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Regressive TR: Shuttling between Delhi and Mumbai

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4477
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:34 pm    Post subject: Regressive TR: Shuttling between Delhi and Mumbai Reply with quote

Regressive TR: Shuttling between Delhi and Mumbai
-------------------------------------------------
Of late, `Progressive Trip Reports' have become the rage on this
forum. Progressive, in the sense that the writer posts parts of
the report based on what occurs at different points in time, to
keep the reader abreast of the goings-on, rather than posting all
at one go, after the reported events have occurred.
Here is a `regressive' one.
Why regressive?
This goes against the tide, and is an `all-at-one-go' report.
Further, what could be more ordinary than a short trip between
two of India's most prominent metros, Delhi and Mumbai?
India's Political Capital, and the Economic Capital.
This was a largely uneventful trip (which most trips should be,
unless it comes to the pleasantly unexpected which by far, are
happenings which are rare and far in between). Here it is in all
its gory detail, with only one journey-related image (since I am
a creature of the night, after all, but do not like night flights
since I cannot take (m)any images!), and...a `pacifier' image at the
end. Pacifier, or something at the other end of the spectrum?
Please read on!

This report can be found at the following URL:
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12742.html

This was for a meeting in Mumbai.
There were five of us for the trip.
The taxi to pick two of us, was late.
There was fog forecast the day before.
We sped towards IGI T3, taking the T1 tunnel road.
We were running late, and went towards the check-in machine.
(For once, I was travelling without baggage to check-in.)
There was some crowd before the machine, so we went to the
dedicated counter for people with cabin baggage alone.
The person in-charge left his post just as we reached it.
We went to the usual check-in counters, which were not too
crowded. My colleague got checked-in without much ado.
At my counter, the system refused to spew out a boarding pass.
With some help from his colleague, he finally managed to give me
a boarding pass. We sped towards gate 27A, where our other three
companions were waiting for us.
Our flight was delayed by about half-an-hour, as the plane would
just come in from Lucknow. We boarded CX, the `Cathay' plane,
VT-SCX, the first time I would be aboard this plane. My itinerary
for the New Delhi - Mumbai leg was as follows:

Set out 08 Jan (Sun) for Mumbai from New Delhi
AI 624: Air India (A319) [Seat: 04F; PNR: H2CLJ]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - CSIA T1, Mumbai
New Delhi (DEL) - Mumbai (BOM)
[07:35 pm - 09:50 pm]

As I waited for the plane to push back, I noticed the baggage
compartment was open, as the last few pieces were being loaded. I
managed to catch an image with my cellphone camera.



Captain Kedar Vaidya was in command. This would be my second
flight with him. We lined up on the new runway 29, taxied past
an Air India Regional CRJ-700, VT-RJB, and an ATR-42 in the the
old Alliance Air colours, whose registration I did not manage to
catch.

The IFE was switched on almost immediately after the plane
reached cruising altitude, which it did after a while. The plane
stayed a bit low on take-off over Dwarka, where the road traffic
was well visible from the windows, and then suddenly, the engines
came to life, and a powerful ascent followed.
Yes, soon I heard one of my most favourite announcements,
``Dinner will be served on the flight.''
There were two films on the five video channels - I usually just
skim through them, before settling down on the audio channels,
and powering on my laptop, and getting to work.
A Hindi movie was playing, `Buddha hoga tera baap'.
This did not cut the ice with me, and to my very pleasant
surprise, on the screen right in front of me, was the classy
classic musical, `The Sound of Music'.
I did not even sample the audio channel.
I had this on throughout the flight, even when I was on the
laptop. I have many pleasant memories of this movie - this was
just about the third movie I have seen. Yes, after a Laurel and
Hardy cartoon movie, and The Ray classic, `Pather Panchali'.
Yes, my parents did not encourage little children to watch
movies, and TV shows for fear of them getting distracted from
studies, and co-curricular activities. And rightly so, too!
This was a movie I had heard much about, and after much
persuasion, my parents let me watch this, when this came on TV
(we were then in the US). I have fond memories of this movie on a
black-and-white TV set, which I re-lived - on this trip.

Of course, I could not miss out on the food - something
my hunger pangs told me - I needed desperately.
Air India did not disappoint.
The meal started with a very soft croissant,
with a chiplet of butter.
The green salad was a typical Indian offering, albeit with a
difference. The cucumber was was with the skin, and there were
many slices of it, with a slice of tomato.
The main course had a nice bed of aromatic peas pulao/pilaf
Basmati rice, flanked by a dry preparation of potato and
capsicum/bell pepper. The other side has a nice chicken curry.
The dessert had a small rasgulla and a small gulab jamun in a bed
of sinful rabri: dessicated milk. This was simply heavenly!
The conclusion to the meal came with a completely bland and
tasteless instant coffee.

Captain Vaidya brought the plane down on the main runway 27
like a feather, and we got a remote stand. It was 22 degrees
Celcius outside, and I soaked in the atmosphere of my favourite
Indian city as we drove towards our destination, in a pre-paid taxi.

An uneventful day was spent at the meeting, and soon the five of
us were on our way to the CSI Airport in Mumbai. At 5:10 pm, we
saw a gorgeous Air India A320 take off from the main runway 27
in front of us. I had received an SMS a while back with the
disappointing news - our 07:00 pm flight would be an hour and a
half late. I had already web checked-in before, and attempts to
hitch a ride on the 06:00 pm flight proved futile: it was
completely full. On checking in, we were told that we could avail
of a complementary snack at the snack counter in the check-in
area. Air India, at its best! I chose a nice and tasty coffee,
and a `salad sandwich' to go with it. It was not too bad, and
would have me full. At least for a while, since we would finally
start at 09:00 pm. We checked in without ado, and
waited in the impressive T1-C, till the announced time of
boarding, 08:00 pm. This was the itinerary for our return flight:

Set out 09 Jan (Mon) for New Delhi from Mumbai
AI 888: Air India (A319) [Seat: 04F; PNR: H2CLJ]
CSIA T1, Mumbai - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Mumbai (BOM) - New Delhi (DEL)
[07:00 pm - 09:00 pm]

We waited at Gate A14, where boarding was finally called at
around 08:45pm. This is a bus gate, and I looked forward to
seeing the night scene at the CSI Airport. We approached an Air
India A319 in the new colours. It was CM, the `State Executive'
plane, VT-SCM. We waited in the bus for the captain and the first
officer to board. Captain K.S. Dhar was in command, with a lady
first officer. Of late, I have seen many lady captains and first
officers at Air India - it is nice to see many ladies in the
cockpit in the national carrier. The outgoing crew was completing
the paperwork, when the new set of crew boarded. There would have
been only about two seats empty in the entire Economy section -
an almost full flight. We lined up on the main runway 27, and
waited for a Continental/United B777-200ER to come in, and land.
Behind us was an A320 with a red tail and a white bird on it, and
behind it, an ANA B737-700. We took off on the main runway, and
made a right turn once we had crosses Juhu beach, and came back
towards the land. I waited for the ping of the bell, announcing
the seat belts to come off, and soon...dinner. But of course.

It started off with a typically Indian salad again. Cucumber
pieces, tomato slices, interspersed with
capsicum/green bell pepper slices. There was a little slice of
lemon on top, which was very refreshing - both to look at, as
well as to devour! I sprinkled the lemon on the salad, and had it
with a hint of salt, and more than a pinch of pepper. I saved a
bit of the lemon for the main course.
The main course had a nice lentil preparation - Masoor/Malka Dal,
and a usual nice pulao/pilaf, with peas, and pieces of carrots,
which I missed in the Indian salad. The raisins in the pulao gave
the simple preparation a heavenly touch, more so, with a hint of
lemon sprinkled on it. The chicken curry had very soft pieces of
chicken, which was also marinated in a medley of spices.
The dessert had a cylindrical piece of what Bongs call `naram
paak'. This just had a hint of sweetness, but there was some
rabri (sweetened dessicated milk) caressing its sides, some of it
white, some of it with a yellowing tinge.
I was in seventh heaven, but brought down to earth with my
insistence to sample the coffee yet again, as usual. As is
perhaps the norm, this was an ordinary instant coffee.
The trays were cleared very quickly by the hard-working and
prompt cabin crew.

The programmes on the return trip were the same as on the onward
journey. Yes, I saw `The Sound of Music' appearing on the screen,
and did not even bother to change the channel. This was to
accompany me for the remainder of the trip, which went without
any reportable happening. Moreover, I was too sleepy to note
anything remotely noticeable.
An abrupt end to this report?
To prevent the above aberration from taking place, I will close
with an unrelated image, which I took using my cellphone camera,
while driving. Here is a DTC AC bus, with some a posteriori repair
having proved unsuccessful, resulting in a breakdown for the bus,
and for its patrons (fans?), a nervous break-down.


---
Links to my previous trip reports:

29. No Eyesore in Mysore; Part II: Mysore Memories; HAL Museum
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12730.html

28. No Eyesore in Mysore; Part I: Mysore
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12686.html

27. Hampi Hamper, Part 2: Hampi!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12661.html

26. Hampi Hamper, Part I: Banashankari, Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12623.html

25. JAI Ho! Jaipur, Sep'12, My Double Standards?
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12592.html
(This is out of sequence, only to report on something that is
very recent, circa Sep'12)

24. PNQ: PeNning Queued Reports, Dec 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12557.html

23. Little BHO-Peep, Nov 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12496.html

22. The Call of the Vaigai! Madurai, Oct 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12465.html

21. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: Beijing, 2011 Part 3
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12452.html

20. No Panda-monium: Beijing, 2011 Part 2
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12389.html

19. North By Northwest...er, AI and CA: Beijing, 2011 Part 1
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12348.html

18. Going Bananas over Oranges: Nagpur, Aug'11
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12333.html

17. To the City of Joy and back, on Air India: Aug'11
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12238.html

16. To Chennai, Mar'12 with a Celebrity Captain!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12196.html
(This is out of sequence owing to sheer excitement, and nothing
else!)

15. Marble Rocks, Marbles Rock; Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12157.html

14. The Fish-Eye Beckons! Madurai, on Air India. Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12136.html

13. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 3: Monino!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12091.html

12. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 2: The Central Museum
of the Armed Forces
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12016.html

11. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 1: The Overall Trip
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11717.html

10. The City of Lakes: Mother's Heart, Heart of the Motherland
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11556.html

9. Mostly Indoors, in Indore:
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11533.html

8. Inter-metro Shuttling on AI: DEL-BOM on AI810, BOM-DEL on AI888
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11449.html

7. On the cusp: DEL-BOM on IC863, BOM-DEL on AI660
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11160.html

6. DEL-BOM on IT308, BOM-DEL on IC166
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10986.html

5. DEL-MAA on IC439, MAA-DEL on IC802
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10809.html

4. DEL-PNQ on IC849, PNQ-DEL on IC850
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10510.html

3. DEL-MAA on IC429 (A321), MAA-DEL on IC7602 (CRJ7)
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10401.html

2. DEL-NAG-NDC, NDC-BOM-DEL on G8
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10169.html

1. IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10018.html
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ameya
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Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3584
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was indeed great to read another TR from you. I complain that it was short, because I read it when I was in one of the meetings and the TR ended before the meeting did.

Sumantra Sir, I am sure like people say they flew so and so registration 6 months ago, you would now be saying this captain flew me here and there 6 months ago !

When we met at T3 we discussed on the route and aircraft allocation of AI. However, its difficult to understand why a 1900hrs dep to BOM is a A319 !

I suppose AI 888 was already avoiding IXU when you took this route.

- I have time and again made mistake of having coffee over good food. I never understand how I lose control over myself and go for everything that is free, even when I know its not good in advance !

I hope this diwali you get ample time and finish up all the pending TRs Very Happy
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sumantra
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Posts: 4477
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ameya, thanks for going through this hastily-put-together report, and that too, in a meeting!
- You are spot-on Ameya, about the 7pm issue. Yes, the IXU segment got out quite some time back, though given that we analysed some of the route and path planning, I guess Nandan's team has some insight into this, since this flight usually goes full (some colleagues also told me the same), so is it some rotation issue which leaves a 319 at this time, or is it some trends available in the form of hard statistics, which says that the 5pm flight should be a 321 (usually goes chock-a-block, right form the time it was the TRV-BOM-DEL route, to the current one), the 6pm flight also goes relatively full, I wonder what is the information about the 7pm one. You are the genius here: you would have an answer!
- No Ameya, I just note down registrations and the P1's name, and when I get some time, I key it in, and send it out. I cannot pull out aircraft rotations from the top of my head like you can!
- Coffee: I guess I always fall into that trap, and more often than not, end up with a horrid instant coffee. the few times I have got something nice - maybe that drives me on!
Thanks once again, Sumantra.
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ameya
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Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3584
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did some jugglery to find out the arr/dep bank

AI433 arr from VNS/GAY @ 1735 (A319) -> AI415 to PAT @ 1830
AI442 arr from BOM/IXU @ 1810 (A319) ->AI624 to BOM @1900
AI541 arr from HYD @ 1820 (A321) -> AI839 to HYD @ 1930

Considering that DEL-HYD has lower frequencies as compared to DEL-BOM, it is prudent that A321 goes to HYD and not BOM.

Also the BOM-IXU-DEL-BOM would mean the same crew operation, likewise for HYD-DEL-HYD

So yes its the lack of availability of higher capacity a/c around 1900 that leads to A319 doing this run. Also it might not be wise to deploy a A321 to IXU for profitability reasons and hence any other swap also would not be possible.

Nice to know this management of AI is trying their best to utilise the mixed fleet eficiently
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic, Ameya, fantastic! Thanks for your time in using your incredible skills, to help us understand the myriad world of scheduling and path planning, better.
Admiringly Yours, Sumantra.
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banerjee1000
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nicely written dear.......... A bit long bt very interesting TR..........
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jbalonso777
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Posts: 1419
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being focused on my own TRs, I have been greddy-just seeing you comment on my TRs, while I miss yours, many of them. I had to pay back really quickly! This was an awesome TR sir!
-Yes, I am with you on that, I don't like night flights at all. Its just a missed opportunity, that's all!
-All goes wrong when you are late! It ALWAYS happens, and here is my point proven! Check in looked like a big disaster for you!
-HAHA the Cathay Plane! If simply doesn't get better than your naming!
-One can see those only on Airbus, I always wondered where the Boeing baggage compartment went, until I found out one day!
-I still don't know the Captain's name on any flight of mine so far. Awesome noting there!
-That is standard AI announcement! There isn't any other airline I have heard that, except for LCCs. It re-assures you that meals are still free!
-AI food. I have seen it through your descriptions, and through my own eyes (only once, but still!), they never get it wrong! These are one of those things which should put AI on top of the board! Once again, food has been described in an awesome way!
-Yup, Mumbai is my favourite as well! Very Happy
-One reason why people hate AI is because of delays. When AI have the mojo, they are simply awesome! I forgot about the delay on my MAA-CCU flight, which is why they were awesome!
-A14, my last BOM departure of 2011 Sad So many memories...
-CM HAHAHA! Epic again!
-Food descriptions once again, awesome! No one can ever defeat you there!
-Wow, even buses say that they have a problem! That was FUNNY! HAHAHA! Really abrupt, I must say! Wink

Fantastic, once again! Waiting for more of AI!
Regards
Jishnu..
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regressive or Progressive I could not make sense of it but as always I enjoyed reading your trip report.

Sri_Bom
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good TR sumantra, but "The Sound of Music" isn't your conventional musical. Smile
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot, Mr. Banerjee, Jishnu, Srinivas and Varun!
I have been away at a time zone +3.5 hours, and with sporadic contact with the Internet, and hence, my favourite site, too. (This will form a trip report in four parts).
banerjee1000 wrote:
A bit long bt very interesting TR..........

I am a bit surprised, Mr. Banerjee! This is perhaps the shortest trip report I have put down. Please do check out some of my other reports, with which I spam this forum.
jbalonso777 wrote:
Being focused on my own TRs,

No Sir...I cannot mention how much your reports had me on my toes, since the excitement of waiting for the next installment was too much! Thanks for the point-by-point replies, I am glad you read it in this level of detail!
sri_bom wrote:
Regressive or Progressive I could not make sense of it but as always I enjoyed reading your trip report.

Srinivas, often I cannot make head or tail of what I have written, but I'm glad you like some of my runny puns, read through my reports, and take the time to comment on them. Thank you!
Spiderguy252 wrote:
"The Sound of Music" isn't your conventional musical

I guess my tastes are not that refined, but kiddie memories do stay on. Somehow, I still like the movie, and even Junior likes some of the songs.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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banerjee1000
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry SUMANTRA....... Yes it was the shortest one I think so....... I didn't check earlier....... Awesome work!!! Keep it up. Cool
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

banerjee1000 wrote:
Sorry SUMANTRA....... Yes it was the shortest one I think so....... I didn't check earlier....... Awesome work!!! Keep it up. Cool

Thank you Smile I guess I am so trigger-happy that I will report even on the most mundane of segments.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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Nimish
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great TR - thanks for posting. Really brings out the flavor of the "Bread-and-butter" BOM-DEL sector. Quite sad though that AI can't manage to contain the delays - 90 minutes delay is quite a stretch for an airline that's trying hard to improve it's OTP.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
Really brings out the flavor of the "Bread-and-butter" BOM-DEL sector. Quite sad though that AI can't manage to contain the delays - 90 minutes delay is quite a stretch for an airline that's trying hard to improve it's OTP.

Thanks a lot, Nimish - I am glad that you read through a trip report on one of the most mundane of routes. Yes, the OTP must have taken a bad beating that day, but in generla, for someone who flies AI quite regularly, I think Nandan's team is doing a very good job, overall. the service levels are quite good, now-a-days.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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