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My first trip on an A320NEO

 
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GF1011
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Joined: 02 Jan 2015
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 11:29 pm    Post subject: My first trip on an A320NEO Reply with quote

My First A320NEO experience!

Hello All, here is my maiden attempt at jotting down a Trip Report. This particular trip came at the end of a week long project at a site near Kochi. The travel arrangements had been made by the client, and I hadnít paid attention to the flight details because it wasnít booked on my (ahem) favourite FSC, until one day, while browsing FR24, I realised that I stood a 50% chance of getting to board one of GoAirís brand new A320NEOs on the return flight!! Suddenly, I began looking forward to this flight, which otherwise would have been an ordinary one, considering that I had already flown this airline (and also 9W, AI, 6E and SG) on this route!

To start off, Some pictures of the new International Terminal coming up at COK. It should be ready in a couple of months..





Flight No: G8 345,
Date: 22 July 2016
STD: 19:35
ATD: 20:27
Sector: COK-BOM
Aircraft Rego: VT-WGB,
Type: Airbus A320NEO

Checkin
I was travelling with colleagues, and one of them happens to be a regular on G8 to COK. Naturally, he was greeted with a familiar grin by the Checkin counter staff, Mr. Rateesh Raghunath. While my colleagues were satisfied to be allotted the emergency exit row seats, I requested for a window seat as far upfront as possible, and to my surprise, was given Seat 3A, which is right behind GoBusiness.. Smile

We lingered around in the check-in hall at COK for a while, indulging in some last minute shopping, and then proceeded to Security Check. This might as well be the last time iíd use this terminal, since CIAL plans to convert this section of the terminal into a Corporate Aviation Terminal once Domestic flights shift into the current international terminal, which in turn would shift to the New International terminal Building (T3). CIAL now has automated Checkin kiosks for AI, 9W and 6E.


Once past Security Check, we settled down into the trademark wooden chairs in the departure lounge and waited for the NEO to arrive. Boarding time printed on the boarding pass was 18:55. A quick check of FR24 on my iPhone revealed that the inbound flight had been delayed when departing BOM and was still miles away from COK. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the entry for G8-345 on the Flight Information Display System was rescheduled to 20:00 hrs. This did not please me as I was hoping to get tarmac shots of the NEO during the boarding process, which would now happen in total darkness..

As expected, by the time VT-WGB finally taxied in, it was dark, and the plane was assigned a relatively poorly lit bay, far from the terminal, meaning no Pics, unfortunately.

Boarding/ Aircraft Impression
Boarding commenced shortly and we were bussed out to the waiting NEO. The ageing ground equipment of AIATSL sharply contrasted with the shiny NEO.



The aircraft smelt lovely, spic n span, as a 2 month old should be! I sank into the comfy seat, looking around at shiny aluminium and rich fabric. My window would have had a gorgeous view of Engine No.1, but unfortunately, it was peppered with tiny droplets, making photography impossible.

Economy class was mostly full with just a few seats going unoccupied. Only one seat in GoBusiness was occupied. Another seat was occupied by a gentleman in uniform who I suspected was an AME sitting in the row ahead of me in seat 2C, (giving me a clear view of what he was doing.) A higher occupancy for GoBusiness on the inbound flight may have been possible, going by the used blankets carelessly strewn on unoccupied GoBusiness seats.
The seat next to me was vacant, the aisle seat was occupied. I took this pic before Mr. 3C arrived.





The Plane

My ride for today, VT-WGB Airbus A320NEO MSN 7074, first flew on 10 May 2016, meaning it was a mere 74 days old when I boarded it!! It is GoAirís 21st aircraft, G8ís second NEO and features Spaceflex cabin configuration with 186 seats. As with all other G8 planes, this one too has the first two rows designated as "GoBusiness Class", featuring more legroom and a vacant middle seat.



The flight was commanded by Captain (Ms) Ishmeet Grover, assisted by First officer Rahul. Recorded announcements played over the PA while pax were settling into their seats.

Pushback commenced at 20:27. Engines were then idled for around three minutes as recommended by Engine Manufacturers Pratt & Whitney. The safety demonstrations, which were done to a pre-recorded message, were executed during this 3 minute period.

The aircraft then commenced a fast taxi to Runway 27 via the parallel taxiway followed by a rolling takeoff!

Experience the sound of the GTF engines during takeoff in this video: https://youtu.be/A1Z-jU63lqg

VT- WGB banked right upon climb out.. turning north toward Mumbai and climbed to cruising altitude by 20:48. The seatbelt signs stayed on, however, due to significant turbulence. The seatbelt sign was eventually switched off at 9 pm. "Mahatvapoorn" announcements were played back as feed back forms were handed out to passengers.. This was followed by the food cart being rolled down the aisle.





Food
I had tried the cold meat sandwich on a previous G8 flight and wasnít impressed. So this time, I ordered a Dal Chawal, merely to try out their hot meal offerings. I normally prefer non-veg but they only had Chicken noodles in the hot food category, so, no.
The Dal chawal arrived, cuppa noodle style..





So 7-8 minutes of waiting and then i could eat. The dal chawal was tasty. Not too spicy, not too bland and quite filling. I followed it up with a hot cup of tea. Iím still a die hard fan of the 9W chai, though, soo... 😁



My guess about the passenger in row 2 was proved right when the 'AME' got busy, opening up an Airbus A320NEO manual on his laptop!! Smile

Onboard shopping followed shortly. The passenger seated on 3C showed interest in some products, the crew was very professional, taking time to clarify his doubts and eventually clinching a sale 😉 Product in question was a ladies clutch.. The client went on to buy more products, eventually raking up a bill of 3K! Quite a difference from the AVA shopping on 9W where one merely browses thru the catalog. Their airport shop staff certainly arenít as persuasive as the G8 girls..
Whilst leaving the plane at the end of the flight, I made it a point to congratulate the cabin crew for their selling skills.








Closer to the end of the journey i tried to make small talk with the Gentleman seated on 2C. He turned out to be a G8 NEO certified AME, just as I suspected! He was very cordial to speak to. He seemed genuinely interested in my profession and I ended up taking more questions on my line of work before I could start asking him questions on the NEO!! LOL!!
Turns out that there is a temporary shortage of NEO certified AMEs at G8. More specifically, the AME at COK wasnt yet DGCA certified for the NEO, requiring him to make this round trip to COK. The airline is working on eliminating this shortage, he said. Regarding the 3 minute mandatory idling, he said that it wasnt making much of a difference at short turnarounds. The delay was longer ( about 4 minutes) on the first flight of the day, he said. He mentioned that the NEO was also noticebly quieter than the CEO and that the pressurisation system was also more comfortable.

We commenced descent into BOM at around 21:35. I felt the aircraft slow down and descend but didnít notice the engines change their sound. Apparently, the hiss of the AC was much louder in the part of the ac that i was sitting in. About a minute later, though, the engine note change was more deeper and noticable and even the descent became more noticeable..

G8 345 had followed the coastal route right up to BOM. A smooth approach of Rwy 27 followed by a rather long flare before a smooth landing and rollout at 10:19 pm, turning off RET N8 and a short taxi to T1A.

It was raining in BOM when we landed.. The plane taxied to bay A7 which has an aerobridge gate in T1A, pulling up next to VT- GOQ

Bags were announced to be collected from belt number 2 wich would be in terminal 1B. This plane would continue on to Del and there were atleast a dozen passengers who remained seated. Possibly international connection pax via DEL? I caught up with my colleagues at the baggage reclaim area, surprised that our bags turned up on Carousel No.1 instead of No.2 as announced. Oh well, cant complain. We picked up our bags and stepped out of the terminal into the rainy Mumbai night, saying good byes to the group until our next project together.


IMG_3441 by GF1011, on Flickr

Many thanks to jbalonso777 for his Help and Support in putting together this first TR. Cheers.
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4446
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a senior member of the forum like you, it is actually a surprise for most of us, as not to see more output. And what a way to debut in trip report writing! I envy you for your pictures, the writing style, and of course, getting a change to get a NEO ride, which has eluded me, thus far.
CIAL continues to be on my wish-list: I have managed most airports in the vicinity, but never CIAL with its lovely local-inspired architecture, patterned tube-lights, and old-style sofa sets, which I love to look at, in trip reports featuring the airport.
Your lovely trip report does ample justice to the feeling that a reader gets, of being there with you, and sharing your excitement as trying out a new plane type, and that too, on a relatively new bird. I could smell the fresh plastic Smile
Nice observations on the cabin crew's skills, and overall, a nice G8 experience. The last picture with the reflections is a memory of BOM which will remain engraved in my mind: I was lucky to be a mumbaI-kar for six years. Thank you for a lovely trip report! Given what we know of your travels to exotic regions, on routes and planes less-travelled, we do look forward to more from you, and regularly, as well. Don't we? The 100 or so reads in a short period of time: truly justify your effort: thank you!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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GF1011
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Joined: 02 Jan 2015
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Sumantra for your kind and encouraging words. Appreciate it. I was a good experience putting together this TR as a first attempt. Will definitely write more, time permitting.

CIAL is quite a cosy airport, on the verge of a major upgrade as they will shift international operations to their new terminal building. Domestic operations will shift into the existing international terminal! Looking forward to that!!

Cheers!
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stealthpilot
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 2281
Location: BLR, DXB

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First TR? And a damn good one as well!
I love the food box, half food half air Laughing
Keep them coming.
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GF1011
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Joined: 02 Jan 2015
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stealthpilot wrote:
First TR? And a damn good one as well!
I love the food box, half food half air Laughing
Keep them coming.


Thank you vey much! Will certainly attempt more.. Smile
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basheer1211
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Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 271
Location: India

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems I'm not the only one to be surprised that this is your first TR. Even newbie like me had already written first TR.

I am always jealous of people taking high quality photos for TR. Did you use camera or just mobile?

First time seeing chaval in a noodle cup. Something new to me atleast.

Anyway, first TR is always memorable one even though you have flown n number of times before. Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Keep coming with more and more.
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GF1011
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Joined: 02 Jan 2015
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

basheer1211 wrote:
Seems I'm not the only one to be surprised that this is your first TR. Even newbie like me had already written first TR.

I am always jealous of people taking high quality photos for TR. Did you use camera or just mobile?

First time seeing chaval in a noodle cup. Something new to me atleast.

Anyway, first TR is always memorable one even though you have flown n number of times before. Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Keep coming with more and more.


Thanks Basheer1211. All pics are from my iPhone6. Hopefully ill graduate to doing TRs with a proper camera. The plus point of using a phone is that i can be discreet and also quickly capture any moment that interests me..

Thanks again. Cheers!
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