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IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL

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

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:54 am    Post subject: IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL Reply with quote

I finally decided to write one... a BR (Brief Report), rather
than a TR (Trip Report). Please pardon the absence of good
quality pics, since the only digital imaging device I had with me
was a cellphone camera, and that too, I clicked a few pics when
on the ground. I carry my analog SLR with me, and clicked
numerous pictures with it - for those in Delhi, please PM me -
you are welcome to come and see the hard copies.
Set out 24 Sep (Fri) for Hong Kong from New Delhi

New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3 -
Hong Kong International Airport, Terminal 1
AI 314: Air India (B777L) [PNR: H2KMX, Seat 31K, Class K]
New Delhi (DEL) - Hong Kong (HKG) - Osaka Kansai (KIX)
[11:15 pm - 07:00 am] {05:15 hours}

This was my first trip through Delhi's T3, and wasn't I excited?
I had only seen it from the outside a month back, when I had gone
there for a see-off. T3 certainly lived up to the excitement!
I reached there around 8pm, and wandered all around. I clicked a
few pics with my cellphone camera, to send home immediately via
the good free wireless Internet (good connectivity, good speed!).
There were power outlets at numerous places. I did not look for
any of these landside, though. (HKG would pale into comparison
with DEL, please read on). There were no unruly crowds outside -
it is a HUGE area, and I did not miss the confusion of the
earlier T2, though the renovated T2 was not bad.

Picture of the very impressive check-in area. The check-in agent
was nice and friendly.

the currently empty departures area.

A Beetle, with colour-coordinated seat covers.

A Harley-Davidson masterpiece.

The was the DEL-NRT flight, `Maharashtra'. This has the CWG logo -
decals, most probably, but this looked good!
This flight looked quite full - judging by the number of people
getting in.

One of the indoor garden areas...beautiful!

The vertical garden...simply beautiful!
The last two are on the side of the gates 1, 2, 3.
The carpet is also beautifully patterned, quite unlike the
semi-random Changi one. I hope they maintain this well over the
years. If they do so for the entire airport, T3 will be one of
the largest and most beautiful, and extremely functional airports
in the world.

A `presentable' 321...VT-PPT!
Our bird would be a 777-200LR, VT-ALG, `Kerala'. It would be my
first time on `Kerala', and I was impressed. It was spotlessly
clean, and the PTVs and power outlets were working well.
Both the plastic as well as the fabric looked in pristine
condition.
The load factor in Y must have been 100% - chock-a-block. I was
in 31K, and the second Y block was completely full, and the
forward one looked so, too. I cannot say anything about F and J,
though. We passed through the J cabin on disembarkation, and it
looked only about half-full. There were a huge number of Japanese
passengers on the flight, about half were to deplane in HKG,
like me. Interestingly, about two-thirds of the passengers were
from south east asia.
People at home had asked me to pick up some snacks from the
airside lest I get hungry, but I wanted to keep my appetite for
the Air India food! And this too, did not disappoint.
No, there was no continental or oriental choice in Y.
Anyone around me also had not booked any special meal.
But the Chicken Manchurian and fried rice more than made up for
it. The welcome lemon drink was very refreshing.
There was some fresh green salad, and the dessert was two
delicious gulab jamun balls, followed by tea/coffee.
The IFE was quite fine - no complaints about it. I worked on the
flight, but saw the golden oldies music video, from the
black-and-white area, and slept a bit. The ample legroom in Y
that Air India has - is a big bonus. The crew were nice and
helpful, we had a senior lady, and a young lady named Michelle
from the north-east India, who exuded genuine warmth, and was
very prompt in getting back to passengers. The headphone was a
first for me - with only one combined stereo input port. In my
flights on AI's 777s (LR+ER), I have generally seen the two-port
headphones. The IFE also had a different airshow - the route-map
display was quite different from those I had seen on other
planes. Overall, it was an excellent experience.

Set out 30 Sep (Thu) for New Delhi from Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Airport, Terminal 1 -
New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3
AI 311: Air India (B77L) [PNR: H2KMX, Seat 31A, Class L]
[06:05 pm - 09:00 pm] {05:25 hours}

The flight arrived on the dot. I wanted to take a few pics of the
Hong Kong International airport, but on landing, all windows
fogged out because of the warm humidity.

Set out 30 Sep (Thu) for New Delhi from Hong Kong
Hong Kong International Airport, Terminal 1 -
New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3
AI 311: Air India (B77L) [PNR: H2KMX, Seat 31A, Class L]
[06:05 pm - 09:00 pm] {05:25 hours}

I was pleasantly surprised to find free wireless Internet at HKG,
but the speed and connectivity was quite pathetic. Landside,
there were no power outlets, either. (The airside had a few - but
they were more an exception than a rule in such a large airport.
I had checked in my bags in the morning at the Hong Kong MTR
station, but was disappointed to know that the boarding card
would be issued only about 3 hours before departure. I headed to
the airport, nevertheless. This counter opens at 5:30am,
incidentally, and is a boon for passengers like me who want to
drop off their baggage, and semi-check in.
This is managed by Jardine air services, who also manage quite a
few other airlines at Hong Kong. I had earlier `reconfirmed my
PNR' (an Air India oddity), and pre-booked a seat over the
Internet and email - the replies were very prompt, indeed. I was
impressed. I headed to the airport on the nice Airport Express
train, and was disappointed that I would have to wait landside
for the next 6 hours. I was carrying some work with me, so I did
not waste any time. Moreover, the North runway was being used for
takeoffs towards the west, and I captured a few heavies taking
off, visible over the iconic HKG roof structure.
The check-in happened around 3:15pm, and the Jardine air services
agent was a bit indifferent, and sloppy.
Airside, I wandered around the entire terminal area (1 and 2,
both). I did not have much time on hand, as boarding was to
commence around 5:10pm (it actually started 10 minutes late, but
the flight left on time.) Boarding was quite quick, and there was
the now-customary Air India secondary manual cabin baggage check
(Some stations also have an extra X-ray machine check: something
I have seen at EWR, JFK, LHR, and SIN also, if I remember
correctly). I was witness to an altercation between a passenger
and a gate agent (again from Jardine air services - the south
east asian woman was quite rude to the passenger. This was over
some duty-free item rule, from what I overheard. I was busy
taking pics, though, and did not pay much attention, otherwise.)

Incidentally, I spotted four Indian A330-200s: two each from
Kingfisher, and Jet, at the Hong Kong airport.
I was the second to walk into the aircraft - a first for me!
My return would be on VT-ALC, `Assam'. Now, this
would be my third trip on `Assam', though I was hoping that it
would be a new registration for my log-book. But `Assam' was in
spic-and-span condition. The PTVs, power outlets and
mood-lighting worked throughout the flight. Though this is one of
the older 777-200LRs, `Assam' did not show any hint of its age -
the plastic was spotlessly clean, and the fabric, quite clean and
fresh. This is quite good, Air India! The boarding was otherwise
quite orderly, given the large number of passengers taking the
flight. Y was about a quarter full (the flight was coming in from
Incheon), but Y got filled up with one seat to spare (and that
too, was beside me! I was on 31A.) the ethnic composition of
passengers this time had about two-thirds people of Indian origin.
The two crew serving the part where I was seated included a
senior lady, and a young north eastern gentleman - both were
quite nice and friendly. Now this is a huge plus point, and good
crew are often a big plus point in an enjoyable journey. A
request for a cup of orange juice was enthusiastically met with
even at the fag end of the journey, resulting in a search not
just in the current mini-pantry area in front of row 30, the lady
also searched out the one at the end of the plane, and came back
promptly with the requested item. The dinner? The food
was simply fantastic, and worth the workout at the HKG airport in
roaming about at top speed, and the wait. It started with some
channa dal and a choice of drinks. Nothing extra-ordinary.
Again, no continental, or oriental food.
It was to have chicken curry as the main course, in the
non-vegetarian option.
Oh...I was not looking forward to it.
Until I took my first bites. It was very nicely done (the
marination was nice), and not oily or overly spicy, either. The
pulao was nicely seasoned, and the bhindi (lady finger/okra) dry
curry was soft and very tasty. The green salad had lettuce,
celery, pickled cucumber and red capsicum/bell pepper, delicately
seasoned in a vinegar-based dressing, with a mild sour and sweet
taste. This was quite fresh, and set the tone for an excellent
dinner. The yoghurt was ordinary, as was the bun and butter. The
dry fruit-embellished pudding was excellent, and followed by a
water, and a tea/coffee run. This time too, I did not sample the
IFE much, which looked the same as on the forward trip, and quite
more than sufficient for a 5 hour trip. I was working on my
laptop all the while, while looking at the moving map. This had
the usual two-pronged headphone, and the usual moving map. The
two cameras were a nice companion for the take-off and landing,
and I had the moving map on my screen, and listened to the music
from the adjacent empty seat's controls. The selection of old
hindi film songs was simply fantastic, and kept me enthralled
throughout the trip. Overall, another simply excellent trip.
My overall high opinion about Air India stays...unchanged!


Two pics of the iconic `mudras' immigration hall.
Thanks for reading, Sumantra.
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Spiderguy252
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Joined: 10 Aug 2007
Posts: 4257
Location: Indian Ocean

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the report, Sumantra. Enjoyed reading it. Smile
It is interesting to note the different IFE software used on Kerala, compared to the other 777s in AI's fleet. I bet most of us here didn't know that, thanks for sharing that bit of information!
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Jaysit
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Posts: 4247

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a good trip, and the fact that the flights were full shows that AI appears to be doing something right for a change.

Btw, isn't Chicken Manchurian an "oriental" dish?
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sohil
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Posts: 66

PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VT-PPT is it dedicatedd to Mr. PP
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me111993
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Posts: 3215
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR Sumantra! Thanks for sharing! Smile
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shivendrashukla
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Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 1347
Location: Mumbai, India

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR sumantra. I specially like this part Very Happy

Quote:
Until I took my first bites. It was very nicely done (the
marination was nice), and not oily or overly spicy, either. The
pulao was nicely seasoned, and the bhindi (lady finger/okra) dry
curry was soft and very tasty. The green salad had lettuce,
celery, pickled cucumber and red capsicum/bell pepper, delicately
seasoned in a vinegar-based dressing, with a mild sour and sweet
taste


Cheers
Shivendra
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rutvij
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Joined: 22 Feb 2007
Posts: 1390
Location: Skies of Fire!

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feels good to hear of your Excellent trip on AI. Smile Thanks for sharing, Sumantra!

For those that don't know, the 1st 5 LRs (ALA thru E) and some 77Ws have Thales i-4000, while the rest have i-4500.

i-4500 has:
- Multiple view Moving maps with Day/Night Indications unlike the generic 90s stuff that is on the i-4000.
- A faster response Touch Screen.
- Lesser or none Seat Boxes. Damn, i didn't note that on the 77W. My Bad.

@Jaysit: Sure, Chicken Manchurian is Oriental if its not cooked the Indian-Chinese way! Anyways, its Superb.

BTW, anybody else a fan of AI's Deserts? Smile
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sri_bom
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Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 2365
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good report Sumantra enjoyed reading it.

The photos even though from camera phone were not bad at all.

Good to know Air-India inspite of all its problems does offer some ray of hope. I look forward to fly them soon.

Sri_Bom
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Nimish
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Posts: 9755
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great TR and great pictures. Now once DEL T3 is open for domestic traffic, and AI manages it's feeder flights well - I think DEL has the potential to be a great airport for transfers...
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear all, thanks a lot for your kind words to a fairly ordinary
effort, given the high quality of TRs on this forum!
Thanks a lot, Varun, Nimish (your T3 report was classy! You
captured most of the salient features in the entire area with
your high-quality pics), Rishul, Shivendra (you too seem to be an
AI/IC food fan!), and Srinivas (I enjoy your exclusive column on
AI.net - the `Report', and your nice news flashes).
Sanjay: Chicken Manchurian - oriental or not, it was extremely
tasty! Given that you frequently patronise AI, it would be nice
if you could take some time out and write about your experiences,
which from the brief gems of nuggets we see - should be more than
worth reading. Your inimitable humour adds to the package!
Yes, both AI and IC seem to be having some good load factors - I
can vouch for the Y part in the many trips I have taken in them,
of late. And for the record, some of them have not been the
prime-time slots. Good for them!
Rutvij: thanks for the information about the i-4000 and i-4500!
I have flown only the LRs and once an ER, too - all having the
i-4000, and was pleasantly surprised by the choices in the moving
maps. In fact, I looked forward to my first trip on board an Air
India 777 (an LR, turned out to be VT-ALE, Haryana) only after
reading about your TR on an AI 777! I admire your lucid and vivid
descriptions. AI's desserts? My favourite is their firni - simply
out of the world. The usual standard of the desserts on AI
flights is quite good.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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stealthpilot
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR/BR interesting details.
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sumantra
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
Nice TR/BR interesting details.

Thanks a lot!
-Sumantra.
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