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Indore on Jet's Props, Feb'14

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

PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:22 am    Post subject: Indore on Jet's Props, Feb'14 Reply with quote

Indore on Jet's Props, Feb'14


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14356.html

82.1 Introduction. Jet Konnect, this time

After a rather frustrating period of no air travel
(which lasted close to quarter to two months),
I was scheduled to take flight(s) again.
Yes, the pun is intended.
It would be an escape from the daily chores, give me a chance to
see planes, fly and dream again. I would not endorse a city, I
would patronise travel to Indore, once again.
These would be testing times, again.
This time, it was for an on-line examination, which we had to conduct,
keep up our code of conduct, and come back.

I have usually been lucky to have ended up with at least one Indore trip a year,
ever since I started writing trip reports. The earlier ones are here:
59. I Adore Indore: May-Jun'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13589.html
36. Indore again in 2012, April
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12937.html
33. Indoor/Indore in 2012
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12835.html
9. Mostly Indoors, in Indore
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11533.html

82.2 The right flight. Sleep or food, Mind over matter?

This time, the official planning started quite late.
So late, that Air India's popular flights AI 634 DEL-IDR and
AI 633 IDR-DEL, got completely booked out, by the time the office
decided to go ahead with the bookings. This delayed things further,
since Government permission had to be taken for flying another
airline, which turned out to be Jet Airways, with its convenient
Indore connections. This would also be time-efficient, in effect,
saving our employer two extra nights of the hotel booking.
On Air India, we would have reached Indore on AI 634 on Thursday
evening. Our work was on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we would leave
back from Delhi on the morning AI 633 flight on Monday.
On Jet Airways, we could come in to Indore on Friday morning itself,
and get back home in Delhi, on Sunday night.
Yes, while it would be lighter on our employer's pockets both ways
(cheaper air tickets, and only two nights' hotel booking in place
of three), it would be a bit stressful for us.

As I mentioned above, Jet Airways was decided as the carrier of choice.
(Actually, it was the only available/sane choice).
Once the carrier was decided upon, it was business as usual.
The official travel agent entered my name incorrectly.


I find it amazing that the travel agent who regularly books
tickets for many official trips, always ends up getting my name wrong.
Each time, the travel agent gets more creative than before.
I think we have to thank our stars, that in India, people are
aware of most permutations of parts of a name, the first name,
the surname, the middle name, the name of the village or town,
the family name, the parents' names, and so on.
I tried quite a few, to retrieve my booking on the Jet Airways
webpage, but simply having the PNR did not help one bit.
Finally, I had to request the travel agent to send me a copy of
the ticket to find some real ingenuity to get my name officially
correct, but beyond the reach of my imagination, so as to
retrieve the booking on the Jet Airways webpage.

At the time of my trip (February 2014), Jet Airways had come
under the wing of Etihad. I was much amused to see the following
file name for my ticket (my PNR was ZMSDRC):
https://secure.jetairways.com/JetMMB/output/ZMSDRC_192243_eti.pdf
Since my name on the ticket did not match that on my Jet
Privilege account, the website did not permit me to enter my
frequent flyer number. I called up the call centre.
After a wait time more than 15 minutes, finally someone came on
the line, and I had my Jet Privilege number on the itinerary.
I wasn't much amused at this.
Around this time, other acquaintances had also reported long wait
times with the Jet Airways call centres, and often, not much help
was forthcoming from the call centre staff, either. At that time
(Feb'14), Jet Airways still had Jet Privilege points for web check-ins.
My lowly status with Jet Airways did not help much, in case of a
web check-in being denied, on some lame pretext or the other.
My status has remained constant at what I call `B6'.
JetBlue, in other words, to the airline enthusiast.
I have recounted some of my trying experiences with getting Jet Privilege
points, on this forum, in the past.

Armed with the complete e-ticket, I was able to retrieve my
booking, so as to be able to pre-order some food. Food?
This part is to come soon, I request the reader to read on.

Initially, we were supposed to take the earlier full-service 9W
flight out of Delhi, in the morning. I mentioned this to forum
member and our route planning expert, Ameya Joshi.
For Jan-Feb 2014, Ameya mentioned that the plane did
DEL-IDR-DEL-JDH-DEL-PNQ-DEL at that time, due to the MAFI(a) at
Pune's Lohegaon air base. MAFI stands for `Modernisation of Air
Field Infrastructure', and a friend refers to it as the civilian
MAFIa, where civilian people are involved in an infrastructure
project of the armed forces.

For us, this particular flight had the following itinerary:

Set out 14 Feb (Fri) for Indore from New Delhi
9W 791: Jet Airways (B737) [Seat: xxx; PNR: xxxxx]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport, Indore
New Delhi (DEL) - Indore (IDR)
[06:20 am - 07:50 am]

I remembered that I had once taken S2 792, the return flight,
which at that time, had been via Bhopal. Yes, it was a JetLite
flight, operated under the Air Sahara code. As an aside, one of
my colleagues owned an S2...phone.
``Yes guys, I broke my S2 on the eve of my departure...'' he started.
``Sir, but S2 went broke long back! ab kiskA sahArA lenge?
(`now, whose support will you have to rely on', in the chaste
vernacular of the region)

There was a chance of our getting booked on the later ATR flight,
since some senior people favoured sleep over food.
Strange are the ways of some people.
Come on, one has the opinion of taking a full-service flight for
which one would have to wake up very early, and a Low Cost
Carrier (LCC) flight at a more decent time, but without food.
The regular reader would have guessed my obvious preference for
the former, but I was not in luck.
Our office booked the latter.
So 9W 2459: [09:50 am - 11:50 am], it would be.

Set out 14 Feb (Fri) for Indore from New Delhi
9W 2459: Jet Konnect (ATR-72) [Seat: xxx; PNR: ZMSDRC]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport, Indore
New Delhi (DEL) - Indore (IDR)
[09:50 am - 11:50 am]

I had wanted an early start to the day, with the only
full-service flight at that time, 9W 791, and to return on
Monday, on 9W 792. However, my colleagues were not that inclined
to take the cue. They were unwilling to wake up at an unearthly
hour, and return on another day. My senior colleagues pooh-poohed
me off for being obsessed with food, and wanted that extra sleep
time, chiding me for falling asleep during all official work.
In this case however, I would have the last laugh.

82.3 Food for Thought

It was the evening before my onward journey, and as expected, I panicked.
I had panicked that the thought of going without food for so long.
The mid-morning flight would neither afford the chance to have a
decent breakfast, nor a decent lunch.

The reader may remember the `Eti' angle to my booking, on Jet
Airways, an Etihad partner airline now.
https://secure.jetairways.com/JetMMB/output/ZMSDRC_192243_eti.pdf
I looked up the booking on the Jet Airways website.
There was a link to add a meal.
Would it work?
I tried it. I booked a non-vegetarian hot meal for both legs: the
breakfast on 14 Feb 2014, and dinner on 16 Feb 2014.
They were on separate PNRs, so I did it one by one.
After I pressed the button for the first one, it offered to send
me the updated ticket itinerary. The terms and conditions clearly
stated that every `guest' would have to produce the coupon in the
flight to avail of the meal. The email came in, without any coupon.
https://secure.jetairways.com/JetMMB/ReprintETI.aspx
And it timed out, giving a message similar to the first one.

On calling the Jet Privilege number, I was put on hold for a long time.
I hung up.
My panic increased further. Had my Rs.250/- gone down the...bit bucket?
The last time I had booked a Jet Konnect ticket on the Internet,
the meal vouchers had appeared on the ticket PDF itself.
They were nowhere to be seen this time.
The last time, I had booked the ticket myself.
This time, the ticket had been booked by our official travel agent,
and I had chosen the meal booking option on the website.
I called the Jet call centre at 08:50 pm.
It was 10 minutes to go for the call centre to shut down for the day.
What if I were put on a long hold again?
My anxiety increased by the minute.
I was in luck. Did Lady Luck smile on me?
A lady picked up the phone, and I told her the entire story, in detail.
Why didn't the email have an electronic version of the vouchers?
She did not know, but she recommended that I ask for a voucher at
the check-in counter, at the airport.
Else I reasoned, I would not get a meal.
In essence, that did not do anything to pacify my panic.

82.4 An idle brain is a Prada-wearing creature's workshop

It was a cold and rainy morning, when we reached the IGI Airport, Terminal 3.
What happens when a group of teachers get together, waiting for
something, with nothing to do? They pull each other's legs.
On a related note, what is the collective noun for a group of teachers?
It is referred to as `noise'.

``There is Onion,'' said a Tamilian friend, as I approached him.
``Shut up,'' I said, as I tried to prevent him from letting the story out.
`Onion' refers to my belieing the fact that I am a Delhi'ite.
In winter, I usually put on layers and layers of clothing, which
my friend from Chennai found quite amusing, since just a jacket
usually sufficed for him. `Onion' is also a pun on `anniyan'
(meaning, `stranger', if I remember correctly), the
2005 pot-boiler Tamil movie about multiple personality
disorder, with Vikram in the lead. The `anniyan' in the movie
assumes the role of the messenger of death, a reference to
perhaps my similar academic leanings, when it comes to evaluations.
Incidentally, this friend had come over to pick me
up in his vehicle, when I was getting ready, and he had laughed
at me being clad in pyjamas, and an under-shirt.
anniyan had actually become `baniyan'.

We also discussed miscellaneous topics at hand.
One colleague lamented that we tend to give more importance to
people who can play chess well: tasks which computers can do
quite well now, as opposed to the fact that we can recognise
faces incredibly well, something which computers still lag behind
by a big margin. I remembered an incident where I walked into the
room where The Wife was watching a movie. One look at the screen,
and I pronounced that it would be an interesting movie, since
I could see both Sharmila Tagore and Hema Malini.
The Wife paused the movie in shocked surprise, as I had not just
got the generations incorrect, I also managed to get the gender
of one of the actors, wrong. The movie had Saif Ali Khan, and
Esha Deol starring in it. Indeed, The Wife stopped recognising my
face for a few days after this incident.

We were also discussing some hilarious bloopers committed by
those around us. One particular person seemed quite adept at such
things, confusing between `message' and `massage', on an
occassion when he was to text me, of his arrival.
In a report, he confused the `contributions' section, and wrote
the names of the people who had created it, the contributors.
This person had sent another message, where he wrote that his
father was being treated by a cardiologist, where the latter was
contemplating trying `stunts'. Things reached an absolute
crescendo, when he wrote in a report, `the problem was
aroused' because of the need for a robot manipulator to
estimate the pose of an object, and pick it up. I told him
calmly, that if he indeed got aroused at the sight of a KUKA
KR-5 Industrial robot, he needed to see a shrink. Urgently.

A colleague also recounted our experience in an interview board,
where a candidate's resume had a gap of one year in his education.
On being asked the reason, he replied that he had had
a fatal accident. Stunned, one of us corrected him, in good faith.
I was not so decent in this endeavour.
I explicitly asked him whether he had had his education from...
the Netherlands (dirtily hinting at the nether-world).
For another candidate, a colleague had asked him, as to what area
should he be questioned on,
what was the area that was on his finger-tips?
I noticed, much to my impish delight, that the candidate was busy
fingering a blank sheet of paper.
I mentioned this to my colleagues, who agreed that this was
representative of the final assessment of the candidate's.
Ass-essment?
This time, I had discussed this in hushed tones.
A colleague was however, not so generous.
He pointed this out to the candidate, on his face, in quite an
ungenerous manner. The worksheet had to be affixed behind the
candidate's application, someone pointed out procedural matters.
``Behind?'', I said, after the candidate had left the room,
``you put it on his face, right in front. Instead of making him
put it behind him, a posteriori.''
``Ha ha, Sumantra, always interested in double entendre,
shameless person, in his Ass-essments,'' pointed out my
Tamilian friend, never to let an opportunity to pull my leg.
I guess my ass-fixation had caused some asphyxiation.

82.5 ...and some aviation chat, as well

Some of us had visited DefExpo'14 at Pragati Maidan as well, as a
part of an official delegation, complete with official passes.
And I have some pictures to show for this, as well!
And why did our passes come in a bit late? This is one
Government organisation dealing with a semi-Government
organisation (ours). It is not for nothing that we term our
official dealing agent, the delaying agent, for no reason.

As we went towards Pragati Maidan in Delhi, one of us remembered
that there was a part of AutoExpo also on, there.
A colleague remarked that no, the actual one with `cars and machines'
was there at Greater NOIDA, which he had visited two days back.
There was a general feeling of gloom among the group,
as some of us had thought of trying to use this time to take a
dekko at the `cars, etc.' on view. The naughty reader may have
found out the reason for my mentioning this as `cars and machines',
and `cars, etc.'. Yes, this referred to the beautiful
ladies beside the snazzy cars and bikes. The part of the
exhibition at Pragati Maidan was in my words,
``nuts and bolts, both literally, as well as figuratively.''
It was on auto-components.

An aviation enthusiast friend and I were complete shocked to see
the Ivchenko Progress SE stall, the Ukrainian manufacturer of
engines which power former Soviet and current Russian and
Ukrainian aircraft. It had just pictures of the engines they build.
``No, they could not have got their engines along,'' I reasoned
with him. ``Models, perhaps, or models of the planes they power,''
``No,'' he replied, ``this is DefExpo. It should have been
Deaf-and-Dumb-Expo,'' he added, bitterly.
We got some of our time's worth seeing some interesting exhibits,
some by our own DRDO labs, some private Indian service providers,
and many well-known foreign names.

One of the chief attractions was the ShinMaywa flying boat.

There were lots of high-level talks about this long-standing
successful flying boat, being produced in India, for the Coast
Guard, and other uses. There was a model of the Do-228 as well,
a type produced in India by the HAL.

India's AEW&C, a DRDO initiative, built on an Embraer platform:

The UAV Rustom was also on view, in another exhibit, albeit in model form.

Before I go completely off-track, let me get back to the Indore trip.

82.6 And what would be my ride for the day?

I was looking forward to travelling in an ATR-72-600 once again.
I had travelled on VT-JCY on my Bhopal trip last year, and looked
forward to another trip on the type.
Much to my delight, when Jet acquired another ATR-72-600, they
based both in Delhi. So, there was some chance that I would get
one of them. One of them had done the early morning DEL-BHO leg,
on that day. It had been VT-JCY. At that time, forum member Ameya had
indicated that Jet's first ATR-72-600 had been based in Mumbai
for some time. I popped the question to forum members Rishul and
Jishnu, who know all nitty-gritty details about Jet's entire
fleet, and much more. Rishul said that it could not be
guaranteed, and given that everything else is pretty much the
same: the capacity, seating and the lot, they could easily swap
aircraft, and be flexible in the scheduling.
Now, that was not encouraging.
Were the two planes JCX and JCY, or JCY and JCZ?
I was embarrassed at this, since Delhi is my home base,
and I did not have a clue. As of 2015, all three are ATR-72-600s,
and often seen in Delhi.

9W 2459 would be on an ATR-72.
Chances of getting an ATR-72-600 at this time would not be much,
since they would not keep them on the ground for that long.
I asked Ameya. He replied that it can do a JAI-DEL leg (or even
ATQ, for that matter) and get back around 09:20 am, and then go ahead
with the IDR leg. That worried me, since in the 2013-2014 winter,
the fog period in North India had been unusually long.
DEL, JAI and ATQ are all fog-prone.
Ameya said that none of the ATRs or the Q400s were CAT-3 certified.
Why did Jet have them on early morning schedules in North India, then?

82.7 Fun at Check-in!

Even with the second Indore flight of the morning booked for us,
I could not take any chances.
I had woken up well in time, and in the mad rush to the spot from
where we would be picked up, I ensured I still had time to down a
glass of milk, quite a few biscuits, a cup of tea, and a banana.
Now, that will last quite a while for a normal person.
As the reader well knows, I am anything but normal.
I am forgetful as well.
I forgot to take along the packet of parAnThAs that The
Wife had kept ready for me, knowing my hunger pangs quite well.

The lady at the check-in counter looked me up and down.
``You have five people on the same PNR, but you stand out.
You seem to have had a busy time on the Internet during the last
couple of days,'' she said with a straight face.
My companions giggled and squiggled around me, with glee.
``Onion...'' I could hear my Tamilian friend basking in my discomfort.
The lady looked at me in the face.
``First, you have your Frequent flyer number inserted into the
itinerary through a call to the call centre.''
``Yes Madam, it did not work on the Internet as the travel agent
entered my name incorrectly: the way my name was entered did not
match the way my name is written on the 9W FFP database.''
``Then, you do a web check-in, and select your seat.''
I nodded in assent.
Her voice was on the ascent, now.
``Mam,'' I interjected, ``I have a printout of the web check-in.''
How could I let those valuable 125 web check-in points go waste?
Of course, I did not tell her that.
``The final part: you booked a meal on the Internet, and did not
get a coupon for it. You have paid Rs.250/-''
The last part raised my hopes.
Now, the lady was smiling.
``Here is your coupon, Sir...enjoy your meal.''
I took the coupon from her, and looked it up and down.
``There is a mistake in my name.''
Her smile gave way to a frown.
``What is it now? Your name appears in one way in your booking,
another way in your JetPrivilege FFP account, and now...''
``...in another way in the coupon you have filled in.''
My heart skipped a beat. And a few more, before
she did the needful, and wished me a nice trip.
Now, that was an interesting experience!

What was not that interesting was a comment by some senior
colleagues, that he had asked the travel agent to book meals for
all of them on this flight. I resigned to my fate.
I had gone through all this panic, tension and trouble, just in
order to pre-book a buy-on-board meal. And here is one of my
senior colleagues, who had got his extra sleep, nourishment at
home, and was looking forward to a meal on board.

By now, there was an SMS from Jet Airways, informing me about my
departure gate (which was slightly incorrect, by the way: the SMS
said gate 42A, whereas the display on the FIDS boards said 42C).

82.8 Roaming around the Departures area

There was a Ford Ecosport on view inside the terminal.

On the ramp to the T-junction, there was a Volvo S60. Here is a
picture of this beauty, from the front

...and one from the behind, as well.
[/url]
There were two Air India A321s standing in the damp gloom
outside, the new `acidic/basic' plan pH, VT-PPH and the
`P-PQ-rian/Epicurean' plane, VT- PPQ.

On a remote stand on the domestic ramp, was a B77L VT-ALF
`Kerala', which is currently stored at Mumbai (circa 2015).


82.9 AOG?

We boarded well in time, from bus gate 42C.
Around me, gate 42B would soon board the Air India flight for
Dharamshala. BO, the `smelly plane' VT-ABO, was waiting to take
in passengers. And what was in store for me?

The bus took an about turn around the Eastern end of the terminal
building, and went on towards...an old ATR-72-500.
``This is a temporary stop, right? Will we not go ahead?''
I asked the driver.
I could see the inviting visage of VT-JCZ, the newest ATR-72-600
in Jet Airways' fleet.
``No Sir, this is the plane which will take you to Indore.''
It was VT-JCW.
Captain Hari Om Chaudhary was in command, with First Officer
Ashish accompanying him in the front office.
Mr. Akash and Mr. Punit were in charge of the cabin.

The reader may remember my friend Mr. J. R. R. Talking,
the chatty aircraft enthusiast from no, not the Middle Earth, but
Central India, Bhopal, to be specific. At that moment, he was in
Mumbai, flying to Thiruvananthapuram. He was in JGW, to my JCW.
I had a scheduled 10:20 am departure, he, a 10:10 am one.
``AI maniacs on 9W,'' he added with a smile(y).
Yes, both of us being employed in semi-Government jobs, have to
fly on Air India for most of our official work. It was a
coincidence that both of us were not flying on AI: we had got
permission to fly on Jet Airways, instead.

Here are two pictures of the inside of the plane, VT-JCW.


The interiors were absolutely spic-and-span. There was not a
single grime mark visible anywhere. The fabric also felt nice and fresh.
Jet Airways is well-known for its upkeep of its fleet.
More often than not, one gets an extremely clean aircraft.
Here is VT-JCZ in the damp gloom, a plane I wanted to be on!

We waited for a while, before the Captain announced a delay,
owing to a slight technical issue, which had been detected just a
little while back.
We saw a bunch of wheels coming in, on a cart.
After while, the Captain let the cat out of the bag.
Both Main Landing Gear (MLG) wheels were showing slight deflation,
and needed to be replaced. Some passengers were also showing
signs of slight deflation, in their moods.
By this time, JCZ had pushed back, and
at 10:38 am, another ATR-72-600 VT-JCY, came in to take its place!
I texted this to Rishul.
``Ha ha, they're tempting you,'' he replied.
``Should I at-tempt temptation giving-in?'' I asked.

We finally pushed back at 11:16 am,
with the starboard engine starting in the `hotel' mode, and then
the propeller coming on. As we travelled on the taxiway, I noted
a Virgin Atlantic A333 slowing down. We took off from runway 11,
with a nearly full flight: all seats were taken except one, a
passenger who chose not to take the flight. The time period for
the tyre change and subsequent testing, saw more passengers come
in, all of them last-moment bookings.
On the way to the new runway, we saw the Air India Regional
(Alliance Air) ATR-42-300, the `smelly' plane BO, VT-ABO:


82.10 Breakfast?

The buy-on-board service started after some delay.
I could overhear my senior colleagues going aghast to discover
that the official travel agent had not booked a meal on board, for all of us.
The buy-on-board service seemed to take ages. The cart was barely
moving from the rear of the plane, where the galleys were.
I had thought that I had had the last laugh, but yes, it was the
same senior colleagues who, seated at the back of the plane, were
now dilly-dallying over the choice of what to eat. My hunger
pangs were increasing because of their delaying the food cart.

Yes, I had had a fair breakfast at home,
but was feeling extremely hungry by now.
I also had my coupon to hand over to the cabin crew.
We were over Jaipur at 12:15 pm, and heading towards Pratapgarh.
The Captain announced a 100kmph tail-wind.
My pre-booked `meal' arrived.


No, there was no drink with it.
The food tasted fresh.
The fruit bowl had slices of papaya, musk-mellon/honey dew mellon,
and pineapple, which I enjoyed immensely.
Then I happened to open the main box, which disappointed me.
There was one plain parAnThA/batoTA, which had been
thoughtfully broken into four wedges.
The chicken curry was quite oily and spicy.
It turned out to be a bit too spicy even for my liking, and I
hoped that I would not occupy another seat for most of the flight,
one in the ATR-72's cramped lavatory.
Remember the Captain announcing a 100kmph tail-wind?

As we landed, I noted that Indore was clearly Jet's turf.
There were two B738s already on the tarmac, and an ATR-72 beside them.
We parked right next to the ATR-72.

82.11 Work, work and work

Our transport provider had done a good job with the vehicles.
They were on time, in place, and the placards ensured that there
were no embarrassing mistakes.
The late arrival meant no time for `lunch', or other niceties.
Cabs were ready for us at the airport itself, and we headed to
our respective destinations straight, without being able to drop
of our bags at the hotel.

I recounted an incident when my friend from Jodhpur,
Mr. Green was supposed to come in to Delhi,
and at the last moment, I was unable to go to the airport to pick him up.
I had requested a friend to help me out. As he texted me
on reaching the airport, I asked him, with some trepidation, as to
whether he had checked out Mr. Green's web page, to see what he looked like.
``Please do not bring someone else back,'' I told him.
We also compared notes with regard to the conduct of the examination.
We were quite satisfied with the proceedings.
I recounted a previous incident associated with this examination,
coincidentally, in Indore itself. Those were the days of an
all off-line-mode examination, where we brought a large number of
trunks with us to the examination centre, and brought back a
considerably smaller number, usually around half. We had reached
the centre, talked to the presiding officer and the deputy
presiding officer, and asked to be shown to the protected
strong-room, where we would keep the trunks containing the
question papers, and blank answer scripts.

This was a room where no human being would have entered in the
past few decades. It was a Silicon Valley, with lots of dust all
around. The world wide web was omni-present, with lots of web
crawlers as well, albeit of the eight-legged variety.
We placed the trunks there, and then shut access to
the room with a lock, and put a signed seal over it. Just then,
we noticed that there was a skylight in the room, which was large
enough to allow even a person with a huge belly (like Yours Truly), to sniff
(pun unintended) an opportunity (not to be sneezed at), to enter
the room without touching the lock. We pointed this out to the
presiding officer, who wiped off a couple of cobwebs from our
minds, with the statement that left us stunned,
``if no one has entered this place over the last few years, what
are the chances of people entering it in the next few hours?''
We had walked out, since there was no other alternative, but to
pray, and hope for the best. There was a bug in the system.
However, there had been no bugs in the room.
Even the web-spinning arachnids would have left long back.
Could they afford to get lost inside?
That was the situation inside.

At the examination centre, at 04:30 pm, after some syrupy tea and
a large samosA, some hunger had been quenched, but the
heart yearned for more. I remembered actor Soumitra Chatterjee's
ode to the `three-cornered piece of confectionery' in Ray's movie
Charulata. And more hunger pangs hit me. I rushed to grab some
grub, took a diversion to Chappan Dukaan, the savouries street,
which every visit to Indore is incomplete without. I picked up
some typical Indore namkeen (savouries which have a bit of a
sweet component, something Indore is known for).

I was back at our hotel (Hotel Ginger), where I clicked pictures
of some interesting sights, from the window. First, the Gurudwara
close-by.

The AB road (`Agra-Bombay' road) was an interesting sight at
night, more so, after the short shower that had hit the place.


The next day began quite early for me, as I was picked up at
06:10am, and had a hard day's work. This was punctuated only by
two pleasurable breaks, one for the characteristic Central Indian
breakfast of pohA, beaten rice tossed about with spices,
some finely chopped vegetables, some ground-nuts, with a neat
sweet-sour-hot-salty taste, that is typical of Indore and its
adjoining regions. It was a sort of an all-encompassing culinary
experience, having got to experience almost all tastes,
sweet, salty, hot, sour - all except bitter!
The somewhat bitter experience would come towards the end of the trip,
in the form of one of my favourite salad items, the cucumber.
The lunch was an oil slick, and came late, but
there was no choice. There was rice for lunch, and I felt the
need for sleep very badly.

This time, we got back with some time to spare, and I clicked the
Gurudwara again, in better light.

The AB road also presented an interesting sight, at the island
for the dedicated high-speed bus corridor.


82.12 Tiring...heading to the airport straight after work

I got delayed that day, after the examination. It was a tight call.
I had to reach the airport quickly, in order to catch the flight back.
Most of my other colleagues had reached the airport earlier, well in time.
I was quite far from the city.
On the way to the airport, there was a stop for some re-fuelling.
The man dispensing the fuel looked at the hose in a worried manner.
The fuel hose somehow did not seem to obey the man's command when
he let go of it. The fuel flow stopped, as nearly did my heart.
I was getting late.
I implored the man to hold on to the hose, just as he would hold
on to his little insistent child. That brought a smile to his face.
That also brought fuel to our vehicle.
That also brought a smile to my face.
That also brought me to the airport.

``This is Jain territory. Onion not allowed here,''
It was my Tamilian friend again, as I entered the check-in area
of the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar airport, Depalpur, Indore.
People of the Jain community religiously avoid onion and garlic
in their food items, and my friend stuck to calling me by his
favourite nickname. As a few other other colleagues trickled in,
we cussed, and discussed. Disgusted with some of my antics (and PJs),
a colleague noted that I had my layers of clothing on.
``Indeed, Onion, in this lovely weather, you have your usual layers on.''
We had landed in some lovely sunshine in Indore.
The temperature had been 21 degrees Celcius.
I was a bit under the weather, and some atomic sneezes made him
change his opinion about me and my layers.
``So a germ cocktail now, right? The Flu-Flux-Flan.''
I gave him `the look', as the others bent over, laughing.
Time just `flu' with the motley group of merry-men tugging hard
at each other's legs.

``The Late Mr. Onion. Onion. (The) Only One Late.''
It was my Tamilian friend again, having sighted me from the snack
joint on the first floor, where he was chatting with my other
colleagues, having finished a light snack, and washed it down with tea.
I decided to save my hunger pangs for the flight. My colleagues
had something or the other, at this snack joint.
We discussed the examination which had just got over. Our
mid-Semester evaluations were going on, and I was in charge of
organising the different committees. I had just managed to
schedule all the evaluations at different locations in the same
building, to save the gentleman in charge of the refreshments,
the pain of having to commute between the Department office,
and the building across the small internal road.
Yes indeed, I would not be surprised if he considered me
to be a pain in the posterior. Literally so.
I noted, with some gravity, that this is the essence of the
Bayesian difference between Maximum Likelihood Estimation and
Maximum a posteriori Estimation:
``Adjusting the prior to be a constant saves Sumantra's posterior''

82.13 Boarding the return flight

I had hungrily watched my senior colleagues patronising the snack
joint, since our official travel agent had ditched them, and not
booked any food for them. The buy-on-board experience had been
extremely disappointing for the senior colleagues, who would
prefer to have something filling on the ground, before boarding
the aircraft. I had pre-booked a meal, but when would it come?
I was feeling extremely hungry by now, and the sight of my
colleagues gorging some food did not help.
I walked down to the ground floor.

We had boarded from Gate 11. Our plane had come in at 08:49 pm.
I was extremely disappointed once again, to see an AT7-5.
It came on the stand just as the the Ahmedabad flight was boarding.
I had initially seen an AT7-5 there, and got
disappointed, but had a sliver of hope when it was announced to
be the AMD flight. Our flight has come in as 9W 2793.
The plane had done DEL-LKO-IDR, to make it here.
The itinerary for the return trip was the following.

Set out 16 Feb (Sun) for New Delhi from Indore
9W 2794: Jet Airways (ATR-72) [Seat: xxx; PNR: xxxxx]
Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport, Indore - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Indore (IDR) - New Delhi (DEL)
[09:10 pm - 11:15 pm]

We went to runway 25, but went all the way to the other end,
and then turned back from there.
We had taken off into the East.
Captain Hari Om Chaudhary was in command, so I got the same
captain on both my flights in and out of Indore.
Would we have a departure towards the West, on runway 25?
Some landings and take-offs had taken place on runway 25,
including the arrival of this particular aircraft from Lucknow.
Earlier, I had seen departures from runway 07 as well.
Wind directions seemed to be changing relatively rapidly here.
It had rained some 24 hours back, and there were light winds here and there.


82.14 Dinner...at last!

The ding went off, and the cabin crew member Mr. Dharmendra went
to the back of the cabin, towards the galley.
The salad looked a bit tired, which was perhaps expected, given
that it had perhaps been loaded in my home-town, Delhi.
The plane had come from Delhi to Indore, via Lucknow.
Daily Indoors, what Luck now!

This time, the crew served me first.
My weird thought process got a pleasant surprise when the lady
member of the cabin crew, Ms. Ritu came to me with a tray, and
wished me a nice meal. Quantity-wise, it looked quite nice.
The presentation was decent. It was a cream-coloured tray, with
the nice patterned Jet sheet on it.
There was a thin zip-lock packet with silverware...
a finely contoured spoon and a fork, with a stirring stirrer
inside the napkin. Yes, the stunning stirrer is in the shape of
an aircraft, with a tail, with the Jet insignia.

The salad bowl did not have a lid. It must have falled down on
the way from the galley to my seat, I guessed. There were no salt
and pepper sachets, but there was a small pickle container, where
the mixed pickle was neither too hot and spicy, nor too bland.
The salad had two slices of tomato, four slices of cucumber, and
some lettuce/salad leaf. The catering must have been done at
Delhi, I hypothesised. The cucumber was of the typical variety
found in Delhi at this time of the year: whitish, too watery,
large, not crunchy but squishy, and tasteless.
Added to the above woes, it was bitter as well.
The tomato looked a bit tired, and the lettuce, a bit dry.
The breakfast had had a fresh fruit bowl, at least!

I opened the main course, in deep anticipation.
The catering was from Delhi, I guessed again.
It was a chicken curry similar in looks to one I had had on my
onward flight. Spicy, greasy, and with similar looks and smell.
Hence the guess about the catering being from Delhi.
In taste however, this was a bit different.
There was some marination in this one, and that made it a bit enjoyable.
There was a flat pan-fried unleavened North Indian whole wheat
bread, the parAnThA in two parts, in the outer covering of
the Aluminium case. There was an interesting, albeit spicy
potato-peas-makhAnA dry preparation.
makhAnA is made from the fox-nut, the seeds of an aquatic plant,
popped like maize/corn. That was perfectly fine for me, and had a
touch of the exotic as well. To my disappointment, the
jeerA (cumin) rice was a bit under-cooked.

Jet kept up their reputation of a heavenly dessert.
On a firnI base (a broken rice pudding from Kashmir), was
a flattened cottage cheese-based rasgullA, served with a
generous amount of shredded pistachios.

Jet's presentation has usually been right up to the mark.
There is something magical about a container which has a
raised transparent plastic cover.
It represents an open casket, with goodies inside, something
which would look wonderful just that way, much like pens, as
opposed to containers which were completely transparent, which
may show the unflattering parts of a preparation cast into an
ungainly shape: that of the container, but show only the
flattering top presentation.
I had visions of the casket of Snow White,
in front of which Prince Charming descended from his white horse,
and bowed down to plant a kiss on her hands, to bring life back into her.
The heavenly dessert brought life into a dog-tired and exhausted Sumantra.

At 10:41 pm, First Officer Pratap Singh Virk came on the
Intercom, and announced that they had commenced descent into
Delhi, with about 20 minutes flight time to go.
13 degrees Celcius would be the temperature outside.

82.15 Meeting the pleasant cockpit crew!

Much to my pleasant surprise, both Captain Chaudhary and First
Officer Virk came on board our bus to take us back to the terminal!
I took the opportunity to thank Captain Chaudhary and
First Officer Virk for a fine landing, in spite of a sudden gust
of wind just around the time of our landing. The First Officer
pointed to Captain Chaudhary, and said that all credit should go
to him for this excellent landing. We got into a conversation,
where I asked Captain Chaudhary as to whether also captained the ATR72-600s.
He replied in the negative, saying that he was
normally based in Hyderabad, but was filling in for a colleague.
I told him that I was on board VT-JCW on 14 Feb 2014 as well,
when both the MLG wheels had to be changed. He asked me where I
was sitting, and whether I had seen the same or not. I replied in
the positive, and we talked about a VIP on that flight, who
wanted to get off, on hearing about the problem, and the possible
delay it would cause. He also told me about himself, he had
cleared the IIT-JEE, one of the most difficult entrance
examinations anywhere in the world. His rank would not give him
what he wanted, so he had joined T. S. Chanakya in the Merchant
Navy, and then shifted over to aviation. What a talented man!
Both of the front office people were nice and friendly, shook
hands with me, and bid me a pleasant good night, before going
their respective ways. That concluded a rather interesting Indore trip!
---
Links to my 82 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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Optimus.Prime
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll convey your kind words to Capt.HOC. He is indeed a gem of a human being. I hope you enjoyed the -500. The -600 is very much the same wrt pax experience. Its the cockpit which sees the greatest differential.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Optimus.Prime wrote:
I'll convey your kind words to Capt.HOC.
Thank you, Sir!
Optimus.Prime wrote:
I hope you enjoyed the -500. The -600 is very much the same wrt pax experience. Its the cockpit which sees the greatest differential.
Of course Sir, these are things which we do not get to experience much! As a passenger, I was plain excited to see the AT7-6 cabin on my only trip on the type, on 9W 2654 on 22 Aug, 2013, on the DEL-BHO sector (VT-JCY). While Jet's cabins are generally all spic-and-span making even an old plane look nice and sprightly, it was exciting to be on a new type!
Sir, one of my regrets has been never to be able to fly with you, since I have been based on Delhi. Earlier each time on Air India Regional/Alliance Air, and now, on Jet, every time I am on an ATR, I strain to hear the announcement from the flight deck. Hope runs eternal, however!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice read Sir.
The links are not working. .
You have put some interesting story and I want to share one here – In my earlier company, we were made to fill gratuity and PF forms and one lady proudly made herself a 100% nominee. She had to be told that this comes into picture in an unfortunate event that she loses her life and the money has to be given to somebody else.
You should indeed write your TRs quickly because I don’t remember what I had said back then . . which I read .. being attributed to me Razz
I was expecting some description of tire change . . may be how they used the hydraulic jack and you felt the plane going up few inches before the tires were replaced. .

The bus corridor as you rightly mentioned is in fact BRTS – but as you can see in the pics – even private cars make way there. Lack of self-discipline in our country. Like many other cities BRTS has been a disaster in Indore – but atleast its up and running unlike Pune. For a brief period of time when I worked for a project under JNNuRM I was associated with one of the operators in indore. I have the DPR of 2006 for BRTS in Indore. Can send it across.

Thank you again for jotting down your experience including the nice conversation with the front office team
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see a picture of ShinMaywa flying boat. Here are more information :

The ShinMaywa (formerly Shin Meiwa) US-2 is a Japanese large STOL amphibious aircraft designed for air-sea rescue (SAR) work. The US-2 is scheduled to replace the older ShinMaywa US-1. The aircraft is currently operated by the 31st Fleet Air Wing (71st Air Force, 71st Flight Squadron) at Iwakuni air base and Atsugi air base.
The Indian Navy is prepared to buy between 15 and 18 US-2 Amphibious Search and Rescue aircraft at cost of $1.65 billion. It is expected that these amphibious aircraft will be stationed in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ShinMaywa_US-2
Comment: Similar aircraft like Beriev Be-12 used in Soviet Navy but now obsolete.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Sir, for the read, and the email, and SMS one of which I read in Bhopal, and the other, back home in Delhi!
ameya wrote:
The links are not working...
The links to the e-tickets will not work now: they were active when the ticket was active: till my journey date, last Feb. The interesting part was the `eti' in the URL.
ameya wrote:
...one lady proudly made herself a 100% nominee.
Very Happy
ameya wrote:
You should indeed write your TRs quickly because I don’t remember what I had said back then . . which I read .. being attributed to me Razz
Yes Sir, the effort is on Smile
ameya wrote:
I was expecting some description of tire change . . may be how they used the hydraulic jack and you felt the plane going up few inches before the tires were replaced...
I am afraid that I was more concerned about the tyre that cannot be changed: the one around my belly Razz No hydraulic pressure is enough to discharge those oodles of lipids, and my plane has gone down and forward by a few inches Razz
ameya wrote:
The bus corridor as you rightly mentioned is in fact BRTS – but as you can see in the pics – even private cars make way there. Lack of self-discipline in our country. Like many other cities BRTS has been a disaster in Indore – but atleast its up and running unlike Pune. For a brief period of time when I worked for a project under JNNuRM I was associated with one of the operators in indore. I have the DPR of 2006 for BRTS in Indore. Can send it across.
Sir, cars were allowed on the Indore BRTS last year. This year on my April visit, they were again taken out. I did not use the term BRTS simply because I was not able to remember it in time. It is a shame that I should forget it, since Delhi's BRTS disaster has a few of my very senior colleagues' names associated with it, as well, as you would definitely know. What is DPR? I just watched `The Interview' concerning DPR Korea Razz
ameya wrote:
Thank you again for jotting down your experience including the nice conversation with the front office team
It was certainly a wonderful experience!
Thanks once again, Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
Nice to see a picture of ShinMaywa flying boat.
So now I have proof that Dr. Ganguly reads my trip reports not involving Calcutta, as well. I also now know the trick to get him not just to read, but to comment on the trip report: put in some bit of millitary aviation, and a response is guaranteed Razz
Jokes apart, the Shin-Maywa US-2 will give India a real cutting-edge in not just SAR ops. This is a rather complicated piece of technology to have: to be able to assemble, and produce something as complex as a flying boat, will be a good experience for the Indian defence industry. A flying boat is an aerodynamic nightmare with its hull, which also needs special care, to prevent damage and corrosion. Perhaps, the US-2 can also assume an important role as a force-multiplier. Whatever be the final outcome, if India can assemble these, it will really give some excellent exposure to the Industry to a complex technology.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:

ameya wrote:
The bus corridor as you rightly mentioned is in fact BRTS – but as you can see in the pics – even private cars make way there. Lack of self-discipline in our country. Like many other cities BRTS has been a disaster in Indore – but atleast its up and running unlike Pune. For a brief period of time when I worked for a project under JNNuRM I was associated with one of the operators in indore. I have the DPR of 2006 for BRTS in Indore. Can send it across.

Sir, cars were allowed on the Indore BRTS last year. This year on my April visit, they were again taken out. I did not use the term BRTS simply because I was not able to remember it in time. It is a shame that I should forget it, since Delhi's BRTS disaster has a few of my very senior colleagues' names associated with it, as well, as you would definitely know. What is DPR? I just watched `The Interview' concerning DPR Korea Razz


Yes I am aware about the DELHI BRTS and its consulting by an esteemed semi governmental organization. Most of the other BRTS are consulted by Ahmedabad Janmarg. The third agency that does it is CIRT - Pune. Will talk about it in another forum some other time. Most of them have stone age era calculation skills and thoughts and have not really understood the changing landscape in transportation.

DPR is a government term for Detailed Project Report. In Airlines it stands for Daily Profitability Report. Unlike many other industries - airlines look for daily profitability since they sustain in an hand to mouth environment
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
Yes I am aware about the DELHI BRTS and its consulting by an esteemed semi governmental organization.
Ha ha...I am sure Jishnu woudl also have a big smile on his face on reading this Smile
ameya wrote:
Most of them have stone age era calculation skills and thoughts and have not really understood the changing landscape in transportation.
I guess this applies to the above unfairly-esteemed semi-Govt organisation as well Very Happy There is a huge difference between theory and practice, and to be current with regard to latest practical realities is not easy!
ameya wrote:
DPR is a government term for Detailed Project Report. In Airlines it stands for Daily Profitability Report.
Thank you Sir, I wish I knew as much as you do!

On a different note, the Indore BRTS has been relatively well-accepted, and is patronised not-too-badly, by Indore residents, even though it is only along the longish AB Road stretch. I am sure you would be able to tell us more about whether it rakes in the Moolah or not!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
sabya99 wrote:
Nice to see a picture of ShinMaywa flying boat.
So now I have proof that Dr. Ganguly reads my trip reports not involving Calcutta, as well. I also now know the trick to get him not just to read, but to comment on the trip report: put in some bit of millitary aviation, and a response is guaranteed Razz
Jokes apart, the Shin-Maywa US-2 will give India a real cutting-edge in not just SAR ops. This is a rather complicated piece of technology to have: to be able to assemble, and produce something as complex as a flying boat, will be a good experience for the Indian defence industry. A flying boat is an aerodynamic nightmare with its hull, which also needs special care, to prevent damage and corrosion. Perhaps, the US-2 can also assume an important role as a force-multiplier. Whatever be the final outcome, if India can assemble these, it will really give some excellent exposure to the Industry to a complex technology.
Cheers, Sumantra.


@Sumantra, I enjoy your trip report no matter what the topic is. You have made this forum very colorful. But I am out of India for such a long time that my memory comes down to downtown Kolkata, IGI airport/ CR Park and a few buildings of BOM airport. So I refrain from commenting on domestic TR. Don’t ever think that I am ignoring your TR.
Yes US-2 will be very useful for desi Navy!
Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sabya99 wrote:
....Don’t ever think that I am ignoring your TR.
Thank you Sir, for the support and encouragement: I was just pulling your leg Razz
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to bring in my breakfast (brunch?) just to contain my hunger pangs! Razz
Haha

Great to see A TR on the ATR! Interesting group of teachers, you all are! Razz
The breakfast looked sad...but the return dinner is perhaps what you'd find on a normal Jet Airways flight during the lunch / dinner time - and I'm glad it looks good! Really good.

I love the pictures from the expo and the low light shots at IDR.

We aren't strangers to 9W's admittedly inefficient website but now I guess its been improved some what. Interesting conversations with the 9W staff - on ground and the pilots!

Regards
Jish
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
Interesting group of teachers, you all are!
Smile
Thank you Sir once again, for the kind words!
jbalonso777 wrote:
We aren't strangers to 9W's admittedly inefficient website but now I guess its been improved some what.
I hope so...things seem to be getting better with Jet, which is all very nice indeed.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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