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Air India AI889, 24 December 2016 with Uncle Murphy

 
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shivendrashukla
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Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 1346
Location: Mumbai, India

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:47 pm    Post subject: Air India AI889, 24 December 2016 with Uncle Murphy Reply with quote

Hi Guys, This is a trip report about the flight I took from Delhi to Guwahati on 23 December 2016.

Background

In November 2016, me and my wife, henceforth referred to as TW, would have been married for 3 years and decided to celebrate it with a short holiday. Destinations were searched and after a deliberation, mostly listening, Goa was finalised. Dates were finalised and it was decided that we would be going to Goa from 13 Nov 16 to 18 Nov 16. However, before the reservations could be done, Uncle Murphy gave a call and hence, we had to reschedule everything. Thankfully, since the tickets had not been booked, we did not lose anything financially, while I did loose a lot of sleep and about 30 percent of my hair line, thanks to TW. After re deliberation (read definition of deliberation above), it was decided to move the anniversary celebrations by a month. Leaves applied and was duly approved for two weeks. Now we would fly out from Guwahati to Delhi on 09th and stay at my parents place in Noida. We would then goto Goa on 13th, Return by 17th and finally come back to Guwahati on 24th December. This leg covers the return flight from Delhi to Guwahati by Air India AI 889.

ARRIVAL AT T3 and CHECKIN

A week before the scheduled departure, I got an SMS from Air India that my flight had been rescheduled to depart at 0945h from Delhi. Surprised, as I was, the original time too had 0945h. Great. So as the D day arrived, we set out from Noida at 0700h. Since it was a Saturday, we did not expect a lot of traffic and we finally reached at around 0750h. The lines at the entrance was not long and within 5 minutes we were inside. We decided to goto the island where AI checkin is done. Checkin took a little time as most of the passengers, still don’t know what to do when after reaching check in desk. Some where blankly staring at the checkin lady, as cows stare at hay, some were fiddling with their tickets as if they are handling C4 explosives. Anyhow, after a lot of frustration, we finally managed to reach the checkin counter. I showed him my ticket and told him that I needed a window seat. He checked and allotted me and TW a seat. TW got the window seat. Bags were put for weighing and fortunatrly they were within the limit of 50Kg (25Kg each). Baggage tagged, we made our way towards the gates. Seat assigned 28B, gate assigned 28B. Bingo. We made our way towards the security check. I have had bad experience prior at Delhi airport regarding the crowd at morning hours. This was one of the reason why I had decided to leave the house early so that incase of crowd mania, we still would be comfortable. However, this time, there were little crowd and we were at the gates by 0815h.

AT THE GATES

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzrYlMld7aw8V3BFb2UyU3dlMEk

Gate 28B is towards the right side, as you enter the main flank of the gates building. Since it was a Christmas time, there was a nice Santa decoration on the flank. We reached the gate and it is there that I fired up FR24 to check which aircraft will take me to Guwahati. The gate at that time was empty. Adjoining the gate was a double bogey A320, VT-ESB. The aircraft, it was known that it would be Airbus A321, does DEL-AMD-DEL-GAU-IMF-GAU-DEL-MCT. So all my eyes searched was AI18 from AMD. Sure enough, it was on finals for runway 29, inbound from AMD. And it was Airbus A321, VT-PPX, the newest A321 in Air India fleet with an age of over 6 years. PPX has MSN of 4280 and took to the skies in April 2010. Meanwhile a commotion was building up at the adjacent gates. The gate was assigned to AI flight to Amritsar (ATQ) which had been delayed due to Fog. Tempers were building up and from what I could overhear, the passengers were demanding hotel accommodation for a delay of just over 2hrs. Now that’s ridiculous. Anyhow, all I could do was silently point fingers at them and laugh. Meanwhile, I kept another eye at the gate, expecting PPX to comein and dock. Sure enough, PPX came in and parked but the aerobridge did not come in. Instead starirs were placed and passengers disembarked through stairs. Now that’s a surprise. Why should one do that when the aerobridge was available and that too in cold weather.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzrYlMld7aw8VWNGcl9wNnRyalk

An Army of cleaners charged and occupied the aircraft as soon as the last passenger disembarked and looked as if they would probably clean everything. Clean everything they did as was evident when we boarded.

BOARDING

Plane cleaned, crew boarded, food loaded, it was time for boarding and a HUGE, I MEAN HUGE surprise. When the lady at the gate scanned our boarding pass, it was then we realised that me and TW had seats on different row. TW was at 23D and I was at 28B. Yes, she did get a window seat, without the window. She got the emergency exit. Rest they say is history. Frankly speaking, I remember little from that point on till the time we entered the aircraft. Upon entering, we settled on TWs seat and I was hoping that the person on the adjacent seat would be a loner and would swap the seats with me. We reaslised that almost the entire plane had such a situation where the family were assigned seats on different rows and people were negotiating with each other for swaps. Now I know how barter system would have been. Thankfully, the person on 23E was a loner and he agreed to swap the seats with me. Hence I was spared from the wrath of the Titan, at least I would like to think like that.

THE FLIGHT

Boarding was complete and Pushback was done at 0930. Needless to say that since we did not have a window to us, its pointless to describe what happened outside. We taxied to runway 29 and had to wait for a landing and a take off, before we were allowed onto active. Take off was smooth and we were on out way to Guwahati. The route took us over Lucknow, Patna and Kishanganj, from where we would turn left towards Bagdogra and then turn left again for Guwahati, thereby avoiding Bangladesh airspace.

https://flic.kr/p/R8A3eZ

Descent would start almost as soon as we cleared chicken neck. The seat belt signs were on for about 20 mins and as soon as they were switched off, the snacks service started. Uncle Murphy was waiting for me here as well. As soon as FA came over to my row, my neighbour asked for Non Veg and she was served Non Veg. I asked for One Veg and One Non Veg, (TW is Veg). And FA said, “Sorry Sir, that was our last Non Veg Snack”. I could only look at my neighbour and smell her food. Anyhow I was served two Veg Snacks.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrYlMld7aw8UGRrRm00YUVEeTA/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzrYlMld7aw8UG1oTTctZEdCNHM/view?usp=sharing


Veg Snacks consisted of Veg Spring rolls, Potato wedges and marble bread sandwitch. Sweet was a non descript cake. Food was actually not upto Air Indias standard this time. Somehow, managed to gulp all down with some good coffee.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzrYlMld7aw8N2d2N2l5cUYxSm8

I did shut my eyes for sometime before I could feel the descent. The pilot came online and announced that we will soon be landing into Guwahati and asked the FAs to prepare the cabin for landing. Landing was on Runway 02, smooth, as always. But now twist. How could Uncle Murphy leave me so soon??. Instead of turning 180, we took a right at the end of the runway and went strainght to a different parking area and parked. The captain came online and said that since no parking bays were available, we would have to wait here for some time and as soon as a bay is available, we would be given clearance to taxi to the apron. Air Asia flight from DEL was with us as well. He did switch off one engine. After about 10 minutes of waiting, we were cleared to taxy behind the Air Asia aircraft to gates.

DEBOARDING

Thus, with Uncle Murphy’s blessings, we managed to somehow finish the flight without any physical hurt, but bruised ego. We deboarded through one of the two aerobridges at Guwahati. Guwahati also has just 2 baggage belts and at that time, it was serving 3 flight. So you can image the chaos there. Fortunately for me, my bags came out within 20 mins and I was out of the terminal. There ended my flight with Air India.
CONCLUSION
I have travelled Air India on a number of occasions and this flight seems to be an exception. Except this flight being on time, there was not much I could praise this flight for. However, I do hope that for my next flight, I am a bit more lucky and hope that Uncle Murphy does not buy a ticket for the same flight as mine.
Hope you liked this TR. Feedback welcome. Till next time
Take Care
Shivendra
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4393
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Air India AI889, 24 December 2016 with Uncle Murphy Reply with quote

Shukla-ji: it is very nice to see you back! Thanks for your usual brand of humour, and descriptions!
- `TW': Hmm...
- Deliberation, losing sleep, hairline, as cows stare at hay, C4 explosives, swap drama: trademark Shukla-ji humour Smile
- AI 018 is an International connector. Hence, passengers have to go to the International section. Airlines find it quicker to de-plane passengers and bus them to the required part.
- ok, so this was the infamous green wrap!
Thank you for sharing this with us!
Cheers, Sumantra.
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shivendrashukla
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Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 1346
Location: Mumbai, India

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you sir for the appreciation.

And thank you for the international connector status of AI018 as well.

Glad you liked the TR

Cheers
Shivendra
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ameya
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Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 3544
Location: Pune,Maharashtra

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Air India AI889, 24 December 2016 with Uncle Murphy Reply with quote

shivendrashukla wrote:

In November 2016, me and my wife, ....... Dates were finalised

Two reasons why the trip was cancelled.
1. You & your wife - NEVER. It should always be wife first Very Happy
2. Dates? If you finalize Dates while in Goa with you wife.. Trip toh cancel hona hi tha !

shivendrashukla wrote:

Some where blankly staring at the checkin lady, as cows stare at hay,

ROFL. Epic Description

shivendrashukla wrote:

but the aerobridge did not come in. Instead starirs were placed and passengers disembarked through stairs. Now that’s a surprise. Why should one do that when the aerobridge was available and that too in cold weather.

International Connector - A mix of domestic and international pax. Better to bus them ?


Enjoyed the reading the TR !
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jbalonso777
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Joined: 05 Jul 2012
Posts: 1393
Location: Never, never land

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice report ShivGE, thanks so much for sharing!

Wow, typical scenes of Delhi - people fighting to get a hotel room for a flight so short delayed by 2 hours. Tsk tsk.

The food looks horrendous, but hey there's always going to be Jet's wraps Wink

A minute wait before disembarkation is not too bad I guess...especially when you land after a 4hr30min delay and wait for 30 minutes before finally getting a gate...and missing the international connection.

Looking forward to more!

Cheers!
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