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JetLite DEL-PNQ on Saturday 23rd June'07

 
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malQ
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Joined: 20 Dec 2006
Posts: 713
Location: Delhi, India

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:20 pm    Post subject: JetLite DEL-PNQ on Saturday 23rd June'07 Reply with quote

First flight review on the "new" JetLite by anybody, I believe, so hopefully all the more interesting. In its new avatar, this evolution of Air Sahara seems to be giving the "no-frill" carriers a good fight, mainly with the promise of a hot meal on board and access to the Jet Airways frequent flyer programme known as "Jet Privilege".

JetLite has two flights between Delhi and Pune, both usually operated by Boeing-737 aircraft but carrying the 4-digit CRJ numbers on their schedules, so sometimes you can end up on a 50-seater CRJ. Not a fun way to travel in the monsoons, unless you like the idea of being tossed around a bit more than you would on larger airplanes, though the CRJs are able to clear the weather and fly higher, too. I chose to fly on their late-night dinner flight to Delhi, etd PNQ 2220 and eta DEL 0025. Helped me finish a full day's work and some more.

Booking a ticket on the Internet was a breeze. Incidentally, you can log on to the website by typing out http://www.airsahara.net or http://www.jetlite.com . . . either way you reach the same landing page. I ended up paying 4250/- rupees, not bad for a weekend evening flight out of Pune to Delhi, earlier evening flights on Indigo, Jet Airways and Indian were all much higher. Matter of fact, Jet in Economy was at around 12000/- rupees and Indian was full in Economy with Business Class at 16500/-.

Called up the airport, asked for and got a confirmation for my favourite seat (emergency row window, extra leg-room), and was also informed that this airline and thus this aircraft was now in an "all-economy" configuration so would I like the front row? Front row is usually kept for mothers with infants and other "VIP types, so avoid. Also, dis-embarking at Delhi is always a mess, and we all have to wait for the bus and then the baggage anyways, so chose to retain my middle-of-the-plane seat. Wise choice, as it turned out, this configuration assured me even more legroom because there wasn't a seat in front of it. This is common in some older aircraft, the 300s and 700s, with a single emergency door on each side in the middle of the plane.

Reached the airport in time, and while the staff have new uniforms and ties, and there is no more "Sahara Pranam", the counter and signage and boarding pass and stationary are still the same from the Air Sahara days. Even the "Priority Baggage" tags are from Air Sahara, which has always been a nice touch. Gold on Sahara gets you Gold on Jet, but it doesn't get you the lounge anymore, so I hung around in the main departure area watching passengers being put through Security, Immigration and Customs for the Hyderabad - Singapore flight, by Indian (Airlines). Many of the senior staff from Air Sahara are not seen anymore, having reverted back to their Sahara Parivar. Security for JetLite is handled by Jet Airways staff.

The CISF security set-up at Pune has changed. Basically, instead of going straight through, you now make a sort of sideways shuffle and dance and then shift through it. And then after clearing physical frisking, you have to go back to pick up your hand-baggage, and then walk back against other people coming to pick up their bags. The flow is kind of like a bit of a mess. Reinds me of a "jalebi". Ergonomically, it does not make sense to me, so there must be something else.

The post-security "sanitised" departure lounge has also been re-done, with new chairs and new flooring. The chairs are OK, but the flooring is already chipped and giving way, that's OK. Makes it non-stick. Seems they use some wierd kind of polishing wax, which is supposed to have animal fats in it, because of which there are a lot of flies inside the terminal. Something like this had happened at Delhi Airport a year or so ago too. Toilets at Pune always stink, anyway.

Boarding was announced in time for us, while the Indian A-320 to Singapore via Hyderabad posted a delay of about 30 minutes, so the queues formed up for getting on board S2-6134. Waiting for us in the rain outside was VT-SJD in the "new" Sahara colours. But it was all "JetLite" for announcements and "Jet Airways" for security and bus to aircraft. On ground, next to the aircraft, were staff from both the airlines.

Opposite it was the old non-winglet B-737-800 SpiceJet VT-SPC "Turmeric", looking positively unhappy after spending 3-4 days in Pune for port engine repairs. I do not know how much confidence I will have in their engine repairs, these were being carried out under umbrellas being held by their ground staff, don't they have a better way of working during bad weather?

Load was about 80%, and we got door close right away. Cabin crew forgot to brief me for the emergency door position, they were running around trying to get the sweets and cotton service over with, Pune-Delhi is what is known as a "Quick Turn Around" flight, more than that it is also a "Get Home Quick" sector for the crew, all of whom are Delhi base. I don't blame them, must be better ways of spending a Saturday evening.

After doors closed, we had to wait for about 10 minutes before we got clearance from Mumbai/BOM airspace. Later on, next day, read in the papers that there was heavy rain and there were plenty of diversions at BOM. Eventually we took off at about 2240, in the rain, and flew throught the heavy overcast skies in the dark. Fair bit of turbulence for the first 15-odd minutes, and then we leveled off initially at 31000 feet as per cockpit announcement and subsequently felt the engines strain some more, so we must have gone higher. Half-way there the skies cleared, and we could see the lights below, before we knew it we were overhead Jaipur and then we really slowed down while descending. Which is a sure sign that there may be a bit of congestion over Delhi/DEL. There was. About 35 minutes worth of circling. In clear weather, which means one more thing - Delhi will be HOT. But I get ahead of my report.

Onboard, the Air Sahara aircraft has certainly seen better days. Or day. By the end of the day, when we boarded, the plane was smelly, a mixture of stale food, sweat and other stuff I would not like to mention here. The fabric on the seats is also looking tattered, I may be wrong but this may be some old Jet Airways seat-covers, non-standard. I forgot to take a photograph.

But the food was lovely. Or maybe I am partial to biryani mystery meat with "kaalee" daal and curds. Photograph is here, take a look for yourself. This is the first photo of a JetLite meal on the Internet, I think.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vm2827/620135360/
However, the cabin crew messed up a bit. They did the lime juice and soft drinks after the coffee/tea service. Or maybe that is the new JetLite way.

All in all, a typical Air Sahara experience, minus the "Sahara Pranam" bits. By the time we disembarked, it was well past 1am, and by the time I picked up my bags, got my taxi coupon, and then scrambled for a taxi in the crowd outside, got home at 02:15.Taxi rates at Delhi have gone up around 10%. Delhi domestic arrivals was as busy as peak hour at 1am. And people were still wrongly parked on the bus-stop, while buses then blocked the way. On the road leaving the Airport, there was a traffic jam. At 1:45 in the morning.

Great to be back in Delhi.
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Nimish
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Joined: 16 Dec 2006
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Location: Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report - pleasure to read the first report on the new Jetlite. Also good to see it actually in play here (after the disastrous start the first time around). I wonder when the flight numbers will change from S2 to 9W? Or is the plan to continue on the same S2 series? And shouldn't the flights/fares all come up on the 9W website as well? After all it will give 9W additional flight timings and options to offer passengers.
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stealthpilot
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Location: BLR, DXB

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR.
Do you know if the interiors will be redone in a JetLite scheme when the aircrafts eventually get repainted?

They advertise fares 20% lower than Jet Airways; they offer food and the JP frequent flyer benefits. Apart from a lack of business class, what is the big difference between the 2 airlines? Is there a noticeable gap in service and comfort?
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malQ
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Joined: 20 Dec 2006
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Location: Delhi, India

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the big difference is that the interiors of the JetLite aircraft are tacky and smell a lot. Small bits and pieces are missing here and there, not the critical ones, but an arm-rest cover missing here, a seat-cover looking ragged there and old carpets all over.

IMHO, however, the food has always been better on Air Sahara. More sensible, as my photos would show, I think.

There are small changes on the Air Sahara website, but this is like the old Ambassador - as it progressed from the '50s through the '80s, a "new model" or "Mark 2,3,4 etc", only meant that some more bits and pieces were removed here and there.

JetLite with a fleet of old Boeing-737s and CRJs will have to put up a brilliant performance if they want to match Indigo or SpiceJet. (Presumably GoAir and Deccan are somewhere else on the horizon now . . . ) Especially Indigo, which keeps a very low media profile and so nobody except regular users know the kind of high benchmarks they are setting. Just take one aspect - clean fresh air on board, and see the difference.
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Birendra
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice TR. I guess this is the first one here on AINET. Wink
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ranjanmehta
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Joined: 29 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:24 pm    Post subject: Re: JetLite DEL-PNQ on Saturday 23rd June'07 Reply with quote

malQ wrote:
Reached the airport in time, and while the staff have new uniforms and ties, and there is no more "Sahara Pranam"


Thank God ! Finally..

Quote:
The CISF security set-up at Pune has changed. Basically, instead of going straight through, you now make a sort of sideways shuffle and dance and then shift through it...Reminds me of a "jalebi".


The last time I was in PNQ, they were setting up these new "jalebi" twists n turns. Lots n lots of woodwork and the floor was covered with small wooden sheets. Were they done with all the renovation or was it still on ?

Quote:
But the food was lovely. Or maybe I am partial to biryani mystery meat with "kaalee" daal and curds.


So tempting !! BRB I'll get something to eat Very Happy

Quote:
However, the cabin crew messed up a bit. They did the lime juice and soft drinks after the coffee/tea service. Or maybe that is the new JetLite way.


I believe they were short of time before take off so it was skipped, and maybe after take off the bumpy conditions and this being a dinner flight, led them to serve this lovely biriyani first.

Very nice trip report, looking forward to ur next tr.
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avbuff
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Joined: 22 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice TR malQ

are they going to use only one of jet or jetlite on the delhi - pune route or just use jetlite ......
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ameya
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Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3671
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

avbuff wrote:
nice TR malQ

are they going to use only one of jet or jetlite on the delhi - pune route or just use jetlite ......


I think they will continue to use both.

I recon the load factor is around 80% + for all their flights with Jet being almost full all the time.
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Sam Kapasi
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Joined: 17 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd been planning to try JetLite. Thank you for a terrific and detailed review. Very well written too.
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