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The Maharaja A320 to Dilli

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Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Chennai

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:54 pm    Post subject: The Maharaja A320 to Dilli Reply with quote

Hello Everyone!Been a while since I posted.Its a long trip report and apologies for the bad pictures.Iím very inferior to the fellow Photographers on the forum,So pardon me for the same!Warning:Very Long Trip Report Razz

Trip Planning:
A trip to the national capital was in the offing for a long time.I started looking for tickets a couple of weeks prior to the journey and I was looking to spend the weekend in Delhi.Indigo was my first choice with a friend of mine telling me he would be operating one of their 9 daily flights to delhi on the dates.Somehow the dates and my timings didnít go through so dropped my plan.A quick search revealed that Indigo was the cheapest and had a perfectly timed flight for me(8:30 dep.).But given the numerous times Iíve been on Indigo and no exciting factor to choose it except for the fares I looked at the FSC options.Air India it was because they had 2 flights in the time window I was looking for.Jet had cheaper tickets but I decided to go with Air India.I still was confused if I should book AI143(8:30 dep) or AI430(9:45 dep) with the former being operated by an A320 and the latter by an A321.I chose the earlier one and the tickets were delivered to my mailbox.

Fast forward to the day before the journey I got a text msg from air india stating my flight has been rescheduled to depart at 12:30hrs.A great start indeed!The msg read:

Air India announces rescheduling of your flt AI143 EX-CHENNAI of 18NOV16 to 1230 hrs. Pls ignore if revised time is same as in your ticket. For dtls pls call 18001801407. Inconvenience regretted.

I called up the AI call centre and asked the agent if I could be accommodated on AI430.The agent was apologetic and said he would raise a ticket for me and they would come back to me within 4hrs.I decided not to jeopardise it and stick to my flight.The text msg read:
I had to meet a friend who was flying to Pune on Indigo.So reached the airport around 9:00hrs.Went to the AI office and enquired if my flight would still depart from the international terminal.They replied in the affirmative.The confusion was caused by the agent on the phone who told me the flight would depart from the domestic terminal because it was rescheduled.Took the shuttle to the international departures and everyone from the driver to the CISF personnel asked me if the delhi flight was rescheduled because its usually in the morning.I reached the terminal by around 10:30hrs.

Went to the AI check in counters which were very empty.They had 3 counters open each for the delhi and the Singapore flight with 2 of them on each being for Star Alliance Gold/Business class passengers.The agent was very quick but informed me since the flight was rescheduled they had changed the flight no. and asked my choice of seat as he had to re-check in(I had already done web check in)He said the loads were very light with less than 50 pax.I requested him to add a fragile tag to my bag.He wished me a pleasant flight and directed me towards Immigration/Security.
Ahead of immigration,an AI staffer took my boarding pass wrote down my Seq. No. and directed me to the last counter.Security was quite empty and

The Empty AI Check In counters



I was airside in no time.4R-ALA,The UL A332 was almost pushing back and a QR 788 was parked at a remote stand with an ambulance next to it.A quick check on the whatsapp group and forum member Sriram informed that the DOH-CGK flight had diverted due to a medical Emergency.My gate was the old international terminal.I checked FR24 to know the position of the aircraft thatíd be operating my flight-VT-EDC was already enroute from Trivandrum and was expected to land at 11:35hrs.I had no view of the apron so was glued to my phone.The QR 788 left soon after.VT-EDC landed around 11:37hrs.Deboarding was painfully slow.The Singapore flight was already closing.Meanwhile the crew for my flight arrived and were waiting.The First officer was a very senior gentleman while the Captain looked pretty young.The cabin crew consisted of the very old Cabin Crew incharge,two young ladies and a young gentleman.

The Srilankan A332 ready for pushback 4R-ALA

The QR788 Diversion!Couldnt catch the registration

The Maharaja Lounge Sorry about the blurry pic



The boarding pass


Flight Details:
Airline:Air India
Flight No.:AI143 changed to AI1143
Operating Aircraft:VT-EDC Airbus A320-214(6.8yrs Old Delivered to AI in Jan2010)
Seat No.:23F
Dep.(STD):08:45 ATD:12:20 Arr.(STA):11:20 ATD:15:10

Eventually boarding was called around 12:10hrs.There were two rounds of security check by the AI security staff but they were very polite and wished everyone before letting them go!I was greeted by the young flight attendant who was next to the purser,who was right at the door and not welcoming any of the passengers.A smile atleast wouldnít have hurt.Anyways I was onboard by 12:15hrs.Boarding was complete in no time and we pushed back at 12:20hrs,10 mins ahead of the (re)scheduled departure time.The cabin crew performed the safety demo-Only two of them one for the business cabin and the other for the economy cabin.Then the welcome announcements followed.Capt. Tarang Gupta was in command and Ms.Anjali was incharge of the Cabin.The flying time was announced to 2hrs and 25mins.An announcement was made that Lunch would be served on the Flight.The announcement concerning galaxy note7 devices was also made.The two young FAs passed around the cabin with water for those who needed it.

The Business Cabin

Neighbour!Maldivian A320 to DAC

VT-IEA operating 6E311 to PNQ

We commenced taxi right behind VT-IEA which incidentally was operating 6E311 to Pune!But we had to wait on the taxiway K before a Jet ATR was allowed to enter before us from taxiway B.We were third in line for takeoff.IEA took off followed by the ATR and we had to wait for Spicejetís VT-SGQ from Madurai to land.Interestingly we didnít taxi into position and hold but waited for the SG aircraft to clear the runway and then did a rolling takeoff!We were airborne by 12:37.The takeoff roll lasted less than 15 seconds.A very very steep climb followed.This has to be the steepest climb Iíve ever felt.And a very sharp left bank we were heading northwest to Delhi.There was some serious turbulence on the climbout as well.Overall a very scary departure to sum it up.The seatbelt signs went off by 12:44hrs.We levelled off at FL350.

Holding Short

On to runway 07

The dreamliner to SIN

After Takeoff!

Levelling off at FL350

Seatback Contents

The defunct IFE screens

Seat Pitch and angle Recline

The mandatory legroom shot

The meal carts were rolled out very soon.The two FAs who were serving economy were really courteous.The male FA wished me,asked my preference and handed over the tray with a ďEnjoy your Meal Sir!ĒThe catering was from TAJ Sats.It contained a foil container,a salad bowl,a dessert,a Bun and a small butter chiplet and a small bottle of water.The cutlery and a small Imli candy was also present.I opened the salad first.It had pieces of Cucumber,Capsicum,Carrot and Raddish with a small slice of lemon.It was very fresh.Next up was the foil container.It had rice,A mixed vegetable preparation and a potato curry.The rice was steamed to perfection.The vegetable curry was chettinad style.It had carrots,Tomatos ,Potatoes in a mildly spiced preparation.The Aloo-Matar(Potato-Peas)Curry was good except the potato tasted a bit sweet.The desert was Badusha-a South Indian dessert.It was just pure bliss.The crew came around with coffee/Tea.They smiled and asked me to let them know as and when I wanted to have it.This was because I hadnít got done with the meal when they came with the beverage service.I opted for coffee which was very good.Overall,as expected Air India had delivered a perfect meal.Full points to Air India for the same.

The meal


The face tissue and the imli candy

The trays were cleared quickly.And I went through the seat pocket only to find the inflight magazine missing!It was the case for the whole cabin apparently!I settled for the Newspaper.I had to use the washroom and it was in very good shape considering it goes through the tortuous gulf runs!I headed back.Meanwhile I established a conversation with the male cabin crew member while the rest of the cabin was asleep.We got talking about Air India and how it has changed over the years.He was really nice to talk to and also got me some coconut water during the chat!There was light chop throughout the flight.

The very Empty cabin!I was the only person in the last 5-6rows

The Trolleys Notice the different Indian airlines Logos!Nostalgia!

About to commence descent

We commenced descent around 14:35hrs.We were chatting till the seatbelt sign came on.I moved to 27A soon after.We were put into a holding pattern and the crew to be seated for landing came soon.It was all hazy and by the position of the sun we were approaching from the east.The flaps and the gear were extended and we glided in smoothly before making quite a rough touchdown on Delhiís runway 27 at 15:10.The touchdown was probably rough owing to us being very light!We exited via Taxiway K and crossed runway 10-28 before proceeding to T3.I spotted Indigoís latest Neo VT-ITJ and their latest aircraft VT-IHB at remote stands. A long taxi later we parked at stand C36 at 15:21hrs.

A very shaky video of the landing can be found here

A few pics during Taxi

VT-IHB Indigo's latest

VT-ITJ Indigo's latest NEO

Parked at stand C36

Neighbour!VT-PPV A321

Deplaning was via door R1.I went upto the front.Capt.Gupta was already at the door.He acknowledged my compliments and let me in to the flight deck and gave me details of the flight,signed my flight log and wished me a great day!A great end to a wonderful flight I guess!I bid bye to the FA I was talking to and boarded the bus.One thing I noticed was the Cabin Crew Incharge was sitting on the business class seat as the passengers deplaned.Not Nitpicking but Iíve to admit one of the most grumpiest FAs Iíve ever seen.Then it was on to Immigration and then collected my bags and was out of the airport pretty quickly on my way to Gurgaon or Gurugram as its called now!

From the Tarmac Coach

Bubye Echo Delta Charlie!Until Next time!

A not so clear pic of VT-ALR a B77W of Air India which had just arrived from Chicago

The "Domestic" line for immigration


End Remarks:
It was indeed a great flight with Air India.The delay did give me a bad impression initially but kudos for keeping the passengers informed well.The Air India site needs to be redone though.The Checkin staff were really good.The aircraft was clean.The windows too were good.The legroom was great.The cabin crew barring the Cabin Crew incharge were very courteous and went around their job professionally with a wide smile.I just hope Air India gets some stricter rules for the senior FAs because it spoils the whole impression of the crew even when you have a great set of crew working under them.The Captain was very welcoming too.The food as usual was the best part.The service was again faultless.So the delay aside,Air India was great as a Full service Carrier.Great to see them change gradually but for the good!The loads were a worry though.I counted 38 pax in economy and 2 in Business.But Probably since it was an international connector flight,The intl pax would have been accommodated on the earlier AI430.Would I choose Air India again?Definitely yes!Great legroom,food and some good service!

Crew:4.5/5(.5 Less for the Purser)
On-Time Performace:3/5(For keeping the pax Informed well)
Checkin/Ground Crew:5/5

Overall Impression:
Very Good!Loved it!

Comments and suggestions/Criticism Most welcome!

Thanks for reading!Apologies once again for a long Trip Report!
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 1384
Location: DEL

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoyed going through your report. Very well presented with nice pictures.
Save Maharashtra!
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 2318
Location: BLR, DXB

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great TR!
That was my kinda landing Razz
Any pics of your logbook ? please Smile
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4580
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa....superb! I guess the treat, after a long time, as well worth it!
And come on Rakesh, no TR can ever be too long:-)
I have never done the domestic AI 143 MAA-DEL leg, but this usually gets good international loads for the Dream)liner leg from DEL-CDG, including a bunch from Puducherri/Pondicherry, for obvious reasons. Your guess about passengers having been transferred to other flights, is a good one: AI usually manages these quite well, due to delayed international connectors.
I would love to do the domestic AI 143 MAA-DEL for one reason however, cheTTinADu cuisine! Now I am convinced that AI will also serve cheTTinADu food on other flights, apart from the last departure out of Chennai for Delhi, the famous sappADu flight of yore, which was IC 802 before the AI flights numbers came in. With catering first by Taj Chola, and then Taj-SATS, it was one flight which not just I, my colleagues also looked forward to, for the food.
Wow, you were served coconut water, nice Smile

The sweet you were served, brings an interesting point, in question.
Is the badUshA truly of South Indian origin?
It is true that it is a bit different from the North Indian bAlUshAhI, with which it shares the flaky texture and the dried sugar outer dusting/covering, and the overall taste. badUshAs are typically better shaped with ornate patterns on the sides, unlike the North Indian one. The bAlUshAhI in turn has a garnishing of pistachios and almonds, which the badUshA does not have. I cite Aparna Balasubramanian's lovely post
which gives three credible reasons as to why this delicacy may have had a North Indian origin.
All said and done, the square shape is not normal for either the North Indian version, or the South Indian one, which interestingly makes for an interesting comparison with the chick pea flour-based soan pApDI or patIsA, where the base of the latter makes for thinner flakes.

I am also interested to see an International connector dock at the domestic terminal at DEL with passengers bussed to the International terminal. I have usually been a part of the exercise the other way round: a domestic flight parking at the International part (with the next flight operated by the bird being an international one), and passengers being bussed to the domestic arrivals bus gate. Which is the bus gate at the international arrivals section? Is it symmetric to the domestic one?

Thank you for a lovely report, once again!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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