SQueeze
Topic Author
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:22 pm

Background:

As I recently discovered, after this year's election and Modi's rise to power, business has been ramping up and while it is not as busy as in the boom years of the late 2000s, I soon find myself travelling back and forth to serve new projects quite frequently.

I had earlier compiled a report comparing my experiences flying in India which can be re-visited here

It is interesting to note that things are changing, both airports and airlines, and they are changing for the better. I am kept very impressed by my most recent experiences.

For this trip, I will be comparing my experiences on 3 of India's airlines. I flew with AI and 9W before both domestically and internationally but 6E is new to me. I am quite excited about 6E to check out what is this private carrier about and what makes it most feared by its competitors. Bangalore and Mumbai airports have also changed so I will also be reviewing the new lounges.

This will be a 4-part report in the same thread:

Part 1: BLR-DEL on AI's 787 in J class
Part 2: DEL-GOI on 6E's 320 in Y class
Part 3: GOI-BOM on 9W's 739 in J class
Part 4: mainly the new BOM, and SQ in J class



Part 1

Flight: AI 404
Aircraft: 787-800
Registration: VT-ANG
Cabin: Executive
Seat: 3J
Load: 17/18


As I explained in my earlier trip reports on India, the BLR-DEL sector is under served in the evenings for business travelers. The options are 9W at 1845h (too early) and at 2245h (too late), or AI at 2015h which is then effectively the only convenient timing for a full productive day at work and without reaching DEL too late. I am a regular on this flight and up to recently, it was usually served by fully-packed A321s.

Recently, I was super excited because I noticed that AI 404 is now served by 787s. And I believe this is good for AI. It offers the only convenient timing for BLR-DEL's business travelers and it has good onward connections to intercontinental flights at the DEL end. This route has been needing a widebody service and someone in AI is thinking rationally and is getting this right. As proven, the flight was 100% full in both economy and executive except for 1.

And so ... I arrived in the evening 1.5 hours before the flight after a 1.5 hours trek in peak hour traffic from the office. It was already dark and BLR was beautifully lit. I like the design of its new extension.

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Very lofty volume of the new wing and it's very clean and well-maintained.

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Spicejet crew just arrived. Poor them with an uncertain future now (or at least at the time, 2 weeks ago, it was uncertain).

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As in all Indian airports, the departure hall is completely secure with only passengers allowed to enter. Everyone is checked against the ID and the ticket.



Because meeters and greeters are not allowed in, there is quite a range of F&B provision outside. In the case of BLR, this is pleasant due to its mild weather and I wouldn't mind sitting out here having coffee for an hour.

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Once inside, I proceeded to AI counter which is in the older part of the building and in which major renovation works are still taking place (behind the hoarding).

The flight is going to be full !

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Lucky me, there was barely any queue for executive class passengers.



I got to the check-in desk within minutes, and was greeted very courteously by the check-in agent. A bouquet of real flowers was on the desk - a nice touch.

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Check-in experience was courteous, professional, and speedy. He was explaining to me in detail how to get to the lounge. He seemed dedicated enough to make sure I wouldn't get lost. I thanked him and said I knew how to get there as I had been there before. Boarding pass in hand, and hand luggage tags attached to my carry-ons, I proceeded to the gate.

The building was a little dusty overall although the construction was not visible. There was noise too. I hope this is only to lead to a better experience in the near future.



The extension part is nice with its high volume, bright spaces, and cheerful colours.

IndiGo is here. I think Jet too.

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The gates are one level up from the check-in hall. First, we have to go through security.

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It's gender-segregated in India. This is a nice signage for Males. Here
in India, being a male-dominated country, most travelers are males, especially on the domestic runs. There are 4 or 5 of these.



Another nice signage for Females. There is only one.



Security was smooth and I was past it in minutes. And I found myself in a very pleasant waiting area. It's beautifully finished with timber tones, natural stones, soft lighting, and green planters.

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There are lots of F&B spaces as well.

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There is ample seating for dining.

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There is also a pleasantly laid out souvenir shop.

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The waiting area is a bit tight though. It tends to get very chaotic when it is boarding time. There isn't enough depth in the building for good orderly queues.



I went to the entrance to the Plaza Premium lounge which I thought I knew and to my dismay, I discovered that the entrance had been moved.



So I had to do a little exploring and I soon found myself under this signage. Hmm, there are two lounges now - left and right. I know Plaza Premium, but had never been to Above the Ground. I checked my lounge pass but it didn't say which lounge I could use. So ok, let's try the new one.



To my pleasant discovery, it is better than Plaza Premium on the other side. It's brighter and fresher.

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My first pick for my base was this nice sleek leather chair.



And then I explored the lounge. This is a bar serving non-alcoholic drinks and coffee and tea. But the coffee machine had run out of beans and only discharged brown water .   this shouldn't have been allowed to happen.

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There are a few sitting corners, all with very attractive design. This area has a nice stone frieze at the background wall which gives is a nice local touch.

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More seating areas with these very strange alien-looking chairs. I tried it but it is not the most comfortable.



Looking across to Plaza Premium Lounge, the older lounge.

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There is also a bar serving alcohols but I didn't feel like drinking. So I am not sure if it would be free or not.

There is a buffet area with open kitchen and much much better food selection than in Plaza Premium lounge. More hot food options for sure.

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The dining area. The buffet counter is quite a distance from my seat so I set up another a base here to have dinner. I was then quite hungry.

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Food was a bit on the salty side though.

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Not long after dinner, I had to start making a move as my gate would be the furthest from the lounge - 15A.

As is usually the case here in BLR, queuing is a messy affair, as seen for this IndiGo flight to Trivandrum.

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But surprisingly, my Air India queue was very organized. It was long, but the line was clear and everybody was patiently waiting in line.

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Since I was in executive class, and there is usually no executive lane for AI domestic, I requested the gate keeper if I could jump the queue and it was ok.

Ah, AI 787, we finally meet again. It's a beautiful plane, and is my favorite looks-wise. I don't really like that ring at the nose though.

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Everybody entered through Door 2, and greeted by a rather expressionless FA.

"You may turn to the left after the galley, Mr SQueeze"

Ah .... Back on AI's 787 after a few months. It seemed a bit more worn out than its newer brother VT-ANP which I took from SIN in August. But it's still in good condition. Some of SQ's A380s, as I discovered recently are in even worse condition.

I settled onto my seat, and just relaxed to the tune of an ambient spa music. The IFE screens were showing changing images of nature: forests, oceans, and mountains. I felt like I was in a spa. I just closed my eyes and relaxed. I didn't notice this spa-like ambience on my SIN-DEL flight a few months earlier. I thought someone got it right in AI again. I am hopeful for this airline. I think it's changing for the better.

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Legroom is great.



A pillow is provided but it is too thin. They need to change this especially if it's for the long haul.

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IFE control and headset.

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Inflight magazine. From the name, I believe AI is catering mainly to the local market. Non-Indians won't understand what shubh yatra means. I guess it's 'Bon voyage' ?



Very soon, 2 male FAs came round. They belong to the younger generation of AI crew and they were warmer and more pleasant than the grandmotherly seniors who also soon appeared with their expected grumpiness. They offered to take my jacket away - nice and proactive enough.

I was addressed by name and drinks were offered.

"Good evening, Mr Squeeze, would you like to have some drinks, we have water, orange juice, and mixed juice here."

"Sure, thank you, let me have the mixed juice, please"

The addressing by name was not something I observed in my previous AI flights. This airline has definitely moved for the better. I am not particular about it but it sets apart the cream of the crop. Well done, AI. I am impressed by the positive changes so far.

Not too long after, they came round again, this time with 2 sets of towels: warm and cold.
"Towels, Mr SQueeze? We have warm and cold ...."

Wow, we have a choice here. I always prefer the cold ones (Jet Airways) rather than the warm ones (SQ), so that's what I picked - cold. I appreciate the gesture of giving passengers the choice but I am not a fan of their towels, there was a rather strange offputting smell to it.




Soon the towels and empty glasses were removed in preparation for departure, which was on-time.

Then the safety demonstration. This is an ultra-modern aircraft, but demonstration was done the old-fashioned way.

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And we soon left the gate for the runway. On the way, we passed by an IndiGo at a remote stand.

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The IFE was functioning gate to gate.

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And we were soon airborne in the easterly direction and then north.

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Dinner was served an hour into the flight. In my previous reports, I had remarked that food presentation was AI's weakness. Dal was served in cheap foil, transparent plastics covered appetizers and desserts, etc. To my pleasant surprise, the presentation has since been improved. At least they remove plastic covers in the galley now. The dal was still served in foil but this is less an issue to me than the plastic covers. The portion seems to be bigger too. The taste was not bad, although it's nothing compared to SQ's great Indian food. Since this was a domestic flight, no alcohol was offered and I am not sure if it would be available had I asked.

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After the meal service, I decided to go to the economy section, and oops, what a dense layout a 3-3-3 is. I wouldn't want to be here on any flights >2 hours. It's a pity that this is the new standard in long haul Y.

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See the young sweet FA on the aisle looking back towards me. She was pushing a cart. One minute after this, I was back in the business cabin, and she popped over.

"Sir, were you looking for the toilet? for you, you can use the one in the front or there is also one here just behind your seat. Let me know if you need anything else."

Oh, how nice. She had initiative. If this had been an average airline, a busy FA would not bother to pop over to a different section trying to help me. Again another well done to AI. I am continuously surprised and pleasantly so by all the positive changes.

Then I really needed to use the toilet. And it's very clean.



I still had an hour to rest before landing. Good that I brought my own pillow. AI's pillow is not very useful.



Just before landing, another round of hot/cold towels were offered.

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And then an animated video showing how to go through the arrival and transfer process at DEL was shown using a fully modeled terminal building. This will be massively useful for first time foreigners. It will definitely dispel some of the anxiety of first timers.

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We landed on time, in the dark, and in the fog, so no pictures of the external as I couldn't see a thing.

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One last look at AI's long haul J seat with its tiny useless pillow. But other than the pillow, I think this is a decent airline which I think will only get better in times to come, especially when the grumpy seniors have gone to their retirement.

 
SQueeze
Topic Author
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:26 pm

Part 2

Flight: 6E 329
Aircraft: A320
Registration: -
Cabin: Economy
Seat: 13A
Load: 100%


After a couple of days in Delhi and Gurgaon for work, it was time to leave for Goa (for work and not holiday   )

6E is the dominant carrier on the DEL-GOI route with 4x daily flights and convenient timings. The alternatives are AI which was full and most flights would route through BOM, Spicejet which is in trouble recently, and GoAir which doesn't have the frequency for business travelers. So 6E was a good choice for me in this particular case.

I am also keen to check 6E out because I only hear good things about them. I am also keen to compare it to the usual LCCs that I usually fly: Jetstar, Tiger, Air Asia, and Lionair. I don't like Jetstar for its horrible stiff preclined chairs and Lionair for its super tight pitch even for short guys like me. I like Tiger and Air Asia best for seat comfort but their prices are almost certainly higher than Jetstar which has its pricebeat guarantee.

Anyway ....

I reached DEL Terminal 1D in a foggy and cold morning in late December. This was the week before Christmas and the terminal was pretty crowded and was already buzzing. Terminal 1D is the former domestic terminal. I had actually been here before but I couldn't recall at all. All that I recalled of DEL is Terminal 3 (new) and the old dark dingy international terminal. To my pleasant surprise, Terminal 1D is the former domestic terminal which I had long ago visited in its renovated incarnation.

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After the usual mandatory document check, I stepped into the terminal building. The space is quite nice. The building structures are quite slender and the roof appears light and airy. The timber tone of the ceiling is soothing. But it is also quite busy and the decor is quite basic and with too many advertisements which makes it appear more like a bus station rather than an airport terminal.

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I proceeded to IndiGo's common check-in queue which was a long line but fortunately it moved fast.

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Across is IndiGo's web check-in counters which were just as busy. I didn't use web check-in this time because I had pre-reserved my seats anyway and I had baggage to check in.

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"Good morning, Sir, you are going to Goa today? "

"Yes, that's right. I have also pre-reserved my seat which is 12A but I know it's non-reclining, can I change it to 13 window please? "

Row 13 was not available when I purchased the ticket. I am not sure if it was blocked or what but after some typing, she reverted back to me:

"I have changed your seat to 13A, can I also check the credit card used for the booking? "

I thought this kind of verification is no longer the norm these days, but fine, I had it with me anyway.

After a few minutes,and past a quick security queue, I was soon in the waiting lounge which was very crowded.

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I didn't have much time left so I proceeded to my gate. All gates at Terminal 1D are bus gates so it's a long escalator ride down.



By the time, I reached my gate, boarding had already started. And I hopped on straight to the bus.

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A couple of minutes later, I reached the airplane at the remote bay.

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There are no stairs to climb. We would be using a ramp to go up, which is good for those who have trolley bags.

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Both doors were open for embarkation. I like the brand name IndiGo which I think is cool but I think they have one of the most boring liveries in the world.

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One last look before entering.

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And then I settled down on my seat which was by the wing.

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Leg room was enormously good. In fact, on the way to my seat, I thought all the standard seats have very good pitches compared to what I have seen on Jetstar and the likes. I thought it's more like Easyjet rather than Jetstar Asia.



The plane seems to be very new. The seats are the thin types, but it doesn't feel as thin as I expected. It feels really good. This is 1000 times better than Jetstar's super stiff seats for sure. Then I reclined my seat, and wow, it is a pretty good recline. This is definitely 10,000 times better than Jetstar.

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In flight magazine is called "Hello". Its contents are all advertisements, sale catalogue, and meals for pay. They know how to make money for sure.



Impressive frequency between DEL and BOM.



And also another impressive frequency to HYD.



Shortly after, an FA briefed both rows of emergency exit row passengers on what to do in case of emergency.

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They asked me first if I would be willing to cooperate. And I was tempted to say no but decided to just let her do her job.  

Exactly at 1050am, 100% on time, everybody had settled down, door was closed, and we were ready for departure.

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Looking out, the fog had slightly lifted but one still couldn't see the terminal building clearly.

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Shortly at cruising altitude, meal service began. The meal menu is cute. It has the usual selection of sandwiches, and a few Indian selection which I was drawn to. I had pre-purchased my meal. The FA had a list and she asked me if I had prepurchased my meal and that I could select anything from the menu.

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I picked the dal chawal, and the jaljeera drink. The packaging is cute.

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The dal dish is instant dal mixed with rice. The FA poured hot water in it and straight away put it on my table with lid closed. And voila, after 8 minutes, this is what I had. Taste was good enough for me. Definitely better than standard sandwiches.



The service was a bit slow and it was awhile before my table was cleared and I could finally relax.

I didn't take any more pics as it was just all clouds that morning. Until...we were on approach to Goa ....

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We landed on time at 120pm in the afternoon.

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Disembarkation was at a remote bay although the terminal building does have a limited number of jet bridges.

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A short while later, I was out of the terminal building. It looks quite nice in this photo but the actual place is quite badly done. It's a building that was put up together too fast. I don't think it's older than 5 years old but it's already looking more like 20.



For the next 2 days, I would be exploring this Little Portugal which has quite a different flavour than the rest of India.

Some pictures of Goa....

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In many parts, the landscape does look a little like Southeast Asia although somewhat a bit drier.

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But once in awhile, you will stumble across charming baroque churches in between coconut trees.

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Some glimpses of the Portuguese-era old city centre, which quite reminds me of Havana, Cuba.

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I am not a beach person so I didn't soak in the beach scene. But people generally come here for the beaches. This is taken at the Vivanta by Taj, North Goa. It's quite a built-up beach scene which is not my cup of tea at all.

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SQueeze
Topic Author
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:30 pm

Part 3:

Flight: 9W 427
Aircraft: 737-900ER
Registration: VT-JBY
Cabin: Premiere
Seat: 1F
Load: 4/8



The next day (a very short stay indeed), I was back at the airport to catch a flight to Mumbai. It was rather quiet in the departure hall. This was around Christmas and I believe people were flying in rather than flying out.

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Baggage was pre-screened prior to checking-in. And I queued up at the Premiere counter a short while later.




At first, it was a short line even at Economy.

But the queue didn't move for a good 20 minutes due to computer issues, and the line built up.

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After an irritating 20+ minutes, I was finally up the escalator to the departure section.



On top, you either turn right or left. Right is immigration. Yes, Goa is an international airport, mainly to the Gulf but they also serve a lot of charters from Europe. Tonight is quite interesting with a departure to Almaty (Scat), and Helsinki (Finnair). I wouldn't get to see the AY metal but would come across Scat which is a charter using a Sunday Airlines metal. Pity I didn't manage to get any pics of this rarity. It was too dark.

I turned left and it was a longish hall to security.



And then up another escalator to the departure lounge.

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I was earlier given a lounge voucher. But it seems to be more of a restaurant than a lounge. It doesn't look cozy inside so I skipped it.

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Looking around to the international side. It's an exact symmetry. Even the 'lounge' is of the same name but positioned symmetrically on the left side. The only difference is the presence of duty free.

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I spent half an hour here before boarding was called and I proceeded to the gate. It was not a remote gate this time, and I walked 2 sets of ramps to get to the plane. Curiously, this is a 3-storey terminal and not the usual 2.



I boarded VT-JBY greeted by a very friendly FA. She was all smiles and enthusiasm, which was a pleasant surprise because more often than not Jet's crews are all pretty looks but rather cool in temperament.

An interesting local drink was offered. It was something something... Pani (I know what Pani means and unfortunately that's the only thing I recall). She enthusiastically encouraged me to try and so I did. It's interesting - sweet but also slightly spicy and with a hint of salt. It's complex. I don't mind it because it perked me up and was refreshing but I am not sure if I could finish another glass.

Cold towel was also offered. It was nicely presented, placed on a bamboo tray. The tray is new. It looks like Jet has upped / refined the service on their domestic flights in line with it going back to a full-service model. It's also perhaps in anticipation of competition with Vistara.



Legroom is just ok. I think Row 2 will be better for next time so I can stretch my legs fully.



And the hardware is rather tired-looking.

Old style buttons. This is actually a 6 years old 737-900ER but the buttons look like they come straight from the 90s.



Nah... Really doesn't look like a 6-year old.



The seats are standard recliners similar to North American First Class. And these are flown regionally and as red-eyes. In fact this flight would continue to Riyadh and back that night.



Indeed this product is light years apart from AI's 787 I took a few days earlier. But at least the crew is great.

Looking out of my window - a Spicejet 737

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It's a short 50 minute flight so dinner was quickly served after take-off. It's stuffed kulcha (bread) with very tender and delicious murgh (chicken) tikka for me. It was really good. Again, I think Jet has improved their quality a notch compared to my earlier experiences. Well done.

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I still had some time left to browse through their inflight magazine.



Jet's extensive code share network with big brother Etihad.

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And oops , what is this curved building. This is Mumbai's old terminal, no longer in use since February. Someone needs a kick in the butt to wake up from hibernation.



Soon after, we landed on time and then taxied all the way to the international terminal since VT-JBY's next sector is Riyadh.

On the way, we passed an Emirates Cargo 747. I never saw it before.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7555/16252378261_10bf20fdb7_c.jpg

And then we disembarked by stairs and everybody would be bussed 4 kilometers to the domestic terminal for baggage claim. So if I had had an international connection that same night, I would then have to bus back 4 kilometers. Haha. Even more ridiculous, if the connection had been for Riyadh.

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But not for me that night, I would be in Mumbai for a couple of days.

Some pics of Mumbai, my favourite Indian city and is the only one I think I can live in.

View from my 23rd floor room of the Trident facing the Arabian Sea.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7478/16228309006_05a75ed5d1_c.jpg

Mumbai is not the first thing that tourists have in mind when they come to India but it has some real gems. It has no shortage of grand historic buildings inherited from the British which make Singapore feels like a small backwater village in the British Empire.

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https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7491/16254220725_e055a76e4b_c.jpg

It has a cathedral-like train station which is worthy of a World Heritage status.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7480/16068374987_713ed00850_c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7524/15634336883_eaf991de09_c.jpg

Like in most places in India, it has a fading dilapidated charm.



And cute cars .... (sob sob, these are becoming rare sights now)

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I ventured into the old Muslim district, which feels quite like another world apart from the British-built districts.

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And which is also where Hindu temples and mosques coexist peacefully and harmoniously.



Ah, adorable fellow pedestrian.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7569/16252377101_919866dc23_c.jpg

And then I also took the local commuter train to relive my younger days travelling as a backpacker in India. The destination was Chembur for my Ayurveda treatment, a 45 minute journey away from South Mumbai. I thought it would be faster than the taxi.

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But oops, it was a silly choice. It soon became very packed on that Sunday afternoon and I had my super-squeezed moments for 45 minutes.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8606/15634336173_d7ec5f39d9_c.jpg

Haha. Not going to do that again. I returned back to the hotel by taxi after my treatment.
 
SQueeze
Topic Author
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:35 pm

Part 4

Flight: SQ423
Aircraft: A380
Registration: 9V-SKH
Cabin: Business
Seat: 22K
Load: 60%


A couple of days in my beloved Mumbai, it was then time to return home. And I would get to use the new terminal.

We zipped through a tunnel under the Western Express Highway.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7544/16228306706_4f808e6266_c.jpg

And wow, we emerged on a 6-lane tree-lined elevated highway, which is a contrast from the horrible congested streets below that used to be the only access to the international airport.

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This is first-world experience. Could you tell it's India ...

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In a few minutes, the brightly-lit Terminal 2 loomed past. What an impressive sight!

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And then jaw dropped. This is the second time I am here and yes, it's still a jaw-dropping sight as ever.

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At the drop-off kerb-area. Wow, look at those surreal twisted columns.

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I entered the building after the usual mandatory document check and I still found myself in awe.

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I went to the First and Business class reserved section at the extreme right of the building.

It seems to have been nicely developed than the last time I was here. These futuristic pods were not there at the time. These are for waiting I believe.

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But gotcha, SQ is no longer in this section. I only saw counters for Cathay and Emirates there.

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SQ is now occupying the F counters and they have no special area for premium pax.

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I queued at the business class line.

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The line moved fast, and I soon found myself queuing at security and then immigration. Overall, it was very smooth with no more than a few minutes at each check point. What a contrast from the old BOM.

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Pity that SQ is no longer using the premium section, which has its own security lines and immigration. At that hour, the premium section was almost deserted.

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Immediately after immigration is the duty free. It's quite glitzy and is now fully open.

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Are they trying to compete with the Gulf airports by putting a car here?

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The layout is such that everybody is forced to walk through the duty-free before one emerges into the open waiting area with its intricate flower-inspired ceiling. While I like the twisted abstract ceiling in the check-in hall, I thought the ceiling here is too busy and over-designed.

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There is no shortage of F&B joints here to kill time.

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It does look more like a high-end mall rather than an airport terminal. I am very impressed with the quality of finishes too.

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Free internet stations.

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I had been looking forward to check out the newly-opened lounge. This is a common lounge operated by GVK (the developer and owner of the now-privatized airport). No airlines operate their own lounge here.

And wow - what an impressive entrance. Well, a bit too much gold for my personal sense of aesthetics but I was still impressed nonetheless.

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I passed my lounge voucher to the gate agent and she directed me to the left (business). To the right would have been to the First Class section.

Business class is downstairs. And hmmm, lots of glitter indeed. But I don't mean it in a bad way. It's borderline acceptable to me. A little bit more and it would be too kitschy.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8605/15631814744_faf258bcae_c.jpg

The lounge is posh, and is one of the poshest I have ever gone through. In fact, I think it is better looking than TG's First Class lounge in BKK. Only it's a little dense because this is for business class. Whatever it is, it can compete with SIN's SilverKris lounges.

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This is my seat for the following 1.5 hours, which is nicely located by the large full-height glazing facing the apron.



One end of the lounge is the dining area.

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Which has a beautifully-lit buffet counter. The food was not bad too by the way.

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There is a semi-enclosed bar next to the dining area, which is a sports bar.

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At the other end of the lounge, there is also another bar.



Very very impressive .... But then ... I found a flaw.

The urinals are mounted against a very shiny and polished stone wall which is as reflective as a mirror!!! Everyone can see everyone else in full glory. Architects and ID designers, please be mindful not to use polished stone for urinal walls, or else please don't forget to add privacy partitions!

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8564/16254216015_36614fbc69_c.jpg

I spent a nice one and a half hour in the lounge before I made my way to the gate.

On the way, another jaw-dropping vista.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8630/16068368577_3f169b8477_c.jpg

Except for the type of chairs used, the space could easily be a hotel lobby. This building is so far like anything but an airport terminal. I really like it for the different feel.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7523/16068368347_57646a00cf_c.jpg

However, I do think some parts are a little over-designed. Like these lamps. A few as highlights will probably be ok, but so many of them become visual overload.

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Walking towards the gate. It's a long walk indeed. This is a massive airport. At least it's not ugly so it's not a dreadful experience.

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The gate area for our A380 flight is quite spacious and there was no chaotic boarding. Everybody was in line properly and was boarding in proper sequence.

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Business class was already boarding so I went straight into the jetway and then into the all-familiar Singapore Airlines.

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Since SQ423 is a brutal short 5 hour red-eyes, I completely shut down after take off to get maximum rest. No food, not even drink. And no pics !

But I would like to end the trip report with a beautiful sunrise view over the Straits of Malacca. Thank you for reading.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7530/16228304436_d263557eeb_c.jpg




Past reports:

* First Class To Venice: TG,SQ,LH (Pt 2: LH,SQ F) (by SQueeze Nov 20 2014 in Trip Reports)

*A First Class To Venice: TG,SQ,LH (Pt 1: TG F) (by SQueeze Nov 11 2014 in Trip Reports)

SQ478/479: Cape Town On SQ J Class (by Squeeze Oct 29 2014 in Trip Reports)

The New AI 787 Dreamliner: SIN-DEL In J (by SQueeze Aug 1 2014 in Trip Reports)

New BOM, DEL, BLR: 21st Century Airports Of India (by Squeeze Jun 17 2014 in Trip Reports)

Star-studded To Latin America Part 4: Long Way Hom (by SQueeze Jun 3 2014 in Trip Reports)

Part 3:Star-studded To LatAm (Cuba To Colombia) (by SQueeze Apr 10 2014 in Trip Reports)

Part 2: Star-studded To LatAm (with Copa To Cuba) (by SQueeze Apr 3 2014 in Trip Reports)

Part 1:Star-studded To Latin America (CGK-SIN-GRU) (by SQueeze Mar 20 2014 in Trip Reports)

SQ's New New Business Class (SGN-SIN-BOM) (by Squeeze Mar 25 2014 in Trip Reports)

Who wins? BR J vs SQ J on SIN-TPE route

Jet Airways: same route with 2 J Class products world's apart

[Edited 2015-01-15 15:39:16]

[Edited 2015-01-15 15:41:49]

[Edited 2015-01-15 15:43:06]
 
User avatar
Ytraveller
Posts: 1287
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:47 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:49 am

Hi SQueeze,

Thank you so much for this report! I have never seen the new BLR covered so comprehensively on A.net before. I go there every summer, but I've never been to the domestic area.

Your ride on the AI 787 looked nice! The food looked pretty good, I have never seen roti served along with the curries before. But the economy cabin looks really crowded as you said.

The dal rice you ordered on the 6E flight doesn't look too appealing, but I guess it was good enough. Goa looks absolutely beautiful, much less chaotic than BLR!

The food on the 9W flight looks great. I can't believe they'd serve dinner on such a short flight!

Your pics from BOM are wonderful as well. The taxis, railway station, mosques and temples, random cow, and train ride...amazing! I've only really been to BLR, but I'd love to explore more of India some day.

BOM new terminal looks...weird, but nice. Definitely unique.

Thanks again for the report!
- Ytraveller
 
ardian
Posts: 506
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2000 3:15 am

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:59 am

What a superb trip report! Thank you for sharing it with us. Now you've really managed to put India on my to see-list   BOM definitely looks like a breathtaking airport by the way!
 
harim
Posts: 152
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 1:57 am

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:08 am

Thank you for the wonderful report! Looking forward to may more....
 
abrelosojos
Posts: 4277
Joined: Sun May 29, 2005 6:48 am

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:23 am

Thanks for a wonderful and detailed trip report. BOM is fast climbing as my favorite airport - and the lounge is really good. Wait until you see the F section ...

Saludos,
Alex
Live, and let live.
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1858
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:33 pm

I just bread that India's economy is growing fast. It seems that passengers are mostly men? I have noticed this on all the Indian trip reports.
 
blrsea
Posts: 1919
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 2:22 am

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:31 pm

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 8):
It seems that passengers are mostly men?

Nope, far from truth! Women are a big part of indian work force.
 
Rufusisgod
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:45 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:54 am

The 3x3x3 layout is the most spacious layout they can have in Y. EK & EY have 3x4x3.
 
9w748capt
Posts: 1707
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:27 am

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:58 am

Wow great report - very much enjoyed pics of the new BOM - looks fantastic and much better than DEL! The "blingy" style is I think a matter of Indian taste - not as gaudy as EK F but not as minimalist as western contemporary either. Thanks for sharing!
 
SQueeze
Topic Author
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:52 pm

Thank you all for your kind comments

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 4):
BOM new terminal looks...weird, but nice. Definitely unique

yup, yup. It's one of its kind. Someone told me it looks like meringue. Indeed, looks like some sort of food. To me, it's surreal. And I like it and have had enough of steel and glass everywhere else.

Quoting Ytraveller (Reply 4):
I have never seen roti served along with the curries

pardon the non-indian here. i like roti and i like curries and there i put them together. haha.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 7):
Wait until you see the F section ...

i glimpsed through. I know it will be impressive but I think it's more traditional in decor? i generally prefer contemporary. Hope some day will pass through that section.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 8):
It seems that passengers are mostly men?
Quoting blrsea (Reply 9):
Nope, far from truth! Women are a big part of indian work force.

My office is more than 50% women and I know they are a big part of the Indian work force. But on the street, you mostly see men. And in the air, I think 80% are men.

Quoting rufusisgod (Reply 10):
The 3x3x3 layout is the most spacious layout they can have in Y. EK & EY have 3x4x3.

hmmm. this is a 787. EK has none. And EY is using the denser configuration of 3x3x3. It's impossible to be 3x4x3 although in time to come EK may be doing it to test pax limits. Haha. You are confusing it with the 777 I believe.

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 11):
The "blingy" style is I think a matter of Indian taste - not as gaudy as EK F but not as minimalist as western contemporary either.

Could be. It's blingy but it's still within reasonable limits. To me it's borderline. A little bit more and it would land up silly and cartoonish like EK F (at least in my eyes / sensibility).
 
Nimish
Posts: 2966
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:46 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:55 am

Great reports and fabulous pictures - thanks for sharing!

All the pictures of BOM airport are incredible - I hope they manage to sustain the interiors for the years to come...
Incredible India!
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:27 pm

Hi SQueeze,

I really enjoyed your report as an account of how aviation is getting on in India. It has been a rocky old ride with the demise of Vejay's vanity project, and uncertain times for SpiceJet, but things seem to have improved greatly.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
Very lofty volume of the new wing and it's very clean and well-maintained.

Not a poor terminal in sight. The height and scope of the terminals is impressive, but I hope they have good AC and ventilation systems.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
It's gender-segregated in India. This is a nice signage for Males. Here
in India, being a male-dominated country, most travelers are males, especially on the domestic runs. There are 4 or 5 of these.

Hmmm, a little sad that sex has to be separated like that. I get it on the public transport, but this seems OTT.

Quoting SQueeze (Reply 1):
One last look at AI's long haul J seat with its tiny useless pillow.

Crazy pillow! I presume Long haul gets something a little more full of feathers.

Quoting SQueeze (Reply 3):
It has a cathedral-like train station which is worthy of a World Heritage status.

Well, they were wise and long-sighted not to go on a demolishing binge like some ex-Colony countries did.

Many thanks.

Luke
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
BarfBag
Posts: 2572
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2001 7:13 am

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:29 am

SQueeze, great trip report la! Fantastics pics, and I'm glad you appreciate Mumbai too - my favorite city in India. I hope you got to try some of its famous street food.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 14):
Hmmm, a little sad that sex has to be separated like that. I get it on the public transport, but this seems OTT.

It's not 'sad' . Everyone gets wanded at the security line . To avoid issues, men are screened by men, and women by women . In several places, the latter get a separate screened in area for any pat downs too. It's not some backward segregation, but effective management of the privacy needs of both genders.
 
SQ772
Posts: 1647
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2001 5:16 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:06 pm

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
Another nice signage for Females. There is only one.

Oh my, looks like a queue for highly 'aroused' females.... Wow!

India has come a long way in recent years. When DEL T3 first opened, I was absolutely impressed... then BOM came along... I was blown away by how complex it was to build a terminal over an existing and operational terminal. Only 1 word describes the interior of this new terminal...Gorgeous. I hope they are able to maintain it in this prestine condition for many years to come. It's a common gribe my friends and I have about Indian (and Chinese) infrastructure, they just don't seem to maintain them well.
There's always a better way to fly...
 
User avatar
newbief1yer
Posts: 635
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:35 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:46 pm

First of all, superb TR SQueeze.. Great flow and some very interesting pictures.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
There is also a bar serving alcohols but I didn't feel like drinking. So I am not sure if it would be free or not.

Ah, i was at the otehr Premium plaza jsut last week. I guess they started using the other one very recently? In the other lounge, they did serve alcohol and at least the beers were free.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
It was long, but the line was clear and everybody was patiently waiting in line

Wow, that's a great improvement. BLR is superb, and one of my fav Indian airports currently

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
I am continuously surprised and pleasantly so by all the positive changes

Yaay! go AI!

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
Leg room was enormously good. In fact, on the way to my seat, I thought all the standard seats have very good pitches compared to what I have seen on Jetstar and the likes. I thought it's more like Easyjet rather than Jetstar Asia.

Woowzers! which seat were you in? i travelled 6E too last week, and i felt it was a squeeze (No Pun intended)
I was on IndiGo's VT-IED, a nearly 4 year old aircraft. I guess you got the newer ones with the slimline Recaro seats?
 
pokfur
Posts: 709
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:35 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:56 am

Hello SQueeze!

After a few really busy weeks, I finally have time to comment on your fabulous TR!   

Thanks for posting it; insular me had no idea that the airports in India are so lovely.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
I soon find myself travelling back and forth to serve new projects quite frequently.

Engineer? I still haven't guessed what you do leh.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
First, we have to go through security.

This picture actually kind of reminded me a lot of Changi T1.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
And I found myself in a very pleasant waiting area. It's beautifully finished with timber tones, natural stones, soft lighting, and green planters.
BLR is a very nice airport as well, I must say!

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
My first pick for my base was this nice sleek leather chair.

You squeeze your soft toy into that tiny bag??

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
There is also a bar serving alcohols but I didn't feel like drinking.

 Wow! Crime!

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
I don't really like that ring at the nose though.

So you don't like nose rings then?   

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
I think it's changing for the better.

They do sound promising indeed! Now if only they'd time their connections from SIN to Europe better...

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
Then the safety demonstration. This is an ultra-modern aircraft, but demonstration was done the old-fashioned way.

Sometimes, I think it keeps the crew on their toes. I once had the SQ system break down and the crew looked a bit flustered when conducting the manual safety briefing; didn't inspire much confidence in me as a passenger...   

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
I decided to go to the economy section, and oops, what a dense layout a 3-3-3 is.

Nasty. I'll be on one of these next week   

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
Good that I brought my own pillow.

Doesn't his nose get in the way?

  

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
There are no stairs to climb. We would be using a ramp to go up, which is good for those who have trolley bags.

I've never seen movable ramps like these but it's such a genius idea! With all the LCCs around these days and everyone going hand baggage only, this surely makes things much easier.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
This is 1000 times better than Jetstar's super stiff seats for sure.

I was just on Jetstar and I have to agree that their seats were horrendous.   

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
The meal menu is cute
Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
The packaging is cute.

   I have so many things to reply to these two comments but I shan't.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
Curiously, this is a 3-storey terminal and not the usual 2.

The 'grilled' windows and grey building reminds me of BKK.

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
And cute cars

  

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
But oops, it was a silly choice. It soon became very packed on that Sunday afternoon and I had my super-squeezed moments for 45 minutes.

Wow is it just me or are their trains really wide??

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
These futuristic pods were not there at the time.

You don't think they look cute? I do   

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
Everyone can see everyone else in full glory.

Hehe. Trust you to notice such things   

Quoting SQueeze (Thread starter):
I spent a nice one and a half hour in the lounge before I made my way to the gate.

I must say the lounge looks very lovely indeed!

Thank you for the very detailed report, and also of all the pictures of India. I've never been there and i've certainly been inspired to go there one day soon!

Happy travels!

pokfur

PS: Check your private message inbox

[Edited 2015-01-26 23:56:28]
 
SQueeze
Topic Author
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:33 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:04 pm

Quoting Nimish (Reply 13):
All the pictures of BOM airport are incredible - I hope they manage to sustain the interiors for the years to come..
Quoting SQ772 (Reply 16):
I hope they are able to maintain it in this prestine condition for many years to come.

Yea, 5 year old DEL airport now looks like it has been around for 20 years.
Look at Changi, decades old and still look spanking new.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 14):
Well, they were wise and long-sighted not to go on a demolishing binge like some ex-Colony countries did.

well, i don't think they were wise. Thanks to lots of bureaucratic hurdles and lack of funds for redevelopment.

Quoting newbief1yer (Reply 17):
I guess you got the newer ones with the slimline Recaro seats?

Yup

Quoting pokfur (Reply 18):
Nasty. I'll be on one of these next week

What airline are you flying 3x3x3 788?

Quoting pokfur (Reply 18):
I was just on Jetstar and I have to agree that their seats were horrendous.

Jetstar is really bad. And the newer slim seats are even ever stiffer - worse than before. And i think they are all preclined. So the miniscule recline will straighten it up to 90 degrees. Tiger is much better for me.

Quoting pokfur (Reply 18):
Wow is it just me or are their trains really wide??

They are very wide. This is the backbone of 12 million population.

Quoting pokfur (Reply 18):
Thank you for the very detailed report, and also of all the pictures of India. I've never been there and i've certainly been inspired to go there one day soon!

Definitely must go. But be prepared for bitter sweet experience at times.

Quoting pokfur (Reply 18):
PS: Check your private message inbox

Replied back. go and check yours. 
 
pokfur
Posts: 709
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:35 pm

RE: A Changing India In J And Y: BLR-DEL-GOI-BOM

Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:46 am

Hi SQueeze.

Quoting SQUeeze (Reply 19):
What airline are you flying 3x3x3 788?

Qatar Airways. Also fingers crossed that I get on the A350 on my way back! Specially routed myself through FRA for that   

Quoting SQUeeze (Reply 19):
Tiger is much better for me.

I used to dislike Tiger and preferred Jetstar. After this trip, it has now gone the other way around, especially as I think Tiger has updated their interior and the new seats are pretty comfy. Less legroom though i think?

Quoting SQUeeze (Reply 19):
Replied back. go and check yours. 

  

pokfur

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