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Winter 2018: Mumbai to Bengaluru on 9W's MAX8 (Part 3)

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Joined: 16 May 2017
Posts: 48
Location: Bangalore, Ann Arbor

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:15 am    Post subject: Winter 2018: Mumbai to Bengaluru on 9W's MAX8 (Part 3) Reply with quote

Hi all,

Welcome to a very delayed part 3. I have been meaning to write this for a while now, but work always managed to give me reasons to put away documenting this TR. This trip was taken almost 8 months ago, so I only have some sketchy notes and poorly lit photographs for reference. I shall try my best to recount my experience in detail.

I had just landed in Mumbai after a nearly 8 hour flight from Amsterdam on Jet Airways' Boeing 777-300ER. Immigration and customs did take a while, but I still was very comfortably placed to transfer to my flight to Bengaluru. All three legs being on a single ticket really helped. After customs, I proceeded to the domestic transfers counter where I dropped my bag at the desk after having my boarding pass scanned. From here, I headed upstairs to the departures area of Mumbai's T2. This was my first time in this terminal, and my word, it was splendid! In terms of design and architecture, this terminal is well ahead of any in the country, and would certainly give some of the other airports in the world a run for their money.

Emirates check-in counters

I followed signs to the domestic security check area, which was disorganised, to put it very mildly. Passengers seemed to be in no mood to abide by the rules, and a few were pulled aside by the CRPF for having keys in their pockets or laptops inside their bags. I guess 1:30am is a very odd time to be awake to board a flight, but doing something as simple as cooperating during security check makes it easier for everyone. With security done, I looked for the closest flight information display screen; my boarding pass did not have a departure gate printed on it. My flight 9W381, operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 8 would depart from Gate 45A, a bus gate. Rather unfortunately, at the time of writing this report, both the aircraft and the airline are no longer operating flights. Jet Airways ceased operations on 17th April 2018, and we all know what happened to the 737 MAX. Back to 10th December, 2018: The up and down journey within the terminal continued, this time in an elevator. This turned out to be a bad decision, I quickly jumped out and decided to take the escalator; someone had relieved themselves in the elevator, and it needed serious cleaning. Some pictures from terminal 2 are below:

Heading down to security check

Only for those with deep pockets. As for me: see, admire, walk away

Food court after security check

Beautiful wall art, unfortunately, these pictures don't do justice

Good old Amby

Flight details:
Airline: Jet Airways
Origin: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, India (BOM/VABB)
Destination: Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, India (BLR/VOBL)
Flight Number: 9W 381
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737 MAX 8
Registration: VT-JXC
Scheduled Departure Time: 03:05 IST, 10th December 2018
Actual Departure Time: 03:16 IST, 10th December 2018
Scheduled Arrival Time: 04:45 IST, 10th December 2018
Actual Time of Arrival: 04:24 IST, 10th December 2018
Actual Flying Time: 1 hours and 13 minutes

Boarding for our flight was announced at 2:30am, in no particular order. In a few minutes, along with a deadheading pilot and a few other passengers, I boarded the first bus from the terminal to the aircraft.

My ride, VT-JXC

Boarding in progress

Some literature on 9W's MAX

Jet Airways was the first Indian airline to operate the Boeing 737 MAX 8, and VT-JXC was their third aircraft of this type. First impressions of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 were great. The seats were very comfortable, wider than any Boeing 737 seat, the leg room was great, not to forget the windows: they were noticeably larger than those on the 737-NG or Classic. The aircraft also boasted of features to regulate cabin pressure, making for a more comfortable flight. However, it was not possible to fully experience the benefits of this feature on a short flight, such as this one. Boarding was completed 5 minutes before scheduled departure. Loads were light; probably 60%. With doors closed, Captain Sorabjee announced a flight time 1:15 minutes to the Garden City. At 3:05 am we pushed back from our remote stand and taxied out to runway 27. Ahead of us was D-ABYU, Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8i operating LH757 to Frankfurt. We used taxiway N3 to turn on to Runway 27, ahead of LH757 and were airborne after a short take-off roll. We maintained runway heading for a while, and then turned south east over the Arabian Sea towards Bengaluru. A small snack was served after the seatbelt signs were turned off. The vegetarian option had a cupcake and a vegetable roll. I was hungry and tired, and polished the tray clean in no time. The MAX's CFM Leap-1B engines are very quiet, even if you are seated close to the engines. In a matter of minutes, thanks also to some soft saxophone music, I fell asleep.

Easily the most comfortable seats in a narrow body aircraft for me

Taxiing to Runway 27

There goes the queen, LH757 to Frankfurt

Turning south-east towards Bengaluru

Late night/ very early morning snack

We were well into our descent when I woke up, and were just 10 minutes away from touchdown. The pilot flying executed a soft landing on Bengaluru's Runway 09 at 4:24am. We exited the runway using taxiway D, past the International gates, occupied by Emirates, Gulf Air and Kuwait Airways. Preparations to receive British Airways' BA118 from London-Heathrow must have also been in full swing. We docked at a Jet bridge gate. The aircraft was not very full, so disembarkation was smooth and hassle free.

Landing in Bengaluru, Runway 09. My apologies for the bad pictures in this TR, there was not much I could in the dark

International gates are busy

See, there is this thing about me and Kempegowda Airport, some sort of unwritten agreement: My bags are always the last to arrive on the carousel. I wasn't left disappointed this time either, I was literally the last person to pick up my bag from the conveyor, a typical ending to any of my trips. All in all, a very nice flight on Jet Airways, pleasant and friendly crew as always. I had a chance to fly on the Boeing 737 MAX 8, which I felt was a great product when I flew, hopefully Boeing gets the aircraft in the air soon (friends say I was lucky to make it alive, an exaggeration? Yes). As for Jet Airways, it is sad that they were forced to suspend operations, one does hope that they take their place again in Indian skies. Until then, fly safe.
Best regards,
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4685
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely trip report, Ananth! I have been meaning to read this for quite some time. To read about both 9W, as well as the MAX experience on 9W. It is nice that you got a chance to experience both before both went out of contention. Mumbai T2 is always impressive. KIAL and you: ha ha, I guess we all have our variants of the same, with airports conspiring with our bags Smile
Cheers, Sumantra.
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