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ATQ - BHX on AI

 
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kam
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Joined: 27 Jan 2007
Posts: 54
Location: CVT

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:11 am    Post subject: ATQ - BHX on AI Reply with quote

6TH August
Route: ATQ - BHX
Flight Number: AI 187
Equip: Boeing 772 VT -AIJ (Neelambari)
Seat: 43d
Gate: 1
Scheduled Departure: 09:55
Actual Departure: 10:10

Sorry about the state of the picture the camera's never been the same since i dropped it

It was with trepidation I began this trip, the memories of the summer of 2005 still vivid, being left to loiter around London for 3 days awaiting a flight to Delhi not much fun when you have your family in tow and being left stranded in Kuala Lumpur because of incompetent staff at Air Indiaís KL office. Having said that having to Ďendureí another day in KL isnít hard all, and to cap it all I had to write to the Air Traffic Users Council in the UK in order to get Air India to send me a letter confirming the delays etc so I could claim from my travel insurance company after numerous letters I sent to Air India where not successful.

The signs didnít look very promising, if you a believer in luck, karma and that sort of stuff. Waking at 4.00am headed straight to the bathroom only to discover that there was only enough water left in the tank for the quickest of showers even though we the pump was run for ages the night before. About 20 mins into the journey from Jallandhar to Raja Sansi it began to rain heavily combined with this, the fact it was still dark and the lunacy of Indian drivers it was a journey which lets say I felt a bit more apprehensive than I normally am plus the fact the day before I witnessed a Maruti Zen send a rickshaw and its rider a number of feet up in the air after rear ending it at some speed. After a rather at times fraught journey of 90 minutes I arrived in one piece!

ATQ is in the process of being rebuilt, a new terminal building is in operation which is clean spacesuss, compared to the cattle shed that was the old terminal building, anything would be an improvement. Parking is located in two places the premium parking is 100 yards in front of the terminal building costing Rs 120/- and the other car park is a few more hundred yards away costing Rs 70/-. Entry was quick and smooth with visitors able to purchase tickets at Rs 30/- to accompany passengers as far as bag screening. There where only four fights scheduled that morning spread out. I would like to see what it would be like at a more busy time. I noticed a pre-pay porter service similar to the pre paid taxi bookings you get at IGIA quite a good idea.
Bag screening and check in took no time at all. The one thing that did make me feel uneasy was the way that for a payment of Rs1000/- the porters said they could get you excess baggage put through, I had heard rumours of this but dismissed it as idle chat, but the practice does go on. The immigration counters at this time were not manned and an airport worker said that when they arrive an announcement will be made, this is a bit sloppy and un professional and projects the wrong image. I guess the Punjabi NRIís will keep the place going alone, but if the management have any ambition to expand operations and attract new airlines stuff like this needs to be sorted out. (Although this pales in to insignificance compared to what I saw when I arrived in Delhi. A guy stood at near the crew and diplomats immigration counter at IGIA wearing a T-Shirt saying suck my d1ck).

The final security check was quick and uneventful, which left a fair amount of time to kill before boarding. The departure lounge had a couple of TVS showing DD-1, a snack bar and not much else. The CISF man took an interest in me when I got my laptop out to do a bit of tiding up to kill some time. He wasnít abrupt or anything like that but made light conversation like killing time, how much do laptops retail at in the UK all the time taking a good look at what was on the screen and in the open laptop bag.

Our Aircraft duly arrived from Delhi taxi-ing past the departure area. Wheel chair users where called first then everyone else after. At present there are no air bridges at ATQ so we where bussed out to the aircraft which really lets you appreciate the size of these beasts, the 772ís engines are massive. The previous encounter with the CISF man who had taken an interest in my laptop persuaded me that getting my camera out on the tarmac might be a bad idea.

My allocated seat was 40J which then changed to 39F which eventually ended as 43D. 40J was being occupied by a rather old frail chap with his wife sat next to him. I didnít want to split them up so the FA sat me in 39F once all the passengers where on board the same FA who moved me asked if I would like to find a better seat which ended up being 43D with 2 empty seats adjacent. The state of the plane was rather shabby and still had what appeared to be Unitedís colour scheme in place! I have to say the aircraft appeared not to be very clean.

Rear Galley


View from the rear of the aircraft


Somewhere over west Asia im guessing as the route map wasnt working


There were two meal services and one drinks service, the first meal service was a light snack vegetable sandwich, cheese sandwich, and muffin croissant tea/coffee. Nothing to write home about but it was delivered by the FAís efficiently and politely.
The drinks service preceded the main meal service from which I had 2 cans of Heineken with channa dall. Lunch consisted of mutton curry, rice, and palak-sweetcorn, a paneer dish, small tub of plain yoghurt with a roti and a papad. The desert was rather revolting if you can imagine liquefying a real cheap and nasty barfi then making it luke warm, thatís what it tasted like.

Lunch



The Cabin crew where friendly and polite and carried out there duties efficiently and courteously, with out the grumpiness that some of the older cabin crew tend to display. All in all I would fly this route again with AI just for the connivance factor a 90 min road trip to ATQ from Jalandhar instead of 7-8 hours to Delhi and BHX is a short 20 minute cab ride from my house in the UK. The two things that put me off in the past from using this route was the state of the airport at ATQ and the airlines (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Air Slovakia). The new terminal building is fine and building work is continuing, AI isnít a stellar airline relatively speaking, but much better that the ones mention previously. If only Jet Airways were to begin a service to BHX.

Neelambari at BHX


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Nimish
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Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 9757
Location: Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Kam - great report and good to see something on both ATQ and BHX! Sounds like the flight had medium loads - good for you! It's amazing that what would traditionally be a very secondary/tertiary VFR type of route is suddenly mainstream Smile
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VABBy
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 823
Location: DEL

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dnt worry Sir JUC-ATQ portion of NH-1 is being 4 laned so now the ride will be more comfy Very Happy hope we can meet up sumtime wenever ur next in DEL..

thanks& rgds....
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Birendra
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Joined: 15 Feb 2007
Posts: 1411

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Happy to read a second TR from you.

@Vabby.
Great info u have given on the infra development.

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

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amritsar - Birmigham terminates in the UK, or goes on to Canada? Also, friends of mine who use this flight regularly on the Delhi - Amritsar leg speak about some amazing passport scams pulled on domestic passengers, and names the Sharma duo from Air India at Amritsar as being responsible for much of this, any idea about this?

Thanks, interesting trip report, though I wish you could have taken a few photos at Amritsar too.
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kam
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Joined: 27 Jan 2007
Posts: 54
Location: CVT

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

malQ wrote:
Amritsar - Birmigham terminates in the UK, or goes on to Canada? Also, friends of mine who use this flight regularly on the Delhi - Amritsar leg speak about some amazing passport scams pulled on domestic passengers, and names the Sharma duo from Air India at Amritsar as being responsible for much of this, any idea about this?

Thanks, interesting trip report, though I wish you could have taken a few photos at Amritsar too.


I would have taken pics at ATQ but the intrest the CISF chap showed when I was working on my laptop put me off. The flight goes on to YYZ and I have read in the local UK press that this flight attracts 'special' intrest from British immigration officals.
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avbuff
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Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 5031

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice TR ! loved the a/c shots .. looks beautiful
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HAWK21M
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
Posts: 8132
Location: Mumbai, INDIA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic Tarmac pics.
regds
MEL
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sri_bom
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Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 2365
Location: Singapore

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice Tarmac Photos of the bird...keep the TR's coming .....

Sri_Bom
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