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 

CJB: Coimbatore July Bounty! Jul'14

 
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: 4426
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:26 pm    Post subject: CJB: Coimbatore July Bounty! Jul'14 Reply with quote

CJB: Coimbatore July Bounty! Jul'14


http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14849.html

97.1 Planning for the Coimbatore trip

It is always a pleasure to visit Coimbatore. As usual, I would
opt for Air India (in this case, I had a choice). This was one of
Air India's longest flights, with a stop-over in my favourite city, Mumbai.
Both legs were about two hours in duration, with a
40 minute stop-over at Mumbai. The timings would be ideal for a
filling breakfast on the first leg, and a heavy snack on the other.
On the return, this was a filling lunch and a heavy snack,
when I had done the route last year. The plane went onward to
Kozhikode, took a `biriyAnI' break there, and came back as
the return flight, following the same routing, in the reverse direction.
I looked forward to travelling on Air India, for the food,
for the miles, and for the nice plane spotting opportunity at Mumbai.
I have written about my two previous visits by air, to
Tamil Nadu's textile city, on this forum:
56. Co-imbibing Coimbatore's Combination Culture: May'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13511.html
64. Coimba-Tour, Jul'13
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic13973.html
I also find it extremely ironic, that I find myself typing most
of this trip report on the last two days of 2016, almost exactly
two-and-a-half years after this particular trip, in almost the same place.
I have been able to spare a bit of time on 30 and 31 December,
2016, to type in most of this trip report, on a visit to exactly
the same place (PSGTech, Coimbatore), with exactly the same hosts,
as the raison d'etre of the July, 2014 trip, which is the
subject of the current trip report.

My onward journey had the following itinerary:

Set out 23 Jul (Wed) for Coimbatore from New Delhi
AI 657: Air India (A321) [Seat: 15F; PNR: ZE12F]
IGIA T3, New Delhi - CSIA T1, Mumbai - Peelamedu Airport, Coimbatore
New Delhi (DEL) - Mumbai (BOM) - Coimbatore (CJB)
[07:00 am - 09:05 am; 10:00 am - 11:50 am]

Just prior to this trip, I had received a purse as a gift.
The Wife liked it immensely as well,
though she regrets that given our profession, the purse
(like many of her wishes), would remain un-fulfilled,
and the lack of contents in the same,
would be an indication of the same being `as cheap as I was'.
Those were not quite the words I wished to hear in the early
hours of the day, as I prepared to set out from home, for the
airport. Yes, it was the same friendly cab driver, whose cab
services I often patronise.
The friendly cab driver pointed out that he had seen SpiceJet
signs at IGIA T3 specifically, the domestic part. I was surprised,
but observed that this was indeed true.

97.2 Before the flight

The SpiceJet counters were where the erstwhile Kingfisher
airlines counters were. These would have been for SpiceJet's
International flights, circa July, 2014.

There was an impressive Audi A6 2.0 TDI after the security counters.


Here is another picture of this beauty:


A Nissan Terrano was also still there, just as I saw it, the last
time I passed through IGIA T3, as I described in my previous trip report,
Nagpur NAG after Gwalior Gag, Jul'14
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14842.html


A beautiful Volvo S60 adorned the area up the ramp, which offered
a nice view of the remote stands of the South-facing X-cup of the terminal.


Our gate would be 28A. I had seen pH, the (new) `acidic/basic' plane,
VT-PPH standing at the gate, from behind the Citibank ATM,
which offered a nice view of the common area between the domestic
and international fingers. Also at a gate was the old
double-bogeyed A320 painted into the Star Alliance scheme,
SF the `safe' plane, VT-ESF. At the time of Air India's induction
into the Star Alliance, it was decided to paint one narrow-body
and a wide-body each into the Star Alliance scheme.
Why an old plane, which may be retired soon?
The high narrow-body utilisation would have meant taking a very
active aircraft out of service, and putting it through the paint shop.
The said aircraft has seen quite a few schemes, right from
the old Indian Airlines colours, to the `Indian' scheme, to the
attractive Air India `Flying Swan' livery, and now, back to the
drab Star Alliance scheme, with the Star Alliance logo on a dark
blue background on the tail, an otherwise all-white body with
the Air India titles on the front lower portion of the fuselage,
and grey engines, with the engines going back to their old Indian
Airlines colours. The wide-body would be a new Dream)liner, two
types that would reflect the main components of the Air India
fleet, for a long time to come. Star Alliance requires a member
airline to paint 2% of its fleet into the Star scheme.
For Air India's hundred-odd fleet, these two would be the chosen ones.
Some time later, an Air India B77W `Bihar' VT-ALJ would also be
painted in the Star Alliance livery, after a heavy check.

An Air India A319 and an Air India Regional CRJ-700 `masked bandit',
standing behind:


`JC' the `Messiah' plane, VT-RJC:


Here is BO the `smelly; plane, VT-ABO:

This lovely bird in the new `Flying Swan' livery, had had an
accident in the early hours one day, with a Jet Airways bus at
Calcutta airport, which had taken a liking for an engine, and
driven right into it. The plane ended up second-best, and a
complete write-off, ending up beyond economic repair.
This was circa end-May, 2016.

It was July, 2014. The two leased A332s were still in the Air
India fleet. And what beautiful planes they are, looking
resplendent in the new Air India `Flying Swan' livery. Here is
`WA', the `Wide-bodies Aircraft' VT-IWA:

Why was this beauty parked at a remote stand, here?
A freakish thunderstorm had blown a step ladder right into the
wing and damaged the port-side engine nacelle. I have posted some
close-up pictures in my last trip report, when I got to observe
this bird, and the damage to it, in detail:
Nagpur NAG after Gwalior Gag, Jul'14
http://www.airlinersindia.s4.bizhat.com/airlinersindia-ftopic14842.html

Circa 2016, there was a squall-related discussion between members on the
airliners-india WhatsApp group, as well. Member jbalonso777 wrote,
``the streets have dried up after the nightmare walk I had
this morning. Took me 10 minutes to figure out how to get around
a puddle err..pond''
iflytb20, not one to miss a pun, replied, ``How long did you ponder?''
`Not long enough to jump ship,' pat came the reply, from an
equally prompt jbalonso777.

Member Akshay informed members,
that a flight school had been set up outside his in-law's place.
As this raised eyebrows, he clarified that
a baby Mynah bird was getting flying lessons.
iflytb20 replied, ``Saw the same at my in-laws' place in March.
The cuteness turned to horror when the flight school went
the Indigo (6E) way, and flying lessons went 6x.''
Akshay responded immediately, ``Here it's fly or starve.
Unless he flies, the parents aren't feeding him.''
Pat came iflytb20's reply, ``So you got the Kingfisher Airlines (IT) version''

Before this digression gets out of hand, let me return to the
July 2014 time-line. There had been a discussion on the
airliners-india web forum, about the seating plan in the original
Air India A321s, and the newer ones, with the reconfiguration,
which saw the number of rows of the Business class halved, and
more Economy class seats being brought in.
This was the original seating plan:


This was the one which would soon become standard, all over the fleet:


And where were the only 2x2 layout seats?
They were beside the crew jumpseats, at the emergency rows:


VT-ALF `Jharkhand' was operating the morning flight...to Bengaluru, I guessed.
Around the time of my journey (Jul'14), Air India had
stationed a B77L VT-ALF and an A332 VT-IWA as wide-body backups
at DEL, in cases of Dream)liner niggles. As I have mentioned
above, WA, the `Wide-bodied Aircraft' was grounded owing to the
freak cyclonic storm, which had blown a step ladder into the engine cowl,
ironically when it was parked at perhaps the safest place, the cusp between two
wings of the domestic terminal, which stood the least chance of
getting affected, due to its harbour-like location. The two A332s
were due to be returned to the lessor in October, 2014. They did
well on the longer domestic routes, and some international routes
(such as during the erstwhile IPG strike, when the erstwhile
Indian Airlines pilots' ICPA, and management cadre pilots
took over all Air India operations). The small number of aircraft in the
sub-fleet ensured a low spares inventory, and the two lovely
aircraft unfortunately spent quite a bit of time grounded, as well.

97.3 Food for Thought

The boarding started about 10 minutes late, with Air India status passengers
(members of the Maharaja club, and the Golden Edge club:
not the Silver Edge club, which I considered myself
extremely lucky to be in, for the second time), members with status
on Star Alliance fellow-airlines, and business class passengers.
I was one of the first to board in the Economy class. The plane
filled up completely around me. Ms. Rupali was in charge of the cabin,
and Captain M. Ghai was in command.

The fact that breakfast would be served on the flight, was
announced on the ground itself. This set me up for a nice flight.
Almost as soon as the plane reached cruising altitude, the meal
service started. And what was on offer, in the non-veg option?
The catering card said `Taj SATS'. Ah, that was nice!
There was sliver-ware in the cutlery. Even better!
And the food?


The fruit bowl had two slices each of papaya (the nice
`disco' variety, which I love), and mellon (the musk-mellon/honey
dew mellon, of the `sArDA' kind) They performed a disappearing act
down my gut in no time at all. The fruit was fresh, and delicious.
I attacked the two slices with a fork. The two pieces jumped up
at me, and danced around as I tried to catch them. They nestled
in two corners of my shirt. It was nice that I had decided not to
wear a white shirt that day (it was the top-most one in my
almirah rack), else it would have borne the fruits of my clumsy
and laboured approach to breakfast. I retrieved the first piece,
and enjoyed the freshness. As I approached the other one nestled
close to my tummy (the outside, that is), the fork went up.
I retrieved it, and the situation as well, to the best of my ability,
much to the surprise, and amazement of the person seated next to me.

To my disappointment, the bun was not the by-now-normal brown bun.
It was nice and fresh, as it should well be, for the connoisseur.
The butter was warm and soft, as it should well be, for the connoisseur.
Not for me however. The regular reader knows my love for the
ice-cold and rock-hard kind of the sinful 90% milk fat item.
There was a mixed fruit preserve as well, to go with the bun.
The main course had a rather fluffy omelette, with shredded
vegetables inside, four lightly salted potato wedges on the side,
and a slightly strange boiled spinach-and-baked peas combination.
To my surprise, there was some coconut chuTney, which
tasted deliciously fresh. Had this been a left-over from a veg tray,
with some delicious South Indian breakfast offering?
Whatever be the case, it really went well with the potato wedges.
The green combination surprised me a bit.
Baked peas go well with an omelette and potato fries or wedges combination.
However, baked peas, and boiled spinach are both
relatively strong tasting items, which stand out on their own.
I have rarely seen the two going together well.
By now the beverage service had started.
The beverage wasn't exactly...a rage, to make a beeline for.
It was the usual brand of instant coffee.
I took refuge in the IFE which had been switched on, in a
pleasant change from the usual trend on Air India, of keeping the IFE off.
Even better for me, was the fact that the twelve audio
channels were available. I tuned in to my favourite old Hindi
film music channel. That kept me enthralled throughout the
journey, from my sleepy moments at the start of the flight, to
the meal, and the rest of the flight as well. Circa 2016, the IFE
would be completely disabled on the Air India narrow-body fleet.

97.4 The halt at Mumbai

Captain M. Ghai landed us in a drizzling Mumbai at 5 minutes past
nine, on the main runway 27.

A 9W B77W, as we came in to land:


A 9W B73W, in front of the domestic part:


It was 28 degrees Celsius in a very humid Mumbai,
which we did not get to experience, from inside the plane.
As the plane was being cleaned up, I saw the cleaning
staff take away two glass containers of the much-maligned common
brand of instant coffee. It was not that I needed to see this sight.
We had parked at Mumbai CSIA's T1A, at the last-but-one gate
towards the runway 09 end. To our left was PPM the
`concentration' plane (parts-per-million), VT-PPM. To our right
was PO the `letters' (Post Office) plane, VT-PPO. Ground staff
were working on the IATA decals, on the left side of the plane.
A Chef Air catering truck pulled up beside our plane.
About a fifth of all Economy class passengers stayed in the plane.
The boarding card check, cabin baggage check, and cleaning
operations were done quite efficiently, as the cabin crew
change-over also took place quickly. The new set of passengers
boarded quite quickly. The plane filled up rapidly.
We would have a full flight again.
I overheard some talk about a few Business class upgrades on this
flight for some lucky Economy class passengers, owing to the
flight getting over-booked.
Air India seems to consistently do well on this route.
Both my parents have been lucky once on a trip from Bengaluru to
Delhi on an A319. I have been lucky on a train journey once, from
Delhi to Mumbai, when I got a III tier AC middle berth upgrade,
for a Sleeper class ticket, but that is just it, Lady Luck had
shone on me some eight years back.

After the `letters' plane left for another trip, the `holy' plane
CR (`seer'), VT-SCR came in. The Star Alliance decals seem to
have taken a beating on this plane, as was the case with many
other Air India aircraft, with the damage primarily attributed to
the aero-bridges.

A lovely 9W A332:


We took off over the Juhu beach.


97.5 A great crew adds to a great experience

On this flight, I liked the camaraderie among the crew, both the
junior and senior ones. There was some good-natured chatter among them,
and they spread their cheer among passengers as well.
A very full plane (apparently, even in the Business class),
and a large number of large cabin baggage pieces caused some
discontent among passengers, whose large bags were passed on to
the baggage hold, and small pieces accommodated under the seats,
in the Business class bins, and all around the place, wherever
there was space. We Indians like to take the proverbial kitchen
sink with us. I admired the cabin crew for dealing with the
situation in a sweet, yet professional manner. Ms. Kapoor was in
charge of the cabin, and I liked the soft and sweet voice in
which she made the announcements, which included a statement
which showed pride in her voice, about Air India being a member
of the largest alliance of airlines, the prestigious Star Alliance.
I find each flight with a slightly different announcement,
implying that some part is done impromptu. While perfect
standardisation in the announcements would point to a greater
degree of professionalism in the airline, I liked the other side
of the coin: many senior cabin in-charges spoke right from the heart,
and instead of making an announcement in a robotic and
stereotypical manner, they did not hide their pride in their job,
working for the airline.

A change I have noticed of late (after Air India joined the Star Alliance,
circa 2014) is that the cabin crew do not disturb passengers who are asleep,
while the food service is on. On a US carrier, a hungry oaf as
Yours Truly fights hard to stay awake, lest even
the basic beverage service go un-patronised. On the other hand, I
consistently noticed that a member of the cabin crew took notice
of passengers who were asleep, and came to them when they awoke,
just to check on what what would like to have. They made
occassional rounds of the aircraft, to check on such passengers.
This warmed my heart beyond measure.
One such beneficiary was the gentleman seated right next to me.
Soon after take-off, he was deeply engrossed in a pot-boiler Hindi movie.
I do not know if the pot-boiler grossed revenue for the producer.
I do know however, that it had its usual intended effect:
of putting the movie watcher to sleep.
It reminded me of the old Sudhir Dar cartoon, with a mother
telling her son, ``Do not turn off the TV, you will wake up Father''.

The monsoon season ensures some occassional turbulence.
The crew handled this with panache.
There were gentle requests to passengers to sit down, and not use
the lavatories. They did not let the turbulence interrupt the
meal service, including the time when the hot beverages were
being served. They had a smile on their faces, and deftly poured
the hot liquids (and their hearts out, as well?) while at it.
I usually prepare my cup for the beverage service by emptying the
milk and sugar sachets into the cup. The young gentleman serving
the coffee was a tad surprised at the colour of the liquid in the
cup not quite matching what he was pouring into it. He smiled to himself,
and gave me a smile of acknowledgement, as well.
When some moderate turbulence started, the crew doubled up, in
order to complete the service quickly. All of them shared their duties,
as they got into the act.

97.6 Food. But, of course

`Refreshments' were announced by Ms. Kapoor while on the ground,
as we were taxiing. Was it to placate some passengers,
who were disturbed by the cabin baggage experience? Perhaps.
She announced that the service would start immediately after we
reached cruising altitude, after the Captain switched off the
seat belt sign. There was some very mild chop today, and though
the seat belt sign came back on some time as the meal service started,
the crew handled this well, and did not pause.
Yes, rules perhaps dictate that there should be a pause in the meal
service during such periods of chop, but I personally approved of
the actions of the crew. The regular reader knows why, of course!

The snack turned out to be nearly a meal in itself.


Chef Air had done their job quite well.
The white bread sandwich looked like a coleslaw and shredded
salad-based one, but on taking it out of its plastic wrapping,
The aroma of freshly-baked bread enthralled me to no extent.
If the aroma was enticing, the taste went one step ahead.
It was a mayonnaise-based filling, but with shredded boiled vegetables,
instead. Carrots, peas, and my all-time favourite,
yes, you guessed correctly, mashed potatoes.

Next, I went to the main course.
It had a veg patty: a crunchy layered treat, with a spicy mixed
vegetable filling inside. It had been warmed very well, and it
went well with the tomato sauce/ketchup, that was served in a sachet.
Yes, there was metal cutlery on this leg, as well!
The skewered chicken was a delight. The marination in a
combination of spices had penetrated the surface of the four
large chunks, quite deep. The pieces were soft, and succulent.
I liked it immensely.
If this was nice, the dessert went one step better.
It was a sinful double-layered cream-and-caramelised-sugar cake.
There were two generous layers of gooey cream, on a delightfully
soft and fresh baked flour base. Caramelised sugar had been
dusted on top of the cream quite liberally, on the two layers.

Captain Ghai made his second smooth landing of the day on runway
23 at Coimbatore's Peelamedu airport.

Two derelict F-27s of NEPC airlines, by the side of the runway:


Another view of the old rusting birds:


I have been often lucky,
with most trips involving a pick-up in places where public
transportation is comparatively not as nice as it is in big cities.
I was whisked off to Hotel Arcadia on Avinashi road, very
close to the airport. I was not hungry, since I had guzzled up a
lot of food on board the plane.
The time at Coimbatore simply flew by,
through periods of hogging, sleepless work-hours, and nice weather.

97.7 Retracing my steps...the return trip

My itinerary for the return leg was as follows:

Set out 24 Jul (Thu) for New Delhi from Coimbatore
AI 658: Air India (A321) [Seat: 06A; PNR: ZE12F]
Peelamedu Airport, Coimbatore - CSIA T1, Mumbai - IGIA T3, New Delhi
Coimbatore (CJB) - Mumbai (BOM) - New Delhi (DEL)
[03:10 pm - 05:05 pm; 06:00 pm - 08:10 pm]

``May we have your tension please,'' I heard the announcement.
I guessed it was the lovely thayir sAdam (curd-rice) at work.
I had heard `attention' as `tension'. The driver had been a bit late,
but we made to the impressive Coimbatore International Airport in
almost no time at all. Just as we approached the alighting point,
I saw the lovely sight of a SpiceJet B738 taking off and roaring
into the sky. I noted another change in the terminal. The earlier
waiting area for the first floor gates was quite small. Now, the
part above the old part of the terminal has been renovated, and
the waiting area for gates 6 and 7 now has another entrance from
the ground floor, with the earlier one cordoned off. The newer
area is much larger, and has lots of power-ports, for instance.
I also saw a lot of Caucasians waiting for the flight. It would be
the Star Alliance connection, I guessed. At the check-in, there
were a large number of passengers (both of Indian origin, as
well as Caucasians) connecting to international flights at Delhi.
The two people at the check-in counters, a middle-aged lady and a
very senior gentlemen, were interacting with passenger very pleasantly,
mentioning the through check-ins, and seamless
connections to Star Alliance flights at Delhi, with all boarding
passes issued on Air India stock.
I was a bit disappointed that my chosen seat 06A was not assigned to me.
I was assigned 13A instead. For a while, I thought of
mentioning this to the lady at the check-in. Was it a
re-configured A321, with a smaller number of Business class seats?
On boarding, I observed that row 06 was the bulkhead row,
and the first row in the Economy section. I did not mind my seat.
I would have the afternoon sun on my all the time on this trip,
but would get a view of the left side of runway 27 at Mumbai, and
perhaps, catch a glance of the Qutub/Mehrauli complex at Delhi.

We got another set of cheerful cabin crew members, on this flight.
The loads were excellent, in the region of 90%, or so,
with about half of the Business class seats occupied by the time
I boarded the plane (this was sometime towards the middle of the
boarding process). It was PE, the `healthy' plane, VT-PPE. The
plane was moderately clean again, with some of the fabric looking
a bit tired and jaded. Many plastic surfaces were replete with
cracks (the arm-rests), and the surfaces looked well-worn out,
and showed evidence of some relatively quick repair.
Captain Rahul Singh was in command, and
Mrs. Shah was in charge of the cabin. As we lined up for a
take-off on runway 23 at Coimbatore, the announcement said that
lunch was to be served on the flight.
It would be my second lunch of the day!
We took off, and banked steeply right, and were on our way to Mumbai,
with a a brief period of mild turbulence en route.
The hill station of Ooty, or Ootacamund/Udagamandalam, soon after
take-off from Coimbatore is nestled in these hills:


97.8 The second lunch of the day: biriyAnI!

This trip was circa July 2014, when AI 658 was the only exception
to the Air India rule. What rule? About lunch being served on a
flight only at lunch time. for a flight that set out at 03:10 pm,
this was well past lunch time. I do not mind it one bit!


The plane takes a `biriyAnI' break at Calicut/Kozhikode,
and comes in to Coimbatore. The meal loaded was also a Central
Kerala-style biriyAnI, a delicious meal with the vegetables
or the non-vegetarian items cooked in the rice. It is ironic that
Central Kerala is known for its non-vegetarian delicacies.
This flight serves a vegetarian variant, with the same style of
cooking, and combination of spices, unique to the central part of
the South Indian state of Kerala.

The presentation was not nice.
The rAitA, a curd/yogurt-based preparation with chopped
salad vegetables was in a cheap plastic container.
The main course had the biriyAnI, whose presentation was nothing special.
The thick gravy with snake-gourd pieces was to the right.
This went well with the rest of it. The rAitA
was extremely fresh, with the cold and thick creamy curd
complementing the freshly-cut cucumber, tomato and carrot pieces beautifully.
The beverage was a strong version of the common
brand of instant coffee, which was just passable. The dessert had
some pAyasam, with some vermicelli cooked in milk,
making a gooey combination with a hint of sugar. It was very tasty.

97.9 The 40-odd minute halt at Mumbai

Coming in to Mumbai in the monsoons, one cannot but help notice
the ubiquitous blue tarpaulin:


Captain Rahul Singh made a slightly heavy landing on Mumbai's main runway 27.
I saw the two UB planes once with Dr. Vijay Mallya,
the head of the once prosperous Kingfisher group. The A319 ACJ, and
the small HS 125 bizjet, now bereft of titles. The Aryan Air cargo A310
was there, ready to meet the axe. Two Air India B777s were in
front of the Air India hangars, with the B77L `Maharashtra' in
its sad state as a Christmas Tree (a spares source), with a B77W
and a B744 beside it.
We sighted a cute Piaggio Avanti:


AI A319 on the move:


When we slowed down and came in front of CSIA Mumbai's T1A,
the PPQ-rian plane VT-PPQ pushed back from the
last-but-one west-side stand, and CC the `unfair means' plane VT-SCC,
a leased A319 in the interim `Indian' livery, came in to
park at the Western-most aero-bridge. There were intermittent
periods of sunshine and rain, as we waited. The outgoing cabin crew
exchanged pleasantries with the incoming team. This changeover
happened very quickly and smoothly, once again. The cleaning team
had come in almost as soon as the last passenger had disembarked
from the plane. About a four-fifths of the plane had emptied out
at Mumbai. The baggage identification, and boarding pass
checking happened quite quickly, and efficiently. It was obvious
that they wanted a quick turn-around, without much ado.
A stream of incoming passengers was representative of AI 658 being
a popular business-hour flight from Mumbai to Delhi. Many of the
passengers looked the corporate kind as well. The plane filled up quite fast,
with the Business class also receiving some generous patronage
from Mumbai as well.

Mrs. J. Wadia was in charge of the cabin for this leg of the journey.
I spied Business class passengers being served apple juice.
The announcement whetted up my appetite.
Snacks would be served on this leg.
Captain Rahul Singh took off from runway 27, and we banked right
after crossing the Juhu beach.

97.10 The `snack'



The cabin crew got into action almost as soon as the seat belt
sign went off. The trays promised a lot.
The name of the catering agency was `Plate', from Taj-SATS.
I wondered what this new move was.
The food clearly bore the Taj-SATS mark.
The cheese sandwich had a generous cheese slice inside two slices
of some extremely fresh bread.
If the simple cheese sandwich was tasty, the main course was
nothing short of excellent. I opted for the non-vegetarian option, as usual.
It was a pleasant surprise.
To the left was a patty made of just plain mashed peas, and
lightly browned on the outside. It was just heavenly.
To the right, were two keemA samosAs, a deep-fried sinful
snack consisting of a dough covering, with a general triangular shape,
and with a generous filling of mince inside.
It was delicious.
The dessert bore the stamp of an Air India combination dessert.
The novelty of this snack was considerable in the 1970s-1980s,
though its appeal has not reduced, by any means.
A sandwich sweet.
It had two pieces of a flattened cottage cheese-based flattened
rosogollA/rasgullA-like pieces (more the chamcham variety),
with some sinful cream filling on the inside.
It was topped up with some cream, as well.
Though extremely sinful, it was simply heavenly.
The beverage service had some extremely strong and hot instant coffee,
which was not too bad. The meal pleased me beyond words.

Captain Sharma again made a heavy landing on the new runway 11.
The wind directions change in the monsoon period, leading to the
West-to-East operations on the runways. We parked at an international gate.
It was clear that our bird would perform its next flight on an
international segment. We were bused to the bus arrival gates.
I was quite tired after a heavy day of work (and eating as well!).
I took a cab back home, and hit the bed.
Not before a filling dinner at home, though!
---
Links to my 97 trip reports:
https://sites.google.com/site/sumantratrip/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Akshay
Member


Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 315
Location: Mumbai

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantra da,

What a fantastic report! Hats off, Sir. Loved the amount of details you have put down. The food description and photos had me salivating at my office desk. Thankfully the seat next to me is unoccupied, so I did not get any stares from co-workers Very Happy Good to see your trip reports being published at a greater frequency these days - a treat for readers!

Just a small correction, nit-picking you can say. The "ubiquitous blue tarpaulin" is actually roof of a station on Mumbai's sole mono-rail line.
_________________
MRVC Mania. My blog dedicated to the new violet-white suburban rakes of Mumbai.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
The_Goat
Member


Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2909
Location: South of France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sumantraji, Nice TR as usual. You've got to love AI's meals. They score over every competitor on this point.

Coimbatore eh? That is my father's home town. Have been there several times. It is a big engineering and textiles hub and is also called the Manchester of the East.

Akshay wrote:


Just a small correction, nit-picking you can say. The "ubiquitous blue tarpaulin" is actually roof of a station on Mumbai's sole mono-rail line.


I think there's plenty of blue tarpaulin to be found even in the jhoppadpattis. Many of the huts seem to be using the blue tarpaulin as roofing.
_________________
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: 4426
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Akshay wrote:
SThankfully the seat next to me is unoccupied, so I did not get any stares from co-workers Very Happy Good to see your trip reports being published at a greater frequency these days
Thank you very much for the kind words, Akshay! I loved the flight school talk between you and iflytb20, which I have quoted verbatim.
Akshay wrote:
Just a small correction, nit-picking you can say. The "ubiquitous blue tarpaulin" is actually roof of a station on Mumbai's sole mono-rail line.
I was pointing to the ones all around the place, which actually give India's Economic capital the sobriquet of `The Blue City' in the monsoons, displacing Udaipur from the roll of honour Razz
As an ex-Mumbaikar, a visit to the city is always a pleasure!
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4426
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
You've got to love AI's meals. They score over every competitor on this point.
Thank you for the read, and the kind words, Sir! AI have indeed kept up the standard, right from the cost-cutting days of mid-2014, to this day, and given what you know of me, I would choose an Air India flight just for the gourmet food. You would remember IC 802, the last flight out of Chennai, the sappAD(u) flight, where the Taj Madras magic with cheTTinAD(u)-style curries (both veg and non-veg) had even my non-foodie colleagues make a beeline for that flight, though we would get back in to Delhi quite late.
The_Goat wrote:
Coimbatore eh? That is my father's home town. Have been there several times. It is a big engineering and textiles hub and is also called the Manchester of the East.
This is wonderful to know, Sir! Coimbatore is a lovely city with a beautiful amalgamation of cultures: people tracing their ancestry to the erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh (business, textiles), Kerala (proximity), Saurashtra (textiles) and currently, the IT revolution accounts for the large number of North Indians who have fallen in love with the lovely warm climate of Coimbatore. Air India has bifurcated the Mumbai and Delhi links currently: the long-serving AI 657-658 now is only a Mumbai connection: Delhi now gets connected via Chennai, on AI 429 and AI 538. I did this new leg a few days back, incidentally! And food-wise, Sri Annapoorna and Anandha's are great places to hang around, now-a-days Razz
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
avbuff
Member


Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 5016

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

an excellent TR and good to see some rare pics of the AI A332 ....

of course nothing beats your signature description of food .. be it the neticing freshly baked buns or the disco light appearance or the coleslaw vision. the biryani looked yummy .

Thanks for sharing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4426
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Ojas! The AI A332s: there will be more in terms of a J upgrade, a few TRs from this one. The `disco' is the name of a variety of papaya, which is readily obtainable in Mumbai and Bengaluru for many years, and thankfully, in Delhi as well, since the 2000s.
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ameya
Member


Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3560
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR Sir and another great picture of the breakfast. The airline omelet stands out in taste and presentation. You are doing TRs from T1A era at BOMů. !!!!

I wonder why the NEPC birds have not been scrapped?
Nice pic of Avanti on the way back.
_________________
www.networkthoughts.in
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sumantra
Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4426
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:
You are doing TRs from T1A era at BOMů. !!!!
Thank you, Sir. Yes, that was the T1-A era: a terminal building which I really liked. Thanks to your prodding, I have become more regular in trying to clear the backlog.
ameya wrote:
I wonder why the NEPC birds have not been scrapped?
True...there are three in MAA also, right?
Cheers, Sumantra.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The_Goat
Member


Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Posts: 2909
Location: South of France

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ameya wrote:


I wonder why the NEPC birds have not been scrapped?
Nice pic of Avanti on the way back.


The NEPC birds had been impounded because of non-payment of dues by NEPC when it went under.

They are owned by a Dutch leasing agency, which of course, has sworn that it will never do business with an Indian airline again.
_________________
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: 4426
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Goat wrote:
The NEPC birds had been impounded because of non-payment of dues by NEPC when it went under.
They are owned by a Dutch leasing agency, which of course, has sworn that it will never do business with an Indian airline again.
Wow, I did not know this! On a lighter, and a slightly insensitive front:
1. They did not `go Dutch' over the proceeds.
2. They did a `Dutch Defence' i.e., ...retreat Razz
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