I was waiting for this change

Flight Registration : VT-ESP ("Ajantha")

Age : 24 years

I entered the flight and was shown the way to the stairway to heaven.... I was so happy I could die the moment. I headed into the flight and there it was my seat. I have picked 18K so that I can see those huge engines and the whole of business class. Business class load was very light : 4/32.

They were playing some hindi melodies and that was very great.


The seats were very spacious with enough seat pitch, with an option for a very decent recline.... The right side also had a small holding cupboard to hold a bag or something like that. In IFE System does not work most of the time and was used to play just the safety demo video, the clarity of which was pathetic.
Image20190611_083223 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr

Image20190611_083419 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr
Seat Pitch

Image20190611_083430 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr

Seat controls
Image20190611_085128 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr An IFE that seldom works....

Image20190611_083447 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr Storage space by the side

Service - The Maharaja Service ( Or is it?)

The crew was basically indifferent in the whole service, They have to do hence they did kind of service. Usually even in short sector like BLR-COK in business class a cold/hot towel was not provided. After almost 15 minutes or being in the aircraft and just before the pushback a welcome drink was provided the option was Aam Panna/water
Image20190611_085005 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr
The aam panna being Aam panna was normal.

The pushback started at 8.55 and we were slowly strutting down the taxiway. while in the taxi way I realized the might of the 747 - The wingspan was so big that it extends much beyond the taxi way.

I have a video uploaded on the taxing and take off in Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NWOK37tlWk&t=69s

The service was very bizzaree. I was asked Veg or Non veg and I opted for Vegetarian. The Vegeterian fare was actually good. I found the airhostess taking two trays in hand and serving two guests at a time, What was more weird was that she was asking the guest to set the tray in a very rude fashion!! Well its business as usual here in Air India

Image20190611_093725 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr

The food I was served was very good.
It consisted of Croissant, Upma, idli, Paneer masala dosa along with sambar and chutney. The dessert was cut mango. All of them tasted so good. The only complaint was that there was no tea/coffee service. I am quite surprised by this. The trays were cleared promptly and is sometime we landed in the Mumbai airport.
There is this confusion in the overall service in Air India business class - sometimes its absolutely great then its very mediocre, In this service there was no hot towel offered, No magazines offered and no tea/coffee as well. Which was very weird.
The seat pocket in front of me had a last month edition of Shubh Yatra - Air India Inflight magazine, I was travelling on 11th June
Image20190611_084345 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr

The service overall was not that good, but I tried the Maharaja to be in a 747 so no complaints there.

Overall the crew attitude have to be changed - but then again I have seen the best crew and the worst crew in Air India and that to me is something risky....
Landing, Baggage collection

The landing was very smooth. We reached an aero bridge gate and we were asked to get down from heaven by the air hostess and it was to absolute hell, There were already people crowding near the gate and crew was not that concerned about it. The bridge was connected and then there was this mad rush of people trying to get out. I think another bridge was connected for F Class pax and they got out through that

Image20190611_101947 by Kamal R Nair, on Flickr

Overall Scores

Check in : 3/5 (J Class always take some 3 minutes or more, Be it boarding pass changing the pass to Business class BP or lounge card or both)

Lounge : 2/5 (Plaza Premium Hyderabad, the 2 is for the view)

Boarding : 2/5 (No seperate queue for J Class)

Service : 2/5 (The overall Lax attitude has to change)

Food : 3/5 (Where did my tea service go?)

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