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terI sUrat, merI Ankhein. Apr'14

 
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4477
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:50 pm    Post subject: terI sUrat, merI Ankhein. Apr'14 Reply with quote

terI sUrat, merI Ankhein. Apr'14


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14595.html

91.1 Introduction, a bit of history

The weird title of this trip report is a bad pun on the famous
Hindi film, merI sUrat, terI Ankhein, literally, my
appearance, and your eyes. Yes, my destination was Surat.
a lovely place I had seen with my eyes twice before, in 2004 and 2008.
It is one of India's cleanest cities, and the
infrastructure and cleanliness has to be seen to be believed.

Surat is a city well-known for its diamonds and textiles.
It has a slightly odd-ball population mix, with many of the diamond
cutters and gold artisans, coming in from Bengal, of all places.
The textile connection was also there. I had visited the city twice,
in 2004, as a Mumbaikar, and in 2008, as a Delhi'ite.
On both occassions, I had met my current host, and been around the
same Guest House, where I would be put up. He also recounted that
in 2004, I had stayed in Hotel Richie Rich, a small hotel within
walking distance of this place, which had closed down some time back.
He had also added hurriedly, that no, my visit was not to be
correlated with the hotel's eventual fate.


Surat is also somewhat notorious on the SkyScraperCity forum,
for people vouching for Surat's importance as being much more than Mumbai,
and that a political decision had contributed to Surat
not getting enough air connectivity, lest Mumbai lose its importance.
I would ask my host about some facts at the ground level.
He said that in the early 2000s, there was not much demand
for air connectivity. Air India Regional (Alliance Air) had a
Delhi-Surat flight, which was definitely not daily, but often got
cancelled owing to very poor loads. The equipment on this route
was always a CRJ-700 `masked bandit', which had been a type I
look forward to taking a ride on. In my 2008 official visit to the place,
he had pleaded with me not to take the flight,
since if it got cancelled, all of us would be in a soup.
I was lucky to get a ticket on the Rajdhani, instead, in both directions.
I remembered the ride, for I had the same set of companions in my coupe,
three Government officials, who did not consume much solid
food during both legs of the journey. The reader would have
guessed what I have tried to convey. They were on a predominantly liquid diet,
the liquids in this case being evil spirits,
volatile fluids, with a specific gravity less than one.
This is clearly against the rules, and all the more embarrassing,
since they were Government officials.

My trip to Surat in 2004 was on the August Kranti Rajdhani in one
direction, and the Karnavati Express, in the other.
My 2008 trip had the following itinerary:

Set out 06 Jul (Sun) from Hazrat Nizamuddin (NZM)
to Surat (ST) at 04:55 pm
2954 August Kranti Rajdhani Express, I AC
Coach xx, Berth xx (Lower Berth) [PNR 244-9674747]
to reach Surat 07 Jul (Mon) at 06:10 am

Set out 08 Jul (Tue) from Surat (ST)
to Hazrat Nizamuddin (NZM) at 09:06 pm
2953 August Kranti Rajdhani Express, I AC
Coach xx, Berth xx (Lower Berth) [PNR 812-1320059]
to reach Hazrat Nizamuddin 09 Jul (Wed) at 10:50 am

This was also the first time, that I had been able to check on the Internet,
my coach and berth in a I AC coach, since the train
had started from Mumbai Central, and the coach and berth
allotment for I AC is done some hours before the train begins its journey,
and I was starting from a place along the way.
I remember some excellent food and service in both directions, more so,
since I was the only one in my coupe who was interested in
food, per se. Warmed chinaware, and personalised service.
These were two train journeys I look back at, with a lot of pleasure.

A few years later, the trend had changed somewhat. Loads had increased.
Air India Regional (Alliance Air), which had at one time,
been forced to take up the route, was now joined by SpiceJet,
which operated the route with a much larger aircraft,
the Boeing 737-800, with a daily flight. This plane did the
CCU-DEL-STV route, offering connectivity from both Calcutta as
well as Delhi, to the diamond-and-textile town. Air India
Regional had actually decreased its services from four times a
week to three, owing to a severe shortage of aircraft.
The CR7 usually does well on long and thin routes, and this was perhaps
the best type of route to put it into action, if not the slower and much less
fuel-thirsty ATR-72, with similar capacity. At the time of my
trip (April 2014), Air India Regional had identified this as the
type they would go in for, but the entire process was getting
inordinately delayed, with the airline losing much of the market
share in this process. At the time of writing this trip report
(31 December, 2015: nearly a year after the April 2014 trip, unfortunately),
Air India Regional (Alliance Air) had four AT7-6s, VT-AII/T/U/V.

I would ask my host about some ground realities. he had told me
that yes, there had been some demand for international
connectivity from the city, for a longer runway, a bigger airport
with international status, which would seed growth and
connectivity from the place when the economy had improved in the late 2000s,
but not to the extent as was being touted on the SSC forums.
Surat now had a daily air connection to Delhi, and Mumbai
is a couple of hours' away by train, and very well-connected.

91.2 The day of the trip

It was a very tight day for me. The Wife had been amazed to see
me all ready (implying that I had taken a bath, and that too, at
the unearthly early hours of the morning), especially at a time
when I would sleepily drag myself out of bed. I had woken up very early,
got ready, prepared myself for a hard half day at my office,
and then, set out for Surat. Junior was in his usual
semi-cooperative state, and we were able to get him ready in time
for me to set out for my office, and The Wife, to drop him to school.
There was some uncertainty about how I would make it to the airport,
since my favourite cab operator was not sure if he
would be able to make it. I am normally much more assured when he is around,
since he picks me up right from my residence in time,
and drops me where I want to, without any fuss, or any exorbitant fee.
I rushed back from a meeting, to pick up Junior from his school.
I got a phone call from the cab operator that he would
not be able to make it. I would have to book a Meru cab, then.
I rushed upstairs, to check if The Wife's computer was on.
It was not.
I rushed down, since I was getting late to pick up Junior.
After I came back with Junior, my luck held, and I was able to
book a cab with a very small time margin on my hands.
I gulped down some lunch, and prepared my bags quickly.
The cab came in on the dot, and soon, I was at what The Wife
calls my second home, IGIA T3.
I had the following schedule for the onward trip:

Set out 23 Apr (Wed) for Surat from New Delhi
AI 9607: Air India Regional (CRJ-700) [Seat: 03A]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Surat Airport, Surat
New Delhi (DEL) - Surat (STV)
[03:55 pm - 05:35 pm]

The greenery at IGIA T3 is always a welcome sight for the eyes.


The `Easy-going' plane VT-ESE is an old double-bogey A320 in the fleet.
Maintaining the old birds is certainly not an ESE task.


The Volvo corner always makes heads turn. The S80, here.


Here is a smart A321 coming in. This was pB the `heavy/laden'
plane VT-PPB, the second A321 in Air India's fleet. It had been
partially painted into the interim `Indian' livery, before
being painted into the Air India Flying Swan livery.


One of Air India's A332s, the `Wide-bodied Aircraft', VT-IWA.

I was going around this part of the terminal, which had these
lovely sights on offer. This is the part up the ramp, from where
one goes to the right for most Air India flights, and left, for
most others (and the bus gates), and is behind the information counter.
What a beautiful aircraft, which really looked beautiful in the Air
India Flying Swan livery. I am really glad that I have been able
to snag many a flight on both the A332s before they were returned
to the lessor, in November 2014.

JE, the `Junior Engineer plane VT-RJE. This would be my ride today, to Surat.


As I headed towards the bus gates (gates 42A/B/C), I came across
VT-JLJ, in the Jet Konnect livery. A B739 is always a welcome sight.


91.3 The Flight

We were to board from Gate 42C, one of the three domestic bus
gates. The other two (44 A, B) have not seen action as yet.
Yes, the air-conditioning was switched on at that part of the terminal,
and I noticed a crowd steadily building up, for the flight.

My ride for the day would be JE, the `Junior Engineer' plane VT-RJE.
I noted with great delight, that it was parked next
to one of my favourite planes in the new Air India Flying Swan
livery, the A332. The plane in question was WA, the `Wide-bodied
Aircraft' VT-IWA, which I have written about above.
We taxied past the pearly white A332 IWA in the afternoon light!


Captain Ankur Nijhawan was in command with
First Officer Siddhartha Pattanayak, with Ms. Manjula Joshi and
Mr. Pema in charge of the cabin. The flying time was announced to
be 01:30 hours. At 05:07 pm, Captain Nijhawan announced that we
had been cruising at 32,000 feet above sea level at a speed of
0.82 Mach, and would commence our descent to Surat, very soon.

I do not remember much of the flight. Being up since around 4am,
and having had a hard day, I had dozed off much before even take-off.
I missed the rocket-like take-off of the CR7 `masked bandit',
with its high angle of attack. Water bottles had been
handed out before push-back, as I pushed myself back, and went
into the snooze mode. The plane itself was quite neat and clean.
I had woken up only when Captain Nijhawan had made the above
announcement. The buy-on-board service had all happened with me
in a blissful state (albeit with a full belly). This was April 2014,
when the service was all buy-on-board, on Air India Regional.

When we landed, Ms. Manjula Joshi announced that the outside
temperature was a hot 38 degrees Celcius.
38 degrees Celcius, with humidity thrown in as well...
Hmm..., I said to myself. Surat is on the banks of the Tapi/Tapti river,
with the proximity to the sea also being a factor.
The Dumas beach is well-known, and my destination in the city was on
the Dumas road itself, though not that close to the beach itself.
The airport at Surat is sometimes called the Dumas airport,
since it falls within the area. My destination was on this road, with
the airport at one end, and the railway station, at the other.
Captain Nijhawan landed us on runway 22 at Surat.

Here is a not-so-nice picture of the modern terminal building.


The bags took quite some time to come out.
There was an elderly lady passenger on board, who was physically challenged.
The folding wheelchair had to be taken in carefully,
through the CR7's narrow aisle, with the lady being made
comfortable on it, and then, the wheelchair had to be taken out
very carefully, via the CR7's built-in stairs, which may not be
able to take the load of a few people descending through it, at once.
I noticed that this is one of the places where we Indians
put our personal touch, above anything else.
I noticed all people on the tarmac crowding around the plane.
As soon as two people got the wheelchair to the top of the stairs,
people folded the railing on the stairs, and all got the wheelchair
somehow into their hands, lest it damage the built-in stairs,
or cause discomfort to the lady in question.
It was nice to see everyone coming forward to lend a helping hand,
right from the Air India officials, to the security staff,
and the baggage handlers. Only after the lady got on the ground
comfortably, did the baggage handlers then get onto their job,
with the belt not working. A person was seen going in,
and coming out with a bag or two, and putting them on the belt,
where others got up, and took it into the baggage cart.
This caused a bit of delay.

91.4 At Surat

I had requested my gracious host not to come, if he sent someone,
it would be very nice. But lo and behold, as we waited for our bags to come in,
I saw a smiling face just outside the Departures door.
Now, this was embarrassing! My gracious host is an old friend,
whom I have know since 2001. We have worked in the same lab,
from which we have many sweet memories.

At 07:30pm, he came in with his wife, and daughter, and took me
out for an `unlimited' Gujarati thAlI (literally, `plate',
indicating a meal spread on a plate), where he also
emphasised the `unlimited' part, with a wink in his eye.
I guess I am infamous among my motley group of friends,
for my love (read, craze) for food. They took us to a nice restaurant, Kansar.
He showed me two similar restaurants on two sides of the
small road, the other being `sasuma'.
Trust me to forget the forest for the trees...I was unable to
recount the name of this restaurant till some time back, when I
was able to finally locate this place on Google Maps.
The names of the two restaurants may sound absolutely ominous for some of us,
with Kansar somewhat phonetically resembling the name
of a dangerous medical condition, and `sAsU-mA' being a
colloquial term for the Mother-in-Law.

What followed was an amazing experience in gastronomy, of the
Gujarati kind. There were some 12 items on offer, washed down
with the traditional chAs (butter-milk). Yes, I would not
miss a common favourite of The Wife and I, kaDhI, a
dish made from curd/yogurt and chick-pea/Bengal gram flour besan.
I must add here that this is one of the few things which The Wife and I
have in common, the fondness for kaDhI.
She reads what I write, so I guess I must also stop here.
The term `feedback' could assume many meanings, which I will not
dwell into, in any greater detail.

We recounted our initial days at Mumbai, and took notes about common friends.
He is much more social than I am, and has connected to a lot more
friends than I have, through Facebook. We recounted a few
experiences with one, who is from Kerala. He had posted a picture
of himself at a restaurant, with a couple of friends.
I could not but help notice the expression on his face.
``There are some things which will never change'', I commented,
``Just look at him. Ogling away at his neighbour's plate''
This common friend had taken us out to the `unlimited' meal at
Matunga's A. Rama Nayak Udupi, which was just across from the Central line,
to the left, which going towards VT/CST. After we had had
our full (and really enjoyed it), he added,
``how did you like it?''
All of us were forever teasing him about his use of language, and
he had left his legs dangling, for us to merrily pull.
How had he assumed that we would `like' it?
He was also known for his Bacchus worship.
At a meeting, he had made his point of view known (somewhat loudly),
when whisky and beer had come in.
``Non-zense, I say,'' he had started off with, in his
characteristic accent, ``this is zimbLy not done.''
As the meeting progressed, we were a tad surprised to see him
with a glass in his hand. After the meeting got over, we heard
the golden words, ``the beer was good, I say''
No, it did not stop here.
The meeting was in a hotel close to the Juhu beach, and it had
got quite late. A colleague had offered to drop us back in his
official vehicle, but the cool sea breeze was too much to resist
for our group of friends. ``Thanks a lot,'' I said, ``I think we
will stay here for a while, and engage in a bit of...''
``romanticism,'' another friend completed my sentence.
I guess the colleague had thought that I was completely drunk,
and slunk away - he is a tee-totaller. When we headed off towards
the bus stop, the realisation dawned on us, that we did not have
much money in our pockets. The last bus to our place had already left,
and we were in a soup. The next morning had some important work,
and we could not afford any more `romanticism'.
We emptied our pockets, and planned that we would try to flag
down a taxi, and go on till we had enough coins to pay the driver.
The romanticism would take over from there, and we would walk back.
Luckily for us, we managed to get down somewhat close
to our destination, shocked the taxi driver into accepting a
large number of coins (that too, in a distributed manner),
chillar to the Mumbaikar, and went back to wake up the
next day, and yet, have nothing amiss.

As I was hogging around, we relived some old memories.
I remembered that my host was an early riser. He usually woke up
at 4am (latest, by 4:30am), and started the day. I knew his wife
also did the same. I asked their daughter, as to whether she also
woke up that early. My host interrupted her, saying that she was
the lazy one in the family, and struggled to wake up at 7 or
7:30am. And then, it just slipped out of my mouth,
``that is midnight for me!''

I had last been to Surat in 2008, again on his invitation.
I had told him that in a span of less than a week, I
had been to India's two cleanest cities, Chandigarh, and Surat.
As we headed off towards the Guest House, I was enjoying the
sights of some very clean surroundings around. I asked him whether
Surat was still that spic-and-span. He said that it was sadly not
the case, everywhere in the city. He recounted some of the plague days,
where Commissioner Rao had simply turned the dirty city
around on its head, and unleashed a new era for Surat.
My host's wife said that just after her marriage, she had also
experienced floods in the city, as well as the earthquake,
which had struck nearby Bhuj. Rather inappropriately, I blurted out,
``post-marriage, one usually experiences these
calamities, anyway. One should avoid it like the plague.''
I suddenly picturised The Wife standing beside me, and glaring at me,
and decided to stop, in the interest of sanity.
``Yes, I know that you have enjoyed your long bachelor life,
quite a lot,'' my friend joined in.

As they dropped me at the nice Guest House, they also mentioned
that on Sundays, this stretch of the road was a well-known haunt of foodies.
People usually came in droves, and enjoyed food there.
Icchanath is the locality, named after a famous temple in the area.
I had passed out on the chair itself, before I managed to drag
myself to the bed. My day started with the breakfast: I had woken
up very late, and sleepily went to the breakfast table at 09:15 am.
A potato curry, puri and a strong tea later,
I was ready to face the world.

91.5 The Return Trip

Yes, it would be tight. My host would take me for lunch at the
impressive Guest House, there was some work to complete afterwards,
and he would drive me to the Dumas airport.
The lunch had a cabbage-based dry preparation, dAl (pulses),
a curry based on the mUng pluses with the skins on.
Two small rasgullAs completed the quick lunch,
as we hurried off for the official task at hand. The check-in and
security check happened quite quickly at the small but impressive
Surat airport departures terminal. There is a lot of natural
light in the terminal, but not many power ports. There were four
computers offering free Internet access to passengers, however.
While I did not patronise the desktops there, I noticed a wireless
signal for the AAI (the Airports Authority of India), which did
not have any password protection.
I was not able to connect to it, however.

My trusted Tata PhotonPlus data card held me in good stead, however.
As The Wife jokes, I coast along both the highway, as well as the
information highway on Tata products. (We are proud owners of a
Tata Indica Vista, which gives us just as much joy today, as it
did in 2010, when we bought it.) I caught up with my
official email, which had accumulated over the past day.
One colleague complained that the library room had a better
projection system, but was not available for booking.
``A library, and no book(ing) allowed?''
My wise-cracks did not stop there.
There was talk of ordering food from Naivedyam, a lovely
Kannadiga (referring to the state of Karnataka in India) food joint.
I had been aghast a few days back, when a
a Delhi'ite friend, and fellow foodie informed me that Naivedyam
may have closed down. A colleague responded,
``Closed down, started, closed down, started, following
environment concerns since last 18 months. Last known was on
beginning of April.''
``Is that about Naivedyam, or my progress in the common project?''
There was another email, containing minutes of a meeting,
advising restraint in the grilling of a candidate, to what should
have been `within decency', which due to a typographical error,
appeared as `with indecency'. I giggled out loud, much to the
surprise of people around me.
There was another e-mail discussion, to which a colleague had retorted,
``Boring.''
Others joined in the fun, ``it is boring...a hole in the head.''
``What happens if things get even more boring?''
``Borate. Then, Elaborate.''
These discussions tend to be interesting.
First, one wants some Quorum.
Then, Decorum.
The Opposite, if Rum is around, quipped a colleague.

As the crowd built up, I saw that there must be some demand on the route,
for the frequency, and the aircraft type (SpiceJet had a daily B738
on the route, at the time of my visit, April 2014) indicated some trend.
This was a far cry from the situation say, six years back, when Air India used
to struggle to fill up a CR7. At 04:07pm, a small Cessna Citation
Bizjet landed on the runway 22, and came up to the apron. There
was another Dauphin helicopter parked, nearby. My appreciation
for the terminal building went down a bit since around 04:15pm,
I felt that the air-conditioning had gone off.

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

Set out 24 Apr (Thu) for New Delhi from Surat
SG 622: SpiceJet (B738) [Seat: 19F]
Surat Airport, Surat - IGIA T1-C, New Delhi
Surat (STV) - New Delhi (DEL)
[05:00 pm - 06:50 pm]

The plane came in a bit late, and landed on runway 04:30pm, which
was our boarding time. Much to my disappointment, it was not a
new Boeing Sky Interior-ed plane. It was VT-SGO, an old B737-800
with winglets. Just as boarding was announced, the crowd rushed
towards the door. I was in front, and went even quickly to the plane,
once on the tarmac. Seeing some delay at the front door,
I made my way towards the rear, from where I boarded, and went
ahead to my seat, 19F. I would estimate the loads to be in the
region of 90% or so. Surat may not be a high yielding destination
for airlines, but some demand seemed to have built up gradually over the past
six years or so. Captain Shivaji Singh was in command, with First
Officer Akash Bansal. The flight time was announced as 01:25 hours.
There were four members of the cabin crew, all young ladies.
The announcement gave their names, and announced that
they were well-versed in Hindi and English.

Here is a picture of the interior of the aircraft.
The reader may note the somewhat non-standard seats.


A winglet view, from the window.

The Bizjet in the distance is VT-SSF.

Here is a view of a part of the airport terminal, with a part
which will open out to an aero-bridge, sometime in the future.


After a long take-off from runway 22, we took off towards the South,
and made a complete U-turn, and flew past the Surat airport, towards the North.
Here is a view from the window. This would be the Tapti river, I guess,
one of the two major rivers in India which flow towards the West,
the Narmada being the other.


Yes, the winglet looked nice in the afternoon sun.


When the food and beverages service was announced,
my digestive juices started flowing, in full earnest.
When it came to my turn, the lady asked me if I had
pre-booked a non-vegetarian snack. I answered in the affirmative,
but was handed over the wrong choice. I had pre-booked `Chicken in
Garlic Sauce, with fried noodles', but I had been handed out a
Chicken Schezwan Kathi Roll, instead.

I had initially thought that they had perhaps run out of the former,
took pictures of the snack, and started off, only to notice my neighbour
getting what I had pre-ordered. It was no big deal, as the Kathi roll had
been done well, with a generous filling of soft small chicken pieces,
in a thick Schezwan sauce base, thick, so that the roll
would not end up soggy, or runny. It had been warmed well,
and tasted nice and fresh. I enjoyed the tasty snack.
No, there would be no other accompaniment.

I took a while to study the SpiceJet schedules, with respect to Surat.
There seemed to be some inconsistencies in the schedule in
the issue of the April 2014 magazine, `Spice Route'.
From what I could figure out, Surat was connected to Delhi and
Mumbai directly, and indirectly, to Bengaluru and Calcutta.

To Surat, from BLR and BOM (and incidentally, CCU):
The aircraft actually came in from CCU.
SG 521 CCU-BLR {07:25am-09:55am}
This went on as follows:
SG 523 BLR-BOM-STV {10:35am-12:15pm; 12:50pm-01:45pm}
The same plane turned back on the same route, incidentally, to CCU.
SG 524 STV-BOM-BLR-CCU {02:15pm-03:05pm; 03:45pm-05:25pm; 06:00pm-08:25pm}

To Surat, from DEL:
SG 623 DEL-STV {02:40pm-04:30pm}
The same plane turned back, all the way to CCU.
SG 622 STV-DEL-CCU {05:00pm-06:50pm; 07:45pm-10:10pm}

At 06:21pm, the Captain came on the air, and announced that from
a height of 40,000 feet, 140km from Delhi, we had just commenced
our descent into Delhi. We would land on schedule in spite of the
slight delay at Surat, of the order of around 10-15 minutes.
`On sked' meant a landing time of 06:50pm.

Here is a picture of the action just after we handed landed,
showing the lovely angles at which different parts of the wing had aligned.


This is VT-SGS, which seems to have some major work going on, on
its starboard-side engine.

There rest of this trip report is not that much out of the ordinary.
I was in Terminal 1-D at Delhi, something not that usual for me.
The bags came out well in time. I booked a pre-paid cab, got
stuck up in the usual Delhi traffic, and reached home, safe and sound.
---
Links to my 91 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
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sri_bom
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Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 2365
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great TR Sumantra and you are lucky to get opportunity to travel on the masked bandit so many times. The A333 was a good catch I often used to see this plane in Singapore as this was one rotation where Air India used this type quite often.
Sumantra you missed food between Delhi and Surat, I donít believe this .

Gujarati and Rajasthani Thalis are my favourites, especially the unlimited ones. Every time I visit India it is one of my must do and Bombay has quite a bit of these fancy Thali places. Does Delhi have Thali restaurants when I visited Delhi a decade ago I never found any Thali places, but things might have changed now.
I really admire spice jet of the quick recovery wish KF managed to survive as well.

Thanks for the report.
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sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4477
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
...you are lucky to get opportunity to travel on the masked bandit so many times.
Thank you Srinivas, yes, I consider myself quite lucky to have been on rather exotic types, and exptic places, even inside India!
sri_bom wrote:
Sumantra you missed food between Delhi and Surat, I donít believe this
Neither can I...but I was too sleepy, and the menu did not interest me much. Now that food is back on Air India Regional, I try not to sleep too much Smile
sri_bom wrote:
Gujarati and Rajasthani Thalis are my favourites, especially the unlimited ones. Every time I visit India it is one of my must do and Bombay has quite a bit of these fancy Thali places. Does Delhi have Thali restaurants when I visited Delhi a decade ago I never found any Thali places, but things might have changed now.
Bang on, Srinivas: apart from the tiny Delhi Haat joints, I doubt if there are `common-place' joints for Gujarati and Rajasthani thAlIs in Delhi. The ubiquitous and generic North Indian thAlI isn't one of my favourites!
Thank you once again, for a thorough read, and the kind words!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks sir for the TR

You have traveled some routes before respective airlines dropped them . . in this case, not just the route but also the station.

Great pictures from Dilli and offcourse Surat !
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
You have traveled some routes before respective airlines dropped them . . in this case, not just the route but also the station.
Ha ha, that is a pertinent observation Sir! More so, since the next trip report will feature the line of thought extended one step further...closure of the airport itself. No guesses, it will be Jabalpur (JLR)!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great one from you, added with the personal touches of your conversations with your host and your rushed day!

I'm guessing you missed the meal on the CRJ? Or was there none at all?

I really wonder what's up with SG's meal policy! You order one thing, but you get a severely downscaled something else. I ordered a non veg breakfast, but I got the same kathi roll as you, which I found to be a bit of a rip off.

I look forward to more from you!

Regards
Jishnu
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
...added with the personal touches of your conversations with your host and your rushed day!
Thank you, Sir: I am glad you enjoyed this part Smile
jbalonso777 wrote:
I'm guessing you missed the meal on the CRJ? Or was there none at all?
I usually do not miss food, but this was Apr 2014, and Air India Regional still had the BoB service, whose menu did not entice me by any means. Hence, I slept through most of my trip.
jbalonso777 wrote:
I really wonder what's up with SG's meal policy! You order one thing, but you get a severely downscaled something else. I ordered a non veg breakfast, but I got the same kathi roll as you, which I found to be a bit of a rip off.
Hmm...I think I remember you describing this experience. They have a better differentiator in the F&B offerings, as compared to market leader 6E, hence it would be nice if they could get rid of these niggles!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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shivendrashukla
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great TR from an relatively less visited Surat airport. The airport looks nice. I hope the WWWAS group had not created such a negative image about that. Looking forward to next one Sir.

Cheers
Shivendra
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shivendrashukla wrote:
...from an relatively less visited Surat airport. The airport looks nice. I hope the WWWAS group had not created such a negative image about that.
Thank you Shukla Sir! It is nice to also see you on this section of the forum, after a long time. We await TRs from you!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow absolutely fantastic to read a uniquely descriptive and explanatory sumantra TR after a long TR break!
Great read.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
Wow absolutely fantastic to read a uniquely descriptive and explanatory sumantra TR after a long TR break!
Great read.
Thank you, stealthpilot: I always look forward to your reads and comments, in spite of a very busy schedule. I also look forward to your trip reports!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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jbalonso777
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantra sir, sorry about the delayed response to yet another fantastic TR from you!

As usual, nice pictures and awesome descriptions of the flight and trip itself!

The SpiceJet Boeing 737 looks weird on the inside (the blue seats... Confused )

Regards
Jish
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jbalonso777 wrote:
The SpiceJet Boeing 737 looks weird on the inside (the blue seats... Confused
Thank you Sir, for the detailed read, and the kind words: SpiceJet were in trouble back then, and being a bit more comfortable now, they still have the wet-leased birds (some of them exotics, including the first split-scimitar in India) with some `interesting interiors.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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avbuff
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome TR! .. you flew from THE airport in India called Surat. ....

BTW the foodie in you must have been excited with those Gujarati and Rajasthani thalis..

Lovely pics, thanks for sharing.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

avbuff wrote:
! .. you flew from THE airport in India called Surat. ....
Thank you Sir, for taking time off to read my food-and-travel writings! Yes, coming at a point when the WWWWS group is especially active, it was certainly interesting to write it down.
avbuff wrote:
BTW the foodie in you must have been excited with those Gujarati and Rajasthani thalis..
He he...sure Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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