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At 6s & 7s? No. On all 4s? No. Jabalpur, Oct'13

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 2:12 pm    Post subject: At 6s & 7s? No. On all 4s? No. Jabalpur, Oct'13 Reply with quote

At 6s & 7s? No. On all 4s? No. Jabalpur, Oct'13


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14124.html

69.1 Introduction

Yes indeed, the titles are getting weirder, by the day.
Nearly three weeks after my last Jabalpur flight,
I had another one due quickly. So, what was at sixes and sevens?
The `seven' referred to the CR7, the CRJ-700 `masked bandit', the
scheduled aircraft type for my onward journey.
The `six' refers to the fact that my schedules had gone for a
six, when the day prior to the flight, I got an SMS, and a phone call,
with Air India regretting that the time of departure had been
revised from 12:15 pm to 1pm, which would put paid my hopes for
picking up a quick lunch at Jabalpur. I wondered if the aircraft
type had also undergone a change.
Would it be an AT4 (ATR-42-300) again, as it was on my last trip to the city?
The `on all fours' refers to the fact that the type could be an
AT4 on the onward leg, and a Q4, on the return.
An AT4, and a Q4: on all fours.
I do not look forward to an AT4 ride, given my last trip (yes, to
the same city), where there was an aircraft substitution.
68. Jab We Met: JAB-alpur WE-e hours, nice METar. Sep'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14082.html
I quickly checked the Air India website.
Yes, the website showed a delayed departure, 01:00 pm in place of
12:15 pm, but the block flight time of an hour and fifteen minutes
told me that it would be on a CR7 `masked bandit'.
Incidentally, Jabalpur's small runway sees and has seen most of
the smaller planes around in the country.
The AT4 (Air India Regional/Alliance Air) and the AT7s (Kingfisher
Red, in their days) did the leg with a block time of 2 hours.
The CR7 (Air India Regional/Alliance Air) does it with a block
time of 01:15 hours.
The Q4 (Bombardier Dash-8 Q400) has a scheduled block time of
02:05 hours. I wonder why, since the Q4 is among the faster
turboprop commercial aircraft.
I will also refrain (at least this time, no promises for no
self-advertisement later on!) from giving a list of all my trips to
Jabalpur, since that list has grown quite long, by now.

69.2 04 Oct, Another Weekend Trip

The joke in our semi-Government organisation is that people seem
to be working harder on weekends, to compensate for the rest of
the week. The regular reader may have noted that most of my
travels were on weekends, or a part of the weekend. This was
sandwiched between 02 October, the birthday of Gandhi-ji, the
father of the nation; and the 05-06 October weekend. The
itinerary for my onward leg was as follows:

Set out 04 Oct (Fri) for Jabalpur from New Delhi
AI 9617: Air India (CRJ7) [Seat: 05F; PNR: JCJ4F]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Doomna Airport, Jabalpur
New Delhi (DEL) - Jabalpur (JLR)
[12:15 pm - 01:35 pm]

I had planned for a 10am departure, but the Air India SMS and
phone call had ensured that I would reach the airport about an
hour early, since I had booked a cab for a 10am departure well in
advance. After some frantic dashes for food and civil supplies, a
drop-in at office, and some work at home, I was finally able
to venture out for the airport exactly at 10am.

The check-in and security check did not take long.
I was welcomed by a beautiful green arrangement,
which IGIA T3 is well-known for.



I had some time on my hands, and roamed about all around the place.
Close to the international gates visible from the domestic side,
a Dream)liner salamander was creeping into position.



The domestic remote gates usually present a nice sight. Here are
the `Quick Turn-around/Just back' and `Junior Engineer' planes,
VT-RJB and VT-RJE, two CRJ-700 `masked bandits' parked in
position, as seen from the top of the ramp Y-point, which splits
into the Air India gates on the right, and the mixed ones, on the left.



I went right as usual, to the end of the finger, from where I
could see the action on the runways and taxi-ways, on a dreary day.
There is nothing better to lighten up one's mood, than a beautiful A332!
Here is one in the China Southern colours.



Now, here is a side-on view. I had The Wife's Nikon CoolPix PNS
camera on loan, and I clicked away to glory.



...and finally, a view from the back!



Also in the picture, is a Druk Air A319, which had seen action as
a wet-leased bird for the Indian Airlines, if I remember correctly.
That was quite some time back.
I never seem to lose my fascination for the CR7 `masked bandit',
in the new Air India `Flying Swan' livery.



Giving them company, is a company-operated ATR-42-300:
ABB, the `powerful' plane, VT-ABB.

When I entered the holding area for gates 42, I heard an
announcement that Air India flight AI 9813 to Dharamshala had been
cancelled, owing to bad weather. There was an ATR-42 full load of
passengers in the waiting area, but waiting quite patiently.
There were two Air India officials, explaining that they
passengers could either opt for travel up to Amritsar by the
corresponding flight, and have a dedicated bus for them to
Dharamshala from there, or could opt to have their tickets
refunded immediately. 21 passengers opted for the former scheme.
There were some anxious queries regarding the baggage, but the
officials calmly allayed their fears, and assured passengers that
they would be transferred automatically to the Amritsar flight.
I heard the officials talking among themselves, that they would
easily be able to take more passengers, even if the few people who
wanted to cancel their tickets, decided against it at the last
moment. This was the mid-day Dream)liner flight, on the days it
was supposed to operate, coming back as the Birmingham flight.
Lucky passengers, I told myself.

Here, they were scheduled to take a flight to Dharamshala aboard
the smallest plane in Air India's fleet, the ATR-42-300.
Their ride was to be on ABB, the `powerful' plane: VT-ABB.
Thankfully, it was not on ABA, the `Swedish Band' plane: VT-ABA,
whose interiors have seen better days, and even that would have
been decades back. Thanks to the AI Engineering team, the plane
was flyable, but the interior was not presentable. It was a
leased bird, which was possibly due to be returned quite soon,
and Air India did not want to spend much on the interiors of the
plane, which was almost falling apart. I for one, would not like
to take a flight on this bird willingly, unless I have to.
I just wanted to check on the Amritsar flight passengers had been
re-booked on. When I tried to connect to the free WiFi, I found
that the service had changed from Aircel's earlier 20-minute free
service to Tata Communication Ltd's 45-minute free one.
AI 114 DEL-ATQ for the day was on a B77W!
On the days the Birmingham flight does not operate, at the time
of my journey, the morning flight AI 461 was operated by the
Dream)liner, a political move that had thrust the Dream)liner
into operating on this rather short route. I tried some random
dates in the month, to find for instance, the first two flights
on 08 Oct to be operated by Dream)liners. There had been some
changes in the Dream)liner schedules for the month - this had
been in the news.

Air India announced another flight cancellation for the day.
This was again to be on the ATR-42-300, and another
politically-motivated flight, thrust down Air India's throat.
Ludhiana, AI 9803.
Nothing was announced as the reason, but it was possibly not too
difficult to hazard a guess. I did not see any prospective
passenger anywhere around. Or had they been transferred already
to either an Amritsar flight, or the Chandigarh one?
The loads for Jabalpur built up as time went by.

When I had come in, one of the two CR7 `masked bandits' pushed
back, and close to our boarding time at 12:08 pm,
I noticed one touch down on runway 11.



I guessed that this would be our ride to Jabalpur.
The bird got a remote stand close to the Eastern end.



The holding area filled up gradually, pointing to good
loads. I counted around 55 passengers, which gave a healthy load
of around 75%. I spotted a familiar face. It was the AME I had
sat next to, on my last `full-service' short CR7 flight, which
was incidentally from Jabalpur again, in July 2013.
63. July Jabalpur Jet Jaunt, Jul'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13943.html
The cheerful Mr. R. P. Singh!

I was not able to speak to him right then, and seeing him stand outside
waiting for the staff vehicle made me fear the worst. Had the
plane gone tech, and would I be delayed? As it is, I had no
chance of picking up anything to eat since my schedule was just a
bit too tight, and I did not want to patronise the buy-on-board
on Air India Regional. The Maruti Omni van crept up to the plane
which I had guessed to be ours, but luckily there were no open
engines, or people with scaffolding-like mounts around the plane.
Around either plane, in fact.
That cheered me up.

I was one of the first to react to the boarding announcement.
I was to see some passengers come in late as well,
those whom I had not seen in the holding area. Getting closer to
the plane, I found that it was an old friend RJD, the `political
party' plane: VT-RJD. It was sandwiched between the AT4 to the
east: ABB, the `powerful' plane, and JE, the `Junior Engineer' plane:
VT-RJE to the west. Ms. Geena was in charge of the cabin, with
Ms. Prema to help her in her duties. I have seen the smiling Ms. Geena
on quite a few flights on this aircraft type, and on trips
to Jabalpur, in particular. Would Captain Stephen be in command, again?

No, it was Captain Ajit Saroha, whose name seemed vaguely
familiar (as seemed his features, when he was making a walk-around
of the aircraft at Jabalpur's Doomna airport), with First Officer
Vishal. As usual, I was on constant SMS contact with a few
friends. Varun asked me if they recognised me too.
I was reminded of that memorable episode from the Jaspal Bhatti
serial, `Flop Show'. He plays a teacher Dr. Bhatti in the
serial, where he asks his student if he knows the milk shop. The
student replied cheerfully, that even the buffalo at the shop
knows him well, wagging her tail when she caught sight of him.
One of the announcements on board was that cell phones would not
be allowed in the flight mode, too. There was not much more to
write about, as Captain Saroha executed a soft landing at
Jabalpur's Doomna airport, and I rushed to work.
The next day was a heavy one, as well.
It all went past in a blur, with me even forgetting to report on
the food served, at one of my favourite guest houses.

69.3 Getting ready for the return!

The itinerary for my return journey was as follows.

Set out 05 Oct (Sat) for New Delhi from Jabalpur
SG 2452: SpiceJet (Q400) [Seat: 04A; PNR: LBWTKK]
Doomna Airport, Jabalpur - IGIA T1-C, New Delhi
Jabalpur (JLR) - New Delhi (DEL)
[06:30 pm - 08:35 pm]

It had been a very heavy day for me, as I sat in the lobby of the
Guest House, keying in a document frantically, to send it out.
The driver came in well in time, and the Guest House staff
insisted on preparing some tea for me. He had been taken slightly
aback by my sweet smile in the morning, when I had said that it
was getting late. He took the blame up on himself, that he had
not been informed by the staff on the night shift, that I would
have liked an early breakfast. I was touched.

The driver and I had a nice and strong cuppa, and set out for the
airport. The Guest house is some 10km from the Doomna airport,
and a very pleasant drive amidst the emerald greenery on both
sides of the road. The high security zone of the ordinance
factory to the left with its hills and valleys nestled amidst the
emerald greenery, and the large leafed small deciduous light
forest to the right, it is a very pleasant drive. Even though
the sun was up, the cool breeze felt wonderful, and the driver
smiled and readily agreed to my request not to have the vehicle's
air conditioner on. He knows me by face at least, as I have made
quite a few trips to this place over the past few years. When
someone had asked me in his presence, he answered before me, and
told him that this was my fifth visit to the place!

The driver knew a good bit about plane types, and when he had
picked me up from the airport the day before, he had told me that
my host had informed him of the changed timings that day, and
that if Air India had sent its propeller aircraft that day, I
would have come in some 45 minutes later. He had told me that he
believed that propeller aircraft would take around 2 hours for
the Jabalpur-Delhi leg, but the jets do it in about 45 minutes
less. I was pleasantly surprised at this, and he told me that he
had seen almost all types of flights there since the airport came
up in 2004-5. He had joined the place in 2005, when the airstrip
was in irregular use, by the armed forces, for the ordinance
factory traffic. The small airport had come up with the
construction starting some time in 2004, and being completed by
2005. He also told me that he had seen lots of passengers there,
telling me that flights often went quite full - a natural conclusion.
He knew about the timings of the then Kingfisher operations, the
current Air India changed timings, and the SpiceJet timings as
well. I was impressed.

69.4 At the Doomna Airport, Jabalpur, for the return trip

We did the 10-odd km stretch in about 20 minutes, and I alighted
at the small but impressive terminal building. I have always
admired how the Airports Authority of India can maintain an
airport facility well, if there is good management at the top,
and there is a will to do a job well. The tiny terminal is just
right for its size and the traffic that Jabalpur sees. The 8
year-old terminal has seen some wear and tear, but is usually
maintained in a very clean state, with the praise extending to
the toilets as well. In most parts of India, lack of signage
for toilets is not an impediment, since their presence is
usually advertised by the stench one's nose gets, as one gets
close to them.
On my last trip to the place, I was a bit taken
aback at what was possibly an off-day at the airport terminal,
but this time, it was business as usual. The air-conditioning was
working well in the small terminal, and the large ancient-style
fast fans on the walls were doing their duty well.

At 05:15 pm, the SpiceJet counter opened, and those with cabin
baggage alone went towards the check-in counter, while the rest
of us (the reader knows that I am a lousy packer, carrying a
check-in piece even for a short trip), headed for the X-ray
machine. At the time of the journey (Oct'13), only the four
privately airports in India had in-line baggage screening: Delhi,
Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. For a tiny airport such as the
Doomna airport in Jabalpur (which at its peak, handled three
flights a day: two Kingfisher Red flights, and one Air India one:
all ATR flights at that time), it was perhaps out of the question.
There was a young lady, and young gentleman at the two check-in
counters. There were pleasantly conversing with passengers,
which looked and felt nice. The security check opened at 5
minutes before the scheduled time. The MP state police mans the
airport, as I observed all the ladies and gentlemen in uniform to
have the light Khaki uniforms of the MP state police. As I went
air-side, I liked the soft efficiency of the men in uniform: they
were patrolling the passenger crowd well, performing the flow
control task without being obtrusive, given the lightly staffed small
airport, and the limited facilities. There was one X-ray machine,
and two lines at the security, one for ladies, and one for
gentlemen. As I entered the security check counter, the young
gentleman in uniform looked up at me, and smiled. That must be
the keys, he said, as I took a greyed once-white handkerchief out
of my right pocket. I smiled in unanticipated surprise.
``I remember you from your last trip, you had the same dirty
hanky in your pocket,'' he added with a twinkle of his eye.
I appreciated his memory, and added,
``My bad habit of keeping my keys in my hand kerchief.
Just as bad habits do not change, the same applies to my hanky as well!''
He also laughed out, aloud.
By now, I noticed two mini-buses with SpiceJet markings, ready in
front of the terminal. The two moved in towards the parking spot
at the airfield (which is in between the terminal building and
the runway), as soon as it landed.
A Maruti Versa/Eeko van also stood nearby,
possibly for the SpiceJet staff, along with another vehicle, a
Tata Sumo Jeep. And yes, `Sumo' is the unofficial nickname for
Yours Truly, Sumantra. I was christened thus by a friend, at a
time when I was pencil-thin: I cannot but feel simply amazed at
his foresight. Yes, fore-sight, literally, as my hair-line gradually
bid good-bye to my fore-head, and my paunch-line started its
for(e)ward march, to precede me, wherever I went.

The paunch-line would be the punch-line.
The Guest house catering staff member had asked me if they could
pack in some food for me for my return. I thanked them for their
concern, and told them that I would get back home well in time
for dinner with the family. What I did not tell them was that I
was looking forward to gorging on the pre-booked Buy-on-board
sandwich and drink. Yes, at the check-in, the Sikh gentleman had
remarked that I had pre-booked my seat (04A). I added that I had
pre-booked a snack as well, to which his lips betrayed a hint of
a naughty smile. ``Enjoy the snack Sir, and have a nice flight,''
he signed off. He had earlier told me that the flight was on time.
I also noted with great delight, that one of the entries on my
boarding pass said, `SSR(s): NVSW', The last four characters,
guessed my excited eyes, would have stood for `Non-Vegetarian
Sandwich'. I remembered the excellent cheTTinADu chicken sandwich
I had had, on my only SpiceJet Q4 flight till date, on my
March'13 Nanded trip. A link to the trip report is:
53. Nanded. And Dead Tired. Dizzy iN NDC. Mar'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13463.html
Would I get the same, again? The last time, the food would have
been loaded in Mumbai. This time also, the plane had come in from
India's economic capital. The regular reader may well share with
me, my eager anticipation of the above.

A tractor with three luggage boxes moved towards the tarmac, and
one bus inched ahead, as the plane came in from Mumbai at 06:07 pm,
well on time. It had come in, as usual, on runway 24. The
plane had come in low, and made a smooth touch-down. It was nice
to see the efficiency at the airline, all the more so, given the
frequent sudden route and flight changes, and heavy leasing out
of planes (going down to 3 flights a day on India's prime air
corridor, Delhi-Mumbai). The airline was not in excellent
financial health, but the nice behaviour of the staff, and the
efficiency belied any internal trouble at the airline, if there was one.
As I write this trip report in December 2014, the airline looks
to be in deep financial trouble.

The small terminal building at the Doomna airport in Jabalpur has
three main sections, one for check-in, one for the departure
lounge, and one for the arrivals. The land-side entrance is to
the left, and the arrivals part to the right, when one approaches
the airport from the scenic road. The two mini-buses went to the
aircraft, and came in with passengers. When the first bus had
emptied out, it moved forward a bit, right up to the departures
waiting hall of the shaded common air-side area. The two buses
arrived at the plane, one soon after another. There was no
over-crowding in any bus - there was enough standing area.
The mini-bus was also air-conditioned.

We alighted in front of our aircraft, VT-SUO, `Laung'.
I texted my friends excitedly, `Sumo on SUO'.
It was on the `Laung'/long route today, doing the BOM-JLR-DEL
segment. Were they wondering, `merA laung gawAchA',
the title of a hit pop song, which transliterates as
`where is my `Laung''?
The `Laung' in this case refers to a piece of jewellery, a nose ring.
The spice `Laung' refers to the clove, which the divine South of
the country, and Sri Lanka are quite famous for.
I remember a conversation with a Bhopal-based friend, Mr. J. R. R. Talking.
It was an SMS conversation, as usual.
I had mistakenly identified a SpiceJet plane as `Laung',
when it was SUI, `Haldi' (turmeric).
He chided me, ``Sumo, this is haldi!''
I texted back, ``I guess I should get my eyes tested, jaldI (quickly)''
My lament continued. My hands `had been yellowed' quite some time back.
`Yellowing of the hands' is a a transliteration from the original Hindi
expression, which referred to the application of
mehendI/hennA (a natural powder-based dye) on the hands at
marriages (usually, for ladies, but the expression is perhaps a
bit more general), giving the hands their characteristic
orangish-yellow colour. My `hands had been yellowed',
I have mellowed down the years (and ears, too),
and now, my face had reddened in shame, as I had mis-identified
an aircraft, which for him, was a big shock.
He knows the registration number and name of almost all
aircraft in the Indian registry, and can identify the type of a
plane just from its sound, and the time of the day (or night - he
hardly sleeps.) He knows all arrivals and departures by heart.
`Rouge, Rouge,' I commented, trying a vain pun on the Hindi term
`roz-roz' (everyday).

69.5 The return flight!

We boarded through the plane's built-in stairs.
I noted with delight, that SpiceJet had two steps also at the start, which
coincided exactly with the height of the point where the built-in
stairs hung from the door of the plane.
I would see the same contraption when we landed in Delhi, too.
All seats had the seat belts crossed, and placed across, neatly.
I appreciated these small points in the service!
The plane was spotlessly clean from the inside.
The window pane adjacent to my seat 04A was quite scratched, however.
The other just in front was fine.
Yes, the SpiceJet Q400s have decent leg-space, for the short hops.



Here is a picture of the seats, one slightly reclined.



...and a shot, looking ahead:



The announcements on the PA system were not very audible, and the
reading light for seat 04B was missing. I struggled to catch the
words spoken by the FAs. Captain Ajit Singh Chauhan was in
command, with First Officer Ramnik Chandra. Ms. Neha and Ms. Aanchal
were the FAs on the plane. Ms. Aanchal was making
announcements from the front of the cabin, and Ms. Neha, from
the back. Much to my surprise, there was an announcement similar to
the inboard flight on Air India Regional. SpiceJet also did not
allow phones in flight, in the flight mode.
I wonder, does this have something to with smaller aircraft?

We took off from runway 24 at Jabalpur, and took a left turn soon.
I waited for the seat belt ding to go off, and the sight, and
sounds of the snack cart to affect my senses.
When the BoB ca(r)t came near me, Ms. Aanchal called out my
name, and confirmed that she would serve my pre-booked sandwich
with a fruit juice carton, which one would I like?
I would have rather wanted to know the contents of the sandwich:
I had hoped for the cheTTinAD(u) one. The choice of juices was
orange, apple and mixed fruit. I went in for the first.
The sandwich was disappointing.
It was not one of the sandwiches advertised in the menu.
It was a white bread Mayo Chicken sandwich, with some multi-grain seeds
in the mixture inside. While the filling was fine, the bread did
not taste very fresh. I was quite disappointed. This was a far
cry from the superb cheTTinAD(u) sandwich I had had on my first
SpiceJet Q4 flight. After the flight, I would discuss this issue
with my friends, over SMS (as usual). Varun commented about this
being the consequence of the law of averages.
I appreciated his pun, adding that indeed, the sandwich was quite
average, in terms of quality. It was `mean' of SpiceJet to do so!
I did not have the heart to take a picture of this offering.

A Delhi-based friend informed me that at the time of my trip (Oct'13), SpiceJet
had also resorted to keeping stale or expired food items on for
their BoB operations, much like their counterparts at Indigo and
GoAir. This was a far cry from their days of the new cuisine,
after the Marans had taken control of the airline, when they had
introduced some rather exciting menus. The quality and quantity of food served
was really very nice, and could give Air India good competition
with regard to food served at height of around FL29, and above. He
had had a Mumbai trip some time back, doing the DEL-BOM sector on
GoAir, and the return, on Indigo. On both occasions, there had
been some commotion in the cabin when passengers complained about
expired food. I had looked all around the packing of the sandwich
I was served, but could not find any date printed anywhere around.
Or much taste in the bread, for that matter.

At 07:24 pm, Captain Chauhan came on the intercom, and announced
our bearings, and places that would fall on our flight path,
around us. To our right, was Jalgaon.
After some time, Gwalior would come to the left.
Through the scratched window, I saw the lights of the city.
Jaipur would soon be to our far left, and Aligarh then, to the right.
After around 25 minutes, we would begin the descent into Delhi.
The flight time remaining was around 35-40 minutes.

69.6 Back at Delhi, Home, Sweet Home!

As the plane swept low over the arrival path, I got excited:
this was something I hadn't seen in quite a while!
We landed on runway 10 smoothly, and taxied out towards Terminal 1-C.
Most of my trips in and out of Delhi have been on full-service
carriers, which have long left Terminal 1. The last I would have
travelled from the latter, would have been on Kingfisher out of
Terminal 1-D, and Air India, out of Terminal 1-A. As I excitedly
stepped out of the Q4 into the Delhi air, and soon, into the
waiting air conditioned bus, I could hardly recognise T1-C.
This was a far cry from the nice renovated arrivals terminal at
Palam airport - it had got even better!



The GMR group loves to say it with greenery all around:



This is the LCC arrival terminal, but neat, clean and well-laid out.
Visiting the terminal after quite some time, I was clearly impressed!



And here is a slight dampener, from the outside of the terminal.
The sign reads, `Door Closed'. Hmm...



As long as this is not a staple sight, the sight of open stable doors,
would invite comments straight from the horse's mouth!
---
Links to my 69 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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jbalonso777
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Joined: 05 Jul 2012
Posts: 1425
Location: Never, never land

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantra sir, first of all, I do apologize for typing out my reply so very late. I haven't been on the computer/laptop so often off recent, so I never got the chance to read this fine TR properly. But now, I've finally got some time Smile

The number of your Jabalpur TRs seem to be increasing at a vast rate...and yet no two TRs (Let alone Jabalpur TRs) are exactly the same! Very Happy
I can't exactly vouch for how much faster the Q400 is in relation to the ATR, but the Q400 did operate my longest flight (in terms of duration) for the CMB-MAA-CMB sectors: 1hr45min rather than the 'long' flight of 1hr10min.

Sorry to hear about the change in timings of your flight...surely the stomach didn't agree to that very well! Wink

Is it just me...or is the 777 much higher than the 787? Maybe its the perspective in your picture, who knows?

A330 is beautiful, no matter which livery/colour. Particular shout out to the now-historic A330-200 of Air India Smile

Nice to hear about some decent civilized Indian folk, that too on two occasions here! Very Happy

Nice description of your care taker in Jabalpur. There is something about hospitality all around India and Sri Lanka...the subcontinent in particular. They have this warmth which I believe is unmatched all around the world, a real personal feeling. That's one of many things us Indians and others can be proud of, and very helpful in developing the already thriving tourist industry.
Same goes with the driver, amazing to see him have quite a reasonable amount of knowledge of planes/aviation and the operations in Jabalpur Airport in particular Very Happy

Nice surprise with the security! Always nice to see things like this! I had a similar experience in Guwahati, 2005 IIRC. I'll keep that with me for now, I'll post a TR from pre-2010 Smile Soon. Rolling Eyes

Loved the Q400 part, and the descriptions, and of course, the new era with photographs! Choice of juice? Nice. I wasn't asked that. Mixed fruit was handed out to me Sad
Sorry to hear about your not-so-nice sandwich, quite a contrast to mine!

Terminal 1D - I see some impressions of what Delhi airport used to be when AI/IT/9W all were using this terminal pre-2010! Great to see this, sir!

Thanks so much for such a unique trip report, and I look forward to more from you!

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir, thank you for the kind words, and taking the time to read the report in its myriad details, which we all know you, is characteristic of meticulous people like you! And very characteristically, you have asked uncomfortable questions Smile now that you mention it...the Dream)liner seems to sit lower, but I have no facts or figures to justify this. Yes, you are absolutely right on the hospitality part: I simply love this athithi-devo bhava (treat a guest as a God) spirit. We look forward to the pre-2010 experiences. Thank you Sir, once again!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sir for the TR. Wonderful reading on a Monday morning. We need to push you more for the TRs to come up at regular intervals considering the backlog is 15 months now! Which means there is a lot to read for us!
Great pictures of the ramp at Delhi 787 and CRJs !! Glad you had a nice flight. . The driver is impressive, you should gift him some aircraft model in the next trip.
The conversation with the police is hilarious !
It was nice to read TRs of CRJ and Q4, both aircraft in which I have not yet been. . and should hurry if I have to experience those.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sir for the TR. Wonderful reading on a Monday morning. We need to push you more for the TRs to come up at regular intervals considering the backlog is 15 months now! Which means there is a lot to read for us!

Great pictures of the ramp at Delhi 787 and CRJs !! Glad you had a nice flight. . The driver is impressive, you should gift him some aircraft model in the next trip.

The conversation with the police is hilarious !

It was nice to read TRs of CRJ and Q4, both aircraft in which I have not yet been. . and should hurry if I have to experience those.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ameya Sir not being on-line on a weekend suggests an exotic get-away from the humdrum of daily life! Thank you for the kind words. With The Wife's PNS in hand, I got more adventurous. On the next trip (Baramati, remember?), I could not take it along. On the next one (Mumbai), I did, and tried some low-light photography from the T1-A-T1-C food court. These two will round off the Oct'13 TRs, before I get on with food pictures with my Sony HX300, Nov'13 onwards, with a trip to...San Diego. That will be a 5-part TR. Thank you for your constant nagging and encouragement: I wish I were as regular (and as brilliant, as well!) as you!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
Ameya Sir not being on-line on a weekend suggests an exotic get-away from the humdrum of daily life! Thank you for the kind words. With The Wife's PNS in hand, I got more adventurous. On the next trip (Baramati, remember?), I could not take it along. On the next one (Mumbai), I did, and tried some low-light photography from the T1-A-T1-C food court. These two will round off the Oct'13 TRs, before I get on with food pictures with my Sony HX300, Nov'13 onwards, with a trip to...San Diego. That will be a 5-part TR. Thank you for your constant nagging and encouragement: I wish I were as regular (and as brilliant, as well!) as you!
Cheers, Sumantra.


I wish I was as regular in travelling as you are ! This year has been pathetic for me in terms of flying Sad

Look forward to the upcoming TRs including the 5 part Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
I wish I was as regular in travelling as you are! This year has been pathetic for me in terms of flying Sad
There is a huge difference Sir: quality vs quantity. I usually end up at more mundane domestic destinations, whereas you bag the exotic overseas ones, and send some fantastic TRs! And all of it, on time as well! I really wish I could do that.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another excellent TR Sumantra and your titles are getting more creative than ever before.

The China Southern shots are very nice and so are the Air India mask bandits which you have had the privilege of travelling many a times.

Appreciate if you enlighten me what is the logic of branding these as Air India Regional? Is it because one needs to buy food on the plane? If that is the case it is a bit bizarre as even Air India LCC Air India Express provides free food and luggage. I guess logic has stopped working with Air India long time ago 

Your return flight on Spice Jet seems quite good baring in mind that the airline is close to bankruptcy.

The beetel nut stains are not a good sign and I hope the airport authority takes quick action to clean. A good spotting by you on this.

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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot Srinivas,
for going through yet another TR with a crazy title - in great detail!
sri_bom wrote:
Appreciate if you enlighten me what is the logic of branding these as Air India Regional?
Honestly, I do not have a clue, Srinivas. Yes, the food went out with the cot-cutting, even on the longer sectors. the CR7 `masked bandits' definitely have ovens on board. Yes, PM-AI's subsidiary serves food on board (though as your report indicates, there is a marked difference in quality between AI mainline, and IX!), whereas IC's subsidiary CD (now 9I) does not. Anyway, I look forward to travelling with Air India Regional for the exotic aircraft, and smaller-town destinations.
sri_bom wrote:
Your return flight on Spice Jet seems quite good baring in mind that the airline is close to bankruptcy.
Yes, it is quite ironic that the delay in my posting my TRs comes at a time when SG is barely gasping for breath. Will they be able to continue with the Jan-end promise of funds coming in? I used to like their food menu, circa early 2013. Their planes used to be clean, and service, quite decent.
sri_bom wrote:
The beetel nut stains are not a good sign and I hope the airport authority takes quick action to clean.
Yes Srinivas: this is `behind the scenes', and behind `closed doors' literally, though the door is well ajar (and the horse has bolted: this is straight from the Horse's lip: paying this lip-service).
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely TR .... interesting to notice when an airline announces flight cancellations and watch the wheels turn. Your descriptions are perfect, must take ages to write. Quality and quantity at the same time wow incredible ..... thanks for the effort you put into these.

Interesting info about not allowing phones on airline mode. Ive had quite a few airlines mention that. Some FAs wont even let you listen to music during TO/Landing.

My thoughts are the same as Srinivass, never got the idea of a separate brand. Why is there an AI regional? The crew get paid the same right, why not just have one AI brand?

Sorry to hijack your thread sumantra .... was hoping you could give me your opinion on this flight.
I'm thinking of flying JLR-DEL middle of Feb, schedule says CR7 but the departure times are different. 1650-1835.
I'm looking at a DEL-DXB flight departing 2130 .... so it gives me a 3 hour window. Do you think its worth gambling, is this rotation normally late? (I don't want to risk SG anyway the timings are off)

Looks like the driver might be the best source of information Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
...must take ages to write.... the effort you put into these.
Thank you stealthpilot for the kind words. As a regular TR writer and that too, from someone who occupies the front office in aircraft: a job most of us only dream of, thank you, once again. I must say that I appreciate your words, descriptions, stellar pictures, and above all, your sense of adventure in unusual routings to unusual places: again something most of us can only dream of. I wish I had the ways and means to do so, not to mention the brains to think out such amazing trips! That leaves me with journeys on more often than not, mundane domestic routes, which I write about, though I am not able to report on them as quickly as I woudl have wanted to.
stealthpilot wrote:
Interesting info about not allowing phones on airline mode. I've had quite a few airlines mention that. Some FAs wont even let you listen to music during TO/Landing.
I am sure you would be best-placed to answer this: what do you allow your passengers, and when, and how much of an issue is this: is this just to avoid any remote chance of trouble, or is this done since it is mandatory by most airline standards in particular aircraft, and what are your personal opinions on this? We woudl love to know about this.
stealthpilot wrote:
My thoughts are the same as Srinivas, never got the idea of a separate brand. Why is there an AI regional? The crew get paid the same right, why not just have one AI brand?
Now this is something I do not remember well: Alliance Air was created as a wholly-owned subsidiary with a much tighter cost structure (was this during Sunil Arora's golden period in IC?). You would know better about the salaries and cost structure. They have a new airline code once again 9I, I do not know much about why they are different. AI had hived off IX, again, with the tighter cost structure, as a semi-LCC.
stealthpilot wrote:
Sorry to hijack your thread sumantra .... was hoping you could give me your opinion on this flight.
I'm thinking of flying JLR-DEL middle of Feb, schedule says CR7 but the departure times are different. 1650-1835.
I'm looking at a DEL-DXB flight departing 2130 .... so it gives me a 3 hour window. Do you think its worth gambling, is this rotation normally late? (I don't want to risk SG anyway the timings are off)

This is one route I track with some interest, since I have been a frequent traveller on this route: first, with AI-R's 4x weekly services, and when they went 3xw, and I had to go for SG at least one way. This route has its timings changed depending on the overall (tight) schedule, since AI-R has too mnay routes they can almost mint money on, but far too few aircraft. With the ATR-72-600s coming in, some of the routes may go the AT7-6 way, and I am not sure if there will be a change in the timings, or more frequency on the route. Right now, they have only the first bird VT-AII, parked at a remote stand at DEL, in the T2-T3 common international remote stands, in front of the Emirates Engineering works small building (so you should tell us some things we do not know about Smile ). Once a schedule is fixed, the only reason they change timings is when an aircraft goes tech. They have put sufficient slack in their tight schedules, so that they can put in the AT4 based in DEL, on the route, or try with another CR7. Most of the times, AI-R can have 2 out of 4 of their CR7s on duty, due to lack of spares inventory on the small fleet type, typically engine issues. I have seen 3 also, at times. More-of-less, AI-R sticks to the schedules, and mid-Feb, the fog issues should have well gone. This year's fog started quite early, and has gone past the general average of 15 days. It is still continuing, having started in the last third of December. I do not know about the AT7-6, but the AT4-3 and CR7s are not CAT-IIIB compliant. Of course, you would know much better on this issues than I do, as an armchair enthusiast. A 3 hour gap looks reasonable, given the (surprising) efficiency at IGIA T3. I'm presuming that you are looking at the company EK 515 09:20 pm flight, scheduled to be operated by a B77L Worldliner. It is nice to catch a B77L, given that the type is not very common in the skies today, and that too, on such a short DXB-DEL segment.
How are the loads on the JLR-DEL segment? Usually, the planes goes rather full. Given the current frequencies (SG still shows the daily rotation), the demand on this route is quite high. Close to the day of the flight, all planes seem to fill up, be it AI-R, or SG. I guess you will have to monitor the AI website, to make a dummy booking, and have a look at the seat map to find out about the occupancy. Of course, you would have access to the GDS statistics, which are no longer public knowledge, unfortunately.
stealthpilot wrote:
Looks like the driver might be the best source of information Wink
Yes, I agree fully! That man knows a lot.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
Lovely TR .... interesting to notice when an airline announces flight cancellations and watch the wheels turn. Your descriptions are perfect, must take ages to write. Quality and quantity at the same time wow incredible ..... thanks for the effort you put into these.


Amen - can't agree more. Superb job Sumantra - it takes time and effort to remember (or note down the details) and reproduce them for our benefit months later. Hats off to you!

Surprising that airlines can't even get a sandwich right. It's not like we're expecting a Michelin starred meal on board, but getting fresh bread seems so very simple no?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the very kind words, Nimish, thank you! I wish I flew as regularly as you do, and on the long and exotic international routes as you do.
Nimish wrote:
Surprising that airlines can't even get a sandwich right. It's not like we're expecting a Michelin starred meal on board
I think it is more of a sandwich being able to mask a bit of the staleness, with bread staying fit for consumption for around 3 days in good circumstances. It is just that doggie-noses like me are a bit snooty with regard to fresh bread!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coincidentally, I was at lunch last afternoon with a colleague from Jabalpur and he was wondering if his booked SG ticket into the city would ever materialize.

And yes, Murphy's law on the sandwiches had to catch up sooner or later. Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
Coincidentally, I was at lunch last afternoon with a colleague from Jabalpur and he was wondering if his booked SG ticket into the city would ever materialize.
Hmm...right now, they are still operating daily, but with Singh taking over and from what we have read about SG's turnaround plan, the Q4s would go away sometime in the near future.
Spiderguy252 wrote:
And yes, Murphy's law on the sandwiches had to catch up sooner or later
Ha ha, yes! I guess we always discuss sandwiches after my SG or 6E flights Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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