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Mumbai, for Christmas, Dec'13

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

PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 11:22 pm    Post subject: Mumbai, for Christmas, Dec'13 Reply with quote

Mumbai, for Christmas, Dec'13


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14352.html

81.1 Introduction in camera

My last air trip in the year 2013 was an official trip to my
favourite city, Mumbai. A city that I called home, for six
wonderful years. December was also possibly the best time to
visit Mumbai, with the temperatures being pleasant enough, and
the humidity, relatively low. I had some official work in Mumbai on
Christmas day, 25 December 2013. I was to combine it with some
personal work, the day before. The personal work is of some
interest to members of this forum, who have long complained about
my photographic apparatus, or the relative lack of the same.
I would be put up in Dadar itself, and India's perhaps best-known
camera shop is the tiny J.J. Mehta and Sons, close-by. The place
of work, and accommodation were walking distance away from
Khodadad Circle, the flyover, Dadar T.T. (`Train Terminus'), and
beyond it, J.J. Mehta. My favourite Analog SLR, the Minolta
Maxxum 50 with a 28-100mm lens, would finally be declared
irreparable, since the IC which controlled the film retraction,
was overheating, behaving wildly, and spare parts were simply not
available. The Minolta company's camera business had also been
sold, to Sony, if I remember correctly, thus ending 8 years of
bliss for me, with an SLR, albeit an Analog one.

This leg of my itinerary was as follows:

Set out 24 Dec (Tue) for Mumbai from New Delhi
AI 863: Air India (A321) [Seat: 12F; PNR: YEE6M]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - CSIA T1-A, Mumbai
New Delhi (DEL) - Mumbai (BOM)
[01:00 pm - 03:00 pm]

I usually look forward to a wide-body domestic ride, but the
store timings precluded the excitement of taking a trip on board
AI 102, the JFK-DEL-BOM flight. I would be picked up from
Terminal 1-A at the CSIA Mumbai, one of my favourite airport
terminals (both pre- and post-renovation), especially the departures part.
On my way back, I would sample, for the last time, the renovated
old T2 at Sahar, CSIA, Mumbai. No, I did not have much trace of any
remorse, though. I used to like the terminal before
renovation. Post-renovation, the lack of views and of power-ports,
made it one of my least-liked terminals in the country.
I have written about my laments in earlier trip reports.

81.2 At IGIA T3

Every time I visit Mumbai, I get a lump in my throat.
This was the city where I had come to live my dreams, as a young
bachelor, to take up my first job. My Analog SLR had its
acquisition date corresponding to my fifth and last year as a
proud Mumbaikar. On 24 December 2013, I was going to J.J. Mehta to collect
the piece of equipment that had allowed me to dream of taking
some nice pictures, with the best I could manage in terms of
using something as complex as an SLR, though I could not manage
to learn much in the manual mode. I reached IGIA T3 well in time,
with mixed feelings in my mind. I had a look at the views around.

On view was SH, the `shell' plane, VT-ESH.

I had had many a memorable flight on ESH after its painting into
the new Air India Flying Swan livery. It is ironic that only 12
days later, this beautiful and well-maintained aircraft suffered
a heavy landing in the heavy fog at Jaipur, with extensive damage to
the left wing. From what I had heard, it was some great handling
by the cockpit crew, who on a fog-related diversion from Delhi,
and running low on fuel as well, managed to land the plane in some
extreme fog with hardly any visibility, as some really heavy fog
set in suddenly, at the Sanganer airport, Jaipur. The holding
time over Delhi was over an hour, and she was in the air for over
half an hour more, before the cockpit crew brought her down in
almost zero visibility. They did not have enough fuel to
re-divert to either Allahabad or Lucknow. Where they got unlucky
was possibly the tyre bursts, followed by wing scrapes.
The cockpit crew managed not just the zero visibility landing,
they handled the above scare to ensure that all passengers would be safe.

However unique the double-bogeyed IC A320s were, I never used to
like them, in their original Indian Airlines livery. They looked
plain(plane?) and simple...ugly, to me. The V2500 engines looked odd.
The new colour scheme changed it all. The entire plane with its
longer V2500 engines suddenly looked bright and sprightly, and
with the new Vermillion-and-ochre seat covers, looked very fresh.
I have repeatedly mentioned this on the forum.
More often than not, when based at Delhi, these elderly birds had
a rather resplendent feeling about them.
While the planes clearly showed their age from the inside, with
chipped paint, scratched plastic surfaces and metal surfaces,
what stood out was a spotlessly clean aircraft, without a single
grime or dirt mark on the plastic surfaces, and the
fabric feeling fresh. I have always maintained that when these
birds were based at Delhi, someone had a soft corner for their
maintenance, even from the inside. These older A320 birds were
really cared for. The same extended to the two Air India A332s
VT-IWA and IWB, when they were based at Delhi. In complete
contrast, the new A321s, the four new A320s, the new A319s, and
almost the entire wide-body fleet are often a bit shabby from the
inside, with dust and grime marks, with the fabric also looking
tired, many a times. This makes me yearn to be able to take as
many journeys on the older birds, as possible, before they are
finally phased out. Farewell SH, the `shell' plane. I will miss you.

The `direction/clock-wise' plane CW, VT-SCW came into view:

The `Junior Engineer' plane JE, VT-RJE, a CRJ-700 `masked
bandit', was standing beside a B77L VT-ALE `Haryana'. This plane
is currently with Etihad. I have fond memories of this plane: it
was my first Air India B777 ride, on AI 101, DEL-JFK on 06
December, 2008.


81.3 On the flight...the meal!

We boarded at around 01:45pm. A lady four striper had boarded
some time before us. Her face had seemed familiar, but I was not
able to remember her name. She was in the Business class, and
perhaps non-rev'ing on this flight to command a flight out of Mumbai.
I noted a good patronising of the Business class on this flight.
The Economy section ended up being 100% full: yes, there
was not a single empty seat on this A321 flight. My ride for the
day was pH, the new `acidic/basic' plane, VT-PPH (the older one
being EPH, also in service with Air India at the time of the
journey.) The plane had come over from Chandigarh.

The 01:15 hour delay had increased the intensity of my hunger.
I had travelled on Air India in the past few days. It had been
about a week of some really hectic travelling on Air India,
almost all over the place. New Delhi - Jodhpur on 18 Dec'13,
Jodhpur - New Delhi on 21 Dec'13, New Delhi - Hyderabad on 22
Dec'13, Hyderabad - New Delhi on 23 Dec'13; and now, this trip
would mean New Delhi - Mumbai on 24 Dec'13, and the return, on 25 Dec'13.
I had had some excellent fare on the longer legs.
What would this one hold in store for me?
It had been a hectic day as well.
I had dropped an unwilling Junior at school in the morning, had a quick
trip to my office for some urgent work, and then, headed off
towards the airport at 11:15 am. I was a bit tired, and my hunger
pangs were increasing by the hour. On top of it, since the flight
was late, my work would start almost immediately after I landed at Mumbai.

Captain Amit Khandelwal was in command, with Ms. Jain in charge of
the cabin. The cabin crew had many familiar faces, who were
perhaps regulars on the route. As soon as the seat belt signs had
gone off, they had rushed to the two galleys on the plane, and
very soon, the food carts were going along (not carting about,
thankfully!) the aisle. Extremely appetising smells had filled the cabin air.

I opened the cellophane wrappings on the two smaller bowls, the
salad bowl and the dessert bowl: (chrono-)logically, the first and last
items of a meal. I also peeled out the Aluminium cover from the
main course box, for the photo-op. Here are the results of the same:

I started with the salad. As usual, I sprinkled the slice of lemon
over the salad bowl, with my nose in close proximity, so as not
to miss the first droplets of the essential oils from the lemon rind.
The salad was the usual Indian `green' salad, with some
pieces of capsicum/bell pepper and tomato on a bed of
chopped cucumber. The crunchy cucumber slices tasted extremely
fresh, and enticed my digestive juices, as I had sprinkled the
pepper sachet and a bit of the salt into the salad bowl.
I enjoyed the salad morsel-by-morsel, somewhat oblivious to the
fact that the main course would cool down a bit, when exposed to
the plane's air-conditioning. The brown bread bun - by now, quite
standard on Air India, revealed its secrets as I again brought my
nose closer to the packet, while opening it with one deft stroke
of the hands. It was a multi-grain bun, in a brown bread base.
The taste of the other seeds brought about a subtle difference in
taste, which I enjoyed to the fullest. I now turned my attention
to the salad bowl, which had the some remaining lemon juice, with
the pepper and salt mixture being flavoured by the somewhat brief
contact with the very fresh salad. The rice bed in the middle
itself was quite enticing, with a nice aroma. no, it was not just
the bAsmatI rice...I nailed it as I mixed the juice in the
well-cooked rice. There were some large gram (kAbulI chanA),
which had been cooked along with the rice, lending it
a subtle different flavour. What is the aroma of freshly cooked
bAsmatI rice to a hungry soul? For a moment, I was
transfixed, and took a few spoon-fulls of the rice alone, before I
realised that I had to look to the left, as well as the right.
To the right was a nice plain potato-in-puree'd spinach curry, which
was done well with a minute amount of oil, and just a hint of
onion, to get rid of the smell of boiled spinach that would have emanated.
It was simply excellent!

The right side...would it be a chicken curry, perhaps a butter
chicken, or a shAhI preparation of the same? One spoonful
of the same, with a bit of rice, told me that that was something special.
It was a mutton roghain josh, the delicacy from
the kitchens of Kashmir! The mutton pieces were soft and
succulent, and had been marinated very well. The subtleties of
the gravy indicated that it was the version prepared by the
Pandits of Kashmir: it did not have any tomato in the gravy. The
reddish gravy had the colour primarily coming from the large red
flavourful varieties of chillies that come from the region, which
lend a fiery colour, and only a hint of the hotness one would
otherwise be associated with a type of chilly. This had been done
to perfection...it had been quite a while since I had partaken of
this Kashmiri Pandit delicacy. I enjoyed each morsel, and each moment.

When I turned my attention to the dessert, I was overjoyed to
find that the lunch had a Kashmiri theme to it!
It was the irresistible Kashmiri sweet, the firnI, which
Air India had always excelled at. This traditional sweet dish of Kashmir,
has hand-beaten aromatic rice cooked lovingly over a
slow flame, with rice absorbing the flavours of the milk and the
freshly ground spices added to the simmering mixture. There was
only a hint of sugar, so as not to overwhelm the subtle flavours
of the delicately flavoured heavenly preparation. There was a
generous topping of crushed green pistachios over the mixture
when it had cooled, and had been immediately packed in cellophane wrap.
Yes, did I forget to mention to the reader that I had also kept
my nose in close proximity of the dessert bowl, while opening the
cellophane wrapping? The regular reader knows me well enough to
preserve the suspense, and break it only at the appropriate moment.
There is another item that the regular reader would expect at this moment.
Coffee, of course. And what a nice coffee it was!
This came in as a really pleasant shock to me.
It was an instant coffee, but strong, hot, full-bodied and quite flavourful.
I was understandably on Cloud Nine at the end of this stupendous meal.
I was now ready to face the day - and march
towards the work which awaited me at Mumbai.

81.4 Landing (up) at Mumbai

Captain Khandelwal came on the air, informing us that we were number
seven in the landing queue, and would have to circle over Mumbai
for quite a while, since there was congestion at the airport.
The congestion was in part due to the main runway being out of
operation at that time. We would use the secondary runway to land.
The reader can well imagine my excitement at the same,
since I have been on a flight using the secondary runway only a
few times, two times, if I remember correctly, once in 2003, and
once in 2010. Both times, we used runway 14, for a take-off, and
a landing, respectively. The reader can well imagine my
excitement at coming in to land on runway 32! This was indeed a
first for me. As we landed, I noticed a Go Air sharkletted plane
waiting for us at the threshold, as Captain Khandelwal put her
down like a feather. We taxied out, went past Terminal 1-B,
Terminal 1-C, and finally, parked at Terminal 1-A.
I guessed that this would be one of my last views of the old
control tower, before it was decommissioned.

I was making this trip in December, 2013.
I had noticed a cobus right in front of Terminal 1-B, air-side.

This would be what the old tower would be replaced with.


As we got out,
I thanked the crew for a nice flight. On noticing Captain
Khandelwal coming out of the front office, I expressed my
admiration for his very soft landing, which he acknowledged with
a shy smile. Passengers connecting to Rajkot and Bengaluru were
asked to meet the Air India staff at the aerobridge. Would they
be whisked off air-side, to their destination? We went into the
baggage belts, where after a relatively long wait, the bags came out.

81.5 At Mumbai

My gracious hosts were waiting outside, and we sped to our
destination in a taxi. One of my hosts is extremely fond of Punjabi food.
The cuisine for the dinner was but obvious.
Rasna Punjabi was the name of the restaurant, and he ordered some
shAhI subz-paneer, a delectable combination of a mixture
of vegetables and cottage cheese, in a dry but rich gravy. He
ordered some dAl taDkA to go with it, some pulses with the
final preparation topped with some ghee (clarified butter)
with some spices lightly fried in it, poured on the dAl.
We had that with tandoorI lachchhA roTI, an Indian bread,
unleavened, like most Indian breads. The kulchA from
Punjab is possibly the one and only exception, since the
pAv of Bombay/Mumbai is a smaller and bunched bun,
usually baked in units of six or eight.
The tandoorI lachchhA roTI is a layered rolled bread,
which is baked in an open clay oven, the tandoor.
I was too full to partake of any sweet.

The next day was again a busy one, before my hosts advised to
set out for the airport at 06:00 pm, since this would be a trip
to Sahar (CSIA T2), and this was a domestic leg of an
international flight. Air India's flagship international flight.
The day had proceeded well on course, with the exception of an
embarrassing moment for me. At the meeting, one of my hosts
wished that the desired approach be `as holistic as possible'.
I heard this as `a**holistic', and let out a little laugh, which
embarrassed the speaker of these lines as well.

81.6 Farewell, the old renovated T2 at Sahar

I also guessed that this would be one of my last trips via the
old Terminal 2 at Sahar in Mumbai. It would indeed turn out to be
my last. Even though I have not liked the renovated terminal
building much (hardly any views, hardly any power ports), I
decided to capture some of its sights, for posterity.
There is the somewhat iconic restaurant.

Here is another view of the fairly massive food court.

And the lounges! I did not want to miss having a dekko at the Air
India lounge. I have longed to get inside, and experience it, but
Lady Luck would not smile at me then, in December 2013.


Much to my absolute delight, I noted that we got Gate 04. Gate 04
was one of the ground floor bus gates, right beside some gates
which are frequented by wide-bodies. Gate 04 and 05 are on the
ground floor, with two doors each, if I remember correctly.

When I went down to our gate, there was an Emirates B77W boarding,
for a flight to Dubai. I had earlier seen a jam-packed
gate on the floor above. After a while, this B77W pushed back,
and its place was soon taken by an Emirates A332.
Just prior to that, I managed to take a semi-decent snap of the B77W.


81.6 The return to Delhi: AI 101

The itinerary for my return trip was the following:

Set out 25 Dec (Wed) for New Delhi from Mumbai
AI 101: Air India (B77W) [Seat: 42K; PNR: YEE6M]
CSIA T2, Mumbai - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Mumbai (BOM) - New Delhi (DEL)
[09:30 pm - 11:45 pm]

My excitement at getting a bus gate was quite justified, since I
saw some nice planes on view. There was an Air India Express
B738, a Singapore Airlines B77E, a Saudia B772, An Air India A332
VT-IWA, an Air Arabia sharkletted A319, an Etihad A320, an ANA
B737-700 BBJ, a Jet Airways B77W, an B738 of the same company with
winglets on a remote stand, an Air India A319 in the interim `Indian'
colours, a Cathay A332, which went for a take-off, and an Indigo
A320 lined up, as we approached a long and graceful Air India
B77W at a remote stand close to the runway 27 threshold.
It was VT-ALS, `Mizoram'.

Captain Rishi Goswami was in command with a lady F/O whose name I
did not catch. Mr. Radhakrishna was in charge of the cabin.
The flight time was announced as 01:35 hours.

81.7 A stupendous dinner, with double the fun!

The cabin crew arrived with the food carts in a jiffy after the
seat belt signs went off. A lady from the North Eastern part of
India named Susan cheerfully asked passengers their dietary
preferences, and handed them the requisite box, along with the
other items in the tray. The regular reader may have already
guessed what I would have opted for.

Interestingly, this time there was
a long `frankfurter' bun with sesame seeds on it. It was served
devoid of any packing, but smelt great: it was very fresh!
It went very well with the rock hard butter chiplet.
As is my wont, I paid attention to the salad bowl, next.
The usual refreshing sight of the most common source of Ascorbic
acid stared at me, invitingly. I took the lemon slice right up to
my nose, and squeezed the rind a little bit. aaaa...h, what a
feeling this was! I squeezed the lemon to the last drop, into the
salad container. And what else did the container contain?
I could barely contain my excitement as seeing the contents of
this box, which I had to my heart's content.
(Ah, not more than the total content of the box, obviously.
But wait...please read on!)
There were slices of the unique small and light-skinned variety of
cucumber available in Mumbai (locally referred to as the
kAkDI, not to be confused with the North India
kakDI). There were pieces of tomato, capsicum/bell pepper,
and there was a leaf showing from the back. Now, what was this?
I was excited: would it be a leaf of the ajwain plant?
This is otherwise known as the Bishop's weed, whose seeds are
sometimes called carom seeds, and whose extract goes by he name
of Aqua ptycotis, ajwain ark or omum water, a
lighter version of the first two, used down South?
That would be exotic: Mummy has often reared this plant in
her herb garden. Would it be a variety of Basil? The Wife has
five - yes, five varieties of the Basil in her herb garden.
As I pulled out the leaf, it turned out to be quite an anti-climax.
as it turned out, it was an ordinary lettuce leaf, but very fresh
and tasty. It formed the bed on which the other salad items had
been placed. By this time, the beverage service had started.
A very senior lady, who had earlier patiently given the emergency
exit operating procedure to the passenger in front of me, now
came with a coffee jar. She was quiet and efficient, but let out
a hint of a smile as I thanked her for the coffee. As the regular
reader may expect, it was the usual brand of instant coffee,
quite flat and tasteless, but it was hot, and reasonably strong.
Lest it retain its last-but-one-quality, I went from the salad to the coffee.

The main course box had started at me longingly ever since I had
taken the picture of it, above. To the right was an interesting
dry preparation of cauliflower and potato. What could be special
about this? It had a hint of sweetness, and a hit of being sour.
The sourness came from a bit of dried raw mango powder,
amchUr, and the sweetness, possibly from a hint of jaggery.
Was this some Gujarati variant of the by now bog-standard item,
in North India, at least? Whatever it was, it beautifully complemented the
medium grained well-cooked highly aromatic Basmati rice.
The chicken malAI (cream-based) curry was lovely, with the
combination of spices (in an obviously sinful creamy base)
looked ordinary, but tasted wonderful.
The chicken pieces were soft and succulent.

By the time I was polishing off the above chicken curry, I
noticed the senior lady come up to me with a smile, and offer me
a vegetarian box as well. What on earth was happening?
Was I dreaming? I was rendered speechless for a moment, before
opting for a vegetarian box, which I preserved carefully near my main box.
When I opened the vegetarian food box, once again, I
had my nose near the box. Out emanated from it, the irresistible
aroma of fresh rice. The rice also had a lightly fried small
raisin at the top, not just for the visual effect, it also
enhanced the aroma, and the flavour!
Much to my surprise and delight, the contents of the vegetarian
box were quite different from non-vegetarian offering!

To the right was a combination of
pulses (dAl), which had the uDad dAl with its skins on.
I also sighted some light-coloured rAjmA (kidney beans),
which were the smaller and less intense (in colour, at least).
Was this the famous panch-ratna dAl (literally,
pulses studded with five gems)?. No, it was not so.
I could not discern either the taste of texture of any
moong dAl, or lobiyA, any other dAl for that
matter, either with the skins on, or off. Paneer koftA was
there to the right. A koftA has the said item mashed up,
made into a ball, and fried, before dipping into a gravy.
The dinner was a pleasant sewai kheer/semAI pAyesh/senthakai pAyasam
(thin Indian noodles, cooked with milk and sugar, till the mixture thickens).
The magic did not end here.

Out of the corner of my eyes, I noticed some members of the cabin
crew going past, possibly waiting for me to finish my meal.
What I really appreciated was that they would have checked on me, in a
completely unobtrusive manner, without having the passenger (the
glutton Yours Truly, in this case, obviously!) rush through his meal.
While I felt bad, the food was really making me feel nice.
By the time I had finally finished enjoying the last morsel of
the sewai kheer, the cabin crew had finished their rounds
quite some time back. I looked around. I got up, and saw that two
members of the cabin crew having their well-deserved dinner in
the rear galley. Just then, a gentleman sighted me from the other
end of the galley, with the tray in my hand. He immediately
came up to me, and took the plate from me with a smile.

I was completely touched at this gesture - he had left his meal
at the back of the plane on seeing a passenger with a tray in his
hand, to take the tray from him. I thanked him profusely, and
apologised for my being an extremely slow eater. He smiled at me,
and asked me not to worry, and that it was perfectly fine with him.
What a fine gesture this was, on his part!

Captain Goswami landed us softly on the new runway 29 at Delhi.
As we alighted from the plane, I was going up to the Immigration
counters in the iconic `mudras' (hand shapes/gestures, in an
Indian dance), when I sighted a beautiful plane at a gate
close-by. The reflections were extremely irritating, and I just
could not avoid them, however hard I tried. It was an Aeroflot
A333, named `V. Mayakovsky'

My bag came out quite quickly, as I hurried to the pre-paid
taxi counter to catch a cab back to my residence.
---
Links to me 81 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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pradeep777
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Joined: 21 Nov 2014
Posts: 57
Location: Mangalore

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir
As always 1 of the finest trip reports.
But il have to say this time i love the pics more.!!!
Trust me no one can ever describe food as the way u do. I try my best to copy but never succeed. Razz
I have a 9W flight scheduled in 2 days from DXB-IXE. Again great TR sir. Love the Aeroflot...!!! Very Happy
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sumantra
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Posts: 4485
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pradeep Sir, thank you very much, I love both your aviation descriptions, as well as your food ones!
pradeep777 wrote:
I have a 9W flight scheduled in 2 days from DXB-IXE.
We all look forward to a great TR from you!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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abhijith16
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Joined: 14 Sep 2010
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Location: DOH/IXE/MEL

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh god, reading those descriptions of food makes me anxious of AI404. I sincerely hope I don't get basheer1211's "teen bondas"!

Pradeep777, hope you enjoy 9W531 Very Happy
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dan
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A great trip report Sumantra sir. The food served on those flights sure looks yum. Delighted that you flew Air India' Mizoram'.
Cheers
Dan
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abhijith16 wrote:
... makes me anxious of AI404. I sincerely hope I don't get basheer1211's "teen bondas"!
Ha ha, Abhijeeth: relax. The AI catering out of BLR is usually excellent, though (surprisingly) not dominated by local cuisines, such as the ubiquitous Udupi-style food, or Mangalorean Konkani food. I have some extremely fond memories of food on board the then IC 404, and the current AI 404, across the years, even during the severe cost-cutting period.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dan wrote:
...The food served on those flights sure looks yum. Delighted that you flew Air India' Mizoram'.
Thanks, Sir: I've flown `Mizoram' quite a few times now, along with `Nagaland', `Meghalaya', and also on `Manipur' if I remember correctly Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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Posts: 3591
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you sir – you still have one years backlog ! Fantastic TR this one !

One comment on this -> “A lady four striper had boarded
some time before us. Her face had seemed familiar, but I was not
able to remember her name”

I hope TW does not read it in isolation. . .


The usual fantastic Sumantra Sir descriptions of food! – You should take to food blogging !

Rasna Punjabi is an interesting name ! Most of us know Rasna and Punjabi separately

For the return leg – you had a veg and a non veg meal !!! OMG !!!!! That means two descriptions of the meal !

Thanks again !
863 is the IXC rotation? Which is typically A321 ?
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
you still have one years backlog!
Thank you Sir, even this would not have been possible without your constant prodding, and encouragement.
ameya wrote:
I hope TW does not read it in isolation...
Else you suspect, that I may end up in isolation? Razz
ameya wrote:
You should take to food blogging!
I wish I could write as well as you do, Sir!
ameya wrote:
Rasna Punjabi is an interesting name ! Most of us know Rasna and Punjabi separately
Yes Smile This is a nice restaurant in Dadar, by the way.
ameya wrote:
For the return leg – you had a veg and a non veg meal!
Sir, this is my second time. The first was in 2002, on an IC flight: the BOM-MAA-IXM one, when the (beautiful) lady had one look at my face, and offered me both the boxes together, a bit unlike this time Razz
ameya wrote:
863 is the IXC rotation? Which is typically A321?
Yes Sir, this is one of AI's incredibly popular short routes. The plane goes chock-a-block (and an A321 chock-a-block is a good number of passengers, with some partonisation on the short sector in J as well!) on both the DEL-IXC and IXC-DEL legs, with BOM at the other end. In spite of the fact that AI do not have a BOM-IXC non-stop, they seem to have good loads on the one-stop, even in spite of the onslaught for the direct route started by Jet Airways (remember the funny newspaper ad, with a man at Delhi looking up at the sky?), and ending with G8's recently-stopped flight. Delhi spotter know this flight for another reason: this is a rare Air India flight that almost always gets the main runway for take-offs and landings, at DEL. Else, it is an extremely rare event to see an Air India narrow-body on the main runway (the same holds for wide-bodies as well, with some notable exceptions).
Thanks once again for the kind reply, Sir.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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avbuff
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely TR sumantraji

Nice to know you have some pleassant memories of Mumbai and nice reference to J J Mehta...

As usual you are the exponent on AI, your verdict says it all!
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

avbuff wrote:
Nice to know you have some pleassant memories of Mumbai and nice reference to J J Mehta...
Thank you Sir, for the appreciation! Yes, Mumbai has always been my favourite city, and having lived in Mumbai, felt its pulse, and seen the amazing efficiency, and the cultured people, is an experience I long for again, and again. Every visit to the city feels special.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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himmat01
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucky you. Two meals on one sector. I am flying Jet Airways and Air India on Friday. DEL-MAA-DEL. Looking forward to a lovely tea time snack on AI.

My last flight from any terminal building has always been a painful feeling. I have taken a flight from HAL just two days before its closure and same with terminal 1A at DEL.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As we had discussed before - not sure if here or on chat,

BOM-IXC traffic on AI is mostly government and military. AI should consider a non stop but AI does not have sufficient narrowbody aircraft. . may be re route the flight BOM IXC DEL IXC BOM to ensure that crucial DEL IXC DEL connection remains . .
what more ! the timings will be
BOM-IXC 0700-0920
IXC-DEL 0950-1045
DEL-IXC 1145-1240
IXC-BOM-1310-1520

This will give two way connectivity from IXC to some EU flights and if DEL-IXC departure is further delayed then the entire European bank

MY 2 cents on the network Very Happy
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

himmat01 wrote:
Lucky you. Two meals on one sector.
Sir, yes, I guess I have really been lucky Smile
himmat01 wrote:
I am flying Jet Airways and Air India on Friday. DEL-MAA-DEL. Looking forward to a lovely tea time snack on AI.
I guess the Jet Airways offering should be nice as well, after their full-service revamp. AI continues with its high standards Smile The tea-time flight guess is AI 539 from the domestic terminal. I have had some real pleasant surprises on this flight a few years back, when I have got a complete dinner in spite of this being announced as a `snack', officially. I am not sure if the trend will continue with the roll-back after the cost-cutting measures. Either way, please tell us more about it. Food-wise, the sappAD(u) flight (the earlier IC 802 of yore, and the current AI 043 from the International part) is the one that has the light-on-spices and incredibly tasty cheTTinAD(u) cuisine.
himmat01 wrote:
My last flight from any terminal building has always been a painful feeling. I have taken a flight from HAL just two days before its closure and same with terminal 1A at DEL.
Among the two you have mentioned here, for me:
- There was a huge gap between my last HAL and first Devanahalli visits: close to two years, so I did not feel it that much, except the awe at the new Devanahalli terminal, and the disappointment at not seeing enough power-ports around!
- I miss IGIA T1-A. It was renovated beautifully, the view was simply terrific. In this case, the difference was a few months, though the excitement of IGIA T3 Domestic was actually a bit too much.

Sir, please write about your travels. We really miss your trip reports.
As for the 6 old A.net TRs you have sent links to, I am waiting to shift back to my residence (right now, TW is out of station, and I am camping at my parents' place, with a rather slow Internet connection). Rest assured, I will read each and every one in a great amount of detail.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
BOM-IXC traffic on AI is mostly government and military.
Sir, you will be surprised at the non-Govt and non-defence traffic, at least, that is what I have seen on my travels, and on asking around. Of course, the official traffic is also there. Chandigarh seems to have a good AI following, which in part stems from the seamless connectivity at DEL T3.
ameya wrote:
AI should consider a non stop but AI does not have sufficient narrowbody aircraft

. . may be re route the flight BOM IXC DEL IXC BOM to ensure that crucial DEL IXC DEL connection remains[/quote]On the spot with your AI NB shortage. They badly need those all-Y sharkletted A320s, to put them on the low-yield-high-capacity routes, to free up the two-class NBs for the routes with more premium traffic.
ameya wrote:
may be re route the flight BOM IXC DEL IXC BOM to ensure that crucial DEL IXC DEL connection remains

This sounds like a very practical suggestion, at least from my armchair enthusiast's point of view, which will retain the source and destination (BOM) timings, and will not disturb the current arrival/departure banks too much, either. I guess they do not want to fiddle around with two popular premium-time DEL-BOM and BOM-DEL connections!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another super TR from you! Lucky you with the second meal haha!

Beautiful pictures of the EK B77W and SU A333!

The IC A320s have a place in my heart - I used to fly on them a lot when I was toddler, and a small boy. Many times on IC771, my first J class flight was on a IC A320 (BLR-MAA-KUL), while the black 'mustache' drawn across the cockpit looked pretty damn sweet!

I have departed from BOM T1A...once.
IT331 BOM-DEL 16th May 2011 on VT-KFD. My last IT flight.
I don't see any more BOM T1A departures from my any time soon Sad

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks you for the detailed read again, Sir![quote="jbalonso777"]Lucky you with the second meal[/qoute]Very Happy
jbaolnso777 wrote:
The IC A320s have a place in my heart - I used to fly on them a lot when I was toddler, and a small boy. Many times on IC771, my first J class flight was on a IC A320 (BLR-MAA-KUL), while the black 'mustache' drawn across the cockpit looked pretty damn sweet!
I remember oyu telling me about this...I never liked them in the IC livery, unlike you!
jbalonso777 wrote:
I have departed from BOM T1A...once.
IT331 BOM-DEL 16th May 2011 on VT-KFD. My last IT flight.
Aha, that is quite some time back. Things are really very nice, now-a-days.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another lovely TR Sumantra somehow I missed reading this earlier. The interesting part of this TR was you finally buried your old analogue camera which in turn makes me happy as I can now expect more pictures on your TR.

I have not travelled Air India mainline, my last journey was in 2003 from BOM to MAA (baring the Air India express that I did recently to Trichy). Reading your reports I think Air India is now slowly getting back into its groove. The next time if I have to fly to Newark or Europe I am thinking of taking Air India as with one stop in India I can visit friends/relatives as well.

The food as usual is a plus and Kashmiri firni is one of my favourites as well? Was the Firni cold which is how I like or was it room temperature? Also the catering does not look like Taj-Sats can you remember who did the catering on the DEL -BOM leg?

From your photographs I can now understand why some airlines who operate wide bodies avoid the runway 14 landings in Bombay as it looks quite close to the old control tower.

I also see you managed to click a photo of the Cobus bus, can you tell me what is the chatter about this bus on this forum and on mobile? Seems like I have missed the joke or significance.

The old terminal pictures were nice to see one last time.

The emirates up close and personal is once again a stark reminder who rules the Indian skies.

You dinner tray on your return leg also looks inviting and so does the “Paal Payasam” (Milk Kheer). It is ironic that when I was young I never liked south Indian sweets may be that was a regular at my home, but now as I grow older I started liking all kind of south Indian sweets.

Sri_Bom
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sumantra
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Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
...somehow I missed reading this earlier.
Srinivas, thank you for the detailed read, as usual! I really admire how you take the time to read through others' TRs with the same fine eye, as you would write a fine one of your own!
sri_bom wrote:
...I can now expect more pictures on your TR.
He he...the born-digital better-quality pictures have started coming out for a while now Smile
sri_bom wrote:
I have not travelled Air India mainline, my last journey was in 2003 from BOM to MAA
I find it ironic that my last A300 trip on Indian Airlines was MAA-BOM, also in 2003 (Feb?) with the Sanjeev Kapoor food festival on! Very Happy
sri_bom wrote:
Reading your reports I think Air India is now slowly getting back into its groove. The next time if I have to fly to Newark or Europe I am thinking of taking Air India as with one stop in India I can visit friends/relatives as well.
Srinivas, the Air India experience is quite good now-a-days, something I can say from experience. It is nice to see Air India on the rise to better days, though it will perhaps never reach the JRD-esque lofty heights in anytime soon. The rot inside the airline still runs deep, but the current situation makes one quite hopeful. The long-haul experience is generally very nice. I have had a few more long-haul and medium-haul international journeys on Air India to Europe and the US, and The Wife, to the UK and Europe. I will write about those in a good amount of detail, and will write a joint one with The Wife on the latter's trip.
sri_bom wrote:
Was the Firni cold which is how I like or was it room temperature?
I also like firnI cold! Air India usually serves it cool, which is how it keeps when kept in the air-conditioned environment. I know for a fact that Air India also keeps dry ice containers on board many flights, but thankfully, they do not use these for the delicateness of the firnI.
sri_bom wrote:
Also the catering does not look like Taj-Sats can you remember who did the catering on the DEL-BOM leg?
I think you are right: I somehow did not take down notes. It could be SkyGourmet.
sri_bom wrote:
From your photographs I can now understand why some airlines who operate wide bodies avoid the runway 14 landings in Bombay as it looks quite close to the old control tower.
The airline of your adopted homeland! SQ never used runway 14/32.
sri_bom wrote:
I also see you managed to click a photo of the Cobus bus, can you tell me what is the chatter about this bus on this forum and on mobile? Seems like I have missed the joke or significance.
I have no idea, Srinivas, I guess I have missed the joke or signaficance as well. It does not help that I am not on Whatsapp.
sri_bom wrote:
The old terminal pictures were nice to see one last time.
Thank you, though I will not miss it that much. I look forward to seeing its renovated avatar once this part if integrated with the rest of Sahar T2!
sri_bom wrote:
It is ironic that when I was young I never liked south Indian sweets may be that was a regular at my home, but now as I grow older I started liking all kind of south Indian sweets.
Srinivas, I think that also has something to do with the often-quoted-somewhat-incorrect-notion that South India has not had a wide variety of sweets. I can tell you from my experience, that I have enjoyed many varieties, including variants of sweets which may be even pan-Indian. From the top of my head, your state Karnataka is the home to kunda, manDige, Mysore pAk as three original sweets of the state. I am sure there are more. Forget the myriad pAyasam variants. ksheera-pongal, hoLige (which originated in your original hometown's state, Maharashtra, from the poLi), kesarI bAth: these can be found in Karnataka. The gaDbaD ice cream is a fusion delicacy from the environs of Belgaum, and perhaps has a Konkani origin. There are a few Konkani sweets as well, which I cannot recount right now. Tamil Nadu is not jsut famous for the Srivilliputtur pAlkovA. A trip to Adyar Ananda Bhavan will confirm the existence of many TN-based sweets. Kerala has its won delights, with coconut milk-based preparations. Any one for the pAyasams based on coconut milk? Aaahhh...bliss! You may have also noted my halwA dream on my Dec'13 Nanded trip,
www:Work-Weakened Weekend.Half-Dead at Nanded,Dec'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14348.html
where I recounted varieties of the halwA found all over India, including the delicacies from down south!
Now you have me hungry Very Happy
Cheers, Sumantra.
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