Welcome to my India Summer 2015 series! These set of flight reports will consist of many flights across India: some for official reasons, some to meet friends, and some just for flying around. This trip would be followed by a long series of trip reports from Sri Lanka to the USA (and around the USA..). This is because I moved to the USA for studies, and hence, official reasons were some student based paperwork.
Well then, lets jump in to the flights! Jet Airways 9W255 on July 12th 2015 Colombo to Mumbai (Boeing 737-800) (this report!) Vistara UK944 on July 12th 2015 Mumbai to New Delhi (Airbus A320-200) Air India AI20 on July 13th 2015 New Delhi to Kolkata (Boeing 787-8 Dream)liner) Jet Airways 9W626 July 17th 2015 Kolkata to Mumbai (Boeing 737-900ER) SpiceJet SG421 July 21st 2015 Mumbai to Hyderabad (Boeing 737-800) Air India AI966 July 21st 2015 Hyderabad to Mumbai (Boeing 747-400) Jet Airways 9W252 July 21st 2015 Mumbai to Colombo (Boeing 737-800)
As always, video trip reports would accompany this flight report. I do suggest watching it!
Now, to start with yet another Jet Airways flight report…. oh well, stay tuned for more variety soon!
Booked the tickets for 9W255 (this report) and 9W252 back in December 2014 because fares were roughly half of the usual fare on the Colombo-Mumbai-Colombo sector! Booked it without a second thought.
I figured VT-JBF would operate my flight. This plane has in-flight entertainment screens onboard. Since this flight would depart at 0600 in the morning, I had to be at the airport by 0400 hours…which meant leaving home at an ungodly 0315 hours! Anything for flying, I guess. But if there's someone else who was unhappy with this ungodly hour of flying, it was my dog. Not only was he unhappy to be woken up at such an hour, he was unhappy to see me go….
Drove to the airport in about 25 minutes, mostly because speed limits were too low. Was curbside at 0340 hours.
At the check in area, it looked rather empty. This was perhaps I came in quite late for check in (still more than 2 hours before departure!) Horror of horrors, I found a maths teacher, and two other school kids on my flight. And to think I was actually done with high school….
The maths teacher was heading to LHR, while the two kids and their families were headed for CDG. I hid my face away as much as I could, and this worked. Check in was a quick affair. My SEQ1 boarding pass was handed to me, as I flew through immigration. No major dramas. I headed for the usual Palm Strip Restaurant, bought a High Flyer club sandwich, and I was absolutely horrified with what I saw: Only an Air Arabia A320. That's it. Nothing else. Some pretty boring spotting lay ahead…
Some traffic arrived, which later flooded in one by one. My Boeing 737 arrived, but turned off way too soon. Ahhh well. A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER in to the night skies, followed by the usual SriLankan Airbus planes, some Mihin A321 arrived, etc. I was just too tired for this all haha.
I soon headed for boarding because it was getting boring. I walked slowly and leisurely. Reached the boarding gate, not too many people around. They've perhaps boarded the plane already.
While wearing my shoes after security, I saw two ladies in pilot uniforms walk in: we would have an all female flight deck that morning, and this was truly awesome! I made my way to Gate 6, where the nice lady who checked me in tore off the boarding pass stub, and invited me to board the plane right away.
I was warmly welcomed by the flight attendant, I passed through the Premiere class section, and I find a pretty empty economy section! I was in fact one of the last to board! Only the school folk were yet to board…
Welcome announcements were made, it looked like a very very empty flight, just about 35-40 souls on the plane! Captain Nivedita Singh came on the line and briefed us rather well for the flight, also apologizing for a possible 10 minute delay because 2 passengers were yet to be found. Once they were onboard, we pushed back at 0558 hours. Many people (including me) asked the flight attendants if it was okay to change seats, and they replied with a smile (and to me, she said - 'the plane is all yours today!' ).
While the engines were being started, the safety briefing was being played on a video…yes IFE was working! We started taxiing at a medium pace, as the Kuwait Airways A300 made its way to the runway. Capt. Singh said the taxi would last 10-15 minutes, however, it was barely 4 minutes as we didn't require a full length take off (but of course…)
We took off pretty quickly (of course..) and soon banked over the amazing Negombo Lagoon. Soon we raced towards our cruising altitude of 38000 feet. While we flew into an ever brightening day, I started to notice of few things: JBF wasn’t in the best of shapes, given Jet Airways’ high standards of maintenance. Some of the seat pockets were torn, some grime marks around. Some headphones were out, spread on to the seats like a mess. Were they not kept away after landing, owning to low loads? Anyway, we rapidly headed for the cruising altitude.
Drink service started on a tray, giving us few passengers not much of a choice (as opposed to the January flight when there was a dedicated trolley service). I went for orange juice, the other being water.
We leveled off at 0632 hours, exactly when the food service began. Of course, there only was one trolley for the entire economy class section. The flight attendants didn't really have a smile or anything. They just didn't bother with a friendly attitude or anything. One of them asked me for my choice for breakfast that morning. Just a - ‘Omelette or dosa?’ That’s all. Omelette, I said.
The meal started off with the usual cut fruits, a slice of muskmelon, watermelon (with seeds…), and papaya. There was a cold bun, absolutely rock hard cold butter chiplet. I opened the main course with glee - hash brown, omelelt, chicken sausage. Once again, I wondered if I was transported back to 2007, Jet’s peak days. The hash brown felt quite dry, omelte was passable, while the chicken sausage was burnt from below. Not the best of meals from Jet, truth be told.
Once the trays were collected by the crew (only one of them had a smile, at times.), I made my second seat change and headed for seat 24A for a while. Returned to my seat where I watched the highlights of the 2015 Australian Grand Prix. So while Metallica’s Death Magnetic has been removed from the JetScreen IFE, the fact that F1 was there is simply awesome. I kept that on in front of my face, and the flight info airshow channel on 25E, the middle seat. Oh, the map was never shown, but I must commend the easy to use touch screen (as you’ll see in the video TR), as opposed to Cathay Pacific’s hammer screen I experienced a few years ago.
We were making superb progress. 0850 was the scheduled arrival time, but we’d make it at 0806 hours! Bad news for me as I’d have to kill more time at Mumbai before my next flight…
Got my laptop out from the bag, which meant the overhead bin door was open. The FA closed the bin, to which I apologized for leaving it open, and she said it wasn’t a problem, a finally a smile on her face! Only the two FA’s served us that morning. Anyway, I went to the washroom a few minutes before descent. The crew were never to be seen after tea and coffee service. No duty free. No checking on passengers. Nothing. Just a curtain drawn and dark galley. Almost all passengers slept on the three seats they had to themselves. The washroom once again showed JBF’s sorry state. It wasn’t clean, and when I used the toilet paper roll to clean up the basin, the whole assembly fell off!
Only one or two big bumps of clouds, one in which the FA actually lost her balance! It was a quick descent. The nice smelling anti-insect spray thing was done, we made good progress towards Mumbai, and Earth.
0802 hours, the two ladies up front made a superb landing on Runway 27, before hard braking followed to exit via the rapid taxiway. Just a 5 minute taxi, I saw some AI wide bodies, A6-EGD, my first Boeing 777-300ER, to name a few. We parked at stand V6, which is awesome because F1 uses 1.6l V6 turbocharged engines hahahah. Some AI A319s were in the vicinity too. Bags were to be collected from belt number 5. Disembarkation was unsurprisingly quick.
Jet ground staff called for passengers to Singapore, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, Paris, London and Jeddah.
VT-JGG was being prepared for its flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh and VT-JBZ came in from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and was being prepared for its flight to Cochin, India. VT-TTG, a Vistara A320 was also around. Would this operate my flight to Delhi? Maybe. Maybe not.
Walking through the terminal didn’t take too long either. Annoyingly, JBF was parked close to the immigration place and all. Immigration lines were annoyingly short. Why do I say annoying? Because I now had a 6.5 hours layover…as opposed to the 5hr50min layover…when being way before time is not ideal haha. There were many counters open. I reached my immigration person. He had huge ego issues. Asked me where I came from AFTER he took my boarding pass (which too was rudely asked for). I said I study in Colombo and all, he was surprised and asked me a lot of really dumb questions. Then he took forever to go through my passport and all. He then asked to see the camera, which I did, despite this he was like ‘Theek se dekho, udhar udhar!!’ (See the camera properly, its over there, over there!) Wow, that’s India’s first impression gone bad….. Anyway, went through duty free towards belt 5 as announced and I was horrified to see the number of people around! They were from the Jeddah flight (of Saudi Arabian Airlines, a full 777-200ER). 9W255’s bags were from belt 4, (as opposed to belt 5. Close by, but confusion caused, panic attacks happened.) 0832 hours, 18 minutes before scheduled arrival time, I had both my bags. You’d expect it to be awesome when everything happens this early but here I was absolutely bewildered. I had nothing to do, but sit around!
I went through customs, declared some fruits, but nothing happened which is a shame because I wanted to kill some time! Customs also happened quickly - although, AFTER I put all my luggage up into the screening machines did they tell me that I don’t need to put them up, only hand luggage. The screener person asked me where I came from, I said Colombo, but he let me go which was again a shame, because, I had time to kill!
Headed to the Starbucks that is conveniently located on the arrivals level. Met up with a few friends as time ticked by for my next flight…and this would on the newbie - Vistara!
Do stay tuned! Regards Jish
Colombo - CMB
Mumbai - BOM
Overall, a pretty OK flight in my opinion. Sure, it wasn't the worst flight I've had with Jet Airways, but I've had better. Much better. Barring the usability of the inflight entertainment, the flight deck's announcements and the WAY before time arrival, there really is nothing good to write about Jet. The food was terrible, the crew looked barely enthusiastic, and the aircraft was in a shoddy state. Not too good for a plane that was barely eight and a half years old (on the date of flying). But that said, the very empty flight was surely a benefit as I managed to stretch out a little bit. The seat was comfortable to sit on despite the less than average legroom.
Colombo Airport was a joy. Clean, nice friendly people at check in, immigration, the restaurant and boarding.
Mumbai, on the other hand, despite being a step forward as compared to its previous building, is quite the same when it come's to officials working. Not very pleasant at all. The arrivals hall was very crowded, too.
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