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Trip Report: TruJet ATR 72-500 - Chennai to Mysore

 
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sriramhariiyer
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Joined: 22 Jul 2009
Posts: 51
Location: Coimbatore/Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:18 pm    Post subject: Trip Report: TruJet ATR 72-500 - Chennai to Mysore Reply with quote

Indian aviation has seen new operators coming into the market over the last few years. To name a few - Air Costa (October 2013), Vistara (January 2015), Air Pegasus (April 2015), TruJet (July 2015), Air Carnival (July 2016), Zoom Air (February 2017). Its very unfortunate that almost all of the above airlines saw their end in just 1-2 years of commencing operations (Air Costa, Air Pegasus, Air Carnival). As an #AvGeek, I always wanted to fly on every new airline carrier. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to fly with Air Costa, Vistara and Air Carnival. However, I missed the chance to fly Air Pegasus before they ceased operations in July 2016. Therefore, I was very keen to fly TruJet (since they operated one of my favourite aircraft types - the ATR 72-500/600 variants) and was constantly keeping a watch out to fly on one of their sectors whenever planning for a new trip.

UDAN Scheme

The introduction of Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme by Government of India is a regional airport development and "Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)" with the objective of "Let the common citizen of the country fly", aimed at making air travel affordable and widespread, enabling inclusive job growth and infrastructure development of all regions and states of India. Under the scheme, there is a cap of maximum fare of INR2,500 per hour of flight for the 50% of the seats, connecting unserved and under-served regional airports airports, remaining 50% seats will be priced at market rate. (Source: Wikipedia). Prime Minister of India Shri. Narendra Modi launched the scheme on 27th May 2017.

Turbo Megha (parent company of TruJet) is one of the five air operators which won bids to operate on 128 routes connecting 70 airports, of which 31 are unserved under the RCS scheme. Early September, TruJet showed interested to operate on the Hyderabad-(Vijayawada)-Chennai-Mysore (v.v.) sector. The Chennai-Mysore-Chennai sector particularly interested me a lot and I made sure I try out the airline on this sector. Why? 'Cos it would be a flight of few firsts -

    1) First flight on TruJet
    2) First time clocking a new sector - Chennai to Mysore (or v.v.)
    3) First time clocking a new airport - Mysore


Planning

Once TruJet launched the HYD-MAA-MYQ-MAA-HYD sector on September 15, 2017. The planning for the trip did not take too long! I was scheduled to attend an event on October 7 at Chennai. I decided to take the flight back home on October 8 (Sunday). Immediately, I looked out for fares on the TruJet website and found the fares to be hovering around the INR 2200 (~34 USD) mark. Immediately, I decided to book the tickets through my good friends at TruJet and everything was in place in a matter of couple of days. So here was the planned itinerary:

08OCT17 2T426 MAA MYQ 1740 1850 ATR72

I also planned the journey in such as way that once I land at Mysore, I would have sufficient time to reach the bus stand to take the 2140 Airavat of KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) which would be a Volvo B7R bus.

On the day of the Journey

After reaching Chennai on the 7th early morning (after a delay of about 1.5 hours on IndiGo 6E 6364 thanks to the flight being delayed out of Mumbai due to bad weather), attending an event and meeting fellow AvGeeks over a breakfast on the 8th morning, it was time for me to leave for the airport. I reached the airport around 1530 hours for my 1740 flight. I had to pick up my tickets from the TruJet ticketing counter at the airport. It almost took them 15 minutes to get me my ticket!

Ticketing Counter Experience rating - 5/10 (could have been more professional)



Next, I made my way into the terminal after the frisking by the CISF staff at the entry gate. Headed straight towards the baggage screening. It was quite empty as this was (possibly) the only TruJet departure in the next few hours. The screening just took few minutes. Had a quick chat with the station airline security in-charge Mr. Mownith Raj and the support staff. They were really friendly!

Baggage Screening Experience rating - 10/10



On next to the check in counter, I was greeted by the staff. I presented my bags for check-in, presented my PNR and ID card. Boarding pass was handed over in a matter of seconds. Out of curiosity, I asked the check-in staff (and the other staff who accompanied him) whether I could get a cabin baggage tag of TruJet (since all major airports in India have now done away with the cabin bag tags and CISF stamping post security). Being an AvGeek, I asked them this question assuming that they might have lots of baggage tags lying unused and I could have them for my personal collection. But the response from the staff was like as if I asked him something that he couldn't afford to give me! Such a rude response - "No, we can't give that! (in the rudest voice)". I was like - "Ok, fine! Thanks. Just asked. I am an AvGeek and since I do not have TruJet cabin tags with me as a collectible, I asked this question". I made sure I asked him the right question and again he uttered the same response in the same tone. This was the second time I could see lack of professionalism with the 2T staff within the last hour. This got me thinking on how the rest of the experience will be into the evening.

Check in Experience rating - 9/10 (Check in experience was great)

Check in Staff(s) Professionalism rating - 4/10 (Could have handled the situation better)

Plane Spotting

Immediately, I headed towards security check and was done in about 10 minutes. 2T426 was supposed to board from Gate 13 which is one of the three gates on the lower level (where you will be bussed to the aircraft). It was only 1610 and we still had 90 minutes before departure and 60 minutes before boarding commenced. I made my way towards gate 3 area and started to do some plane spotting. Time just flew!

At 17:12, VT-TMU - an ATR 72-500 which was supposed to be my ride to Mysore landed on Runway 07. Clicked some pictures of her arrival from Hyderabad (via Vijayawada) and immediately made my way towards Gate 13.



By then boarding had already commenced and I realized I was the last passenger to board the aircraft. A quick load check revealed loads of about 50 passengers (which was not bad for a newly launched route).

Flight Details

Airline: TruJet
IATA Code: 2T
ICAO Code: TRJ
Callsign: TRUJET
Flight Number: 2T426
Origin: Chennai (MAA/VOMM)
Destination: Mysore (MYQ/VOMY)
Aircraft Type: ATR 72-500(72-212A)
Aircraft Registration: VT-TMU
Age of aircraft: 6.5 Years
Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN): 949
Delivered to Fleet: 31. Dec 2015
Engines: 2xPWC PW127M
Seat Number: 16F

I reached the aircraft (on an Air India SATS bus) that was parked on Bay 48 (remote bays opposite the Passenger Terminal Building at Chennai Airport). After inspection of the boarding card, I boarded the ATR 72-500 at 1732 hrs. ATR is my favorite aircraft and always love flying them; therefore was very much looking forward for the experience.




Taxi and Departure

First look of the cabin was really welcoming. I made my way to seat 16F and settled down. By then, it was time for push back. Push back commenced at 1738 and the two turboprop Pratt and Whitney engines spun into action. We started our taxi at 1742 hrs and joined the departure sequence. After couple of departures ahead of us, it was our turn to enter the active runway 07 at 1753 hrs. The roll was quick and off we airborne in about 30 seconds. Here's a video that I clicked of the taxi and departure.



The best part of this flight was that the departure of this flight was being live streamed on Instagram by my plane spotter folks and a very good friend of mine took a picture of the departure from the airport! Couldn't have asked for anything more! Chennai AvGeeks, love you all!





Cruise

After departure, we banked left and set course towards Mysore. The climb was gentle and we settled down at a cruising altitude of 16000 feet.



In flight Meal Service

The seatbelt signs were turned off and the cabin crew started their inflight service at 1805 hrs. It was a pleasant surprise that TruJet served complimentary snack on board their flights which is a real nice gesture. For this flight, the menu was "Dahi Vada" (prepared by soaking vadas (fried flour balls) in thick dahi (yogurt)). It tasted really yummy! The packing also was good. However I noticed not many people took up the complimentary meal. I wonder why! TruJet also has the inflight "Peel and Win" coupons similar to Jet Airways. TruJet also has partnered with AVA - the Inflight Shopping Merchandising company similar to Jet Airways.





Inflight meal service rating - 9/10

After the meal service came my next real surprise. The cabin crew turned on the cabin drop down PTVs that aired some Just for Laughs Gags kind of comedy show. This was something really new that I have seen on an ATR in India (I guess after Kingfisher ??). Neither Jet Airways/Air Pegasus/Air Carnival had this option. This was a welcome refreshing change on a domestic flight on an ATR. Here's some pictures of the cabin with the PTVs. The cabin lights were also dimmed to give passengers some comfort. The cabin crew made sure passenger comfort was maintained at a high level.





Passenger Comfort and Satisfaction Rating (Onboard) - 9/10
Cabin Crew Professionalism Rating - 9/10

I picked up a feedback form and wrote down my feedback about the entire 2T experience and handed it over to the cabin crew while deplaning.

Descend and Landing

There were no announcements from the cockpit crew (which I was really expecting). Around 1835 hours, we could slowly start seeing the lights of southern Bengaluru area (Anekal/Hosur) and we commenced descend into Mysore Airport.





After making few left and right turns to line up with Runway 27 at MYQ, we started our final approach. The drop down PTVs were turned off and the cabin crew prepared the cabin for landing. The approach was smooth and at 1855 (5 minutes behind STA), the landing gears made a thud and brakes were applied (quite heavily).



We reached the end of Runway 27 (09 end) and made a 180 turn to back track on the runway and enter the parking bay. We finally docked at Bay 2 (or 1) which are the designated ATR 72 bays at MYQ at 1859 hours (9 minutes behind schedule). I was immediately out of the aircraft by 1904 hrs.









Mysore Airport Terminal (MYQ/VOMY)

Mysore is one airport where you get the chance to walk down the ramp and enter the terminal. This is the only flight that operates to this airport. There was a Pawan Hans helicopter parked in the apron fully covered. Here's a look at the terminal from the ramp side.



By then, the return leg passengers were already ready to board their flight back to Chennai/Hyderabad. I quickly checked the loads for the return flight with the TruJet staff and he confirmed loads of 60 which was again not bad for a sector that had launched very recently.

As I walked towards the terminal, I could spot the First Officer of my flight taking a power break before heading back on their next sector. This gave me an opportunity to introduce myself with him and have a quick chat for couple of minutes. By then, I could see boarding had already commenced for the return flight.

I entered a swanky new and sparkling terminal building at 1909 and this hoarding gave me a nice welcome.



There was just one conveyor belt and the checked in baggage had already started making its way. I'll let you drool into some pictures of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) at Mysore airport. I only wish this airport sees more flights being added soon.









I picked up my bags, and after a quick refresh, I made my way out of the terminal at 1915 hrs.

Hat tip for Cab rides in/out of Mysore Airport

Since this is the only flight at Mysore and if you do not have your own means of transportation or a hotel pickup, you are forced to rely on the Taxi/Auto service provided by the Airport authorities. Immediately you will be swamped with auto/taxi drivers asking you where to be dropped. You have to be very cautious and not fall to their gimmicks (they demand money at their will!). Knowing little bit of Kannada (the local language), I first checked with the local police who was standing next to the exit door. He suggested me to take the auto rickshaw that was provided by airport authorities as they have a fixed fare for city drops. The police guy himself put me through to one auto rickshaw chap. What I was told is that for drop in the city interior areas, they will charge INR 300 (~USD 5). Since I was to be dropped at the Mysore Bus Station, he said a fare of INR 250 (~USD 4). I quickly checked on Google maps for the distance between the airport and the bus station. It was approximately 11 kilometres and the auto rickshaw person mentioned the same (a quick double check!). I was quite happy with the price he demanded and immediately we started off on the tuk tuk ride to the bus station.

One final look at the terminal building from the outside before I bid adieu to this airport. (1920 hours)



It took us about 40 minutes to reach the bus station. I quickly headed to a restaurant to have some dinner as I still had an hour and half for my bus. This gave me ample time to charge my phone and post some status updates on Facebook and Twitter. At about 2115, did some quick shopping for the folks back at home and started my walk into the bus station and the bus was already at the bay. A Volvo B7R of KSRTC was the ride for the night back home.



Settled down and we started off at 2200 hrs. In the wink of an eye (a good sleep!!), it was time to get down at Coimbatore and take an Uber ride back home. Finally, reached my destination at 0400 hrs, which gave me enough time to catch some sleep before heading to work on the Monday morning.

Wrap up and final verdict

What supposed should have been a routine 8.5 hour journey from Chennai to Coimbatore by bus or a 1 hour journey by flight instead took me about 12 hours but with an interesting routing. This is something I love to do being an AvGeek and a travel geek. This is just not the first time I have done something like this, so you can expect more such reports from me.

Regarding TruJet, but for the experience at the Chennai airport terminal, I really had an awesome experience with the airline. This only makes me start thinking when I will be flying them next. Thanks to all my good friends working in TruJet, the ground staff, cabin crew, cockpit crew and everyone involved in making my trip a memorable one. Until my next report, keep strong and stay good![/i]
_________________
Regards,
Sriram Hariharan


Last edited by sriramhariiyer on Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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binaiks
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Joined: 15 Jul 2007
Posts: 153
Location: VOBL/VOCI

PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write up. Do you mind sharing a pic f the boarding pass as well.

And, btw, that's a B7R, not a B9R :p
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Binai
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sriramhariiyer
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Joined: 22 Jul 2009
Posts: 51
Location: Coimbatore/Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Nice write up. Do you mind sharing a pic f the boarding pass as well.

And, btw, that's a B7R, not a B9R :p


Thanks for reading the TR and the update Binai. I have made the change and uploaded the picture of the boarding pass.
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Sriram Hariharan
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sumantra
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Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4485
Location: New Delhi

PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for a lovely TR on a not-so-common operator to a not-so-common airport! Combined with your lovely photographs and descriptions, this makes a great read. Lovely in-flight pictures, and that of the Mandakalli airport as well. It is nice to see 2T giving a good experience (the ticket issue aside).
Cheers, Sumantra.
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