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 

Challenging Chennai Chromepet Caper, Jul'13

 
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: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:34 am    Post subject: Challenging Chennai Chromepet Caper, Jul'13 Reply with quote

Challenging Chennai Chromepet Caper, Jul'13


http://airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13996.html

65.1 Introduction: Of(f) Course, the Terrible Title

If the title of my trip reports can make even a reluctant reader
proceed further, I would feel blessed. In a lame attempt at
alliteration, I manage to have it more as an `alteration' rather
than an alliteration, which may result in an altercation with
someone who reads knows the language well, and concentrates on
the content as well.

The story starts with some official work, which had been planned
many months before. Hence, I got to book my tickets also,
appropriately. Needless to say, I was looking forward to trips on
the Air India Dream)liners, which had stabilised their services
on this route at least, at that point in time, by early summer,
2013. It would be a trip to one of the culturally riches cities
in India, Chennai. The work was at the locality of Chromepet.
The challenge was that it would be a bit tiring, and hectic. It
would involve a while day's work, which would occupy me till
evening on that day. The pre-designated date was 27 Jul (Sat),
2013. Of course, I could land up in Chennai either in the evening
on Friday 26 Jul, or land up at night. The night flight is Air
India's famous sappAD(u) (feast, spread) flight, which I
adore, especially the cheTTinAD(u) offerings.
However, I would miss an experience on the Dream)liner!
I did not want that, at any cost.
I would have a very hectic Saturday. I could have made it even
more hectic if I had decided to take the night flight out of
Chennai back to Delhi, but that would have made me miss a date
with the Dream)liner, again. The next day was Sunday, one on
which I could take the late morning Dream)liner flight out of
Chennai, and get back to Delhi, in a slightly more leisurely manner.
So a Dream)liner it would be, both ways.

I am lucky to be in a job where these is some good scope to
travel, which I use to full advantage. Else, my lowly official
position and earning a salary commensurate with that, completely
precludes personal travel by air. However, even this position
gives me a lot of flexibility in the way I arrange my travel. Of
course, I like to do the extra travelling on weekends, else I
would have to take too many leaves.
And as an aside, in the matter of leaves, I admire the French.

I do not get to travel internationally as much as some members of
the forum are able to. Hence, wide-body domestic travel is
something of a novelty for me. Given a choice, I always like to
select a flight, or a set of flights, which involves a wide-body
operation. And almost always, that is Air India, for domestic
travel in India. It is usually Air India for official travel,
that is a different manner. However, that has not prevented me
from travelling on all prominent domestic airlines, and a sizeable
number of international airlines as well, on international
official trips. Of particular interest are Air India's wide-body
international connectors, which use the International terminals
and gates. I always feel special while travelling on these.
In case I do not get a wide-body option, I try to choose
narrow-body international connectors, for the same reason.
Sticking to primarily one full-service carrier helps, since the
family often gets to travel on my FFP points.
Sticking to Air India helps, since the food on the longer
segments (especially during meal times), is on an average the
best around, when it comes to food served on FL29 and above, and
definitely one of the best in the world, when the heights are
over international territory as well.

65.2 The Dawn of 27 Jul'13

As it headed towards dawn on 27 Jul (Sat), it dawned on me that
yes, due to the monsoon season in full flow, it would be dark
outside at Delhi, and rainy as well, which would make photography
difficult. The friendly cab operator turned up at 5am, and I
headed off for the impressive IGIA T3, at Delhi. After the
check-in and security check, I was air-side, and I made my way to
the T-junction after the slight ramp-up in the domestic part.
A depressing dark weather outside made me further depressed,
since the bright lights inside the terminal reflected off the
glass, in a mirror-like manner. Not even the presence of two Air
India Regional (Alliance Air) CRJ-700 `masked bandits' cheered me
up. When I looked at this picture however, the organisation of
the lights gave the picture an interesting look: the perspective
imposed by the well-arranged lights creates a calibration
pattern-like look on the glass.



The itinerary for this leg of my journey was as follows.

Set out 27 Jul (Sat) for Chennai from New Delhi
AI 439: Air India (Dream)liner) [Seat: 36J; PNR: Y1QDN]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - Kamraj (Domestic) Terminal, Chennai
New Delhi (DEL) - Chennai (MAA)
[06:55 am - 09:45 am]

We boarded from Gate 39B. Boarding was announced at 06:07 am, for
a 06:55 am flight. This was a wide-body gate, with two
aero-bridges for boarding the plane. As I ran towards the gate,
boarding had already been announced, and much to my delight, I
noted that my ride for the day would be Princess ANI, VT-ANI.
There was a large crowd of passengers around the gate, and even
after I had settled down in my pre-selected seat 36J, a sea of
humanity kept streaming in. By the time the doors had closed, I
estimated not more than three or four empty seats in the Economy
class, at least.

65.3 I Spy Wi-Fi!

Captain Sanjay Yadav was in command, and Mr. Sirish Badhwe was
the cabin supervisor. Captain Yadav took off from the new runway 29.
The moment I powered on the laptop, I was quite surprised when
it announced that there were WiFi networks available.
Initially, I had thought that it would be someone's laptop which
had created a hot-spot. Then I checked the name, it said `FADBVTVT-ANI'
The last 6 characters were clearly the registration of the plane.
I wonder if Air India are planning to introduce WiFi on the
Dream)liners in the near future.

65.4 Breakfast

The much-awaited breakfast came in relatively quickly.
It started with a fruit salad.
There were two pieces each of a musk-melon/honey dew melon, and
the `Disco' variety of papaya. It was very fresh, and very tasty,
and set the tone for the other courses to follow.
There was a bun which had nothing very special about it.
I had it with a chiplet of rock hard cold butter, just the way I
like it. Yes, there was a mixed fruit preserve as well, to
accompany the bun.

My neighbour had a vegetarian spread, which had to the left,
khaman DhoklA (a lovely preparation originating for the state of
Gujarat, which has a pulses-based `wet bake' in a mildly
sweet-and-salty mode: a healthy and tasty snack)
On the right, were were two vaDAs (salty doughnut-shaped soft savouries,
deep-fried from the outside, with the batter having fermented pulses and
rice, and often dusted with ground spices after frying).
There was a heavenly smelling sAmbhar (a pigeon-peas based
pulses preparation, with seasonal vegetables, and its sourness originating primarily from tamarind paste) in the centre,
which was of an intermediate consistency,
with pieces of bottle gourd, and drumsticks (sanjanA
phallI
, to the Delhi'ite, who somehow does not patronise the
aforesaid material too much.)

I guess I ogle around at others' food much more than decent people should.
What about my non-vegetarian breakfast?
The main course had a potato patty to the left, which was done
very lightly, in a minute amount of oil. To the right were some
boiled peas, which had been tossed around in a bit of oil.
In the middle was a superb omelette, which was done as a
rectangular flat cubiod. I noticed this presentation the last
time I had breakfast on Air India - this was a few days back, on
my second trip to Coimbatore. This was a bit different, however.
It had been done with shredded vegetables of three colours. Red
tomato shreds, green shreds of capsicum/bell pepper, and
coriander leaves, and yellow capsicum/bell pepper. This had been
done in a minute quantity of oil, and had just the right amount
of salt. The omelette itself was light and fluffy.
The breakfast was rounded up with a passable instant coffee.

65.5 Arrival at Chennai: The new part of the Domestic Terminal!

Captain Yadav made a very smooth touch-down on the main runway at
Chennai. We docked at one of the gates in the old domestic part of
the terminal. I was a bit disappointed. The aero-bridges were the
same old ones, but the passenger waiting areas on the top floor
had been closed, and cordoned off. It was hard to believe that
this was the same part of the terminal that used to be
chock-a-block with activity. The Sapthagiri snack bar was right
here, the `Cookie Man Fresh Australian-style bakes' cookie
counter used to be right here. Right here were exactly two
power ports that one had to make a beeline for, lest they get occupied.
And all it it, lay barren, empty and dark.
No, I did not miss it one bit.
I walked along the corridor on the outside of the seating area,
till the end of the old part of the terminal, and the new
one started! The difference was quite stark.



Much has been said and written about the new terminal being a bit
flashy on the surface, but with lots of rough edges visible, on
examining things carefully (`beneath the surface'?). This was my
first visit to the place: 27 July, 2013. I would make quite a few
more visits to the place, in the next year or so, and my view
would remain not much different from the above. The places where
the old part of the terminal is being used (e.g., the
international part, which I would see about a year later), was
still relatively bad, and wherever there is some lackadaisical
maintenance, it shows up badly. I would not see these glitches on
this visit, however. Well, except for the following sight, which
isn't that terrible, either.



There is a neat handcrafted horse welcoming people to the city.



65.6 Accommodation at Chennai: Eenie Meenie Mainie Mo...

It was a tough day for me. I was whisked off to my place for
work, with my bags and dishevelled appearance. There was a lunch,
which was a big let-down. I had expected some nice Tamilian food.
On the contrary, it was the same generic North Indian food I was
used to in Delhi, with an extra sAmbhar (a
pigeon peas-based preparation, with seasonal vegetables and a
lovely combination of spices), but that was just it. My hosts
guessed me to be a non-vegetarian, and served me chicken curry,
which I had thought would be something characteristic of the
culinary delights that Chennai is known for. I was not in luck.
What followed was a tougher half-day, and I was dog-tired at the
end of all of it. I was looking forward to the sight of a bed.
One of my hosts then went ahead to take me to the place where my
accommodation had been arranged. It has already changed twice in
the build-up to the visit, and much to my surprise, it changed
again, as the person went into a hotel to ask, and then came out,
and then took me to another place. No, I was not that worried as
long as I got a bed to lie down on. I was looking forward to
meeting two prominent members of the forum, and the least I could
do was to inform them of my coordinates.
It ended up at Hotel Mahalakshmi Residency, on the Grand Southern Trunk Road.
The latter would suit me just fine, since I was lucky to have two
prominent members of this forum spare some time to meet me in the
evening, on 27 July, 2013. Does that sound interesting? Please read on!

65.7 Meeting Varun and Rishul!

I had missed Varun once, at the Chennai airport - the then Anna
International terminal (the old building in Dec'12) owing to my
misreading his flight timings. I was eager for an opportunity to
meet up with him. When I told him that I had a Chennai trip
planned, both of us starting looking forward to it. The build-up
to my trip was quite hurried, as I was barely able to manage
time to look up something more about the location, my schedule
over the weekend, and in general, check emails regularly. Varun
on the other hand, in his characteristic meticulous way (which
all of us on AI.net are well familiar with, both in his personal
capacity as well, as that as a forum moderator), did some fact
finding in the locality where I was supposed to visit
(Chromepet), and told me that he would come over. That got me
excited. Soon, Varun went one step further, which he perhaps
anticipated I would like even better. We would meet up for a
quick bite at a restaurant. There was an outlet of Adyar Ananda
Bhavan (A2B) on the SGT road (the Southern Grand Trunk road, or
the Chennai-Tiruchi highway), close to both the Chromepet local
train station, as well as the place where I would be put up.

I kept Varun on his toes, as my hosts had told me that I would be
put up either at Guindy (a locality I knew a bit - at least the
place close to Rajiv Gandhi Salai, the Thiruvanmiyur station, and
Kasturibai Nagar stations), or at Chromepet.
The former would be more convenient for Varun.
A few days back, my hosts confirmed the latter.
This changed slightly to a hotel close-by, and amazingly enough,
on the day of my arrival, and that too, after my work got over,
I was checked in at a fourth place.
The third place would be on the other side of where my work would take me
at Chromepet, and double the distance between the accommodation point, and A2B.

Varun patiently confirmed that A2B would still be the place for our rendezvous.
And better still, he would also bring Rishul along!
Yes, the same Rishul, who knows every nut and
bolt in every Jet Airways plane, and its history - the pun on the
term `nut' is highly unintended, let me add, as a disclaimer to the reader.
I texted both of them about what I was wearing that day, early in
the morning, itself. I told them the colour of my shirt,
which could change, depending on what I had at lunch time.
The brown shirt could take a turn for the brighter, if I
patronised the sAmbhar too much.
``Sambhar on your clothes will depend on what you have to say
about 9W,'' texted Rishul, with a wink, and a naughty smiley razz.
``cheers, and I'll be in a green T-shirt,'' texted Varun.

I was there at the designated place well before time, and the
sights, sounds and smells inside, made me even more eager to go
inside. I was to wait near the parking lot. The guard looked at
me quizzically many times, while I tried to avoid his gaze, and
give the impression that yes, I would patronise the place, but
was waiting for the right time. A gentleman in a green T-shirt
came in soon, with another one with a wide smile, and I
recognised them from the pictures I had seen of them.
What followed was a grand meal, where Varun did the honours of
selecting items from the menu (and did a grand job of it, too).
We talked, and talked, till it was time for both Varun and Rishul
to get back, and we bid good-bye to each other at a common point
from where we would go in different directions.
Thanks Varun and Rishul, it was very nice of you to take time off
from your busy schedules, to come and meet a fellow AI.net member!

65.8 A sAmbhar Break

sAmbhar. What one might take as an absolute kosher
South Indian delicacy (which has a very large number of variants,
including one without the pulses, the Tamilian kuzhambu,
which itself has many variants), has a Maharashtrian angle to its
origin, from the ruler of Thanjavur/Tanjore, who given an absence
of a key ingredient in his favourite dish, `did as the locals
do', by replacing a crucial component with tamarind, and named it
in honour of his guest, Sambhaji Rao. I did not believe this
story when I first heard this a few months back, from a senior
Tamilian colleague, who referred me to an article in the Hindu,
for reference. There are slight variations to the story in the
Wikipedia entry, such as the crucial spice being star anise and
not kokum, but the general version was quite similar. The
ruler was himself preparing lunch for his guest, and fearing that
his wrath on finding that his favourite additive was not present
in the larder, was something that his minister could not afford
to even envisage. The king wanted his AmTI, the
traditional Maharashtrian preparation based on pigeon peas.
Actually, there are a large number of variants of AmTI as
well, and the one in question is one of the myriad varieties. I
was also rather interested to know that a particular variety
prepared around the Jalgaon-Pachora area is also commonly
referred to as the `Maharashtrian sAmbhar'.
Food is a great leveller!

65.9 Heading Back: The New Domestic Departures Terminal

My itinerary for the return was as follows:

Set out 28 Jul (Sun) for New Delhi from Chennai
AI 430: Air India (Dream)liner) [Seat: 36A; PNR: Y1QWY]
Chennai (MAA) - New Delhi (DEL)
[10:45 am - 01:30 pm]

One reason I was looking forward to this flight was that member
Jishnu had been on this very flight a few days back, and I wanted
to compare my experience, with his.
Of course, let the reader not compare my trip report with his
superb one, which is a piece of art in itself, replete with his
nice descriptions, nice high resolution pictures, and witty
comments, all around.

I had hit the bed very soon after getting back from A2B.
When I woke up next morning, my tummy was craving for some
nourishment. Though I had woken up late, I desperately wanted to
keep some space in my tummy for an Air India offering, even if it
were a heavy snack. My hosts came in well in time, and I was
dropped at the Domestic terminal, the new part, which I was
looking forward to.

The terminal looked large, well-lit and airy.
The air-conditioning was also quite good, it reached every nook and corner.
Here is a picture of the check-in area.



The terminal was moderately full.
My tummy was completely empty, however.
After the security check, I could not hold it any longer, as I
caught sight of a Sapthagiri snack counter.
Two iDlIs (fermented rice-based steamed delicacies), on a
bed of some watery sAmbhar, serve tastefully on a bowl made
from the leaf of a palm tree.
The latter was quite classy, though the food was nothing special.
And certainly not worth the Rs.70 I was charged for it.
I needed something to water down the fire in my belly,
and this did the job. I was not full, but was not ravenous hungry
either. It would hold me in good stead till the Air India food came in.

Contended, I set about trying to explore the terminal building.
I wanted to see the bus gates. I went downstairs along a large
pair of escalators, and saw a Jet Airways B738 standing there,
with a SpiceJet bird of similar lineage, passing behind it.



I took a snap of the impressive escalators, but chose the stairs
to go upstairs, three floors, actually.



There was some classy art on the walls.
I have seen similar art at Indore as well.



The new terminals - at either end of the old terminal building,
offer a lovely view of the tarmac, and the action on the main
runway. On the day of the journey (28 Jul, Sun), runway 25 was
being used for take-offs and landings.

Among interesting movements which caught my attention, were a
lovely Air India A332 which had come in to land much after our
plane had landed at Chennai on the dot, at 09:30 am.
The beautiful A332 parked at an aero-bridge, possibly towards the
international part, I could not make this out well. Passengers
would possibly enter the international terminal, since this was
an international flight which had come in. I had noticed
this on landing here as well, the aero-bridges of the old
terminal were also in use, with the empty waiting halls of the
erstwhile building looking eerily quiet. This plane was to take
off some time after we had boarded, and what a lovely sight it was!
The lovely Air India A332 had come in from Singapore, and
was to complete the last leg of the scheduled flight, to Mumbai.

Among exotic visitors, I saw a Sri Lankan
A320, a Malaysian B738 in the new livery, an Emirates B773/W, and
Air India Express B738, the EPiC plane: VT-EPC, an old A320 in
the new Air India `Flying Swan' livery. There were other
movements of an appreciative Go Air A320 `wAh', VT-WAH, a
sharkletted Indigo A320, and the usual SpiceJet Q4 (there were
two of them there) and B738 traffic, and the Jet Airways AT7 and
B738 traffic, and the Air India A321 and A319 traffic.

Our aircraft was parked at the same gate from where we had
de-planed on the onward journey. We waited at a gate in the new
part of the terminal. When boarding was announced after quite a
bit of a delay, I marched along the new corridor, to the old
part of the terminal, and waited at the gate.



We were told that there had been some minor repair on the plane.
It was NM, the `distance' (`Nautical Mile') plane, VT-ANM.
It was one of the newest in the fleet at that time.
We finally boarded the plane, and I went up to my pre-selected
seat 36A, and was completely shocked. After all this planning,
how had I managed to pre-select a seat that had no windows?
As I took some time to rue my fate, I quickly realised that I had
not selected a seat on row 37, which had the air conditioning
ducts run through the place where the windows are, hence has no
windows to look out from. I pitied the lady who was seated right
behind me, as she described her agony to her husband, on the phone.
I guessed so, at least. Here was the view to my left.



I was keen to check out the video offerings. The reader familiar
with my scheme of things can well imagine what was the first set
of programmes I explored. Music videos, looking for music from
old Hindi films. This is one screen of the selections



What I saw in the window beside me, caused me some concern.
There had been some repair work on the window pane.



Could this have been the reason for the delay?
No, texted one of my friends in the know.
Such facilities were present in the Air India works at Mumbai and
Delhi alone, and not Chennai. If the part had had to be replaced,
it would have to be flown in from either of there two places,
along with the people qualified to perform the repair.
All this could not have taken place that quickly.

65.10 Lunch Launch: a very pleasant surprise!

For a flight that was supposed to set out at 10:45 am and land at
01:30 pm, I had thought that it would be just a snack,
possibly a filling one.
The reader well-versed with my scheme of things would imagine my
ecstasy at hearing the announcement that lunch would be served on
the flight. The crew were very prompt in their actions, and very
soon after the seat belt signs went off, two carts appeared in
the aisles, with goodies loaded on them. What would it be today?
As usual, I opted for the non-vegetarian offering.

It started with a cold croissant, which was nothing very special.
I had it with the cold rock-hard butter, just the way I like it.
The salad bowl wasn't exactly superb in terms of the
presentation (no, not just the bowl - it was the Economy class,
after all, I mean, the way the vegetables had been chopped, and
presented), but the contents of the Indian `green salad' were
very tasty. This surprisingly echoed a bit of what Jishnu had
described in his trip report: the orange carrot wasn't exactly at
its freshest, it looked much like it had been sliced quite some
time back (the slices were dry). The cucumber was a thin skinned
variety (suitable for thick-skinned people such as moi) with the
skins on. The slice of lemon was fresh however, and I enjoyed
this offering with the salt and pepper. I saved a bit of the
lemon, as well as the salt and pepper, for the main course.

The main box was served on top of a melamine plate,
a thoughtful gesture, given that the contents were quite hot.
The middle had a long-grained aromatic bAsmatI rice, which was
done just right: neither a bit dry or tough, nor over-cooked the
pongal way (which with the traditional pulses,
and the cumin-based seasoning, I find very tasty,
but we are talking of a plain steamed rice, here.)
To the left was something fairly common in North India, a
mixed vegetable preparation with slices of the orange carrot,
cauliflower and peas, cooked in a spinach puree gravy.
This has something I personally do not like to combine, while
cooking: peas and spinach, since I feel each has its own strong
character, much like two lions in a single den. The preparation
was done quite fine, however: it had been done in very little
oil, and hardly any spices, with just some shredded onions, which
had been just browned to perfection, neither left a bit raw and
crunchy, nor over-done. The right side of the Aluminium casing
had what had probably been marked on top of the case with a blue
marker pen, `B/C', which I had interpreted as standing for butter
chicken. I was expecting some Southern style food.
Did anyone say cheTTinAD(u)?
No, it was the traditional `butter chicken', which some say
traces its history to Delhi's Moti Mahal restaurant in the Dariya
Ganj area, which the Nehru family had also patronised.
However, let that no take any sheen away from the lovely
preparation. There was a nice overwhelming aroma of the sinful
butter, but then, what else can one expect from the dish?
It had a rich reddish orange coloured gravy, what one typically
gets with a tomato-and-fried-onion gravy, to which some cream,
butter, or even a bit of milk (sorry, Kosher fans) has been added
during the cooking process. I have never cooked non-vegetarian
food before, and when I am in the kitchen, I usually substitute cottage
cheese/paneer for the non-vegetarian part, in most dishes. I
usually like to add a little milk in a starchy base (usually with
some mashed over-cooked potatoes), so that a little of it curdles
out, but not the whole, and some of the milky character is left
behind, without the associated sourness being imparted. The gravy
had shredded coriander, and interestingly, a hint of sugar as
well, which I also use in similar gravies, to offset the sour
taste which is sometimes associated with a tomato-based
preparation. Coming back to the serving, the chicken pieces were
soft and succulent, and the gravy's taste had seeped into them.
The sweet was a gulAb jAmun (cottage cheese-based
balls fried golden or brown on the outside, and then immersed in
sticky sugar syrup), which was exactly the way I like it
- somehow, I do not like hot gulAb jAmuns, which many people do,
by the way. I feel that the taste of the sweet gets accentuated
if the preparation cools down, and the flavours of the syrup seep
in, and the preparation itself `matures'. I like the above, cold.
It was just so. The gulAb jAmun had its outer covering tight and
brown, not dark like the kAlA jAmun (the kAlA
refers to the black colour, and jAmun, to a type of berry),
and the top had finely chopped pistachios.
There was a slightly yellow tinge - did I also see a minutely
greenish tinge from pistachios cooked in the sugar syrup?
If I was over the moon with the dessert, a passable
strong and hot instant coffee completed the lovely lunch.

No, this time I failed to note the name of the captain, and the
chief of the cabin crew. The Captain made a very smooth
touch-down on the new runway from the East. As we slowed down, we
took a taxi-way that would lead us towards IGI Airport T3. Over
the long wing, a SpiceJet B738 takes off from the main runway 28,
in the distance, visible as a tiny speck.



65.11 {P/F?}arting Shot

As usual, I took a pre-paid cab to go back home. It was quite
over-cast that day, and the cab took the Mahipalpur route to
where we stay. Mid-way comes the Vasant Kunj crossing, where I
sighted a (then) relatively new car model from Renault, which I
somehow always read as `Flatulence'.



I guess I must stop here, before matters get a bit too gross!
---
Links to my 65 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/


Last edited by sumantra on Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ameya
Member


Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3584
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sir for the TR.
Great way to start the weekend..err..Friday

Did you get a chance to connect to the WiFi ?

I am surprised there is something other than Karunanidhi and MGR in TN.
Rajiv Gandhi Salai !! and congress hasnt ruled TN for soo long!

It was a nice read !
_________________
www.networkthoughts.in
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To have Ameya Sir reply within a short while of posting a TR, is a wonderful feeling, since he reads everything in detail, and that too, very quickly!
ameya wrote:
Did you get a chance to connect to the WiFi?
I was actually a bit afraid of having my Wireless button on (I usually keep it off), to avoid any communication equipment being active, in my possession. Hence, I did not try it: on second thoughts however, I should have tried this!
ameya wrote:
I am surprised there is something other than Karunanidhi and MGR in TN.
Sir, in all my travels in the state (Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Kanniyakumari, Ooty), I have seen a good deal of respect for both the Father of the Nation, as well as the Nehru family, and those members who went on to carry the surname of the Father of the Nation.
I also apologise for some glaring typos, and other mistakes, which I have tried to correct.
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Spiderguy252
Member


Joined: 10 Aug 2007
Posts: 4256
Location: Indian Ocean

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Challenging Chennai Chromepet Caper, Jul'13 Reply with quote

Very erudite as always. Good to note that AI packs in WiFI with its 787s (can you confirm that this is indeed the case on the basis of your subsequent trips?), but sad to see the shattered window on the return. Did this render the dimming option on the windows non-functional?

On a sidenote, ANI is the 787 that has been used for spares of late, is it not?

sumantra wrote:
And better still, he would also bring Rishul along!
Yes, the same Rishul, who knows every nut and
bolt in every Jet Airways plane, and its history - the pun on the
term `nut' is highly unintended, let me add, as a disclaimer to the reader.


Hilarious. Razz

ameya wrote:
I am surprised there is something other than Karunanidhi and MGR in TN.
Rajiv Gandhi Salai !! and congress hasnt ruled TN for soo long!


There's a major locale called Adyar and the entire khandaan have their nameplates affixed to the area - "Nehru Nagar", "Indira Nagar", "Kasturibai Nagar", "Gandhi Nagar", "Shastri Nagar", so on and so forth.
_________________
Yeah.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
ameya
Member


Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3584
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Challenging Chennai Chromepet Caper, Jul'13 Reply with quote

Spiderguy252 wrote:
Very erudite as always. Good to note that AI packs in WiFI with its 787s (can you confirm that this is indeed the case on the basis of your subsequent trips?), but sad to see the shattered window on the return. Did this render the dimming option on the windows non-functional?

On a sidenote, ANI is the 787 that has been used for spares of late, is it not?

sumantra wrote:
And better still, he would also bring Rishul along!
Yes, the same Rishul, who knows every nut and
bolt in every Jet Airways plane, and its history - the pun on the
term `nut' is highly unintended, let me add, as a disclaimer to the reader.


Hilarious. Razz

ameya wrote:
I am surprised there is something other than Karunanidhi and MGR in TN.
Rajiv Gandhi Salai !! and congress hasnt ruled TN for soo long!


There's a major locale called Adyar and the entire khandaan have their nameplates affixed to the area - "Nehru Nagar", "Indira Nagar", "Kasturibai Nagar", "Gandhi Nagar", "Shastri Nagar", so on and so forth.


While this could be from the Kamraj area, when Congress had a lot of presence in TN, Rajiv Gandhi was surprising!

Anyways, not deviating from aviation Smile
_________________
www.networkthoughts.in
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Challenging Chennai Chromepet Caper, Jul'13 Reply with quote

Varun, thank you for your sweet words and constant encouragement!
Spiderguy252 wrote:
Good to note that AI packs in WiFI with its 787s (can you confirm that this is indeed the case on the basis of your subsequent trips?)
No Varun: I have never seen it subsequently on board any of my other flights. AI seem to be trying these things out on the sly, without making a single sound about it. I remember seeing a free WiFi signal on board an IC 849 old double bogey A320 flight a long time back, and then this one. I usually take care to switch off the laptop's WiFi switch, so I haven't actually checked for this in detail, but on other flights, I have often switched this off after the plane has reached cruising altitude, and I have not found any WiFi signal. If AI indeed offeres WiFi on board, it will definitely be a first for an Indian airline, and give it an additional fillip over the competition. The cost may also amortise over the revenue which AI could gain, post the *A membership.

Spiderguy252 wrote:
but sad to see the shattered window on the return. Did this render the dimming option on the windows non-functional?
Varun, the dimming worked normally! I wonder what this was.

Spiderguy252 wrote:
On a sidenote, ANI is the 787 that has been used for spares of late, is it not?
That is what we hear, Varun. I will try to find out more about this. I find it interesting to think that one of Princess ANI's last flights before she went tech, and got grounded, was one on which I was on board. 11 Apr CDG-DEL, AI 142. I have wanted to travel aboard Air India's third Dream)liner (if I remember correctly): during the build-up to the global Dream)liner grounding, I had almost always missed all my dates with Princess ANI, and perhaps make a few trips with her (I need to check my flight log). The Princess stood resplendant in the setting sun that day, and while a dream)liner still raises eyebrows at most airports all around the world, the Air India livery was something special.

Thanks once again, Varun!
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The_Goat
Member


Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2944
Location: South of France

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the TR Sumantraji. It is good to know that ANI is flying. There was some talk of it being grounded/cannibalized some time back. Or was that ANL?

You should post the pictures of the meals on board. Would love to see them.


Chromepet. I guess that your destination there was the former the MIT (Madras Institute of Technology), the alma mater of our ex-president and missile man, APJ Abdul Kalam?
_________________
I don't know which is the more pampered bunch : AI's widebodies (the aunties) or Jet's widebodies (the planes).
-Jasepl
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Sir, for going through my crazy writings!
The_Goat wrote:
There was some talk of it being grounded/cannibalized some time back.
Sir, Princess ANI has indeed not flown for quite a while, since late April 2014. I will try to find out more about her. AI is being bullish on new routes, so that the existing `prestige' Dream)liner routes get maintained.
The_Goat wrote:
You should post the pictures of the meals on board. Would love to see them.
Yes, Sir: I started that trend from all trips Nov'13 onwards, which started with one to San Diego. Nov'13 onwards all TRs will have food pictures, except those for which AI has cut down to a hot beverage and my least favourite biscuit (Marie). An Oct'13 Bhopal trip may also have some pictures, since The Wife insisted I take her digital camera with me. That was the time when my Analog SLR starting giving trouble, and I shifted to the digital world, soon after. Not with a DSLR, but a relatively decent Sony HX300.
The_Goat wrote:
Chromepet. I guess that your destination there was the former the MIT (Madras Institute of Technology), the alma mater of our ex-president and missile man, APJ Abdul Kalam?
Spot-on, Sir! Smile
It is still MIT: thank goodness, some names have not changed, or cannot be changed very easily. For instance, the other top Engineering institute in the city is `IIT Madras' by an act of Parliament, and will stay, that way. MIT Chromepet comes under the Anna University, which has its main campus at Guindy, almost across the road from IITM. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Chennai, in addition to the Marina beach.
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rakesh959
Member


Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Chennai

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderful TR Sumantra Sir!Been reading all your TRs for a long time now but Posting a reply only now.Im deeply amazed by your writing and describing of the food served on board!Really You are the best in describing those stuff!On the aviation part,It was as usual a wonderful TR and I too mostly remember the captain's name!Planning to write my first TR this weekend!I too stay in Chennai.So ping me next time You are here.It would be my pleasure and privilege to meet You Very Happy
Cheers!
Rakesh.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rakesh959 wrote:
...I too mostly remember the captain's name!Planning to write my first TR this weekend!I too stay in Chennai.So ping me next time You are here
Thanks a lot Sir, actually, I do not remember much The Wife attests to this. I just note them down, on odds and ends I have around me, and then key it in. You are lucky to be in a foodies' city, Sir: I will get to you when official work takes me to Chennai again (I was there a few months back as well, that TR is in the works). A2B, the numerous karAikuDI-style cheTTinADu joints, Tangerine, Not Just dosAs, Murugan's IDlIs, Sangeetha's, Saravana Bhavan, Arun's Ice Cream...Mmm...I salivate at the thought, each time.
Sir, we look forward to your TR, eagerly!
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TKMCE
Member


Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Posts: 957

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantaraji

I would like to meet you as well. However since chances of me coming down to DEL are bleak as of now and you coming to where I am even more bleak, best bet would be too catch up with you in one of your voyages down south which may coincide with some of my not infrequent home sick mini breaks.

Recently wisited Chennai after many years and had some wonderful food at Anjappar. Had it at two different branches ( NH Road and one on the BLR highway) and the quality remained the same excellent one. Sad to find the decline of anotber old favorite "Kumarakam" though. Crowd is still there (had always been to the KH road branch) but old timers will find a distinct decline on the taste front. Went to "Junior Kuppanna" as well for lunch one day and food was Romba Tasty. And finally also went to the much hyped Nairs Mess but personally it was a big let down for me after looking forward to it so much. May be I went at the wrong time (Dinner) but honestly I didnt find anything extrodinary about any of the stuff there. Again it may vary from person to person, but I y dont find anything to go ga ga over the thinnest piece of seer (vajram) fish deep fried and sold as "Kerala fish fry" at most of the Kerala joints in Chennai or Bangalore. I for one will anytime instead enjoy a hearty plate of good old 'Nethili Fry" at half the price at any of the Chettinad outets. In short the Chettinad outlets were wonderful, the Kerala ones a big let down possibly because you tend to comapre the same to what you get back home in Kerala itself.

Guess we should all plan an Airliners India foodie meet somewhere down south to coincide with one of your trips Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE wrote:
Guess we should all plan an Airliners India foodie meet somewhere down south to coincide with one of your trips Smile
Yes, Sir, and almost definitely, somewhere in the Divine South. Yes, sadly our respective bases look out of bounds for both of us. I will let you know about my future trips to the region, Sir! I had a recent 25-26 Jun'14 trip to Chromepet again, but do not have any other one lined up as yet.
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rakesh959
Member


Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Chennai

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
rakesh959 wrote:
...I too mostly remember the captain's name!Planning to write my first TR this weekend!I too stay in Chennai.So ping me next time You are here
Thanks a lot Sir, actually, I do not remember much The Wife attests to this. I just note them down, on odds and ends I have around me, and then key it in. You are lucky to be in a foodies' city, Sir: I will get to you when official work takes me to Chennai again (I was there a few months back as well, that TR is in the works). A2B, the numerous karAikuDI-style cheTTinADu joints, Tangerine, Not Just dosAs, Murugan's IDlIs, Sangeetha's, Saravana Bhavan, Arun's Ice Cream...Mmm...I salivate at the thought, each time.
Sir, we look forward to your TR, eagerly!
Cheers, Sumantra.


First of all,Pls dont call me Sir!Im much younger than you!Yes Im lucky to be in chennai but I consider my hometown,Bangalore to be a better foodie town than chennai!I'll take you to many other smaller joints when you are here next time! Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jbalonso777
Member


Joined: 05 Jul 2012
Posts: 1419
Location: Never, never land

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another fantastic one from you, Sumantra sir!

It has been brought to my attention, after reading your TR: I haven't seen a single picture of IGIA in the rain, or even a wet tarmac! Strange things happen, surely.
Glad to know you got on the 787 both times, since just a few days before this (in fact, the day of my 787 flight), the Ethiopian Dream)liner caught fire.

The old-new terminal thing in MAA is certainly unique, but I'm not too much of a fan of it Sad I think its more to do with the wing-span of the 787s..

Thank you so much for your mentions here and there, and I remember you telling me about this trip Smile
Perhaps, I too should have waited a year and a bit, so then I could've stolen the food descriptions from you! Haha no, that'd be so wrong on my part.
You seem to have seen similar planes as I did, including UL122, the EK 777, and the AI A332. Did you see the Maldivian A320 by any chance? I saw her embark on the MAA-DAC mission.

Unfortunate to see the 787 window like that!

But great TR once again, I look forward to more! Very Happy

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: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jishnu, thanks a lot for going through the TR in your usual level of detail!
I think you are spot on with what is possibly the reason for using the old gates and the air-side corridor at MAA: the wing-spans, and yes, I too am not a fan of the old-new interface. The difference is too stark. BOM T1A+T1C is perhaps the best example of a harmonious blend of the old and the new. Ah, that is a GVK job, but look at CJB, which is an AAI job, and in the same state, Tamil Nadu. And in the same, state, I've seen one new airport terminal that has been maintained beautifully: IXM, Madurai.
No, I did not see the Maldivian A320 this time. I caught that beauty once in BLR, in the afternoon once, quite some time back.
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TKMCE
Member


Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Posts: 957

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You saw Maldivian at BLR???

Wow! They don't operate there normally....

Jishnu - Sumantra did not see Maldivian on the way back because he flew on a Sunday. I assume you flew the same AI flight some other day of the week.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKMCE wrote:
You saw Maldivian at BLR???
Eww....TKMCE Sir, please forgive me. It was 29 Nov (Thu) 2012, at Chennai itself.

46. Madurai'12:Silver Lining on Darkened Dream)liner Dream
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13217.html
TKMCE wrote:
Jishnu - Sumantra did not see Maldivian on the way back because he flew on a Sunday. I assume you flew the same AI flight some other day of the week.
Now that is some level of detailed reading: hats off to you, TKMCE Sir!
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
avbuff
Member


Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 5022

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Report sumantraji ... I'm sure many will agree that you are an exponent on AI domestic flights.

Good to know the offerings of the 787 ex - MAA ..... you could pack in some adventure flying as well now .. like something to the north east!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot Ojas, for taking time out from your busy schedule, to read this TR! I also admire how in spite of being an aviation insider, you also take time out to write TRs. The North East: yes, I guess I should do that soon. Apart from Guwahati (and that too, on 9W), I haven't been to any other place in the region.
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nimish
Member


Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 9755
Location: Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report Sumantra - thanks for posting. Very lucky (or just good planning I guess) that you were able to "enjoy" the 787 on your domestic sectors! Unfortunately AI has not indulged in any fare sales, so I'm not able to pass up a 3K BLR_DEL ticket on 9W/ 6E and pitch for 5K AI ticket - which would have (hopefully) been my first 787 ride!
_________________
We miss you Nalini!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Nimish!
Nimish wrote:
Very lucky (or just good planning I guess) that you were able to "enjoy" the 787 on your domestic sectors!
Actually, it is more the `luck' component: many of my official trips need separate permission to fly a private airline, which I have managed on many occassions. And yes, I do quite a bit of homework (my employer would be happier if I had did that amount of actual work as well) in order to seek up domestic wide-body trips, since as I wrote, I do not travel internationally as much as I would have liked to. I often dream on and on, when I see your longish itineraries (and yearn for TRs!). My lowly official position precludes such dreams, unfortunately. Hence, I have to resort to some amount of planning, to at least get a substitute, on what is still something of a novelty namely, domestic widebody travel.
Nimish wrote:
Unfortunately AI has not indulged in any fare sales, so I'm not able to pass up a 3K BLR_DEL ticket on 9W/ 6E and pitch for 5K AI ticket - which would have (hopefully) been my first 787 ride!
Yes, Nimish, AI's fare sales have been few and far in between, more so after Team Nandan took over. I remember going ga-ga over an Rs.3k BOM-DEL ticket in Mar'13. Now, when is the BLR-DEL trip happening? I look forward to it. Please send me an email (I prefer that to PMs!), and I, and you-know-who will look forward to meeting you in person, since I guess you will at least drop anchor close to where we stay. It will be even better if this is a family trip!
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nimish
Member


Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 9755
Location: Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^ Thanks Sumantra - have sent you an email...
_________________
We miss you Nalini!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
sri_bom
Member


Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 2365
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sumantra for the detailed report and I do admire that you get to visit exotic locations within India.

Your report on Chennai airport is well covered and the airport still falls way short of what it was meant to be. Let us hope the new government takes drastic steps to improve this.

Great to know you could meet Varun and Rishul it is always a pleasure to meet fellow Airline enthusiast.

The Air India A330 is no longer in service as you might know and it has been replaced by the B787 on the Chennai leg, and it is unfortunate that I could never fly on it as it always was a midnight departure from Bombay/Chennai which I avoid.

The dreamliner looks great hope Air India is able to maintain it.

The Renault Flatuence I mean Fluence is a great car. I hope the Indian version is based on the international specifications, otherwise if you read in the papers most of the entry level Indian cars are failing global crash test and what we are being sold is crap quality.

Sri_Bom
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4482
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sri_bom wrote:
...I do admire that you get to visit exotic locations within India.
Thank you, Srinivas...I guess I have been extremely lucky.
sri_bom wrote:
The Air India A330 is no longer in service as you might know and it has been replaced by the B787 on the Chennai leg, and it is unfortunate that I could never fly on it as it always was a midnight departure from Bombay/Chennai which I avoid.
Srinivas, I hear that the A332s will be around for a while longer. Right now, they are not on the leg you mention yes, having been replaced with the Dream)liner, but now-a-days, they are doing the Haj runs on the DEL-SJH leg. Both of them. My guess is that AI will keep them a bit longer, also due to the narrow-body shortage with the CFM56 engine issues, and possibly, Dream)liner glitches as well.
sri_bom wrote:
The Renault Flatuence I mean Fluence is a great car. I hope the Indian version is based on the international specifications, otherwise if you read in the papers most of the entry level Indian cars are failing global crash test and what we are being sold is crap quality.
Well said, Srinivas, I too hope so!
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