Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Location: New Delhi
|Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:09 pm Post subject: Colour Range over the Orange City: NAG, Jan'12
|Colour Range over the Orange City: NAG, Jan'12
Set out 21 Jan (Sat) for Nagpur from New Delhi
AI 469: Air India (A319) [Seat: 05F; PNR: HGKPF]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Mana Airport, Raipur -
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (Sonegaon Airport), Nagpur
New Delhi (DEL) - Raipur (RPR) - Nagpur (NAG)
[05:50 am - 07:30 am, 08:05 am - 08:40 am]
My favourite taxi operator must have thought that my looniness is
progressively on the rise. Coming to think of it,
this isn't too far from the truth. I usually take flights and trains at
around 6 am or a bit later, so I request him to come over some
two hours earlier. This time, I called him in at 03:45 am.
Oh Range - Orange? A bad pun again?
Bad pun or not, the colour range started with black.
The Black of the night, when my alarm woke up The Wife and Junior.
Black, the colour of The Wife's mood,
to be woken up at an unearthly hour.
White, the colour outside.
Yes, the last three mornings had near zero visibility in South
Delhi, but today was a bit different.
I was able to sight the taxi from the third floor, and told the
gentleman inside that it was nice to see a clearer day, after
three mornings of heavy fog.
I had spoken too early.
By the time we approached Subroto Park, the white blanket had
crept in, and the visibility dropped to a few feet in front of
us. As we crept towards the IGI airport T3, I wondered if the
flight would get delayed. Normally, Air India is the safest bet
for foggy days, since most pilots are CAT 3B trained, and most
aircraft (apart from the ATR-42 and CRJ-700) are CAT 3B
compliant, unlike many airlines that have the Boeing 737, many of
which are only CAT 3A certified.
The check-in and security check were a breeze, and I was waiting
at Gate 30B with the white blanket enveloping the aircraft
Boarding was announced on time, and we boarded CO: the `Company'
plane, VT-SCO. It was to be my first ride aboard this plane.
Captain Damanjit Singh was in command. When the cockpit crew went
past us and boarded, I noted with some surprise that the first
officer's jacket had only two stripes on the right hand (which
was the one I noticed). In a previous trip report, I had
expressed surprise at a gentleman in three stripes, being a part
of the cabin crew (PNQ-DEL, 25 Dec 2010, IC 850). We took off
from the new runway 29-11 towards the West, and I dozed off soon
after. Only to be woken up by the pleasant sounds of the cabin
being readied for breakfast. I was quite hungry by this time - I
had wanted to have something to eat before setting out, but my
penchant for sleep did not give me the required 10 minutes to
grab a quick bite. The alarm went off at 3am, and my subconscious
told me that it was my usual 5am alarm - an indication for me to
quickly switch it off, and look forward to another two hours of
some good and assured sleep. Ten minutes later, I woke up in
horror, as the realisation dawned on me (Dawn had not realised,
by then: it was only 03:10 am).
Yes, even my sleepy mind went back to the breakfast service on
offer. It started with a fruit bowl, which had three slices of a
very sweet papaya of the `Disco' variety: the longish ones with
orange-pink insides, initially available only in Bengaluru and
its surroundings in the 1980s, which later spread to Mumbai, and
now we get it even in Delhi, many a time. The ones available in
Mumbai usually have a unique pentagonal cross-section.
The comparison is quite apt. The pentagon(-cross sectioned fruit)
is in charge of (the tummy's) defence. Three slices of musk
mellon/honey dew mellon (where do they get this fruit from in
Delhi, in this season?), and two small pieces of a nice and sweet
pineapple. What a great start to the day, I said to myself.
There was a bun with butter and jam, which was passable.
The main course had a nice vegetable cutlet to the right, which
had shredded greens in a potato base, and fried only lightly.
To the right was what looked like French fries/`Freedom fries',
or something that we Indians refer to as `finger chips' - but
when I put my fork into a piece, I realised that they were not.
When I put it into my mouth, I got the delicious taste of finely
shredded ginger and coriander, which had been used to cook these
potato slices into a soft state. I enjoyed this, along with the
main course: a really huge and fluffy omelette.
Do we get ostrich eggs in Delhi?
The coffee came in first - a warm and completely indifferent
instant coffee did not do any wonders to my sleepy self.
A Jet Airways Konnect ATR-72 VT-JCH made a fast and bumpy landing
on Mana Airport's runway 24-06 from the 24 end, some five minutes
after us, and parked slightly ahead of us. A large number of
passengers got off into the 11 degree centigrade temperature
outside. As the plane refuelled, there was an announcement to
switch off mobile phones, and unfasten seat belts - all until an
announcement was made to undo the above processes. Inconvenience
was sincerely regretted. A Dauphin helicopter took off in the
direction of runway 06-24 (the opposite direction). There were
two Air Force Mi-8/17s parked at the airport, towards the 06 end,
to the right (as one came in to land on 24-06). A Reliance
Aviation tanker refuelled our Air India A319, whereas a Bharat
Petroleum one did the honours for the Jet Airways ATR! This was
interesting - interchanging the roles of a government-owned
entity, and a private one, in both cases. A very large number of
passengers came on board at Raipur - most of them going to Delhi,
I presumed, after catching on to some conversations, as I was
seated in the front of the aircraft.
Captain Singh made his second feather-light landing of the day,
as we landed on the runway 32, into an 11 degree centigrade
sunny Nagpur. We went past a parked twin otter aircraft, possibly
belonging to the Survey of India.
Our neighbour was a JetLite Boeing 737-700.
I mentally prep'ed myself for a gruelling day ahead of me, at
Nagpur. I had a busy day on the 21st, and when a friend who had
come over, asked me out for a drink, I flatly refused. This
shocked him beyond words. I was feeling extremely sleepy, and had
a bad headache. Sinful fluids with specific gravity less than one
- do not go well with my tender disposition, when I have a
headache, or I am sleepy. I was yawning with such regularity,
that he stopped saying `bless you' after each yawn, and I
reciprocated, stopping some plaintive `excuse me's. He commented
that I didn't need to open my mouth separately to eat, the yawns
would take care of the process. I agreed heartily with him, and
said that my massive middle would take care of the rest. We had a
nice meal at a Fish and Seafood restaurant, which had opened
about just a month back. I was almost asleep by then, but woke
up in time to finish a nice ice cream cone at a natural ice cream
store. By the time I had got back to the Guest House, I
remembered that there was no mosquito repellent in my room. The
staff had searched other rooms(!) for one since morning, but my
friend's insistence had paid off, and the staff gave me a machine
for the job. For good measure, my friend had got one along,
telling me that I could not trust the material at a
Government-run establishment. Ha, what could go wrong in a
mosquito repellent machine, I laughed and told him. He insisted
on my keeping the second brand-new machine. I told him not to
worry, the mosquitoes would not lift me up and make me reach
Delhi by air, at night. The poor joke fell flat, and my friend
urged me to use the repellent. I was to wake up in the morning,
to find the old machine not working.
I had done a web check-in the day before. My friend drove at a
good speed towards the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International
Airport at Sonegaon in Nagpur, as we neared the check-in
deadline. I rushed in, not to find any electronic display board
announcing the Delhi flight. Had the check-in closed? I was just
on the dot. Thankfully, no - the Air India Mumbai flight was a
bit delayed, and the staff were trying to check in passengers on
that flight prior to my Nagpur - Delhi one. My itinerary for this
leg was as follows:
Set out 22 Jan (Sun) for New Delhi from Nagpur
AI 469: Air India (A319) [Seat: 06F; PNR: Y2HL5]
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (Sonegaon Airport), Nagpur -
IGIA T3, New Delhi
Nagpur (NAG) - New Delhi (DEL)
[09:10 am - 10:49 am]
The building is quite new, but as I have mentioned before, the
maintenance is a bit shoddy, from the inside. At the security
check, I discovered that the metal detector was beeping in my
pocket. No, there were no coins. I had taken out my pen. The
beeping came from - surprise, surprise, the au de cologne tissue
pack from my earlier trip. The beeping continued, much to my
surprise. This time, it was the salt and pepper sachet, again a
remnant from the previous flight. My refreshing tissue was sent
into the X-ray machine, and came out unscathed, by the time I had
finished packing my laptop into my bag, and taking my cellphone
out. There is an interesting arrangement in the security check
area. The bags go on over rollers onto a belt, into the X-ray
machine. The laptop trays come down over an inclined plane from
the security personnel side, to the passenger side, on rollers. I
haven't really seen this gravity-based scheme anywhere I have
travelled, as this somehow simplifies the task of the security
personnel in taking the empty trays, and returning them to the
passenger side - especially when the passenger rush is quite a
lot. The Mumbai flight was boarding from one of the two
aero-bridges at the new terminal. (The second waiting room is
kept separated, and dark - this is not used frequently, I guess).
I went into the waiting hall, and just as boarding time was about
to set in, I had the urge to go upstairs to have a look at what
the Mumbai-bound passengers had experienced, which Delhi-bound
passengers would miss. The stairs and escalator criss-cross each
other (the design of the new terminal is quite nice). I took the
stairs, and went around and empty and well-lit waiting area, with
large windows. I rushed down, only for an announcement to be made
that the Delhi flight would board from the first floor. I took
the elevator this time. The incoming flight from Delhi and Raipur
had touched down a bit before schedule, and I noted that the
Mumbai-bound CV, the `Biodata' plane: VT-SCV, had vacated the
active aero-bridge, and the Delhi-bound CS, the `Computer
Science' plane: VT-SCS, had come in to take its place. I was the
second to board the plane, as we were subjected to a second
manual screening just before the gate of the aero-bridge. This
was a manual scan, and some passengers behind me groaned, as the
CISF staff went about their duty. I boarded a half-full plane,
which was to fill up to the brim. Not an empty seat was visible
on this A319. At the check-in, I had heard the check-in ladies
mentioning something about some passengers being put on stand-by.
I guessed it was due to the good load factor on this flight.
Captain A. S. Dhaliwal was in command, and he made a powerful
take-off on runway 32 into a slightly misty sky. As I was seated
on the right side of the aircraft (06F), I got a very good view
of the old Continental airways Boeing 720B parked near the 32
end, which has the old Atlanta Skylarks lettering come out. I
have always liked the general visage of the 707 and the 720B, and
although some current 737 models (the -900 for instance) are
longer than the original 707s, the forward Ariel, the engines and
the general appearance always set the 707 stand apart in a crowd.
This particular plane has been in the news of late, with a tussle
between who should remove it from there, and whose responsibility
it was, and that it was a security risk as this was parked close
to the runway. There was also a covered small helicopter beside
it. A JetLite flight VT-JLC had taken off just before us, and
there was a general aviation helicopter on the apron.
The bell ping after reaching cruising altitude is one of the
sweetest sounds to my ears.
The snacks had arrived.
There was a brown-and-white bread cheese sandwich, with a small
serrated carrot slice on the top, for decoration. The main
course had a nice vegetable chop ball, which went well with the
sauce. There was a delicate cheese, sweet corn/maize and cheese
concoction: a tart/quiche. This had a fine and soft patty base,
and was absolutely heavenly. There were three pieces of skewered
chicken (tikka), which had been marinated well, and done just so.
I took a coffee as usual, but my usual crib was absent, as this
was a fair strong and hot coffee. The dessert had stared at me
ever since the tray was put in front of me. I resisted my urgent
urges to bite into it, till I had finished all the above items.
This was an apple pie slice. This was not overtly sweet, and
Captain Dhaliwal landed on the new runway, and we made our way to
Gate 29. Beside us, an Airbus 321 was being prep'ed for take-off.
I mentally prep'ed myself for a working day, as sweet memories of
a nice but hurried Nagpur trip went through my head, as the taxi
sped towards home.
Links to my previous trip reports:
31. AI strike(,) PAT in the back: Patna, Jan'12
30. Regressive TR: Shuttling between Delhi and Mumbai
29. No Eyesore in Mysore; Part II: Mysore Memories; HAL Museum
28. No Eyesore in Mysore; Part I: Mysore
27. Hampi Hamper, Part 2: Hampi!
26. Hampi Hamper, Part I: Banashankari, Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole
25. JAI Ho! Jaipur, Sep'12, My Double Standards?
(This is out of sequence, only to report on something that is
very recent, circa Sep'12)
24. PNQ: PeNning Queued Reports, Dec 2011
23. Little BHO-Peep, Nov 2011
22. The Call of the Vaigai! Madurai, Oct 2011
21. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: Beijing, 2011 Part 3
20. No Panda-monium: Beijing, 2011 Part 2
19. North By Northwest...er, AI and CA: Beijing, 2011 Part 1
18. Going Bananas over Oranges: Nagpur, Aug'11
17. To the City of Joy and back, on Air India: Aug'11
16. To Chennai, Mar'12 with a Celebrity Captain!
(This is out of sequence owing to sheer excitement, and nothing
15. Marble Rocks, Marbles Rock; Jul 2011
14. The Fish-Eye Beckons! Madurai, on Air India. Jul 2011
13. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 3: Monino!
12. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 2: The Central Museum
of the Armed Forces
11. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 1: The Overall Trip
10. The City of Lakes: Mother's Heart, Heart of the Motherland
9. Mostly Indoors, in Indore:
8. Inter-metro Shuttling on AI: DEL-BOM on AI810, BOM-DEL on AI888
7. On the cusp: DEL-BOM on IC863, BOM-DEL on AI660
6. DEL-BOM on IT308, BOM-DEL on IC166
5. DEL-MAA on IC439, MAA-DEL on IC802
4. DEL-PNQ on IC849, PNQ-DEL on IC850
3. DEL-MAA on IC429 (A321), MAA-DEL on IC7602 (CRJ7)
2. DEL-NAG-NDC, NDC-BOM-DEL on G8
1. IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL
Last edited by sumantra on Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 09 May 2007
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:57 am Post subject:
|A typical Sumantra TR. Welcome to 2012 sir. I know you have taken a lot of flights in 2012 and have now started writing about it, so looking forward to more.
Raipur sounds to be a super busy airport at that time of the day. The Mi-8/17 of IAF could be the anti-naxal ones.
A short and crisp TR !
Joined: 05 Jul 2012
Location: Never, never land
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:24 am Post subject:
|Awesome TR as usual, sir!
-I loved the colour contrast!
-Nothing stops any of us from having airline food, right?! Let it be good or bad, we always want to try it!
-Awesome descriptions of the same. Who needs pictures when your desciptions are there?
-The story of the fuel trucks, well I'm not joking, I smelled petrol being spilt from the middle-aged Mercedes parked a few yards away, while reading thatvpart. Too bad Metallica's Fuel wasn't playing at the same time!
-Human cleaning windshield of B73G
-To be honest, mosquitos were close to taking me back to BOM last year. I couldn't sleep!
-Dark parts of NAG terminal (maybe) are open only at night-early morning to cater International flights.
-Interesting note on the x-ray machines, I didn't notice it!
-A.S. Dhaliwal? Had a friend (I still do, thank you Facebook!) Armanjit Singh Dhaliwal. Oh, times we had, breaking windows, ringing bells, etc!
Thanks for sharing this one!
Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Location: New Delhi
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:50 pm Post subject:
|Thanks a lot for your kind words, Ameya, and Jishnu!
Ameya: yes, I still have quite a backlog, but your prodding, and your great trip reports will give me enough impetus to key them in! The role of the Mi-8/17s: thanks, I did not know this one.
Jishnu, I loved your point-by-point reply. Metallica's Fuel as the backdrop - ha ha! Did you find out about Captain A. S. Dhaliwal? Interesting, since my next trip (the return segment) was also with him! IDR-BHO-DEL, AI 633, 13 Feb (Mon) 2012.
Joined: 05 Jul 2012
Location: Never, never land
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:27 pm Post subject:
|Sorry sir I think you misunderstood..
I meant this friend of mine has the same initials and surname..
Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Location: New Delhi
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:29 pm Post subject:
|Oh sorry, Jishnu...
Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Location: Bangalore, India
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:17 pm Post subject:
|Nice report - thanks for posting. I did not notice that the outbound was a hopping flight, was initially confused why you were talking about 2 landings, then reread the flight routing at the top and understood why .
Was talking to my BIL just today and suggesting that he consider AI for his domestic flights, as he's just changed job roles and now needs to fly domestic sectors every week. Part of that was due to reading all these TRs from you!
We miss you Nalini!
Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Location: New Delhi
|Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:51 pm Post subject:
|Nimish wrote: |
|Part of that was due to reading all these TRs
Nimish, I am really honoured and touched by your above line.
On Government trips, I have to travel by Air India, since I work
for a Semi-Government organisation. For other official trips, I
make my selection, but often try Air India because of the food,
the service, and the good FFP points on offer. Like you, I have
patronised Kingfisher quite often, and have quite a few FFP
points left behind!
With regard to this flight, this is one interesting one, with the
same flight number. It confused me the first time too, before I
looked at the routing in detail!
Thanks once again, Sumantra.
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