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Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France

 
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sumantra
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Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:38 pm    Post subject: Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France Reply with quote

Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14526.html

86.1 Introduction

I had never been to mainland Europe before, save a 2011 trip to Moscow.
I have been to the UK twice, so mainland Europe would thus far,
remain an exotic un-visited land for me.
Of course, over the years, I have transited many times through
Europe. London, and in mainland Europe, Copenhagen, Paris,
and Frankfurt, from memory.
The memorable 2011 Moscow trip saw three trip reports emanate from it:
11. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 1: The Overall Trip
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic11717.html
12. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 2: The Central Museum
of the Armed Forces

http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12016.html
13. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 3: Monino!
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12091.html

2014 gave me the opportunity.
The opportunity in April, 2014 came in the form of a conference.
The venue of the conference was the beautiful city of Tours,
in the Loire valley in France.

In addition to Jason's nice trip reports covering Nantes, and the
neighbourhood, I was excited since my trip would be at around the
same time frame as that of ace trip report writer, Jishnu Basu
Voyage scolaire: Paris pour une semaine avec SriLankan!
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13804.html
Unlike Jishnu however, my trip reports are almost never on time.
This 4-part report will also compare with Nimish's recent Air
India experience on a similar routing, though his was in Business class,
something that has been quite out of bounds for me, unless
it has been an upgrade voucher, or even rarer, a stroke of good luck.
Photo TR on AI J
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14475.html

From this trip report onwards, I will try to emulate at least one
feature of the ace trip report writer, Jishnu. In every multi-part trip
report, the first paragraph is a gentle connector, and a gentle genteel
reminder of the previous part(s), with soft links to the relevant part.
It helps put everything in context, and a reminder, in case the
reader has forgotten some crucial parts, which may be of interest
for a more continuous reading experience.

86. Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France
87. Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.
88. Tours Tour-3: Low Ire in the Loire Valley
89. Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir

Neither am a genteel, nor any gentle, so it will be rough around the edges.
Hopefully, I will be able to put them down in good time, to
maintain the continuity between the different parts.

86.2 Visa Power. Go, get it.

The title of this section was the catch-phrase of the Visa credit
cards in the 1990s, if I remember correctly. My passports had
quite a few US visas and one visa each from the UK and Canada,
among others. It did not have any Schengen visa.

This would be my first Schengen visa.
I was a bit apprehensive, since this required a confirmed return
air ticket, confirmed accommodation, and the required insurance.
What if the visa were rejected?
I asked by brother-in-law, who had travelled to Paris for a
conference, two years back. Yes, he confirmed my worst fears.
Indeed, all three confirmed items were needed.
Travel agents can block a ticket, before the actual booking.
Would I go in for this? What would happen if the blocking versus
booking difference came to light? Not wanting to take any chances,
I went ahead, and booked my ticket.

This was early January, 2014, when I set about making my arrangements.
The Visa fees were Euro 60 = Rs.5085, plus Rs.935, plus Rs.60.
A total of Rs.6080/-, and the VFS office in Delhi would not mind cash.
I was fine with that. The complete business visa requirements were:
- 1 photocopy of passport 1st page
- photocopy of the passport photo page and address page
- photocopies of valid US, UK and previous Schengen visas
- visa covering letter, on an official letterhead
- Confirmed round trip air tickets
- accommodation proof
- Bank statements of the last 3 months
- Income tax documents: ITR+ITR-V ack
- last 3 salary slips
The travel insurance requirements were the following. I needed a
valid Travel insurance from Apollo Munich/Bajaj Allianz/Future
Generali/HDFC Ergo/ICICI Lombard/IFFCO Tokio/
National/Reliance/Royal Sundaram/ TATA/AIG /
Oriental Insurance Company/United India Insurance Company
OVERSEAS medical insurance policy + REPATRIATION, evacuation cover
(Min coverage EUR 30,000), 30 days.
This would be fairly standard, and the travel agent would manage
this without any ado.

I had started on the official process well in advance.
This was not an easy call. Why, might wonder the reader.
I would end up with three sources of partial financial support for my trip.
Yes, my patron saint, Mr. Edsel Murphy (after whom
the famous universal law is named) again showered his blessings on me,
in the form of a typographical error (in the amount being promised as
reimbursement, there was one zero missing, and believe me,
that was laughable. It wasn't exactly laughable for me, since it
delayed the entire process by a few more days, as I scurried
through the echelons of power once again, to convince people that
there had indeed been an error (`but you asked exactly for this
amount, right?', `ah, you do not have enough funds in your kitty'),
and subsequently, ended up having the error rectified. Once I had my financial
support guaranteed, I went about the rest of the matters.
This `financial support' was a pittance, by the way, as it would
mean staying at a cheap hotel, and no daily allowance, since my
kitties did not have enough, and I am not a big cat, either.

As I have mentioned above, the conference was to be held in
Tours, in the Loire Valley. This was official travel, and Air
India was of course, the carrier of choice. My budget was really
tight, and Air India tickets do not usually come cheap. In fact,
it was one of the costliest ways to get from Delhi to Paris at
that time, and back. I do not remember the figures. A trip in
April 2014, which had a ticket booked in January 2014, for a
report being written in October 2015, would entail some memory loss.
And I am infamous for more.

My itinerary came out to be the following:

Set out 04 Apr (Fri) for Paris from New Delhi
AI 143: Air India (Dream)liner) [Seat: 36J; PNR: HMCC9]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - CDG T2C Roissy, Paris
New Delhi (DEL) - Paris (CDG)
[01:15 pm - 06:55 pm] {09:10 hrs}

Set out 11 Apr (Fri) for New Delhi from Paris
AI 142: Air India (Dream)liner) [Seat: 12A; PNR: HMCC9]
CDG T2C Roissy, Paris - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Paris (CDG) - New Delhi (DEL)
[10:00 pm - 09:35 am, 12 Apr (Sat)] {08:05 hrs}

86.3 Leaves? French Leaves?

The conference was to be from 06 Apr (Sun) to 10 Apr (Thu).
Why would I set out for the conference, two days before?
Sight-seeing, of course. Paris was high on my agenda.
As long as I was able to reach Tours on time, and do justice to
the conference, which was the raison de etre for my trip,
in the first place.

I looked up some information on Tours. There is a small
international airport in Tours, which at the time of the
conference, had a connection to Stansted airport, London.
That would end up much costlier.
I would need to transit via the UK.
Ryanair's baggage policies don't exactly excite me, either.

I would go in for the best option, which was also a cause of
excitement for me. Train.
There was a TGV, the French Bullet Train, on the route!
One look at the schedules told me that I would not be able to
make the TGV connection to Tours from the CDG airport in time
(after arriving on the Air India flight), or from the city, for
that matter. I would need a night stop-over in Paris.
I didn't quite mind that!
I managed to get an official sanction for the above as well, so I
was all set. Well, almost.

I wanted to take a convenient TGV connection to Tours,
the next day, 05 Apr 2014 (Sat). For that, I would need to hunt
for a cheap hotel that was reasonably close to a TGV station.
I wanted a direct TGV to Tours, which was cost-effective,
at a convenient time, which would also allow me a bit of time to
go around Paris. Now, most of the above requirements are mutually exclusive.
I needed a TGV connection out of Paris city, on 05 Apr 2014 (Sat).
In Paris I had a choice of two stations:
Paris Montparnasse, and Paris Austerlitz.
Tours had two stations: St Pierre Des Cor, and Tours City.
I figured the former would be a more convenient start point, and
the latter, the destination. The Tours City station was closer to the
conference venue, and my accommodation.

The optimisation function started well in advance, and I finally
managed to book my accommodation in Paris: [04 Apr-05 Apr]
Hotel Luxor, Issy-les-Moulineaux,
24, Rue Ernest Renan, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Hauts-de-Seine, 92130 France
Tel: +33-0146488383, Fax: +33-0146488508
This came to around Rs.5k on Expedia.

Air India had gone stingy on its baggage allowances, which came to 20kg.
Hence, I had one bag with me, which I would have to drag
across all of the city's sights, since the hotel's check-out time
was 12 noon, and the large distances meant that I would not be
able to come back to the hotel to get my bags. I will come to the
rest of the overall itinerary, as we go along the trip, in this
four-part consolidated trip report.

86.4 Late morning spotting at IGIA T3

I reached the airport well in time, and once air-side, went on a
clicking spree. This was the first time that I would be in the
GIA T3's international part, at this point of time.
I was not very familiar with the flights around this time.
I went all around the airport.
An Air India Dream)liner is a common sight around the terminal
around most of the departure and arrival banks.
This was VT-ANL, the `annul/cancellation' plane.


Indigo sharkletted A320s are becoming more common all around the place.
This was VT-IFW.


In the ramp action at this beauty contest (between sharkletted
A320s and wingletted B738s), the next contestant was VT-JGP, in
Jet Airways service.

I was still around the Coffee Bean and Tea
Leaf outlet, and the Airtel telephones.

IGIA T3 is Dream)liner ground. As I was roaming around, going
towards the low-numbered International gates, I saw this
beautiful Qatar B788 Dream)liner A7-BCB.


This soon turned away for departure, from the main runway.


Our ride for the day was VT-ANJ, the `New Joy' plane.


I was still going all around the terminal, trying to sight
beautiful planes from various angles. A beautiful Emirates B77E
now came in to park at an aero-bridge. The registration number of
this aircraft perhaps indicated how this beauty had been paid for:
A6-EMI.


ET-ADB was a lovely wingletted B738 bird on a remote stand.


VT-JEQ, a lovely B77W in the Jet Airways fleet, would operate the
Heathrow flight. This is an extremely popular flight on the
DEL-LHR sector, sees good patronage, and does well for the airline.


Air India narrow-bodies were intermittently seen at many places.
Here is PPD, the `pulses cake' plane VT-PPD, going towards the main runway.


OH-LTT was a beautiful A333 of Finnair, in its drab Euro-white livery.


There were two Lufthansa aircraft on view.
One was a beautiful B748 on a remote stand, D-ABYD.


One of the highlights of the spotting session was JY-JAL: A
beautiful B762 with a clear blue tail, stood at one of the DEL T2 remote stands.


On the common remote stands, was a beautiful slim-line B752F of
Blue Dart, VT-BDO.


A beautiful A332 of Jet Airways, VT-JWN stood on a remote stand close-by.


The other Lufthansa beauty was an A333.


VT-ALO `Karnataka' majestically went past the extreme Western end
of the International finger, which also offers a good view of the
10 end of the main runway.


One of the lovely take-offs was that of an Uzbekistan B763, from
the main runway 28. This was UK 67001, `Samarkand'.


A British Airways B77E G-VIIB headed off towards the main runway.


VT-ALK `Chattisgarh' turned next, towards the main runway.


A good-looking wingletted B738 9M-MXK was operating for Malaysian Airlines.


The Delhi-Chennai leg of the Paris flight operation was being
flown on a new Air India A320 DF, `hearing-challenged' plane VT-EDF.
SkyGourmet was the catering agency for this flight.


by now, it was time to board the plane, albeit a bit late.
The itinerary for this leg of my trip was as follows:

Set out 04 Apr (Fri) for Paris from New Delhi
AI 143: Air India (Dream)liner) [Seat: 36J; PNR: HMCC9]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - CDG T2C Roissy, Paris
New Delhi (DEL) - Paris (CDG)
[01:15 pm - 06:55 pm] {09:10 hrs}

The catering was by SkyGourmet.
It was a completely full flight. There was not a single empty seat,
and the large number of French people patronising this
flight was very impressive, to say the least. I would estimate
the Indians to non-Indians ratio as nearly half-and-half.

Captain Rajesh Bhat was in command. The named seemed familiar to
me, but I could not place which sector I had flown with him
before. Neither could I find anything in my notes, which would
point to this familiarity. The very senior Ms. R Mujoo was in
charge of the cabin crew. The total distance of 6780 km would be
covered in about 08:35 hours. Much to my delight, the
announcements were done in three languages, Hindi, English and
French, in order. No, the French announcement was not a recorded one,
it was done by a very senior lady in the cabin crew.
Well, how did I figure this out? She announced the name of the captain
and the chief of the cabin crew, in the French announcement.
She interacted with the passengers as well, given the large number of
French-speaking people on board.

There was some nice traffic on view as we taxied towards the new
runway, for take-off. There was a Cathay Pacific
Cargo B748F `Hong Kong Trader', which went past us, after having
landed on the new runway, and went towards the cargo terminal.

This was B-JLA. Somehow, this particular plane type looks a bit
strange without windows, at least to me.
Safi Airways of Afghanistan often operates some interesting
equipment on its India services. Today, it was an A320, YA-TTD.


The coupe de grace came from a slender Tajik Air B752,
aptly registered EY-752.


86.5 The first meal

We lifted off from runway 29 at around 02:44 pm, almost
half-an-hour behind schedule. We had pushed back a bit late, and
had waited for quite a bit of traffic in front of us,
both taking off, and landing.

The drinks service commenced a bit late, perhaps owing to some
consistent turbulence very soon after reaching cruising altitude.
One of the disadvantages of choosing a seat towards the rear of
a large plane is that the airline may just run out of one's choices.
Yes, they had run out of red wine.
I opted for my usual choice, orange juice.
The young member of the cabin crew in charge of our part of the
plane, was extremely apologetic, and offered me other items,
along with two packets of groundnuts/peanuts, which is something
I usually go nuts about, anyway.
Compared to other exotic nuts and dry fruit,
I really like the humble and common groundnut quite a lot.
The juice was served in a usual Air India-branded plastic glass.

Some prolonged turbulence followed, which increased the turbulence
in my tummy, yearning for a good and filling lunch. Yes, the crew
had been in action, since very appetising smells had been going
round the cabin for quite a while. And when the gentleman came
to my row, he was again extremely apologetic since he had run out
of the Continental non-vegetarian option that I usually opt for
on Air India's European and North American routes.
Yes, it had run out just the row ahead of me. From a corner of my eye, I
looked at the lucky elderly couple on row 35: it had a lamb-based preparation.
To compound his embarrassment, he had run out of the
chicken main course as well, ending at the couple who where my
neighbours in seats 36 G and H. He offered me a vegetarian main
course, with an emergency ration of the butter chicken curry.


My meal started with the very fresh and crispy `Indian Green salad',
with two slices of tomato, a few pieces of the orange
vilAyatI/Nilgiri carrot, pieces of a very crunchy and
fresh cucumber with the skins on, and a small wedge of lemon right on top.
With a lot of the pepper, and a hint of salt, I
finished it with a huge amount of satisfaction.

The vegetarian main course was a great disappointment.
It a first for me on Air India, the crew had not taken the
warming instructions properly, or was this main course container
an exception? No, the rice needed a little more cooking in the
moisture that had been put into the box. So
did the arhar dAl (pigeon peas mush). Had both the above
items been done a bit better, it would have been wonderful to
enjoy, with a bit of the lemon juice distilled from the salad
bowl. The mushroom and peas curry was however in fine condition
in spite of the slight short warming period. While the rice was
not well-done, I was ravenously hungry, and the sinful butter
chicken curry beckoned me to have it with the rice.
The gravy clearly indicated its butter-based ancestry, with a
spice-and-tomato mix being a bit too greasy for my liking.
It was very tasty, however.

The beverage service had commenced by now, and coffee was offered first.
As the regular reader knows, I opted for this, and as
usual, announced my regret after the first aroma (or the lack of
it, actually) tickling my senses. It was hot, that was all that I
could say of the coffee. I was hungry, and finished it.

The dessert thankfully had the usual Air India finesse to it.
It was a fusion dessert. No, it was not the signature Air India
firnI, but something close. It had some slightly sweetened
condensed milk done with a bit of rice starch (giving it a very
distinctive taste). It was delicately garnished with finely
chopped almonds, cashews and pistachios.
It was heavenly, and I enjoyed it immensely.

86.6 Roaming around the cabin, and the washroom

After my hunger was satiated, I went around the cabin for a brief walk,
with my camera around my neck. Although I had had quite a
few flights on the B788 Dream)liner (This was my sixth flight on
an Air India Dream)liner, and the fifth in Economy),
I could possibly never have enough of the type.
After this trip, I have flown many more times on the type,
but still look forward to more and more.
04 April 2014, AI 143.
This was my first International flight on the type,
and I wanted to see more of this novel aircraft.
The first picture shows some detail of the door.


Right beside it was the crew jump-seat.


The first picture inside the lavatory shows the wash-basin, and the amenities.
It also gives the reader a fair view of my huge belly.


The lighting around the WC was interesting.


Here is a view of the apparatus on the ceiling, along with the lights.


Some details of the door here:


And when the door is un-latched, the washroom gets darker.


The same washroom, from the outside:


I roamed around a bit, and then got back to work.
Getting back to work, carries no implication of being able to work.
I was enveloped in sleep, and only awoke to a pleasant activity.
The second food service had commenced by now.

86.7 The second food offering, a snack

The second food presentation was officially a snack, but it was quite filling.
I seem to have misplaced a picture that I took at the moment,
but hope that my descriptions will help the reader visualise what was
on the tray, and what subsequently entered the unflattering part of my visage.
It started with a fruit bowl. It had two slices each of watermelon,
and a variety of a musk mellon/honey dew mellon,
called the sArDA variety in Delhi.
There was a mint leaf on top, to make the presentation appear impressive.
However, the fruits were not very tasty, but they had not been
artificially sweetened, thankfully. The fruits were cold, just as I like it.
However, I would have loved it had they been naturally sweet, and tasty.
The main tray had two sandwiches, one was a
coleslaw sandwich with white bread and shredded salad vegetables inside.
This was quite nice. I had it the American way, doused
with the tomato sauce/ketchup. The brown bread sandwich had a
slice of cheese inside. Unlike its companion, the bread did not
taste that fresh. The catering was by SkyGourmet, whose catering
truck had spent a considerable amount of time beside our aircraft,
as it stood at Gate 21 at the IGIA T3.
The beverage service had commenced by now.
This time the tea came in first,
and I did not want to risk a disappointment with a tasteless coffee.
The tea was hot, quite tasty, but a bit light, perhaps to
cater to European tastes. Many of us Indians seem to like strong tea, I guess.
I had it the usual way, with the powder milk and sugar.
The dessert again, was superb. It was an apple pie, which
was placed in thick custard base, which was not overtly sweet.
This hit the right areas, and I was quite satisfied by the time
the trays were cleared. (This was done promptly).

The Captain came on the air at around 06:05 pm local time at the
destination (09:35 pm IST), and announced our flight path.
This took us over Pakistan, Afghanistan, some Central Asian republics,
Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany (Frankfurt), Belgium,
and finally, France. Most of the flight was at 40,000 feet
(12,200 metres) above sea level. The estimated time of arrival at
Charles de Gaulle airport was 06:45 pm. Captain Bhat got us to CDG
on the dot, with a very soft and sweet landing.

This consolidated trip report will feature the following three
subsequent parts:
87. Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.
88. Tours Tour-3: Low Ire in the Loire Valley
89. Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir
Stay tuned!
---
Links to my 86 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/


Last edited by sumantra on Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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ameya
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Posts: 3584
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sir for the wonderful report. I was about to leave from office when this came in, so decided to read reply and then leave.
Moscow may think they are mainland EU, not sure if mainland EU thinks Moscow is part of them!

I am just wondering if ANL is named annual/cancellation for the public forum and you have other ideas in mind, may be one of the names discussed on whatsapp !

Nice pics Ė The Finnair fuselage looks nice due to the long Finnair titles. Wish Kingfisher would have done similar on their 330s
Was there a Lufthansa strike going on? One of the many ones they had!
Great meal description as always Ė I shall recommend Goyals of Zomato to start an exclusive inflight meal description platform for you !
Look forward to the other ones !
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great start Sumantra - looking forward to the rest. No comments on the seat/ comfort levels on this long flight - especially with a full flight in Y?
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
I was about to leave from office when this came in, so decided to read reply and then leave.
Thank you, Sir Smile I wish I were as regular in both reading as well as writing trip reports, as you are!
ameya wrote:
Moscow may think they are mainland EU, not sure if mainland EU thinks Moscow is part of them!
Mainland Europe, but not mainland EU Smile I had wondered as a kid, as to how the USSR was not considered a part of Asia when only a small part of it (including Moscow) was in Europe, and the Asia part looked huge, at last, in the Mercator projection. 11 time zones!
ameya wrote:
I am just wondering if ANL is named annual/cancellation for the public forum and you have other ideas in mind, may be one of the names discussed on whatsapp!
Hmm Razz
ameya wrote:
Was there a Lufthansa strike going on? One of the many ones they had!
Ha ha, good one, Sir Smile No, this was a strike-free period.
ameya wrote:
I shall recommend Goyals of Zomato to start an exclusive inflight meal description platform for you!
He he Smile Since you are a top-ranker on Zomato, I trust that you patronise this Goyal-run company over another Goyal-run company:-P
Thanks for the kind words once again, Sir.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What were the Lufthansa birds doing in Dilli Shocked
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nimish wrote:
... looking forward to the rest. No comments on the seat/ comfort levels on this long flight - especially with a full flight in Y?
Thank you, Nimish! Yes, I should have mentioned the seats. They are actually quite decent, with the generous Y legroom Air India has on all its planes. The seat width is less, but that did not make much of a difference even with my unflattering middle. A six-footer like me always welcomes the AI legroom, over most other airlines. The seat is quite comfortable, though I must say that AI's best product is perhaps on the B777s, right from the IFE content, to the seats, to almost everything else.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
What were the Lufthansa birds doing in Dilli
My initial reaction was no, it could not be a strike-free period, since I did not recount seeing any sign around the terminal: anywhere. On seeing your reply Sir, came the sudden realisation that both the FRA and MUC flights come in at night, and depart well before dawn. They also did not look like both having gone tech together. What you say must have been the situation, Sir! Strike the Iron while it still hasn't cooled down Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to read another trip report from you, sir!

In fact, it was the monumental length of the Paris trip report that made me rethink my trip report formats, and I returned to my one-flight-one-part series of trip reports.

That said, trust delays for me, too. I am already three months behind, and only 1/3rd of the flights done!

Great photographs, sir! So many exotic planes! Also, I object the fact that you didn't include the lovely A330s, 787s and the B748i in your beauty contest! Razz

I'm guessing it was a strike day for LH? That said, the LH plane is an A330-300 Smile not nitpicking!

Sad to hear about the meal to be honest! I hope it was a one off, and speaking of which, looking forward to the upcoming parts of your trip!

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
In fact, it was the monumental length of the Paris trip report that made me rethink my trip report formats, and I returned to my one-flight-one-part series of trip reports.
Thank you for the kind words and the detailed read, as usual, Sir! You non-av part is also a treat to the senses, which I am vainly trying to copy. I will try to compare my tourist(y) notes with those from your trip, although I only visited a fraction of the places you did. I simply did not have the time, unfortunately.
jbalonso777 wrote:
That said, trust delays for me, too. I am already three months behind, and only 1/3rd of the flights done!
So there is some hope for me, after all.
jbalonso777 wrote:
I'm guessing it was a strike day for LH? That said, the LH plane is an A330-300 Smile not nitpicking!
Thanks Sir, indeed it is. LH have had the MUC flight on the A333: I will make the correction.
Thanks once again, Sir.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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himmat01
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again a great TR. Pity they ran out of non-veg continental and the Indian non-veg too. I had a similar experience on BOM-DEL flight and was given this chicken curry in a similar foil over and above the veg meal.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

himmat01 wrote:
Once again a great TR. Pity they ran out of non-veg continental and the Indian non-veg too. I had a similar experience on BOM-DEL flight and was given this chicken curry in a similar foil over and above the veg meal.
Thank you very much Sir, and it is wonderful to hear from you on the forum after quite a while! Yes, I am glad for these emergency rations for the over-hungry carnivores like me. I have also been offered BOTH options on both Air India, and the erstwhile Indian Airlines. I guess I have `perennially hungry' written on my face.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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Spiderguy252
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sumantra,

Excellent report and great pictures to go with it as well! The aircraft reg nicknames are hilarious as always. Razz

A query though - was the Malaysian 737 a substitute? If I recall, they send the 333 to DEL.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
...
Thanks a lot, Varun! I told you, if you put up your TC-GLA TR, I will respond in kind. Promise kept Smile
Spiderguy252 wrote:
A query though - was the Malaysian 737 a substitute? If I recall, they send the 333 to DEL.
Varun: this beats me. I have already had my foot firmly in my mouth on this thread, with Ameya Sir's post, above. Yes, that MH B738 should not have been around at DEL at that time, since the traditional MH KUL-DEL (MH 191) flight comes in at night, and sets out in the dark, as well, and as you point out, is on an A333. Both my parents have been on the same, Papa twice. I am completely clueless here, and actually even more flabbergasted, since after this Apr 2014 sighting, I have sighted an MH B738 at DEL at around the same time again, perhaps a few times. I may have clicked it as well. Can someone please help?
Thank you, Sumantra.
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost 2 years to write this one Wink

I should say first of all sorry it took me so long to comment. I went thru a bit of the TR when you posted it but I wanted to sit and read/comment in one go so it took a while. A sumantra TR on the Loire valley .... well worth the wait!!

- A zero missing can cause a lot of problems hahahaha how true
- loved the detailed planning stages and permutations/combinations
- nice closeup of the 787 nose, I had never noticed the escape hatch on one side.
- great tarmac shots Very Happy
- Great to see AI doing a french announcement- impressive. Running out of red wine not so much Laughing
- I was looking forward to your food descriptions, especially the 'indian green salad'. Food not hot hmmmmm not good but I got hungry looking at the picture.

- now on to the next one
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
Almost 2 years to write this one
stealthpilot...I wish I could travel as much as you, and more importantly, write rivetting trip reports as you do, from fabulous places! No, I am not amortising my trip reports across time (I have not flown that much, of late: as much as I would have loved to, but I hope for better times). I am trying to fill up the gap.
Thank you for your kind appreciation, as always!
stealthpilot wrote:
Great to see AI doing a french announcement- impressive. Running out of red wine not so much Laughing
Ha ha!
There will be more of the Loire valley in the next part, including the Amboise Chateau, loitering around Tours, another TGV trip, and 2005 memories of transiting via CDG in the other direction, with pictures...stay tuned!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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sri_bom
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly my apologies for not giving feedback on many reports as I have been so busy that I donít get much time. Since it is December and things have started winding down I managed to read some of the pending TR.

What a fantastic TR and I have never seen so many pictures in your TR before so thank you for that. There were some great shots of the dream liner but the best was the Uzbekistan, Tajik, Safi and Finnair seems like Delhi is a good spotters paradise.

The announcements in foreign language is this common on Air India? Do they do German announcements on Frankfurt route? Also impressed that there were many French nationals any idea if Air France from Delhi is more expensive than Air India.

Seems like Air India let you down massively on the food, no chicken means the foodie had to eat Ghas Phus, also all the French must have gulped down the red wine  so did you have only orange juice? Why not try white wine 

The cabin pictures were nice and they seem quite clean and well maintained. What about the IFE were they all functional?

Looking forward to part two.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
...as I have been so busy that I donít get much time. Since it is December and things have started winding down
thank you Srinivas, for taking time to read the trip reports, even the ones posted quite a while back! As one who loves writing lovely trip reports, I admire your patience and graciousness at reading others' reports, and commenting on those as well!
sri_bom wrote:
have never seen so many pictures in your TR before
This is a more recent phenomenon, which started abotu two years abck in late 2013, when my Analog SLR went kaput, and I got myself a good digital camera. I end up with multi-part reports primarily because of the number of pictures, and of course, there is a lot to write about, as well!
sri_bom wrote:
...seems like Delhi is a good spotters paradise.
Yes! With DEL often being in the pole position as far as traffic goes, having a good airport in the Capital helps, and yes, Delhi does get some rather nice visitors. Delhi spotters are not as organised as the Mumbai ones, and my plane spotting is limited to my airport and airline ones.
sri_bom wrote:
The announcements in foreign language is this common on Air India? Do they do German announcements on Frankfurt route? Also impressed that there were many French nationals any idea if Air France from Delhi is more expensive than Air India.
From my experience, this is not that common. When I had transited through Frankfurt in 2007, I do not recount any announcements in German. This may be a new phenomenon, started in the Team Nandan era on Air India, and possibly being continued under Team Lohani as well. Air India often prices its tickets well, depending on the season, and the projected loads. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Air India also code-shared with Air France on this route, but I think CDG does well for AI, and they aren't doing too badly going it alone.
sri_bom wrote:
Seems like Air India let you down massively on the food, no chicken means the foodie had to eat Ghas Phus, also all the French must have gulped down the red wine  so did you have only orange juice? Why not try white wine 
Ha ha! No, there was an extra chicken dish (which you can notice peeping from the tray, from behind the oil-and-spice). I love vegetarian food as well, Srinivas: I was a pure vegetarian for about a decade, so I have enjoyed the best of both worlds. Air India is known for its innovative vegetarian offerings, especially your favourite AVML. (Another of your favourite airlines TG offers an excellent AVML with Indian-style vegetarian food). It was a disappointment to see Air India run out of red wine: they do serve some good reds, from what I have noted. I remember the Doctor's advice regarding my vices, not to have too much alcohol on flights, though I conveniently ignore this at times. I am not that much of a fan of whites, though I would end up having some excellent sparkling white wine at Tours, Vouvrey. Orange juice is an eternal favourite Smile
sri_bom wrote:
The cabin pictures were nice and they seem quite clean and well maintained. What about the IFE were they all functional?
Yes, this trip saw a very well-maintained plane, with functional IFE.
sri_bom wrote:
Looking forward to part two.
Thank you: all the three remaining parts are up, now.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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