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My Firstever TR - DOH-BOM-IXM IX/AI

 
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basheer1211
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:06 pm    Post subject: My Firstever TR - DOH-BOM-IXM IX/AI Reply with quote

First of all, I am excited to write my first TR getting inspired from many guys here Very Happy. So apologies if its too lengthy and also for grammar as I'm not well versed with English. I'm bit shy in taking photos Sad. So you many not find many in my TR . And I'm nowhere related to Aviation Wink Keep that in your mind before you start reading Smile. OK. Let me start.

Wait, I forgot to thank somebody. Its the airliners india whatsapp group. Thanks to abhijith for introducing me in that group and to abhishek for adding me. Thanks to all other members for giving me so much inputs for my travel. Special thanks to Ameya, Raj, Hiren, Jishnu, Abhijith for encouraging me to write this TR. Thanks a lot guys.

Booking

It was in November when I planned for a Jan trip to Madurai (IXM) from Doha. In the past two years, I always find ďvia BOMĒ is much cheaper than ďvia MCT/DXB/BAHĒ. Via CMB was reasonable but there was no flights by Mihin Lanka on Fridays to IXM from CMB. I opted for DOH-BOM-IXM. Itís a known thing that IX will be the cheapest in DOH-BOM sector. So without thinking, booked on IX244 which arrives BOM at 02:55. But confused to select between SG and AI for onward. SG has 06:05 departure to IXM via MAA and AI has at 09:40 in the same route. SG costed around 5.5k while AI was 6.5k. But SG's consistent cancellation and delays made me to think twice. Though SG291/304 BOM-MAA-IXM-MAA-DEL has been flying for 4 years without any cancellation even in their hard times, I dont what to spoil my short visit. By the time, there was a mail popped up saying the fare to IXM is 2.5k. Thanks to Air India Sale. I made up my mind for a 7 hrs transit and went ahead with booking. I was actually excited to travel in this particular AI flight as Sumantra sir said a lot about it, especially its food.

22.01.2015 Thursday
IX 244 VT-AXJ
DOH - 20:55
BOM - 02:55


The day came and I was hoping IX for a 3 hrs delay to reduce my transit in BOM. But luck wasnít with me this time. VT-AXJ did an on-time BOM-DOH-IXE-DOH. As most of us here, I always opt for a window seat. But the non-availability of OLCI in IX made me to reach airport much earlier for a 20:55 departure. Also my colleagues were taking IX DOH-CCJ-COK scheduled at 20:30. So along with them, reached airport around 18:00.



A beautiful view inside of Airport Mosque


There were 4 counters assigned for CCJ/COK and 2 for BOM. But the line was same. So happened to wait 45 min to check-in. Thankfully, I got 23A. Cleared Immigration and Customs in no time. Gates opened an hour before. I got to see the bird and tried to take photo. It came out weird.

VT-AXJ


Boarding started half an hour before. Seats were ok and the a/c was clean. I was surprised to see the load for a Thursday evening flight. Apart first five rows, all middle seats were empty. Pushback was on time and it was a smooth take off.

After an hour, crew started giving snacks box worth of not more than 5 QAR.




I didnt have it as I anticipated this and had a mini KFC pack just before the gates open.

That scary part

Skipping the airborne part, around 02:20, pilot came on mic to announce the landing. I was enjoying the midnight aerial view of T2, but suddenly flight started climbing again. I wasn't not sure what made them to climb for a go around. Neither pilot inform anything about. It was very scary for me as I never had this before in my small travel history. I use to watch "Air Crash Investigation" in their YT channel. All those scary moments came to my mind. Is it a landing gear failure? Shocked or even more serious issue?

After flight gone past the landside into arabian sea, I thought, is it some engine failure? Are we going to land in sea? Shocked It was too scary for me. I was even hoping to have similar one of "Miracle of Hudson River". I gone too far in my thinking due to this go around.

Thank god. I had to stop all those non-sense thinking after we landed safely at 02:55. There was big rush in immigration counter. An officer just came in for duty and I sneaked through to his counter. Baggage was also quickly delivered.

I was looking for the transit desk of AI. Last time, when I visited BOM in July'13, it was big mess in transit desk. I guess that happened in old terminal. It was very smooth in new terminal. Checked-in for AI and came out around 04:00 and waited half an hour for my colleague's relative to give him few things. He dropped me in domestic terminal at around 4:45

Transit

I have already got clarified lot of doubts regarding my transit in our whatsapp group. I was suggested to go to "Carnation Lounge" to kill my long transit. I cleared security and headed to food court. Thought of spending in food court itself. Because I haven't been to any kind of lounge before. But Abhijit pushed me to go, hence decided to for the first time.

Found the lounge near gate A2. I thought the lounge would be very big and spacious. But it was very much small compare to my imagination Cool. It holds JP, Dinner's Club, AmEx. For others they charge Rs 400. AmEx has separate covered area while Dinner's Club has just separate area without covered. As it was early morning, there were very few people.



Their buffet choice was very limited, but enough to justify Rs 400. I was bit shy to sleep there. Because I thought people come here to relax and take some food. As time passed by, the lounge got very busy. Contrast to what I thought, many people came there to take a small nap Very Happy. The staffs were effective and friendly.
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Last edited by basheer1211 on Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:28 am; edited 2 times in total
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basheer1211
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

23.01.2015 Friday
AI 671 VT-SCX
BOM - 09:40
MAA - 11:40 - 12:20
IXM - 13:20


After a long wait in Carnavation lounge, itís time to kill my rest. As the lounge is shared by 9W, the announcement made inside only for their flights. I had to check the display every time to make sure my flight is departing on time and on the same gate.

Left the lounge at 8.40 and had a walk of 5 min to reach A7 which is situated the other side of food court. Had enough empty seats to comfort myself for another 30 min. Boarding started at 9.15 am for the fully packed flight. Staff was pretty quick to scan BP. Although Abhijit confirmed it will be SCX, I sneaked through window to make sure, but couldnít identify properly.

I was happy to see push back at 9.45, just 5 min behind schedule. Some 100 meters and a/c returned back to the gate. Captain came online after 5 min to inform that there was a technical snag and the engineers are working on it. Assured the flight would be ready in 4-5 min. As time passes by, 2 6E took off in a short time. Finally started taxiing at 10.15 for the take off at 10.25, a 45 min delay, which is actually not bad considering its past history. A few days before, the same a/c got a technical snag after reached IXM at 13.20. Had to wait till night for the technical team to arrive on another flight.

We were discussing in our Whatsapp group whether SCX has IFE. Certainly It has IFE. But what kind of? Here is what it showed me for the whole flight. I could neither turn it off nor to use.



Atleast it displayed something. The guy next to me had the screen which displayed the heartbeat of Kiren Bedi. He tried a lot to bring it under control, but failed miserably only to leave it after 30 min.

Though I was not much hungry, I was expecting a delicious food after I saw Sumantra sir has been talking about this flight and its food several times. But this is what I got.



I leave it to the members to comment on this food which is for a 9:20 departure, a two hour flight. So I made up my mind for what I might get for my next leg.

Landed in MAA at 11:50 with a delay of 10 min. Took few photos of 9W birds, but as usual, it was of poor quality.

Around 30 pax stayed back for the next leg. After all those checks, Passengers started boarding. The load was around 90-100 to IXM for a 122 seater flight. This flight always gets decent load even at the time when SG operated 4x daily 737 and 9w 4x AT72 in this route.

After a hop off of 50 min, finally started taxiing at 12:40. This time, the a/c speeded up while taxiing and entered into the runway with the same speed for takeoff. Never experienced such take off. Later came to know through WhatsApp group that itís called ďRolling TakeoffĒ

As expected, the snack was a dry sandwich and a juice.



Landed safely at IXM at 13:20, a perfect on-time arrival.



Off the airport within 20 min as there was no other arrival at that time. Air Costa is still holding the booking office even after they removed IXM from their map in Sep itself.



Thatís it for the inbound leg of my short trip. I dont know whether you enjoyed this TR or not. This is all I can write in my first TR. Laughing
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Basheer: it is nice to see a TR from you, after your regular contributions on the SG civil aviation and Madurai-related threads, for instance. An a big thank you for the mention: I had taken BOM-MAA-IXM flight in 2002, on my first-ever trip to Madurai, and had enjoyed Indian Airlines' grand food offering. Member Himmat has also had a complete meal on the 45-minute MAA-IXM sector, I guess, a few years before this. The loads on this flights are consistently high: for Indian Airlines back then, and Air India, now: as your observation also confirms. Yes, AI has got decent loads even on the MAA-IXM sector after SG had upped their capacity, and also connected DEL via MAA. The airport mosque looks very beautiful! Most of the bigger airports in India have a small generic `prayer room'. To read about a clean IX bird was a pleasant surprise. The snack was perhaps better than an oily mess, I guess. Interesting descriptions of the lounge, and the `worth Rs.400' part!
SCX not having IFE? All the `newer' A319s except for the first one have the IFE modules, but AI unfortunately, does not switch them on on many flights. What is worse is that even if the 5 (or 6, on longer routes) video channels are switched on, the 12 audio channels are not!
The food quantity has certainly diminished after the cost-cutting exercise. What you got was a `snack', and definitely not a breakfast, on the BOM-MAA leg. Your MAA-IXM snack was a pleasant surprise to see: AI seems to have upped its food offering on the very short sectors. I would have expected only a hot beverage and two of the most vile biscuits ever made by man, or better still, a fruit drink and a packet of groundnuts/peanuts, but this is a pleasant surprise. Of late, I have also heard about AI increasing the food quantity, so this is a confirmation of some good news for me!
Thank you for a nice TR, we look forward to many more!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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ameya
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Basheer for the TR. You wrote a TR Ė so you can no longer claim that you are not related to aviation

Great TR. Enjoyed reading !
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basheer1211
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sumantra sir and ameya. Though I'm disappointed with the food of AI, I expect only what I pay for. The food was more than enough for 2.5k. Very Happy
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The_Goat
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the TR , Basheer.

I have a question. What were those three fried spheres served to you on the BOM-MAA sector. I assume they were bondas?

If so I don't see any accompanying chutney on the tray? It is sacrilege to serve bonda without chutney!

How could Nandan and his team get it so wrong, Sumantraji?? Laughing Wink
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basheer1211
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
Thank you for the TR , Basheer.

I have a question. What were those three fried spheres served to you on the BOM-MAA sector. I assume they were bondas?

If so I don't see any accompanying chutney on the tray? It is sacrilege to serve bonda without chutney!

How could Nandan and his team get it so wrong, Sumantraji?? Laughing Wink


Thanks.

Yes. Those were potato bondas without chutney and it was very dry.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
What were those three fried spheres served to you on the BOM-MAA sector. I assume they were bondas?
I guess this comes into my sphere of influence: in other words, even when not under influence, this is the cause of getting my tummy into a sphere Very Happy
I guess Basheer has beat me to answering this, and The_Goat: you are right, this is indeed culinary sacrilege. I had thought that there would have been a small chutney container, or at least a sachet of tomato sauce/ketchup nearby. Second, I had (mis-)identified the item in question to be a flattened sphere, much like a UFO or flying saucer, with a pulses-based filling inside (since the one to the left seems to have been acted upon. Else, I would have guessed the filling to be a peas/potato/sweet corn/other vegetable mash, with a refined flour covering. I was clearly mistaken, since these have been two items of similar appearance, which have had their disappearance down my oesophagus in not time at all, of course, with a chutney/sauce accompaniment.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice first TR, as I said earlier, you never forget the first one. Razz

That meal on BOM MAA looked horrid.

Cheers.
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star*gold
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report!

I am shy too when it comes to taking pictures, so you are not alone Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Basheer, thanks a lot for sharing this Trip Report with us!

And also, a huge than you for giving me a mention right at the beginning of the TR. I was unable to be in constant touch with you on the WhatsApp group since I was preparing for an exam that day. Good to see Abhijeeth providing the WhatsApp entertainment. Wink

Looks like a decent offering on the IX flight, and a rather scary bonus with the aborted landing! But at least it all went off well. Smile

Furthermore, the AI food does look unappetizing. This is why I try to avoid snack time flights - you rarely get anything filling, as I learnt from my 9W307 flight a few days ago. So I stick to the afternoon/morning/night flights Smile

I look forward to the MJ/UL Trip Report here! Very Happy

Regards
Jish
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basheer1211
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rishul, star*gold and Jishnu.

And yeah. I'm set to post the second TR which includes a video too.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very good first TR. The IC/AI flight has been a long running one on the BOM MAA IXM route.

IXM was always part of the southern airlink. The old IC routing in te 1950s using HS748s (the Avros) were MAA-TRZ-IXM-TRV-COK-CJB-BLR-MAA and v.v. One flight in each direction. And one of the HS-748s crashed near IXM on the TRV-IXM leg near the Chinnamannur forests in 1971. All the crew died but some pax survived.

Later the MAA IXM- TRZ -TRV was replaced by I think a HS-748 on MAA IXM MAA and a B737 on the MAA-TRZ-TRV.

Is it true that the AI flight also carries a lot of cargo on the MAA IXM leg???
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE wrote:
A very good first TR. The IC/AI flight has been a long running one on the BOM MAA IXM route.

IXM was always part of the southern airlink. The old IC routing in te 1950s using HS748s (the Avros) were MAA-TRZ-IXM-TRV-COK-CJB-BLR-MAA and v.v. One flight in each direction.


Actually the first HS-748 was delivered to IC only in 1965. It used to be DC-3 before that.

I don't remember if the routing used to involve a return via COK and CJB. There used to be a HS-748 that went MAA-BLR-CJB-COK-CJB-COK-CJB-COK-CJB-BLR-MAA. Have travelled on that one several times.

Quote:


Later the MAA IXM- TRZ -TRV was replaced by I think a HS-748 on MAA IXM MAA and a B737 on the MAA-TRZ-TRV.



Even MAA-TRZ-IXM used to be operated by a 737 for many years. There used to be two flights, both 737. one used to be MAA-TRZ-IXM and the other MAA-TRZ-CMB.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE and The_Goat: this is some wonderful history!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat

You are right ofcourse. The first HS-748 aircraft itself flew only in 1960. Till then it was the DC-3s or the "Dakotas" as we know them more.

TRZ CMB was a long running IC 737 flight before they pulled out. Longback , I remember coming accross a schedule (late 70s) where they used to operate TRZ Jaffna using the HS 748 as well.

IC also used to operate TRV CMB also using 737 but that got pulled even before the TRZ flight.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE wrote:

IC also used to operate TRV CMB also using 737 but that got pulled even before the TRZ flight.


You are right. The flight was instead routed as TRV-MLE.

To digress a bit, talking about HS-748 Avros, here is the history of all the IC avros (later Vayudoot and back to IC) for those interested

VT-DUO : First one delivered, crashed HYD 1984
-DXF: Crashed in IXE, 1981
-DXG: Crashed Chinnamanur, 1971
-DXH: Stored in DEL, BSF Colours (Rotting away Crying or Very sad)
-DXI: Crashed in Tirupati, 1981
-DXJ: Crashed into the Kiroli Hills at Panvel, 1979
-DXK, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, : All wfu and broken up in HYD, mid 1990s.
-EAT: Sold to BSF, stored in DEL??
-EAV: same fate as VT-EAT
-EAU: Crashed in Secunderabad, 1973.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Digressing somemore

DUO- Training flight at HYD. I think the training flights for HS-748 were at HYD because of the IC CTE (Central Training Establishment) being based there???

DXF crash at IXE was a predecessor to the ill fated AIX 737 one at IXE. Overran the runway but managed to stop somehow on time before further damage.


DXG was the TRV IXM flight . One of the survivors of that crash died recently of natural causes as per reports in local (Kerala) media and apparently a few of the survivors had to trek some distance to get help as it came down in a forest area.

DXJ was the saddest of all.. This was a fully booked out highly popular PNQ BOM night departure. All pax and crew perished. Flight was descending in bad weather.


DXI - Again like the iXE one the passengers were fortunate at TIR. Aircraft was damaged beyond repair but all on board survived.

EAY- This was a training flight again from HYD. Attributed to over indulgence of the bad stuff by the crew Laughing


Interestingly most of the accidents were due to pilot error. Over all HS-738 was one of the more reliable aircraft of IC.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, this is not really digressing, since the the sad part of history is history as well, and the HS-748 has been a workhorse of both IC as well as the IAF, and other agencies as well. Thanks for all the updates!
Sincerely, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE wrote:
Digressing somemore

DUO- Training flight at HYD. I think the training flights for HS-748 were at HYD because of the IC CTE (Central Training Establishment) being based there???


Yes, and HYD was also the engineering base for the HS-748, so it was easier to find spare aircraft for training flights.
TKMCE wrote:


DXF crash at IXE was a predecessor to the ill fated AIX 737 one at IXE. Overran the runway but managed to stop somehow on time before further damage.


It was a *very* narrow escape for the pax of VT-DXF. The aircraft veered off the runway and got stuck between two boulders, which prevented it from sliding down the table top. But for those boulders, there would have been causalities.

TKMCE wrote:

DXG was the TRV IXM flight . One of the survivors of that crash died recently of natural causes as per reports in local (Kerala) media and apparently a few of the survivors had to trek some distance to get help as it came down in a forest area.


I think that DXG was actually flying blind, without the help of any ground based nav aids. This was during the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and there were fears that Indian airports in the South would be attacked by fighters operating from American aircraft carriers, allegedly being positioned in the Bay of Bengal to aid Pakistan. So all nav aids of Indian civilian airports were switched off

TKMCE wrote:

EAY- This was a training flight again from HYD. Attributed to over indulgence of the bad stuff by the crew Laughing


The instructor in this flight was one of IC's senior most pilots. It was said that he was one of the best pilots - only when drunk Laughing

TKMCE wrote:

Interestingly most of the accidents were due to pilot error. Over all HS-738 was one of the more reliable aircraft of IC.


Not many poeple know that IC was considered the most technically knowledgeable HS-748 operator in the World, even by British Aerospace. Even BA and RAF pilots would come to HYD then, to train on IC's HS-748 simulators.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Digressing some more

Found that in 1977 the HS-748 operated both TRV CMB and TRV MLE. Now TRV CMB was 75 min but TRV MLE was 1 h 55. That must have been quite a long over water flight those days. Currently also there is prop operations on this route but I am not sure in 1977 the airport of HAQ in Maldives which lies roughly halfway between TRV and MLE was operational.

There was a CCU IXZ flight as well those days but that was using a Vickers Viscount and had a tech halt at Yangon
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE wrote:
Digressing some more


There was a CCU IXZ flight as well those days but that was using a Vickers Viscount and had a tech halt at Yangon


The CCU-IXZ flight used to be operated direct using the DC-4.

Once the DC-4s were retired and Viscounts brought in, the tech stop in Rangoon became necessary due to the Viscount's insufficient range.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the report it was enjoyable as we donít get to read TRís on the Madurai sector.

Although you had a good flight food seems to be a disappointment both on Air India Express and Air India mainline. I am not sure whom should we blame for the high expectations of food Air India or Sumantra .

As for rolling take off I have experienced that once on Indian Airlines flight from Bombay To Calcutta wherein the captain announced to the crew to be seated for immediate take off even when we were just pushing back. It was fun he drove the plane like a Ferrari and we were airbone within minutes.

I think when you were landing at Bombay the airplane ahead of you may not have cleared on time or some other technical issue at the airport may have forced your plane to do a go around.

Sri_bom
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
Thanks for posting the report it was enjoyable as we donít get to read TRís on the Madurai sector.
Srinivas: you may have forgotten Sumantra and his Amma Mess experiences: all at Madurai.

46. Madurai'12:Silver Lining on Darkened Dream)liner Dream
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13217.html
22. The Call of the Vaigai! Madurai, Oct 2011
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12465.html
14. The Fish-Eye Beckons! Madurai, on Air India. Jul 2011
http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic12136.html

sri_bom wrote:
I am not sure whom should we blame for the high expectations of food Air India or Sumantra.
He he...Air India, definitely.
The good news is that even the short sectors now get a decent snack, as opposed to the ghastly Marie bicuits-with-a-hot-beverage service Smile I experienced this yesterday on AI 469 DEL-NAG.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

basheer1211 thanks for a great TR.
I read the whole TR knowing what to expect half the time- thanks to the bits of information you fed us on the whatsapp group ..... and im still laughing at the meals Laughing Laughing
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