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HTTP:// Hurried Trip To Pune/~Baramati, Oct'13

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

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:39 am    Post subject: HTTP:// Hurried Trip To Pune/~Baramati, Oct'13 Reply with quote

HTTP:// Hurried Trip To Pune/~Baramati, Oct'13


70.1 Introduction
But of course.
Trust Sumantra to try to catch the reader's attention, with a
painful attempt at a catchy title.
http://http/~baramati
Oops, not quite, the URL for the trip is:
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14134.html

The day started with my alarm, which I switched off, and again,
caught up with some lovely 40 winks more, till the second alarm
came on, and I jumped out of bed.
As I was getting ready, I heard the sounds of a cab pulling up in
front of our apartment complex.
I bid The Wife and Junior good-bye
(both were quite asleep...much like Yours Truly),
as I hurried to the cab, and got in.

70.2 Tugging at...the heart strings?

Actually, it was not quite as quiet as what I have just described.
As the regular reader knows, for my last few trips, I was taking
on loan from The Wife, her Nikon CoolPix PNS camera. After my last
trip, the camera had been put to some use, and we had not been
able to locate the charging cable. The camera did not have much
charge in its battery. I had worked till quite late, and The Wife
had promised me that she would try to look for it, so that I
could take the camera along with me, for this trip.

A 5am flight meant a 3am set-out from home. That meant a 2am, or
2:30am start to the day. I softly approached The Wife at around a
quarter to three. ``The power cord,'' I said.
The Wife sleepily moved her hands around the bed-stead, and came
up with something in her hands. I was in a naughty mood.
``Those are your pyjama cords,'' I said softly.
There was some commotion as The Wife got her senses around her.
``Damn you, all the while thinking about nothing else.''
``That cord is my mobile's charger, Dear,'' I mentioned in a
matter-of-fact manner, ``I had placed it there to wake up with
the alarm. I guess you have not been able to find the cable''
``I have tugged at your heart strings,'' said The Wife.
I smiled, and bade good-bye to her and Junior, and set out.
Let me apologise to the reader, at the onset, for the lack of
trip-specific pictures in this trip report.


70.3 A highway, not a runway. V1 & V2 speeds. Chasing trouble?

It had rained very heavily the previous day.
As a result, the weather was superb.
I soaked in the lovely atmosphere as we sped on towards IGIA T3.
This was the same driver who had softly told me once, when I
reminded him about the wild oscillations of the speedometer on
the IGIA T3 approach road, that he knew exactly where the speed guns
were, and I had no reason to be unduly alarmed.
Today, it was his racing a traffic police vehicle,
that was causing me more than a bit of concern.

He looked at my worried face and smiled, to reassure me that
no, most probably nothing untoward would happen.
He dropped me in front of gate 3 at the domestic section.

There wasn't much of a crowd at the check-in counters, and I was
also through with the security check very quickly. AI 851
DEL-PNQ was the first domestic flight of the day.
I went to my usual first stop: beside the escalator of the food
court. I looked out of the windows into the darkness outside.

70.4 `SD', the `Memory Card' plane for me!

Yes, I looked out into the darkness.
There was a Dream)liner on the international side, and one on the
domestic side as well. I looked out for my gate, 30A.
Yes, there was an old A320 in the new Flying Swan livery.
Which one would it be?
Of all the old ones, I had of late, enjoyed my rides on the
following old A320s in the new colours,
all in the all-Economy configuration:
ESC, the `escapist' plane: VT-ESC,
SD, the `memory card' plane: VT-ESD,
SH, the `shell' plane: VT-ESH,
SI, the `units' plane: VT-ESI,
SJ, the `safe journey' plane: VT-ESJ,
PI, the older `irrational' plane: VT-EPI (the newer one is VT-PPI)
EPC, the `EPiC' plane: VT-EPC.

It would be SD, the `memory card' plane for me, I texted my
friends excitedly, at 03:50 am, on Saturday 12 October, 2013.
We boarded at 04:35 am, and pushed back at the stroke of 5.
Captain Shiraz Farooqui was in command, and Ms. Rituparna, in
charge of the cabin. As we boarded, I noticed four senior ladies
around the area, with three right in front, one `welcoming'
passengers, and two others, arranging the food items.
Of the four ladies I saw, the lady at the gate was greeting every
passenger with a mechanical `namaskAr' (the typical Indian
act of greeting a person with folded palms), and an occassional
somewhat forced smile. The three others were very neat and tidy,
but the fourth lady had a hairstyle that defied description.
A crow's nest, perhaps,
with odds and ends sticking out of a bushy mess.

She had a frown on her face, but all through the flight, would go
about her duties with a practiced efficiency, and would make it
look quite effortless.

The `memory card' plane was delightfully neat and clean, and
apart from the jaded metal parts and some old plastic fittings,
it was as I have described it above...delightfully neat and clean.
I love the fact that someone at Delhi seems to care for these
elderly birds, as opposed to the on-an-average average
appearance on the inside of the newer birds, replete with grime
marks on the plastic surfaces, and tired seat covers.

It would be my fourth Pune trip this year.
I am no stranger to this early morning flight, having taken this
two other times this year itself.
25 May (Sat), 08 Jun (Sat), and now 12 Oct (Sat).
I have normally seen excellent loads on this early morning
flight, and also heard that this flight does quite well for Air
India. Today, the loads were a bit less than what I had seen
before, but would easily be of the order of 80% or so.
Could that be attributed to the next day (Sunday) being
Dussehra/Dasara, a festival that is celebrated in many parts of India?

In the waiting area itself, I had heard accents and the
language typifying people of the state, along with people with
Maharashtrian features. This was a state I called home for six
wonderful years, and I usually get a homely feel by recounting
those heady days of hearing and seeing such sights and sounds as
soon as I would land up in Mumbai.
The plane had filled up much like a Mumbai local railway station.
Some 5 minutes before the arrival of a train, there would be a
few people on the platform. With two minutes to go, there would
be some people coming down the foot over-bridges. When the train would
stop at the platform, there would be a mad rush and a sea of
humanity getting in to the train. Would it be like that?
Not quite, as I saw people coming in, almost till the time that
the doors finally closed.

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

Set out 12 Oct (Sat) for Pune from New Delhi
AI 851: Air India (A320) [Seat: 02A; PNR: JDCB7]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Lohegaon Airport, Pune
New Delhi (DEL) - Pune (PNQ)
[05:00 am - 07:00 am]

We pushed back at the stroke of 5am.
The actual flying time had been announced as 01:50 hours.
Captain Farooqui took us to the threshold of runway 11,
as a Dream)liner made a nice touchdown.
My Bhopal-based friend Mr. J. R. R. Talking would later keep me
informed about the Dream)liner operations for the day, announcing
that one of Air India's Dream)liners had been delayed till late
afternoon. It was to be ANK(h), the `Egyptian' plane: VT-ANK.
We took off into the darkness, and turned right.
The loud growl of the V2500 engines announced a
powerful climb. Captain Farooqui took the seat belt sign off at
05:17 am, and within almost no time, the two senior ladies Ms.
Rituparna, and the lady with the bad hair day, went about the meal service.

70.5 A great breakfast to start the day!

There was a young couple on the starboard side,
with their little daughter, on seats 02 D, E and F. The unsmiling
lady with the unkempt hair was taking a lot of interest to see
that the young couple and the little one were well-taken care of.
No sooner had the seat belt sign been turned off, I noticed her
coming to ask them about their dietary preferences, and served
them two trays almost immediately. While the ladies may not have
smiled that much, I appreciated their efficiency, and taking care
of passengers who needed attention.

Soon after the young couple had been served, I was pleasantly
surprised to see the same lady come up to me (I was on 02A, and
there was no one in 01 A-C, so I was the first to be asked), and
ask me whether I would like a vegetarian tray, or a
non-vegetarian one. I must point out that I have seen a great
demand for vegetarian food on this particular flight.
My choice was the same, however.
Non-veg, of course.

The lady fetched me a tray from the galley, much like a business
class passenger would get some individual service.
I noticed her doing the same till the row behind me, by which
time Ms. Rituparna had loaded the trolley, and both of them
pushed it down the aisle. All this was done with a silent
practiced efficiency, which I liked, though they did not smile,
or make any polite conversation with a single passenger.
They were professional about every move - I did not notice
them belie even the hint of a yawn.
I will contrast this with occassions, where young cabin crew have
been quite enthusiastic about some light banter with passengers,
smiling all around, but letting out periodic embarrassed yawns.
I was yawning like a pig, every now and then.

It was soon time for another activity one associates with the
animal I have just mentioned. Hogging on food, of course.
The breakfast started with the fruit `bowl',
if you could call it thus. It was a cheap and flimsy plastic
container, with some great offerings inside.
There were two slices of the `disco' variety of papaya which I
simply adore, three (and not the usual two) slices of
non-sweetened pineapple. This set the tone for a lovely
breakfast, where no item could be faulted in any way.
It was far from that, actually.
The bun was extremely fresh.
It was after a very long time that I have had a leavened bread on
a plane that was as fresh as this bun was. It went very well
with the hard (but not rock-hard) butter chiplet, and the mixed
fruit preserve. I turned my attention to the main container,
which was as firm as a standard Aluminium container should be.
There was a large slice of pressed Omelette. This is not the usual
fluffy Omelette: this had some milk and chopped onions mixed in
the well-beaten eggs, and browned very lightly. There was only a
hint of salt in the preparation, as was in the lightly done
potato wedges served with the Omelette. A small tomato with its
top (crown) part sliced off, also had been lightly tossed around
in Olive oil. I appreciated the fact that everything had been
fried in a minute quantity of Olive oil, and the recipe had
gone low on salt as well. I rounded off the meal with a light but
passable coffee.

I was on the port side, watching the sunrise with delight, as
the first rays of the sun appeared, bathed the darkened plane with
the light, and set up the day for the passengers.
That hardly mattered, since as much as I tried to work a bit, and
even type out a bit of this report, I found myself drifting in
and out of sleep. With good leg room even on this all-Economy
Air India A320, I shut out the bright sunrise, and slept quite
well till Captain Farooqui announced that we would land soon.

70.6 A Great landing, a warm send-off, delayed baggage, as usual

We came in from the East, and Captain Farooqui made a soft
landing on the main runway 28 at the Lohegaon air base. I was
delighted to see the Su-30MKIs again, as we went towards the
assigned aero-bridge. I thanked the two ladies up front for a
nice flight, and this time, both smiled at me. I was pleased.

The baggage took quite some time to come out.
This is something I have observed almost every time without fail,
at Pune, on Air India. The delay in the bags coming in.
This time, officials had announced that the baggage would come out on belt 2.
However, when some of us observed some DEL-tagged bags coming
out on Belt 1, the same embarrassed officials now pointed us to
the same. From a 23 degree Celcius Delhi, we had come in to Pune,
which had a temperature a degree less. The gentleman supposed to
pick me up was right there, and we started our long and arduous road
trip to Baramati. The road trip would take something like
two-and-a-half hours, thanks to the lack of local traffic in the
Pune city area, in the early morning. I tried to work for some
time on the way, tried some reading, and even tried to key in a
bit of this report, but soon fell asleep.

70.7 At Baramati

What followed was a really hectic schedule, and after a rather
nice late lunch at the Guest House, I immediately hit the bed in
the afternoon after my job for the day was done, and woke up in
the evening, to a nice cup of the Maharashtrian masALA chAhA,
the spicy tea.

I checked my SMSes: My Bhopal-based friend Mr. J. R. R. Talking
was setting out from Bengaluru, to Delhi.
VT-SZC was his ride for the day: he had come in to
Chennai a few days back on VT-SZA. All were planes with the new
Boeing `Sky Interiors', which he said indeed gave an extremely
roomy feeling, coupled with the mood lighting. My eager question
to him was about the SpiceJet buy-on-board (`BoB') food. At one
time, SpiceJet had an unusually good buy-on-board offering, which
could also be secured at the time of making the booking, through
a pre-payment. He had told me that the troubles at the
airline (at the time of my trips: Oct'13) were also carrying over
to the food: they were also offering expired or stale food items,
much like their insipid competition (at least in this regard,
Indigo and GoAir), on which he among others, had had bad
personal experiences. I had hoped that SpiceJet would at least
try to have the meal-time offerings a bit fresh. My friend however
would not take any chances: for his onward journey to Chennai on
SpiceJet, he had had a packet packed from the IGI Airport T1-C
KFC outlet. After all the service had finished inside the plane, he
would take his packet out, and enjoy his snack. It was a bit like
a passenger opening a Big Mac on a US domestic flight, leading to
sheer despair of his fellow passengers as Yours Truly, and others
with similar likes (and unflattering figures `round the middle -
pun highly unintended).

He had had a not-so-nice experience at Chennai.
His work had taken him to the picturesque IIT Madras campus at
Guindy, where he had been amazed to see all the nice deer around.
He texted me his amazement.
I texted him back, telling him that there were four white deer on
the campus too, had he been able to spot them?
These words would unfortunately prove prophetic.
I also told him that the old Doordarshan TV documentary `The
Flame of Freedom', which had been shot with various sports-persons
running around, carrying a torch in their hands, had the P. T. Usha part
shot right there, on the IIT Madras campus, where in slow motion,
India's best-known athlete in the recent times, is shown running,
with deer all around her bounding up and down, as if in synchronism.
I also told him that IIT Madras is home to the Chemplast cricket
ground, a facility where even the Indian cricket team practices,
when they are in town.

His work stretched his time limits, to the extent that he
missed his Shatabdi jaunt to Bengaluru by 10 minutes, and had to
take a night bus to Bengaluru, instead.
I was not in a very generous mood.
`In the Ramayana, Sita had got beset by he sight of a golden deer.
In the IIT Madras campus, a white deer did the same to you.'
I was not done, yet.
The Ramayana had the demon Marich changing his appearance to that
of a golden deer, to catch Sita's attention.
What had caused him to see a marIchikA (mirage)?

He must not have been terribly pleased (please pardon my English
expressions!) with my replies, but carried on.
I share my itineraries with him, and he usually checks both my
torrents of SMSes, as well as his email, on his smart phone.
He announced that his phone now sent out reminders for my trips
to him, as if they were his itineraries. The phone picked up this
information from the email INBOX, and sent it to him as reminders.
I was intrigued. However, I was not yet done with my lame puns.
``Phone jAsUs, Oh Jesus,'' said I.
`jAsUs' is the Hindi term for a detective.

At night, as I soaked in the lovely cool breeze that can still be experienced
in the outskirts of Pune, my Delhi-based friend got back to me on his
SpiceJet experience. They had run out of sandwiches, and the
vadA(i)-based `meal' (a bit surprising, given that the flight was in
the late afternoon, and not at dinner time) wasn't something he
decided, he would put in Rs.300/- for.

70.8 From Baramati, back to the Lohegaon air base at Pune

I had a whale of a lunch (with a lovely shrIkhanD being the
highlight of the spread, as the dessert), and set out from
Baramati towards the Lohegaon airport at Pune. The driver
obviously thought that the metalled road was a runway, not a
highway, as we flew into Lohegoan in around 2 hours, almost
shaving off an hour from the expected 3 hour trip at this hour of
the day. My Bhopal-based friend had possibly been alerted by his
phone picking up my travel schedules from his email INBOX. At
around 3pm, he asked me whether I was indeed taking AI 850 back
to Delhi today. I guessed why. My itinerary was as follows:

Set out 13 Oct (Sun) for New Delhi from Pune
AI 850: Air India (A321) [Seat: 10F; PNR: JDCB7]
Lohegaon Airport, Pune - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Pune (PNQ) - New Delhi (DEL)
[06:40 pm - 08:40 pm]

At the stroke of 4pm, as I texted him that I had guessed his
intentions of telling me my ride for the day, I got an SMS in my
phone, telling me that it was PJ, the `not-so-funny' plane:
VT-PPJ doing the DEL-PNQ leg as AI 849, which would turn back as
AI 850 PNQ-DEL. Mr. J. R. R. Talking and I simultaneously expressed our
pleasant surprises at the simultaneous cross-talk.
`Great men think alike,' was my wise-crack, as I did not mention
the second (and not-so-complementary) second part of the famous quotation.

A Jet Airways plane VT-JFK was boarding passengers to Mumbai and
Kolkata, as 9W 617. (Thank you, Jishnu for the correction: I had initially
read it as JFX, and my time machine sets out more on its own flights of fancy, unfortunately!) The Indigo flight from Delhi came in
half-an-hour late on runway 28 from the East, on an `explosive'
name, VT-IED. Soon, a maroon Go Air A320 VT-WAK came in as G8 241
from Bengaluru, which would go back to the city as G8 242. This
had come in at 05:59 pm, when it was about time that the
not-so-funny plane was supposed to land.
Just before this, an all-black biz jet had come in,
and parked on the east-most corner of the general aviation ramp.
At the stroke of 6pm, an AT7 of JetKonnect came in.
I saw that it was the `Jumping Jack' plane, VT-JaCK.
This would push back later as 9W 2316 to Hyderabad.
I was getting hungry by now.

The shrIkhanD had well disappeared deep into my entrails by now.
Thankfully, the Lohegoan airport does not have too many enticing
food options to tease my taste buds into submission.
At 06:11 pm, the not-so-funny plane made a hurried appearance,
and parked at the westward aero-bridge (among the two), and at
06:20 pm, 6E 401 came in from Bengaluru and parked at the other
aero-bridge. The boarding process started at 06:35 pm. Soon,
VT-JGZ, a Jet Airways B737-700 came up, and parked to our right.

I did not catch the Captain's name properly. He looked like a
Sikh gentleman to me, when he came out on the aero-bridge to make
a call. The announcement sounded like `Captain M. S. Jahir',
Ms. Gauri Kumar was in charge of the cabin.
The plane was quite neat and clean from the inside, though the
fabric looked a bit tired. The captain lined up the aircraft for
take-off pre-empting the Indigo flight which was also pushing
back, to the threshold of runway 28, making a powerful take-off
to the West. The loads would have been around 75% in Economy, on
the A321. This flight is another one that generally sees much
larger loads. I guess it was the Dussehra factor again, the day
(normal) people like to spend with their families, rather than
get bitten by the travel bug. The loads had also risen much like
the description of the passenger movement at a Mumbai local train
station I have described, above. Just some time before boarding, a
horde of passengers suddenly descended (ascended, actually) on
the first floor departure lounge, all carrying Air India boarding cards.

70.9 Dinner on AI 850, PNQ-DEL

The ding after take-off and reaching cruising altitude came with
the much-awaited announcement regarding dinner, something I had
been waiting for with bated breath, and a tummy with digestive
juices rumbling all around it. The cabin crew sprung into action
some time prior to the announcement, and soon after, rather
pleasant smells permeated the cabin. I was a bit disappointed
that again, there was no audio channel playing on the IFE system,
though the five video channels were active.
The moving map came on for me, as I attacked the dinner tray.
My eyes fell on the name of the caterer, SkyGourmet.
So the dinner trays had been loaded in Delhi itself?
The SkyGourmet card said that its services were available in
Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa and Kolkata.

It started off with a salad bowl, with parallel slices of
cucumber and the orange carrot. Presentation was quite
non-existent. I noticed with delight, a small slice of lemon
peeping from inside the cucumber bed, with its greenish-yellow
skin simply beckoning me for a squeeze-out. The cucumber was not the
tasty `desI' (local) variety, but an ordinary watery one. I patronised
the salt and pepper sachets, and enjoyed the start to the meal,
which understandably, could have been better in both
presentation, as well as the taste (had the cucumber been of a
different variety). My eyes fell on the contorted bun, which was
quite cold, and not exactly soft, but it wasn't bullet-proof, either.
I had the bun with the cold and rock-solid butter chiplet,
exactly the way I like it to be.

The main course was piping hot, and opening the lid brought out
the aroma of some aromatic rice cooked with a gentle caress of
spices. Yes, it was bAsmatI rice, but the grain size wasn't the
noodle-like variety, but a short-grained version.
It was tasty, however. I had preserved a bit of the lime slice,
and some salt and pepper, to partake of the rice as it was.
To the right was a nice gooey `pancharatna dAl', a combination of
five types of pulses common in the North, which had been boiled
such that many of them would melt a bit, and lend their combined
flavour to the admirer. I could sense the distinctive tastes of
the moong, uDad/mAng and the rAjmA,
but could not make much sense
as to whether two other pulses were there in the preparation, or
not. Perhaps they were, in their shelled and de-shelled
varieties, for the moong and the uDad. It was heavenly!
To the right of the rice bed was a lovely cream chicken curry.
It had a sinful white cream base, and pieces of very soft and
succulent chicken had been cooked over a slow fire, to enable the
gravy flavours to complement the soft spice marination flavours.
I was so satisfied with the main course that I really did not
mind a completely bland and flat instant coffee.
The sweet dish had one gulAb jAmun ball (a cottage
cheese-based preparation, fried on the outside, and served dipped
in a sugary syrup), that was quite tasty, and not overtly sweet.

Captain Jahir made a very smooth landing on the new runway 11, as
much to my pleasant surprise, we taxied to...not just to the
International terminal, we taxied to the western end, parking
among two Air India B77Ls (the outgoing flight to Narita operated
by VT-ALA `Andhra Pradesh', and the incoming flight from Hong Kong,
which was too far away for me to read its registration, or its
name - but nothing escapes Mr. J. R. R. Talking's hawk-like gaze. It was
VT-ALF, `Jharkhand'). Mr. Talking tracks the movement of most Air
India aircraft from his hometown Bhopal, or wherever he is, in
India or abroad, on work. Others nearby were a Jet Airways B738,
and the United flight to Newark, and an Emirates B777 to Dubai.
Mr. Talking is all too familiar with the usual rotations, and the
schedules. He immediately told me that the plane
would go on to Calcutta as an international connector AI 022, stay
there for the night, and come back in the morning back to Delhi
as AI 763. As we entered the bus gates, there were announcements
regarding domestic connections, I did not catch the others.
The announcement which I heard was for connecting passengers to
Calcutta (which would be the same flight which Mr. Talking
mentioned), and Amritsar. The narrow-body flight to Amritsar would
also follow the same routing, coming back to Delhi as AI 115 to
connect with the International Dream)liner in the morning,
after over-nighting at Amritsar.

70.x Count D'Money

Once again, I apologise for the lack of pictures on this trip. As
a parting shot, I have attached a picture of the sign above the
cash counter, in our organisation. In the rave `Comic Sans MS'
font, the old and withered printout says that the timings are
from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Note the three scribbles beside.
`Sharp?' says an angry hand.
`Flexible' says another, pointing to the 10:30 am, changed
appropriately to 11.30 am, (This one seems to be an experienced hand).
The `sharpest' points to 12:30 pm.


---
Links to my 70 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/


Last edited by sumantra on Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:12 pm; edited 3 times in total
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ameya
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Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3591
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sir for the wonderful read on the new year day

With your Air India trips, you continue to talk about how good the maintenance is, I wanted to know
if you have come across the taped windows and doors in your trips in recent past? The one which is
extensively discussed on news.

While the air hostess seems to have genuine concern for people on row 2, there is also a possibility that
they were somebody's somebody and hence the extra care !

Having faced the Air India baggage problem in Pune and heard it from so many, including you, I tried figuring out why
is it that only AI has this issue at PNQ. One reason is shortage of staff and staff working slowly and
the second is they get atleast 3 trolleys togeather and not get it one by one to put it on the belt

Were you put up at Vidya Pratishtan at Baramati ? Its a sleepy town famous for the Pawars and has much better infra than
any other town of this size in the country. Unfortunately, the industry is not doing well. All of which
is atleast believed to have been controlled by the Pawars again !

Baramati also has a small airport and has a pilot training school - Carver aviation, which has had its
share of controversies related to legality

For the return leg - my aircraft linkage as always

The 9W rotations at PNQ has seen a change

CCU-BOM-PNQ-BLR-PNQ-DEL
DEL-PNQ-DEL-PNQ-BOM-CCU both are swapped as per need at PNQ.

The evening B737-700 is a big downgrade in terms of capacity and product since the 700s are not well maintained
Specially at this time of the day when there is AI and 6E has back to back flights on the sector

The AT7 you saw was doing a IDR-PNQ-HYD run, 2nd of the day
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
...on the new year day
A reply within a couple of hours of the original post? Has to be perhaps the most regular person on this section of the forum, and master TR writer...Ameya Joshi Sir! I also credit you with getting me our of my cubby-hole, to pen down trip reports. Thank you for the detailed replies: I have a few details to reply to, as well.

ameya wrote:
With your Air India trips, you continue to talk about how good the maintenance is, I wanted to know if you have come across the taped windows and doors in your trips in recent past? The one which is
extensively discussed on news.
This is something that tells you that such incidents would be a statistical figure, and not that common, since I fly Air India more regularly than perhaps any one else on the forum. In 2013, I saw a repaired window on a Dream)liner on my Chennai trip: I have posted a picture of that, as well: the window right next to seat 36A:
65. Challenging Chennai Chromepet Caper, Jul'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13996.html
For people who do not fly Air India regularly, they would be quick to generalise an incident or two to general flights of what today is India's second largest airline. However, I still wish to point out that as a passenger, I would not like to see duct tape on doors and windows, at least, and even if it is a statistical oddity, I would be quite concerned. Of course, the Engineering team would know better than an armchair enthusiast and frequent aI flyer like me. What I have seen more commonly on Air India planes is primarily an unkempt cabin with grime marks, duct tape on some armrests, broken small parts, tired fabric, and the like, quite unlike the well-maintained interior of planes of Jet Airways, or Indigo, for that matter. While I patronise Air India, I am not averse to criticising the airline for its inadequacies and faults, and have done so regularly.

ameya wrote:
While the air hostess seems to have genuine concern for people on row 2, there is also a possibility that they were somebody's somebody and hence the extra care!
That is quite possible Sir, though it did not seem like it, when I saw it in person. Air India has been known to have even otherwise indifferent cabin crew give that bit of extra care to little kids, people with little kids, and elderly passengers. I have seen this even during the darkest days of Air India, and some days of Indian Airlines's not-so-glorious past as well. I have had my share of experiencing rude, yes, very rude members of the cabin crew as well, but I have seen this from-the-heart behaviour as well: nothing made up, nothing artificial, no extra sweet words, just a plain caring attitude, and general efficiency. This is a far cry from the golden JRD era, those days of immaculately trained cabin crew, but given that there is hardly any chance of Air India ever going back to those glory days, I actually find this very heartening in this day and age. The lady in question here has a dishevelled appearance about her, and was not being sugar-sweet or polite, she was being efficient, and doing her job well, adding a bit of a personal touch. I appreciate this. In the JRD era, the cabin crew would be immaculately dressed, and there were instructions for every bit of the cabin service, and of course, the basic safety, security and well-being of the passengers as well: that was paramount. However, even in Air India's darkest days, one has read reports of people trusting their lives with the rude and obnoxious `Uncle' and `Aunty', because a few (even if it is just a fraction of JRD's legacy) elements of this procedure, still remain in place, another being the average quality of the food served on board.

ameya wrote:
Having faced the Air India baggage problem in Pune and heard it from so many, including you, I tried figuring out why is it that only AI has this issue at PNQ. One reason is shortage of staff and staff working slowly and the second is they get atleast 3 trolleys together and not get it one by one to put it on the belt
That is a possible reason, Sir: thanks a lot for this. I have in fact been shocked at the AI apathy in this respect in Pune alone, when I am one who has been a constant admirer of the Maharashtrian efficiency in general, in Mumbai, Pune and the other cities in Maharashtra I have visited. I specifically refer to the general work culture in the state, which is a delight, given that I have lived most of my life in Delhi, which is a hundred and eighty degrees apart. I have travelled to Pune on Kingfisher and Indigo for instance, but not faced this issue.

ameya wrote:
Were you put up at Vidya Pratishtan at Baramati?
On the dot, Sir. A nice and well-maintained place.

ameya wrote:
Baramati also has a small airport...
I do remember seeing some pictures taken from the cockpit of a light private aircraft approaching Baramati: I forget where I have seen them.

ameya wrote:
For the return leg - my aircraft linkage as always
That is why reading your posts is so much of a delight! Rotations, history, and analysis, of course. Thank you for the lovely, long and extremely prompt reply, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly sir, I thought I received a wrong link from you in the mailbox when I saw the 'HTTP', only to see it actually is part of the title! Laughing

This will be my one and only TR hurry up: this TR is from 2013...and er its 2015 Embarassed Okay so moving on now Smile

Really nice descriptions as usual sir, typical Sumantra sir style TR!
Also awesome comparison with the Mumbai local! Yes sir, like you, I too miss home. And now, I'm just under 8 months away from leaving SL! Very Happy

Amazing service from the crew. Really nice to know how they took care of the young family onboard Smile

Yes, I've seen quite a few yawns too, sir. 9W being my airline, I often went back to the galley on the late night flights to go talk to them. And since they were lightly loaded flights, they would always want to talk to me in turns, while one would talk, another would keep and eye on the cabin, and then a quick yawn! They're human after all, we'll let them go! Smile

The ex-IC A320s have some amazing legroom! Very Happy

Oh, Sky Interiors. My family has had over 30 flights in the Sky Interior planes, starting October 2012. Dad has had quite a few flights on 9W's BSI plane (JBW also!) and a few here or there on SG, while Mum and Big Bro have experienced this mostly on SG. Me? Haha, just JFC and JFK.

Speaking of which, sir are you sure it was JFX? Me thinks its VT-JFK because JFX was delivered just this..er..last year in August 2014. JFK, on the other hand, was delivered in June 2013, while K and X do look quite similar, especially from a distance!

Amazing sir. Food description sounds awesome! And I'm hungry now Sad

Great TR as always sir, and I look forward to so much more!

I wish you a great year of flying and a happy & prosperous new year Very Happy

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
This will be my one and only TR hurry up: this TR is from 2013...and er its 2015 Embarassed Okay so moving on now Smile
Thanks, Sir: along with Amyea Sir, I have to credit you for keeping me on my toes with regard to a huge TR backlog!
Thank you for a detailed reply, as usual.
And thank you for the very decent paragraph about why that plane should be JFK and not JFX. One of my friends asked me to lend him my time machine, when I claimed I had seen VT-ALW in place of ALM. I will make the change, above! Thank you once again, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information on the duct tape issue. I agree with you, engineering experts would know more on this but as a passenger, it is not a nice sight and will affect the brand.

Vidya Pratishtan is a nice campus, I have made one trip there in August 2012 when I was to visit one industry in Baramati - owned and dominated by Pawars and operated by some dummy !
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
...as a passenger, it is not a nice sight and will affect the brand.
Absolutely Sir...exactly what I would have felt, myself!
ameya wrote:
Vidya Pratishtan is a nice campus, I have made one trip there in August 2012 when I was to visit one industry in Baramati...
The campus is nice, well-organised, and green, and they have a nice guest house (with good food, as well Razz). That part of Pune district (Baramati) gets the cool morning and evening breeze which used to be one of the USPs of Pune some time back, but possibly is sadly limited to outskirts such as Khadakvasla and Pashan now.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great Pune TR which was enjoyable.

I have to agree that Air India does take good care of senior citizens and children and is one of the reasons why many who are settled in the USA prefer to send their parents via Air India during visits. Although ME3 airlines with better connections and hospitality are surely taking away the eldery crowd.

Since you are a frequent traveller to Pune, what is your opinion about the new airport that is being commissioned in New Bombay. If and when this airport comes up do you think this will be an alternate landing option for visting pune as compared to Loheagon?

I understand you do have long car rides during your travels, I hope you are belted even though you are sitting on the rear seats. When I travel on the road in India I give strict instructions that I need a car with rear seat belts and the driver won't speed beyond 100KMH. I am concerned that most cars in India are not well maintained and reckless speeding with poorly designed cars, badly maintained tyres and ill trained drivers are nothing short but a recipe for disaster.

Sri_Bom
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot Srinivas, for yet another thorough read, and the kind words!
sri_bom wrote:
Since you are a frequent traveller to Pune, what is your opinion about the new airport that is being commissioned in New Bombay. If and when this airport comes up do you think this will be an alternate landing option for visting Pune as compared to Loheagon?
Eeks...I am not that regular on the route, though I get the impression that Pune will always have its own demand, though a portion of the crowd will not mind the cutting by a good margin, the current 2.5 hours on the Expressway, added to the Expressway to Santa Cruz/Sahar. Pune's own airport is not coming up anytime int he near future (Rajajinagar after Chakhan?), and I am still a bit doubtful as to when the Navi Mumbai project will actually see some good progress. That board (`Site for Navi Mumbai Airport') has been around since what feel like eternity.
sri_bom wrote:
I understand you do have long car rides during your travels, I hope you are belted even though you are sitting on the rear seats. When I travel on the road in India I give strict instructions that I need a car with rear seat belts and the driver won't speed beyond 100KMH. I am concerned that most cars in India are not well maintained and reckless speeding with poorly designed cars, badly maintained tyres and ill trained drivers are nothing short but a recipe for disaster.
Srinivas, I always set out with a prayer on my lip. In most cases, I do not have a choice of the vehicle (I wish I could call the shots, as you do!), and many of them indeed do not have seat belts on the rear seats. I remember your last point in this regard with respect to the Suzuki Swift. A lot of my travels are on the sturdy and comfortable cars from the Tata stable, but yes, I do look out for seat belts. Thank you once again!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally, I have gotten around to reading yet another of Sumantra's usual works, and they never disappoint.

No problemo on the lack of pictures - your vivid descriptions do the job just fine.

And I'm sure I'm not alone in saluting you for continually sacrificing a good night's sleep to catch your early morning runs, that does take some effort. Smile
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the kind words as usual, Varun!
Spiderguy252 wrote:
And I'm sure I'm not alone in saluting you for continually sacrificing a good night's sleep to catch your early morning runs, that does take some effort. Smile
No choice, Varun: I am not important enough in my organisation!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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