Airliners-India Forum Index Airliners-India
Flickr Group & Facebook
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Airliners-India Forum Index -> Trip Reports
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
sumantra
Member


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

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:47 pm    Post subject: Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir Reply with quote

Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir


89.1 Introduction

To summarise the previous three parts,
86. Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14526.html
Part 1 focussed on the planning for a conference trip to Tours in
the Loire Valley, and the onward trip on Air India,
which featured a slight culinary disappointment.
87. Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14536.html
Part 2 had memories of my first trip from India to Paris (which
went beyond, to the US), and my hurried scurrying around Paris to
get a quick glimpse of the wonders the city holds for tourists.
This also featured my first ride on the French Bullet Train, the TGV.
88. Tours Tour-3: Low Ire in the Loire Valley
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14550.html
Part 3 featured my roaming around the beautiful city of Tours,
and immersing myself in the history of the place, which has
featured people who have played an important part in shaping the
world as we know today. This part closed with memories of my
leaving Paris (coming in from the US, going back to India), again
about a decade back, replete with quite a few pictures, which I
had scanned in and put into my phone, to relive those memories.
89. Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14577.html
This is Part 4, the concluding part, which starts off from my
arriving at the CDG Airport on the 5264 TGV from St Pierre des Corps at Tours.

89.2 At CDG Airport, heading back, au revoir

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

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}

Forum member, prominent trip report writer and route planner Ameya had
sent me a gchat message, that my ride for the day would be
Princess ANI (VT-ANI). As I was bidding farewell to France,
I also noticed that my `au revoir' from France,
would actually sound like `are wAh' in Hindi.

I had reached the neat and clean, but a bit dated interiors of
Terminal 2C at CDG airport. I had actually reached a bit early,
and worked on my laptop for a while, somewhat close to the
check-in area. There wasn't much of an air-side view from this place,
and the large windows close to this part did not offer
much of a view of the activity on the tarmac.
After quite a long wait, there was a buzz of activity around the place,
as a crowd built up. There was an advertisement for the flight.
The advertisement also mentioned (in French),
that both dinner and breakfast would be served on the flight!
I guess the French love for food makes Air India put this in
their advertisements as well. The `Dream)liner' part was not lost
on the casual passenger. I could hear some excited chatter about the type,
hearing an occassional `Dream)liner' from people walking past the advertisement,
as well as those in the line, waiting to check in.

I was one of a the first few in the line. I was checked-in
without much ado, and security and other formalities did not take
much time, either. Our gate would be at the far end of the terminal.
As I went towards the gate (C90), I noticed the area gradually
filling up. I could hear the occassional excited `Dream)liner'
from the people chatting all around, and looking excitedly at the
beautiful Princess, standing in her own corner, at a stand quite
separated from the rest. This is a gate at the extreme end,
and has a long aero-bridge connected to the plane, which parks at an angle,
as compared with the rest of the planes in Terminal 2C.

89.3 Plane Spotting at CDG T2C

This was my first sighting of the beautiful plane, in the fading light.

It was quite ironic that a only a few days after my flight,
this very plane would be the subject of an intensely prolonged
retrofit operation by Boeing engineers at the Air India works in Mumbai,
which sparked off a volume of rumours.
Was Princess ANI being used as a Christmas tree, by Air India?
One frame could be used to keep the rest of the fleet in place,
for such a long time! Was Air India not interested in repairing the plane,
was it cheaper to keep on the ground rather than to put it in service?
Was it a hush-hush operation with Boeing, to get some Dream)liners up
to the requisite performance standards?
There was no abatement of questions and conspiracy theories.
It is often that some secretive operations are best carried out
in wide public view. Air India Engineering has had its
discontent with the type from Day One, and Air India have neither
the legal and financial muscle to take on major aircraft makers,
nor do they have a good PR mechanism in place. To add to it,
having an antiquated Government acquisition scheme for spares and
works does not help. The official line maintained by
both Air India, and the Government, including a reply to a
Parliamentary Question, states that Princess ANI (and later on,
AND the `connector' as well), had been grounded.
1. VT-ANI from 23-4-2014 to 14-02-2015.
2. VT-AND from 02-01-2015 to 27-11-2015.
`The key reason for prolonged grounding was non availability of
Spares and Components/ Line Replaceable Units'
All those thoughts would simply be overcome, if one saw how
beautiful the plane looked in the setting sun, that day!

An Air Austral B772 was parked beside the Indian Princess.


A B763 of Uzbekistan Airways was parked right beside it.


Meanwhile, an Air France A321 came in to land.


An El Al B738 with winglets looked rather sharp in the fading light.


The terminal area was really not that much (Terminal T2C),
as after a short walk, I had almost reached the right extreme of the complex,
with a circular array of gates. There were two beautiful A430s there.
The first was an Etihad A345:


A Cathay Pacific A343 was parked right beside the Etihad A346,
with both planes vying for the title of the most beautiful plane on
the tarmac at that time.


Another A343 soon came into sight, an Air Mauritius bird!


`Kviva' was the beautiful B763 of Uzbekistan Airways, parked near
the Air Austral bird, adjacent to Princess ANI.
This plane is named after a city in Uzbekistan.


My fascination for the Air India livery on Princess ANI, in the
evening light from the West, would not cease. I also realised
that I was not alone. People from the adjacent gates also came in,
to click pictures of the beautiful Princess. I heard an occassional
`Dream)liner!' and `Air India' quip from the crowd, as well.


An Alitalia Airbus narrow-body had come in to land on a runway behind,
and I tried to zoom in to capture the beauty, in the fading light.


Princess ANI again!


An Air France A320 came in.


In came a plane with one of the most beautiful liveries on the A332.
An Oman Air bird!


While this part of the Terminal was nothing exceptional in terms
of the sights around, the overall ambiance was nice, if not overwhelming.


An Air Algerie B738 with winglets, came in.
The reader may note the presence of a Big Brother airline behind.


A Cityjet ARJ-85 was a lucky catch.


The Big Brother airline, with its big plane now came in.
An Emirates A388, in all her glory.


Another lucky catch was an Air France A321, in the SkyTeam livery.


A cute ERJ-170 in the Air France subsidiary `Hop!' colours, came in.


The next interesting visitor was a UPS B763 with winglets.

Is it me, or do others also feel that a B763F seems to somehow
drag its behind with it, on the ground? I guess it must be
the positioning of the nose-wheel in the NLG, and the stubby nose,
which add to the effect. The droopy tail-cone seems to
accentuate it as well. It was hip-hop time...with another Hop! ERJ-170.


As I was getting a bit tired of the shorter `jungle-jets',
a longer ERJ-190 came in, much to my delight.


89.4 Darkness sets in, and so does hunger...dinner!

Captain Rajeev Bajpai was in command, and the very senior
Mr. N. Hassan was in charge of the cabin. I seem to remember
seeing Mr. Hassan on a long distance AI flight some time back as well.
All announcements were made in Hindi, English and French,
and none were recorded or automatic announcements, as on my inbound flight.
This was a nice touch from Air India!

The 6790km journey would be covered in 07:05 hours.
The flight was completely jam-packed in Economy (Y), and there were at least
14 passengers out of the total 24, in Business class (J).
One of the joys of flying Air India, was to hear an announcement about the food:
dinner and a continental breakfast would be served on the flight.
It had got quite dark around, by now. Just before we pushed back,
the Uzbekistan Airways B763 `Kviva' had also pushed back.

This was the first time I was seated so far ahead in front,
in the Economy section of an Air India Dream)liner. I had not had
these views before, in all my Dream)liner trips.
Captain Bajpai executed a long take-off from runway 08L,
if I remember correctly.

The crew had gone about preparing for the dinner service around
the time the doors had been closed, sorting the main course,
firing up the ovens, and checking the beverage makers.
By the time we were served, the meals were beautifully done.
Not to mention the aroma floating around from the galleys!
The salad had two slices of most items. It was very fresh, and
set up the tune for the rest of the dinner. Two crunchy cucumber
slices with the skins on, with two tomato slices, two pieces of
the orange carrot, and the most welcome part, a brown olive and a black one.
All this was on a bed of some crunchy lettuce,
on which was some mayonnaise-based salad dressing.

I looked forward to attacking the contents of the blue foil box with gusto.
I had spied this type of box at the start of the service,
and knew that there would be a `third' option,
in addition to the vegetarian, and the chicken-based Indian dinners.

With the dinner, came some French bread, and butter.
I liked this part of the service: a tray of breads (all of the same type,
a small oblong hard French bread) was offered to each passenger,
with butter slices. My teeth started reacting at the sight of the hard bread.
Each of my five root canal treated teeth started chattering,
and chatting among themselves, expecting a hard workout with the
possibly rock-hard bread, but thankfully, it was not that hard.
Both the bread, as well as the task at hand.
The bread and butter tray came in a later pass,
after the food trays had been handed out.
The crew could have handed out a bread and butter sachet to each
passenger on the tray itself, saving them the effort.
However, the service with a smile, and a second pass was
well-appreciated by passengers all around me, from what I could see.
I knew that they had breads around, since one of the
delights of the proximity to the galley was a sneak peak at the goodies,
all without even leaving one's seat. And of course, juggling one's taste
buds and digestive juices, at the start of a meal session.

Air India's continental spread on their European and North
American legs is usually superb. This was no exception.
The right of the box had some steamed vegetables. The vegetables
had been steamed to perfection, so that they did not lose their colour,
or flavour, as would happen on a boil. The heating had been done perfectly.
The broccoli, squash, orange carrot went beautifully with the cream-based
thick gravy at the bottom of the box.
To the right were beautiful pieces of small oval potatoes,
which had been lightly fried on the outside, before being put
into the same creamy environment. The middle of the box had some
lovely soft Salmon. The pink soft block went beautifully with the cream gravy.
I savoured the taste of each morsel, as the dinner
made its way down my hungry insides. I remembered the Air India
advertisements at the check-in: the sentence in French advertised
a dinner and a breakfast on the flight. The advertisements had
mentioned the Dream)liner, but the picture of the inside had one of a B777.
Let me not divert the reader's attention from the dinner, however.
By now, the beverage service had started. Coffee, of course.
Much to my pleasant surprise, it was a relatively tasty coffee,
albeit an instant version. It was hot, and went well with the
fresh whole milk creamer, and just the right amount of sugar in the sachet.
The dessert blew my breath away.
It was a thick rice kheer/pAyesh/payasam!
The condensed milk had soaked beautifully into the broken rice gains,
forming a gooey yellow mixture, that was light on the
sugar content as well. There was a very generous garnishing of at
least two types of dry fruits on top, which went beautifully with
the gooey preparation. It was delightfully chilled, just the way I love it.
What a wonderful dinner!

I had had a good roam around of the interiors of an Air India
Dream)liner on my inbound journey to Paris. This time, I decided
to catch up with some sleep. Yes, only till the next round of
service, that is. As the cabin was being set for the
service, the mood lighting came on softly, and I stirred out of my slumber.
Something stirred deep inside me as well. Precisely, inside my tummy.

89.5 Breakfast

The breakfast could not have come in at a more opportune moment.
The sun had risen in all its glory outside, but the Dream)liner's
darkened glass gave only a muted glow inside. As I sleepily collected
myself and tried to give in to the demands of my middle, the
middle-aged gentleman in charge of our area of the cabin came up
with a smile. And a try full of goodies.


The appearance of the tray was not terrific, however.
All of us were handed the same tray, so it would all be a vegetarian spread.
Hence, there was no `main spread'.
No eggs and chicken sausage for non-vegetarians.
The breakfast was filling, however.
The cut-fruit medley looked a bit tired, having been on board
for the past five or six hours. It was tasty, however. There were
slices of orange, peach, and mellon, and was tasty. The fruit had
not been sweetened, that woke up my taste buds.
The plain croissant looked a bit tired as well, with the outside
shell a bit crumbly. The same could be said for the chocolate
chip one as well. I had the plain croissant with the slice of
lightly salted French butter, and the nice small block of mixed fruit preserve.
The outside of the croissant was disappointing,
but the taste was nice. The chocolate chip variant was equally nice.
By now, the beverage service had started.
Encouraged by the previous night's coffee, I went in for the same, again.
This was the traditional French breakfast, or light snack which I
had seen in the past few days: variants of freshly baked bread.
With a good coffee, of course. This was an instant coffee, unlike a
deep and freshly brewed one, but it did not taste too bad.
While the breakfast curbed the turbulence down my middle,
the mild turbulence curbed the crew's enthusiasm in clearing the trays quickly.
I tuned in to my favourite audio channel, with the old Hindi film songs.

The huge GE engines looked a bit dirty.


We were getting closer to our destination, now.


It was the fag end of the flight, and the crew would be as much
looking forward to some well-deserved rest in Delhi as I was.
I tried my time-tested (tasted?) orange juice test.
Air India came up trumps, once again.
My request was met with a smile, and promptly attended to.
I found it interesting that the fruit drinks had been loaded in
Delhi on the inboard flight: they were of the `Real' Dabur brand,
and not a French one.
I had been working on my laptop for quite a while, when I clicked
on the wireless button by mistake.
I noticed a wireless network with the name FADBVTVT-ANI.
This again raised my suspicions regarding Air India trying out
some wireless Internet on board their planes. The last three
characters on the signal above, clearly indicated that this was a
signal from a wireless router on board the plane itself, Princess ANI.
I have been experiencing this off-and-on on many flights on Air
India, both on the domestic segment, as well as international legs.
I wonder what is keeping the airline from offering this service
to passengers as well!

89.6 Conclusion

Captain Rajeev Bajpai made a picture-perfect landing on runway 29.
As I was exiting the airport terminal, I noticed two four
stripers whom I had seen boarding our aircraft at Paris.
Yes, the two were in command of our flight.
I let both know my appreciation for the feather-touch landing.
Captain Bajpai put out a sweet smile, and deflected the
appreciation to the other four-striper beside him.
I did not catch his name.
Then he pulled his leg.
``In fact, Captain X was so engrossed in executing a flawless landing,
and was so happy afterwards, that he forgot his paperwork in the cockpit''
It was nice to see this camaraderie, and I laughed out with them.

This concludes my four-part report on my April 2014 trip to Tours, France.
86. Tours Tour-I: bonjour! No French Leave for France
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14526.html
87. Tours Tour-2: An Evening in Paris. And More.
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14536.html
88. Tours Tour-3: Low Ire in the Loire Valley
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14550.html
89. Tours Tour-4: One, Tours, Three, Four merci, au revoir
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14577.html
---
Links to my 89 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ameya
Member


Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3591
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR Sir. I am sure you liked the food part too and not just the french

The Dreamline chatter if in fresh - was it for good or bad? Could you guess that based on faces of people ?

Some superb pics from CDG . . rare airlines too

The food description was fantabulous as usual

I decided to read this in the late evening and head for dinner purposely. . else I have to generally skip the food desc section and come back to it later

Sad that the breakfast was not egg prep and a standard not so good looking stuff

Thanks a lot . . look forward to TRs of future trips. .2015 is about to end . . and your TRs are stilll.....
_________________
www.networkthoughts.in
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Sir, for your constant encouragement, and the appreciation. I wish I were able to describe food as well as you do. You are the Zomato top connoisseur!
ameya wrote:
The Dreamline chatter if in French - was it for good or bad? Could you guess that based on faces of people
Most were excited exclamations, and that felt nice, as people flocked to see, and take pictures of an Air India plane.
As for my backlog, I guess it will amortise out at the end, since of late, I haven't travelled much, forget travelling by air. But thank you Sir, I am trying to clear the backlog fast.
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jbalonso777
Member


Joined: 05 Jul 2012
Posts: 1425
Location: Never, never land

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And a great end to this fantastic series of trip reports, thanks so much for sharing, sir! Amazing pictures of the Boeing 787, and guess who is looking forward to his next 787 flight pretty soon!

As I found out from VT-ANT, row 12 is fantastic. Lovely view of the huge GEnx engines and the mighty roar it puts up on start up (not as gracious as the GE CF6 on the A330, but not as loud as the GE90 either...I'm starting to feel GE makes some of the best engines. Wink )

Amazing pictures..from the little quad jet to the whale quad jet Very Happy

Food descriptions look impressive! In fact, Air India's soft offering on the international routes itself sound awesome! Food, the nice touch with the French announcement...I found Jet doing a few Sinhala announcements, recorded though.

Continental brekkie consist of no meat if I'm not mistaken...

Looking forward to the rest!

Regards
Jish
_________________
http://www.youtube.com/c/JishnuBasu777
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sumantra
Member


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

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
And a great end to this fantastic series of trip reports, thanks so much for sharing, sir! Amazing pictures of the Boeing 787, and guess who is looking forward to his next 787 flight pretty soon!
Thank you, Sir: and guess who is looking forward to the next series of fantastic trip reports (and of course, the continuation of this series before that)? No guesses, it is not just I, it is this whole forum of TR lovers!
jbalonso777 wrote:
As I found out from VT-ANT, row 12 is fantastic. Lovely view of the huge GEnx engines
Yes Sir: I loved this!
jbalonso777 wrote:
Continental brekkie consist of no meat if I'm not mistaken...
Sir, AI has usually done eggs and chicken sauages on many a long International leg, among other items. This may have been a digression from the trend.
Thank you once again, Sir, and to re-iterate, we all look forward to the bounty of your TRs that await us!
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
stealthpilot
Member


Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 2297
Location: BLR, DXB

PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

- Great part 4 with the customary inflight/food details Smile
- The nose shot angle made the 787 look very nice (generally I think the 789 puts the 788 to shame Wink ) ... but I think that angle suits most planes up close hehehe.
- Dinner looked yum as did the desert. Breakfast was the (tad boring but still fine) continental route, yogurt might have been a nice addition.
_________________
eP007
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


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

PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2015 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the detailed read again, stealthpilot!
stealthpilot wrote:
...yogurt might have been a nice addition.

It should have oc-curd to them Razz
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Spiderguy252
Member


Joined: 10 Aug 2007
Posts: 4257
Location: Indian Ocean

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Sumantra,

A top-notch report with some delectable descriptions! Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
An Air Austral B772 was parked beside the Indian Princess.


Gotta correct you here - this is a 77W.

Quote:
My fascination for the Air India livery on Princess ANI, in the
evening light from the West, would not cease. I also realised
that I was not alone. People from the adjacent gates also came in,
to click pictures of the beautiful Princess. I heard an occassional
`Dream)liner!' and `Air India' quip from the crowd, as well.


Must be something to do with AI planes being a little more aesthetic than the rest. Back when the 744s were around in full swing (and in the old livery), there were a lot of oohs and aahs whenever one of them pulled up to the gate. Good to see the Dreamliner carry on the tradition. Smile

Quote:
I had been working on my laptop for quite a while, when I clicked
on the wireless button by mistake.
I noticed a wireless network with the name FADBVTVT-ANI.
This again raised my suspicions regarding Air India trying out
some wireless Internet on board their planes. The last three
characters on the signal above, clearly indicated that this was a
signal from a wireless router on board the plane itself, Princess ANI.
I have been experiencing this off-and-on on many flights on Air
India, both on the domestic segment, as well as international legs.
I wonder what is keeping the airline from offering this service
to passengers as well!


Yes, you have mentioned this before. Was it an open network? Could one connect to it?

Quote:
The huge GE engines looked a bit dirty.


Aha! That's why it was grounded. Twisted Evil
_________________
Yeah.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
sumantra
Member


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

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Varun, thank you for the kind words, and the detailed read! You really notice things. More on this, below.
Spiderguy252 wrote:
Gotta correct you here - this is a 77W.

Varun, thank you for noticing! I am usually a dud when it comes to identifying sub-types, especially when they are at an angled front-on pose. Indeed, this is a B77W, C. Leconte de Lisle, F-OSYD.
Spiderguy252 wrote:
Must be something to do with AI planes being a little more aesthetic than the rest. Back when the 744s were around in full swing (and in the old livery), there were a lot of oohs and aahs whenever one of them pulled up to the gate. Good to see the Dreamliner carry on the tradition. Smile
Yes, it feel nice!
Spiderguy252 wrote:
Yes, you have mentioned this before. Was it an open network? Could one connect to it?
Unfortunately not, Varun. This is something going on not just on AI Dream)liners: I had first noticed a wireless signal with the registration of the plane in its SSID, many years back oddly enough, on a double-bogey A320 operating the 4pm DEL-PNQ flight. Then it must have been on a trial run. However, on repeated sightings, I am but left guessing: do they offer this only to F and perhaps, J passengers also? Why do they not advertise this widely?
Spiderguy252 wrote:

Quote:
The huge GE engines looked a bit dirty.
Aha! That's why it was grounded. Twisted Evil
Ha ha, after all, it was coming back from the home of Air France. Shades of Grey? Razz
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Airliners-India Forum Index -> Trip Reports All times are GMT + 5.5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group. Hosted by phpBB.BizHat.com