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Jab We Met: JAB-alpur WE-e hours, nice METar. Sep'13

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

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:46 am    Post subject: Jab We Met: JAB-alpur WE-e hours, nice METar. Sep'13 Reply with quote

Jab We Met: JAB-alpur WE-e hours, nice METar. Sep'13


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14082.html

68.1 Can the title get more bizarre than that?

This trip report starts off with a bizarre forced pun.
`Jab We Met' is the name of a Shahid Kapoor-starrer popular(?) Hindi movie.
In my case, this was supposed to be parsed as,
JAB-alpur WE-e hours, nice METar.
The `JAB' jab comes from the name of the place, Jabalpur.
(A very lame jab, since Jabalpur's airport code is `JLR').
`Wee' hours comes from the fact that the Jabalpur flight was
traditionally the first in the day for the plane which operated
the flight, on that day. The Wee hours of the morning
traditionally were AI 9617 [07:35 am - 09:30 am] on an ATR-42-300.
The weather was nice at this time of the year, both at Delhi, as
well as my destination, Jabalpur.
Hence there would be nice METAR statistics at both the points.

68.2 The Times are a'Changing!

AI 9617 DEL-JLR was traditionally an early morning departure, on
the days the flight operated. The announced block timings were
[07:35 am - 09:30 am] on an ATR-42-300.
With a flight time of two hours, it was perhaps Air India's longest
ATR-42 flight, only dwarfed by one of Kingfisher Red's DEL-IDR
ATR-72 flight [02:15 hours?], as our resident planning genius Ameya told me.
My longing to take this flight had been possibly longer.
My wait to take a ride on an Air India Regional/Alliance Air
ATR-42-300 in the new colours, would be even longer - I haven't
been able to succeed as yet, at the time of the trip.
This trend has continued till date, the time of writing this report.
Many people do not like the ATRs simply from the point of view of
the cabin noise, or the scant space available.
I do not find either of these points, too bad, however.

Much to my delight, the aircraft type on this routing changed.
It was now a CRJ-700, or a CR7 `masked bandit', another of my
favourite aircraft types, a type that looked quite interesting in
the new Air India `Flying Swan' livery.
On a CR7, the block time shifted to [07:35 am - 08:55 am]
In an Aug'13 schedule, it became [12:15 pm - 01:35 pm]
On 11 Aug'13, it became [01:00 pm - 02:20 pm] for the 13 Aug'13 flight.
A Friday the 13th effect?
There was an email and an SMS to this effect,
On 12 Aug'13 - the day before the flight,
there was another email, and another SMS.
AI 9617 now had the following schedule: [01:00 pm - 03:00 pm].
What was that, again?
This route could possibly not have a stop planned in advance,
since a turnaround usually took 20 minutes block time, and a stop
at Agra was not really very probable. My mind guessed what had
happened...the flight would be operated by not a CR7, but by an AT4.
From what I remembered, the AT4 based in Delhi had been AB(b)A, the
`Swedish Band' plane VT-ABA, which had had some major repairs a few
months back. Let me get back to the timings, part.
The flight time had changed from the Wee hours,
to the time my tummy goes wee, wee, wee, all the way home.
And by this time, all but four destinations on the Air India
Regional/Alliance Air network would have true buy-on-board food,
which could not be booked at the time of booking the ticket.
As the regular reader knows, that was not what I looked forward to.

This would be my fourth trip to Jabalpur.
Ironically, it has always been in the month of July, each year,
starting from 2011. In reverse chronological order, I have described
these trips in three trip reports,
63. July Jabalpur Jet Jaunt, Jul'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13943.html
38. 2012: Jabalpur in July
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13001.html
15. Marble Rocks, Marbles Rock; Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12157.html

This would be my first trip to the place in September, and as it
would turn out, I would have a Jabalpur trip, the next month as well.
The interesting part about the non-July trips would be the mixed
aircraft type on the two legs. This time it would be an
ATR-42-300 and a CRJ-700, the next time it would be a CRJ-700 and
a De Havilland Canada Dash-8 Q400.

My itinerary for this leg of the journey was as follows:

Set out 13 Sep (Fri) for Jabalpur from New Delhi
AI 9617: Air India (AT4) [Seat: 04F; PNR: Y5F9D]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Doomna Airport, Jabalpur
New Delhi (DEL) - Jabalpur (JLR)
[01:00 pm - 03:00 pm]

68.3 Setting out for Jabalpur, 13 Sep'13 (Fri)

I had booked a Meru cab, which came in right on time.
The CISF guard at Gate 2 was an interesting person. He looked at
my photo intently, and then at my schedule.
`Aren't you cutting it a bit too tight,' he asked me, as I was
walking in to the terminal at 11:30 am.
I smiled at him, thanked him for his concern, and showed him the
two SMSes from Air India, which showed a 01:00 pm departure.
He smiled at me, I smiled back, and thanked him for his
sincerity, and doing his job well, with a soft voice.

I got a smile at the check-in counter as well.
I told the agent that I had done a tele-check-in, but he could
not locate my seat. The tele-check-in agent last night had
assured me that my seat would be 03F, a window seat on the
starboard side, and that the AT4 seats were A, C, D and F.
I knew that that was simply not true, since Air India Regional
numbered its AT4 seats as A, B, C and D. The check-in agent at
the counter told me that there was no vacant seat on the starboard
side, and asked me as to why I demanded my `right'.
I told him of the possibility of flying close to the Taj Mahal en
route, and he smiled at me appreciatively, but regretted that the
only window seat available was 13A, on the port side.
He however added that as a little cubby-hole, even though the
last row was a non-reclining one, I would not be too
inconvenienced by this particular seat, and that the view out of
the seat was nice.

My favourite Analog SLR had been giving me some trouble, as I had
mentioned in my last trip report,
67. CCU Calls, Come September, not Spring! Sep'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14050.html
For once, I was making a trip by air, without my constant companion,
who matched me ounce by ounce (it is quite heavy, just like its owner).
The Wife had lent me her Nikon Coolpix P&S (point-and-shoot).
The first object to catch my attention inside the terminal building was
an attractive Hyundai i10 Grand.



I hurried to my usual first stop, the point beside the escalator
to the food court, behind the CitiBank ATM.
Here is a view of the International apron from the domestic side.
It was an Air India story, all the way.



An AI Dream)liner NM, the `distance'/`nautical mile' plane, had
crept up to its stand a while back.



From the food court ground floor, I went to my next stop, beside
the smoking room at the top of the small ramp to the right, to
view the action on the new runway, and the tarmac. There was the
`tasty' plane, SCN (scone), VT-SCN.



Our ride for the day would be AB(b)A, the `Swedish Band' plane, VT-ABA.
I apologise for the quality of the picture: zoom-ins on P&S cameras
are not exactly wonderful, in many cases. I had seen this bird at
Delhi for quite some time, and guessed that it would be my ride
for the day, as well.



Behind this nice and small A319, on a remote stand, was...an Air India B77L,
the first time I had seen an Air India B77L at a remote stand
on the domestic tarmac, in Delhi. She was VT-ALD `Gujarat'.
This beautiful bird is now with Etihad.



I hurried to our bus gate 42A, going via the mezzanine floor (the
arrivals level), from where I clicked this picture of VT-JBN.



Here is a picture of the new ATC Tower being constructed:



68.4 A Delayed Start

Yes, I had guessed right.
It was indeed AB(b)A, the `Swedish Band' plane VT-ABA.
This was an elderly bird, in the old Alliance Air colours.
The plane looked very tired both on the outside.
I guess Air India would not be that bothered with the old
birds, since they were supposed to get newer planes on lease, soon.
The seat covers were a surprising colour: neither were they
in the new Air India Ochre and Vermillion colour scheme, nor were
they in the old Indian Airlines deep blue one.

Captain Pradeep Sharma was in command, with Ms. V. Sharma the
senior member of the cabin crew. There was one three-striper AME
on board. The flight time announced was 01:45 hours, with a block
time of 02:00 hours. Now, I have flown with the very senior
Captain Sharma before too, on the same route!
2012: Jabalpur in July
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13001.html
Papa has also flown with him, on the DEL-KNU-IXD route, and back.
The loads were very good, and I counted only 4 empty seats.
I counted myself lucky as to be on the port side of the plane,
bagging the last available window seat, so that I could have a
good look at the graceful Air India B77L parked just beside us at
a remote stand. VT-ALD `Gujarat' looked resplendent in the bright sunlight.
However, the frosty windows made my mood quite similar...frosty.

I had comfortably tucked myself in seat 13A, when the senior
Ms. V. Sharma requested us to move to row 12, seats C and D, which were
vacant. Would I be lucky with the Taj Mahal this time?
I was unable to get a decent snap of India's most recognisable
monument the last time round, with Captain Sharma in command.
I could not believe my luck that I would get a seat on the
starboard side of the plane, which I had wanted, in the first place.
There were two factors which could ruin my viewing
pleasure, out of the window. The first was the cloud cover, with
the monsoons on their way out, but making their presence felt at
a few places. The second was, the frosted window panes.

For once, the plane was clean.
My frequent complaint is that AI-R/CD often runs very dirty planes.
This is something that they just do not seem to get right:
something that needs neither too much expenditure, nor any
technological advances. VT-ABA is a very old plane, and its age
was showing. However, for the plastic and metals surfaces, at
least those that were within the range of a passenger's touchable
environment, were neat and clean. Overall however, the plane
looked quite unappealing from the inside, even though it was clean.
The plane was completely worn out from the inside.
The ``Swedish Band'' plane, I texted a few friends in the chaste
vernacular of the region, ``iskI band bajI huI hai.''
Transliterated, this implies something to the tune of the plane
facing the music, and being in bad shape.
The chipped paint on the plastic surfaces, the canvas
window shades and the other metal and plastic parts, looked very tired, indeed.
The panes at seat 12D, were even worse than the one at 13A.
The check-in agent had warned me
that I had chosen the last row, with non-reclining seats.
He need not have worried about this.
The seats were the auto-recline ones, which set into the 30
degree flaps mode as soon as one tried to recline on the seat.
I was disappointed.

68.5 The Flight Itself

Captain Sharma took us to the edge of runway 11, and took off
towards the East, and quickly turned right. We were on the way to Jabalpur now.
The real flaps:



Here is a picture of the inside of the plane.
I have been on quite a few extremely unkempt planes of Air India
Regional, primarily the AT4s. I was pleasantly surprised to see a
clean plane, whose situation was paradoxical.
While the plastic surfaces were quite clean, and the fabric quite
decent, the plane gave a feel of the interiors coming off, as I
have described before.



There were weird creaking sounds from all over, and panels looked
and sounded quite loose. As I had mentioned before, the seats
were in the auto-incline mode, with the flaps setting being at 30.
In his wonderful trip report on the Taiwan High-Speed Rail
experience, member and ace TR writer Jishnu had described the
seats, which could be rotated by 180 degrees, to face the
direction of movement of the train. This was a unique feature!
I was in a naughty mood, as I wrote back,
``They might have existed on some of the old Air India Regional
AT4s that were falling apart from the inside, before they were
returned. From the auto-recline seats, to 180 degree lie-flats,
all may have existed to various degrees of compliance, I dare say
there might have been lateral rotation as well. I guess Air India
Regional operated them till they were able to rotate...er, the right way.''

I am writing this trip report in November 2014, a good year-and-two months
after the actual trip. A colleague had a flight to
Allahabad somewhere in the middle of 2014, when he had encountered
an AT4 that was not in good shape. He was on his way to Allahabad
via Kanpur. Till the plane went to the holding point on the
runway, things looked fine, except for the rattles. There was a
sudden massive shudder as the engines were spooled up, and all of
a sudden, the propellers spun down, much to the amazement of one
and all. After some attempts to power them up, the plane was
towed to its stand. Passengers were disembarked, and put on a
bus, which went around the airport, but did not get back to the gate.
When it finally went back to the gate, and passengers were
allowed to disembark, there was an
announcement that the flight would possibly be cancelled, and
those who wished to have their tickets reimbursed, could avail of
the facility at a counter. The airline guaranteed that passengers
would be at their destinations by the evening, as they would be
put on the next Lucknow flight, and Air India would have taxis in
place to take passengers to Kanpur and Allahabad, from Lucknow's
Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport at Amausi.
Air India's IRROPS (Irregular Operations) handling is actually
not too bad, from what I have seen, and experienced. Air India
usually has back-up flights to nearby places (more so, at Delhi,
which is their primary hub), and in cases this is not possible,
passengers are usually accommodated in hotels, or given other
assistance, including keeping them updated on the phone.
Coming back to this incident, as passengers were waiting, with
some determined to reach their destinations that evening,
my colleague sighted some passengers going for the reimbursement as well.
What if the propellers stopped at some other place, which
was not on the ground, and not on the runway threshold?
There was a sudden announcement of the plane having been
resurrected, and that passengers could proceed towards Kanpur and
Lucknow (by air, on the same plane), albeit a bit late.

Let me get back to my flight itself.
Soon after the seat belt signs were switched off,
the two cheerful senior ladies began the buy-on-board cabin service.
This was also a bummer for me.
Yes, Air India had introduced the buy-on-board on all Air India
Regional (Alliance Air) AI-R/CD flights except the four long
ones, all starting from Delhi: Bhubaneshwar-Port Blair, Vadodara,
and Surat. This was at the time of my trip, circa September 2013.
Even this was to be withdrawn a few months later.
All the four were CR7 flights - one one of my favourite
aircraft to spot and travel in, in the Air India Regional colours.
The CRJ-700 `Masked Bandit' was used on Air India Regional's
longer routes. The carrier had four leased birds on its rolls,
all based in Delhi. The small number of the aircraft type almost
always precluded the simultaneous operation of all four. Usually
two of them were in regular service, and sometimes, three. This
was usually due to engine spares issues. With so few of a
particular type in the fleet, it did not make sense to have a
large cache of spares, more so, since the leased planes would
possibly be returned to the lessor quite soon, once the new
planes came into the fleet. Much to my disappointment, the
buy-on-board turned out to be a very bland selection, accompanied
by a rather uninspiring web-page for the same. At least the
buy-on-board web pages on SpiceJet and Jet Airways look
excellent, and the former, scored very high in terms of both the
quality and the quantity quotient, circa early 2013.
This was a damp squib.
I was also hoping that the buy-on-board offerings would be
offered as a pre-booking option on the website itself,
but that was not to be. Why do I prefer the same?
No, it is not just because the amount would be included within
the ticket fare itself, and I do many official trips by air.
If one pre-books some item, there is a good chance of it being
made available on the flight, since airlines are often
conservative with regard to the buy-on-board offerings.
Second, I knew for a fact that The Air India Regional CR7s
definitely had ovens on board, since I had had two hot
meals on the type, on my Bhubaneshwar trip earlier in the year.
57. B2B: Bandit 2 BBI & Back. Odissi Odyssey. May'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13530.html

Could I also pre-book a hot meal on board?
No, the fixed snack menu had completely put me off.
The cabin crew went about their task with a lot of enthusiasm, talking
and joking with the passengers, and saying that they too were not
used to the concept, and `hawking the ware around'.
Much to my surprise, many passengers patronised the service,
leading to me overhearing some apologetic words as the cart made
its way back to the galley in the rear. Luckily, there were no
grand smells permeating the cabin, so it did not accentuate my misery.
A similar minded (and bodied, too) friend had once
regretted a flight on board one of the US legacy carriers, where
the person right in front of him had unwrapped a Big Mac on a
short flight. I sympathised with him deeply,
and picturised the scary situation.
What could be scarier thought than one's tummy bleating out for
food, when the neighbour is partaking of something very tasty,
and sinful, to boot?


68.6 Landing at Jabalpur

In what would come as a complete shock to the reader, I looked at
my watch, and realised that there would be no time for me to even
pick up a quick bite at Jabalpur. I would be running a tight
schedule, and there was no time for luxuries such as food!
At this realisation, my mouth let out a chuckle,
and my tummy, a light grumble,
as I steeled my mind to resist temptation.
I had a job to complete.

There was an announcement of the start of the descent, and we were
asked to pull the window shades up, get the tray tables to their
folded position, seats upright (something that had to be taken
with a pinch of salt, since many seats were of the auto-recline
type), and all baggage stowed. The afternoon sun started coming in
from the windows, and my lack of sleep induced some quick slumber.
When I woke up, the plane was slowing down along the runway at
the Doomna airport, in Jabalpur.
It was yet another feather-touch landing by the very senior
Captain Pradeep Sharma! I only felt it when the deceleration started
kicking in, as we had covered a good bit of the runway.
I thanked the enthusiastic senior members of the cabin crew for a
nice trip, and descended down the AT4's built-in stairs.

I had wanted to express my admiration for Captain Sharma's
amazing landing, but he came out briefly, and went to the other
end of the plane, discussing some technicalities with the First
Officer, and the three-striper AME, who was on board during the
flight, in seat 13A. By then, the bus had also arrived, and since
I was getting late for my assignment, I rushed in.
The baggage took a while to come in.
My host had sent someone to pick me up.
My work was at a place very close to the Doomna airport, in fact,
it falls between the Doomna airport, and the Doomna nature reserve,
on the same road.
We reached there in 10 minutes.
My accommodation was arranged far away in the main city.
There would be miles to go before I would sleep.
Though the Doomna reserve woods were dark, lovely and deep.
I had many promises to keep.

68.7 Jabalpur Jottings

I ambled on, fuelled by just a cup of tea.
My digestive system made its presence felt.
In the absence of any input, I wondered whether it would digest itself.
I chuckled, since I also remembered what our Biology teacher had
emphasised, as to why the stomach would not digest itself.
The epithelial lining, plus different activities being performed
in different parts. Alimentary, my dear Sumantra.
If the lining got corroded, such as when Crocin is taken on an
empty stomach, causes stomach upsets, something a glutton like me always fears.
What is life without eating good food?

By the time I was done, at 07:30 pm, I was very tired.
And very hungry.
As I checked into the Guest House, I was asked,
``Sir, you'll be here...er...for how long?''
``Not too long, unless I get dinner quickly.''
Hungry-and-Angry Sumantra jab faster than lightning.
Old jungle saying.
I would be in the Guest House till the early hours on
Sunday 15 Sep, 2013. As I finished the formalities, I got a
welcome knock on my door, announcing that dinner was ready.
Indian `green' salad (cucumber, tomato, carrot),
a pulses: moong dal preparation (with its skin on:
`chhilkA moong', as they say here), and
some pAlak paneer, cottage cheese slices in a spinach puree gravy.
Simple food, low on oil and spices, which suited me just fine.
What did not suit the kitchen was my hunger.
After 10 full-size chappAtIs (stone ground wheat flour-based
unleavened bread), and numerous servings of the two main course
items, I noticed from the corner of my eye, the gentleman
retreating into the kitchen after what remained of the two dishes
had been completely exhausted. So was he.
While he retreated into the calmer confines of the kitchen,
the confines of my tummy were less than calm.
In fact, they were still stirring up a storm.
The remainder of the salad plate found its way down my oesophagus.
Lest he sacrilegiously consider the table cloth as a sacrophagus,
I beat a hasty retreat, and armed with two bottles of water, I
walked up the stairs to my room.

No, it did not quite end at that, there was a minor diversion.
I knocked on the kitchen door, let myself inside, and had the
nerve to ask him when breakfast would be served the next morning.
The man softly replied that there would be some one else on duty
in the morning. I wouldn't know whether he would take the first
night train to his home-town, haunted by the memory of a
huge-bellied six-footer, cleaning up the plates and dishes
like a vacuum cleaner.

68.9 The Day of The Jack...er...Return

I woke up with a start, since it would be a very early start to
the day. My remaining work at Jabalpur was from 7am to 9am.
I get ready well in time. I had requested for some breakfast at
around 6am, so that I would have some fire in my heart, but none
in my belly to distract me from the work at hand.
What would be available in the Guest house at this early hour?
Tea, milk (cold), some corn flakes, and bread with butter and
preserves, if I so wished. That would do fine.
I was served milk ice cold, just the way I like it.
The large flat corn flakes container emptied itself in no time.
The man in the kitchen was a bit taken aback, but asked in his
soft and sweet tone, ``Sir, should I get you some more corn flakes?''
I smiled (in recognition of his realising where the corn flakes
had disappeared), and politely refused.
Would I like some tea? Yes, make it a bit strong if possible, and
keep it `phIki' (i.e., bereft of sugar). As such, I do not like
the taste of tea much, but if the coffee is guaranteed to be the
commonly available brand of instant coffee from a multi-national
company available all around the country, I would like the tea.
`chAi' in most parts of North India, `chAhA' to the
Maharashtrian, or the `gauge'. to the Bong intellectual.
The regular reader may remember a discussion on the term `gauge'
in a previous trip report,
64. Coimba-Tour, Jul'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13973.html
The relevant section in that trip report was
64.6 For the Spirited Tea-Totaller
This was indeed a `gauge', with the three important components of
a cuppa brought to a boil, and then left to simmer, over a low flame.
I wanted it to be hot (to enjoy the beverage),
strong (to enjoy the day, rather than sleep most of it through),
and not sweet (to make it less sinful, and also to enjoy the taste
of the brew with milk).

68.10 The Return Flight

We set out for the small but impressive Doomna airport,
after the tiring start to the day.

Set out 15 Sep (Sun) for New Delhi from Jabalpur
AI 9618: Air India (CRJ7) [Seat: 03A; PNR: Y5F9D]
Doomna Airport, Jabalpur - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Jabalpur (JLR) - New Delhi (DEL)
[10:50 am - 12:10 pm]

I reached the airport well in time. As we waited, our plane came in.
As ace TR writer Ameya has pointed out, my return trips are
usually smaller in description as compared to the onward journey.
Was it because of too much of excitement going in to the
planning, and after a job done, to get back home as soon as possible?
No, not quite, I wish that were true.
It is just that the planning, and background which takes many
words to describe, often exceeds the matter towards the end.
Ameya's second point is also worth noting: TRs should be written
almost immediately after the trip, and not more than a year
afterwards, when there is a good (bad?) chance of forgetting
details, and misplacing one's notes as well. And that is exactly
what has happened...in fact, all of the above. Unfortunately.
One of the biggest disappointments of sending a trip report very
late, is a possibility of my notes getting lost. I can not trust
my nebulous memories, anyway. I fail to remember the registration
of the plane, the names of the captain and the chief of the cabin crew.

Here is a view from my seat, of the CRJ-700 `masked bandit'.
I did catch a few nice snaps of the plane, which was in good shape.



The plane was surprisingly neat and clean, with both the plastic
surfaces and the fabric giving a nice feeling about them.



Even though the CR7 is a small plane, the Air India seat pitch
ensures that even for a near six-footer like me, the leg space is
quite adequate for a short flight.



The captain made a smooth touch-down on the new runway, coming in
from the 29 end. We made it out of the plane quickly, and headed
towards the baggage claim area. One just cannot miss the iconic
`Mudras' gallery, in both the Domestic part, as well as the
International part, just prior to the baggage claim area.
The `Mudras' gallery is impressive every time one looks at it.
Here is why, perhaps. It is always maintained in a spic-and-span condition.



IGIA T3 likes to say it with flowers!



I request the regular reader to stay tuned for the next one, as
it is going to describe a trip to...Jabalpur again.
Ah yes, I had mentioned this in Section 68.2, above.
How interesting can this get? Not much, possibly.
Except for the exotic planes this time, and some more tid-bits.
69. At 6s & 7s? No. On all 4s? No. Jabalpur, Oct'13
How much more horrendous can the title get? Not much, possibly.
I'll try to write this up quickly.
---
Links to my 68 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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ameya
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Posts: 3584
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for another TR! I keep saying this but the backlog needs to bridge the gap Smile

JLR looks like a profitable destination for 9I, considering them upgrading to CR7 when they had the aircraft in good shape.
Glad they managed the time changes effectively and kept you informed.

The reason for different block times for same distance between DEL-IDR, DEL-JLR, and this is just a speculation based on some operations
guys feedback and not pilots is that DEL-IDR operates on the DEL-BOM corridor turning left over chittorgarh while DEL-JLR, takes
a different route towards RPR/BBI turning right over around Rewa

Why did AI do a 9W and say seats were filled up!

In one of the pictures, I see a lot of private jets, has DIAL shifted pvt jet ops to T3 + T1 or this happens on case to case basis ?

Glad you got the CR7 on the return, its one of the aircraft high on my to-fly list.

Looking forward to the next one !
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
I keep saying this but the backlog needs to bridge the gap Smile
Thank you Sir, thanks to your constant encouragement, I try to take time out whenever possible, and try to wipe off the backlog.
ameya wrote:
JLR looks like a profitable destination for 9I, considering them upgrading to CR7 when they had the aircraft in good shape.
I remember you telling me quite some time back, about a possible upgrade for JLR. JLR had traditionally been an 3xweek AT4 destination, but some changes in the AI-R/9I/CD schedule meant upgrading the capacity. The CR7 may also be reasonably cost-effective on the JLR route, though it is perhaps a bit better on long-and-thin ones such as BBI/STV/BDQ/IXZ/VTZ-MAA/KNU-CCU etc (places to which is has operated in the past) where the length of the trip works better for the fuel-thirsty turbofans, as compared to the ATs. Of course, as you pointed out, the AT7 will perhaps suit the long-and-thin routes the best, in terms of economy, as the AT4 is a rather niche aircraft, which is designed to operate out of some length-restricted airfields, which do not support its bigger cousin, for instance. With good loads and fair distances, even niche aircraft will do well, I guess. AT4s and CR7s included.
AI-R/CD/9I seems to get good loads on the DEL-JLR sector, and SG with its Q4s, has filled the gap left by the exit of Kingfisher Airlines. There is quite some low-yield demand on this sector, which regional jets/turboprops can handle well. I have seen this sector over the years, and see the flights well patronised, be it IT/9I/SG.
ameya wrote:
Glad they managed the time changes effectively and kept you informed.
Normally, AI does this quite well, since their turn-around.
ameya wrote:
The reason for different block times for same distance between DEL-IDR, DEL-JLR...
That is a neat point, Sir!
ameya wrote:
Why did AI do a 9W and say seats were filled up!
I am not sure about this, since there were a total of four aisle seats vacant by the time we took off. The seat shifting was perhaps for the AME to observe something on the port side. The AME had taken up the port window seat on the last row. The seat beside him was one of the four aisle seats vacant.
ameya wrote:
In one of the pictures, I see a lot of private jets, has DIAL shifted pvt jet ops to T3 + T1 or this happens on case to case basis?
Sir, these remote stands see regular bizjet occupancy, usually the bigger ones, whereas the T1 ops are perhaps for the smaller bizcraft. This is just what I have observed at DEL. To the right of this space is where the Vistara A320s are currently parked.
ameya wrote:
Glad you got the CR7 on the return, its one of the aircraft high on my to-fly list.
I guess Sir you will have to travel up North for this, unless you are planning to the thin BOM-GWL one[/quote]
Thanks once again for the detailed feedback, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, thanks for the share! I wish I too can fly on an AI CRJ/AT4 but the routes I fly don't see these aircraft in service. Sad

And yes, ATRs may exude a cramped feel at times, but I also feel the noise argument given by its detractors is overstated.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Varun!
Spiderguy252 wrote:
And yes, ATRs may exude a cramped feel at times, but I also feel the noise argument given by its detractors is overstated.
I feel so too, though I do not have the figures to back this up!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another unique TR from you, and now with so many pictures! Thank you for this, sir! It keeps getting better Very Happy

Heavy SLR cameras...hmm...I'm sure your's isn't as heavy as mine. I must admit, it has become a bit difficult handling the Nikon D7100 over 2013 and 2014, as compared to the tiny compact yet oh so fabulous Nikon D40 which I used in 2012 and prior. It becomes quite difficult especially when it comes to the meals and all.

Great to see VT-ABA still in Alliance Air colors and blue seats! It really gave me a nostalgic feeling of my time in CCU, when she was based there and operated one of my CCU-GAU early morning flights (in the winter, 2 hours delay!) back in 2006. And then there was Dobby, where the little S.O.B (literally!) showed his anger by planting himself on my study table...and he couldn't get off! Great times, those were! Smile

Thanks for giving me a mention in this TR, I really appreciate this! Very Happy

Good to see the interiors of the CD CRJ...I think these are possibly the first few pictures of the same! Nice to see DEL airport be maintained so well...as one would expect from the capital of India!

Looking forward to more picture loaded TRs from you!

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Sir: it was nice to hear from you.
jbalonso777 wrote:
Heavy SLR cameras...hmm...I'm sure your's isn't as heavy as mine.
Yessir: mine was an entry level Analog SLR: a Minolta Maxxum 50 with a 28-100mm lens.
jbalonso777 wrote:
Great to see VT-ABA still in Alliance Air colors and blue seats!
I seem to remember you telling me about your AT4 experience!
jbalonso777 wrote:
Good to see the interiors of the CD CRJ...I think these are possibly the first few pictures of the same!
Sir, there were two earlier TRs with some (bad quality) pictures. You may have forgotten, but you had the pole position on a reply to #57, below, in this context:
57. B2B: Bandit 2 BBI & Back. Odissi Odyssey. May'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13530.html
3. DEL-MAA on IC429 (A321), MAA-DEL on IC7602 (CRJ7)
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10401.html
Thanks once again, Sir: reading detailed comments as yours, makes it all worth it.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic TR.

Only a year and 2 month backlog .... things are improving Razz
I'm hoping to fly into JLR next Feb .... either AI or SG. Your TR is tilting me towards the AI route thru DEL

I think AI should get an award for the number of times they changed the departure time.
So what happened with the Taj Mahal picture on the way down?

Keep them coming!
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
Only a year and 2 month backlog .... things are improving Razz
Ha ha, yes...I am trying to be more regular. I also have to thank Ameya for his constant egging me on!
stealthpilot wrote:
I'm hoping to fly into JLR next Feb .... either AI or SG. Your TR is tilting me towards the AI route thru DEL
And we will love to see JLR, and Bandhavgarh (did I copy you correctly?) through your lens, and words!
stealthpilot wrote:
I think AI should get an award for the number of times they changed the departure time.
AI-R/CD/9I have been a lean-and-mean subsidiary airline, but always short of aircraft in an era of demand. I have been tracing their operations with a lot of interest over the past, and Ameya has been a big help with his decoding the rotations. Their schedules have changed very rapidly, owing to inventory issues, but they have managed this rather well, as I have been quite a regular flyer with them, and have seen these operations. They also follow up well with SMSes, phone calls, and emails, well in time. That bodes well for their image as well.
stealthpilot wrote:
So what happened with the Taj Mahal picture on the way down?
I regret my only time when I saw the beauty beneath the clouds, and my sleepy self could not get the Analog SLR to focus through the scratched window, well in time. It was just that one time. I think it may have been a one-off, with the plane flying a bit closer to the bend on the Yamuna, since aircraft are not allowed to directly overfly the monument. On all other journeys, I have fought sleep (and now, hunger as well) to strain my eyes, in the vain hope of sighting it, and saying, `wAh tAj!'
stealthpilot wrote:
Keep them coming!
Thank you for your encouragement, I also admire how you take time off from a busy and punishing flying schedule to not just read others' reports, you also write spectacular ones of your own!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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shivendrashukla
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing TR there sir as usual. I had the opportunity to travel on the masked bandit only once. It was DEL-BBI-IXZ, a four hr flight in total. We were served idli-sambhar with chutney on the first leg and marble sandwich on the second leg. This was on 18 Nov 13 and at that time BoB service had stopped.

The plane was as usual spic and span.

Also now that ATR 72-600 are coming in, i believe ATR 42 days are numbered. You are lucky that you have had enough trips on it while you could. I havent had d opportunity to travel on it till now and it seems I wont have Sad

Cheers
Shivendra
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Shukla-ji!
shivendrashukla wrote:
I had the opportunity to travel on the masked bandit only once. It was DEL-BBI-IXZ, a four hr flight in total. We were served idli-sambhar with chutney on the first leg and marble sandwich on the second leg. This was on 18 Nov 13 and at that time BoB service had stopped.
You got the nice opportunity when the four longish destinations still had the food service: BBI/IXZ/BDQ/STV. I also remember you telling me about this trip. How about telling the forum as well! I mean, a trip report, of course Smile
shivendrashukla wrote:
Also now that ATR 72-600 are coming in, i believe ATR 42 days are numbered. You are lucky that you have had enough trips on it while you could.
Yes, I guess I am indeed lucky for the same, but I still yearn for one in the Flying Swan livery. I do not know the AI-R/CD/9I fleet plans of whether all AT4s will be replaced with AT7s, and whether the masked bandits will continue, but if the AT4s are not replaced with newer AT4s, niche money-minting routes such as KUU will not ordinarily be profitably possible.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
Sir, there were two earlier TRs with some (bad quality) pictures. You may have forgotten, but you had the pole position on a reply to #57, below, in this context:
57. B2B: Bandit 2 BBI & Back. Odissi Odyssey. May'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13530.html
3. DEL-MAA on IC429 (A321), MAA-DEL on IC7602 (CRJ7)
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic10401.html

Oh boy. How I missed out on that is beyond me. I do apologize!
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superb TR as always sir.
Love the shot of 5 different AI birds.
Wish even i would get a chance to ride those CRJ-700.
Someday..!!!
Thank you for sharing sir. Smile Smile Smile
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rakesh959
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantra Sir!
A lovely TR and I must admit I just loved the title.I am a huge fan of those CRJ700s and I want them to be deployed in India more and more but thats a rarity.Your TRs on them give me something to cheer about!And as usual Your TR was awesome with some witty writing and even smaller details being covered Smile Thanks yet again for a wonderful TR on my favourite Regional Aircraft!
Cheers!
Rakesh.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Kini, and Rakesh!
pradeep777 wrote:
Wish even i would get a chance to ride those CRJ-700.
Someday..!!!
Sir, given your penchant for exotic routings, and exotic aircraft (I remember the costing and other details, from your lovely TR series), I am sure we will see you at DEL soon, trying to take a CR7 routing to an equally exotic place!
rakesh 959 wrote:
I must admit I just loved the title.I am a huge fan of those CRJ700s and I want them to be deployed in India more and more but thats a rarity....And as usual Your TR was awesome with some witty writing and even smaller details being covered
Thank you, Sir: I am quite a boring person in real life (The Wife will testify to that quite readily, with Junior joining in), but with a pen or a keyboard at my finger-tips, I try my best to be a Walter Mitty. There are many on this forum whose wit and humour are way beyond my feeble attempts, I just try to emulate them!
Thanks once again.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wish ur words get true. Planning on a trip soon. Hope it involves this amazing bird. Very Happy
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great TR Sumantra and I liked the title of you trip report, seems like you spend quite a bit of time on being creative with your titles. I am sure you miss your analog SLR, but I donít as I can get to see more pictures from the time Sumantra moved to the digital world. Sorry to note you could not see the Taj Mahal maybe next time. Just out of curiosity is there any air taxi operator who provides view of the Taj Mahal? In other countries top tourist spots can be viewed via aerial view? Your description of the seat recline of the airplane was really funny.

Sri_Bom
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS: Any idea why Air India still continues with the Alliance Air branding? I had read somewhere that they had merged it under Air India so surprised to see they are still continuing the branding.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
...seems like you spend quite a bit of time on being creative with your titles.
He he...I guess I also spend too much time with my TRs, so much so that the backlog is getting viral. Thanks you for your kind words, and I am glad that you enjoyed the `recline' part as much as I hate to be on these planes. I am looking forward to the new AT7-6, however!
As regards aerial views of interesting monuments, it is not possible to overfly the Taj by a large margin, from what I remember, by law. Hence, the only time I saw the beauty from the air was from a great height, but the monument itself was not one to miss, and the bend in the Yamuna was unmistakably the Taj one, from what I remember circa 1998. For all we know, the plane may have strayed from its scheduled flight path the only time I observed the Taj from the air.
Alliance Air/Air India Regional always seems to have an identity crisis that baffles me. It had a code CD, then became repatriated with AI codes, and now code-shares with AI, having its own airline code 9I. This is one lean-and-mean well-managed unit (at least, it used to be), that is badly in need of aircraft. It desperately needs those AT7-6s: there is a huge market for this airline-within-an-airline.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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avbuff
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A nice and interesting trip report from you, something unique!

Great pictures and I hope as an AI FFP traveler, they take note of the dirty planes you have to ensure!

Thanks for sharing, oh yes and yet again a signature title from you Very Happy
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

avbuff wrote:
A nice and interesting trip report from you, something unique!
Ojas, thanks once again for taking time out from your busy schedule to read TRs (yes, I remember, on your computer at home: eating into your short home time; and not on your phone, or tab). I appreciate your kind words! Now, let me try to clear the backlog as soon as possible.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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