Review of Air India flight Mumbai Hyderabad in Economy

Airline Air India
Flight AI 965
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 01:25
Take-off 01 Dec 19, 16:30
Arrival at 01 Dec 19, 17:55
AI   #43 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 101 reviews
Chibcha
By SILVER 1137
Published on 24th November 2022

INTROduction


Hola amigos!

This is Part 3 of my Trip to India series. Thus far, I've covered the flights that got me to India through Dubai: 



Yet Mumbai/Bombay was not my first destination. As mentioned in Part 1, I bought the tickets to India without knowing where to go in the country, I just knew I wanted to force myself to travel around by chosing different entry and departure points.

As the trip was nearing, I asked my Indian friends about some places that were unique in the country and less cliché for foreigners. I was also aware of the radical difference between regions in India, so that was also a consideration. My first stop was to be towards the south (but not deep south of India). This would be the ruins of Hampi. 

Now, there was no direct air link from Bombay to Hampi, I would have to connect through other cities. Another thing I wanted to experience were trains…and this might be the one. So checking timetables and where to go an so on…I found that I could grab a night train from Hyderabad which would leave me next day in Hosapete, just besides Hampi.

Checking timetables between BOM and HYD, it turned out there was a 744 scheduled for the route. No brainer.

I reckoned that the hours 3 between my time of arrival to HYD and my train's departure was enough buffer to cross Hyderabad from the airport to Kacheguda Station (Google Maps said it was very doable). 

I discussed this possibility with a colleage at work and she told me never to expect planes, busses, trains, whichever mode of transport in India to work on time, so I shouldn't plan connecting trips, or plan accordingly. I waved that warning off thinking, bah India has come a long way, they must have at least on-time flights.  (cue hysterical laughs from the audience).

So welcome to what its likely to be my third and last 747 flight 


So…I made it to BOM, now what?


You may have heard this many times…but really, one can never really fathom how different India is from the west (not better or worse, just different). The new terminal is amazing, spacious, well designed, top notch. And yet….you feel some things are out of place.

So just after you exit the baggage claim, there is a quiosk selling SIM Cards. It's pricier than what you could get on the street. So I ignored this offer…I'll come back to this later.

Once I exited the arrivals zone which was cordoned off by the military, and went to the Aviserv Lounge, according to Priority Pass , you can get a shower over there. So that is where i went to freshen up, have breakfast and rest. I had ten hours to kill.

But the info was wrong, there was no shower, not even paying (as PP said).  I had to accept my dirty fate and that was it. Once I rested and check in time neared, I tried my luck with an early check in, and going to another lounge at the departures level. 

But now I had the SIM card problem (it's amazing how enslaved we are to phones, but they do get you out of trouble when in foreign lands). So I tried to get back to the SIM card kiosk. But the soldier guarding the area told me to piss off. Now, this is a pickle as I had to find another place where to get a SIM.

This shouldn't be a problem in India's second most important airport, wouldn't it? Well…it was. There was nowhere to find a SIM Card for a non-extortive price. I knew how much a sim card cost out on the street as I had research on internet. But the price they were charging at the airport was ridiculous.

 At least the ceiling was amazing.


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So having failed my first task (ensuring to be communicated) I went off to try to check in.


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There was a bit of a queue


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And it took quite a while, but I didn't mind as I had tonnes of time… and so I got my BP for my last 747 flight :)


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Flight 965, and many AI routes for what I've found out, have odd routings. They are domestic legs of international flights. Mine was going to Saudi Arabia from Hyderabad. So that's why it's got the huge D.

But I still had to pass through "immigration" (there was a dedicated booth for this) and I was technically "out" of India. I had to keep the BP to get back "in", in Hyderabad.

Done with the immigration and security checks…I was in your regular copy-paste airport with restaurants and stores. This could easily be Cancún, or Paris, or Marrakech… 


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Task #2 was reaching the Loyalty Lounge. The indications on the PP app were useless. And the signage at the airport was awful. I wandered around the terminal (again, it's quite beautiful)…and finally I found the lounge, hidden away in another floor.

 


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No shower again. Food offerings were rather mediocre. And there was no view outside. At least I got a free meal I guess.
 
I basked there a couple of hours, I was quite bored. There was this huge amazing country outside and I had spent my first day in crappy airport lounges. Rookie mistakes.

As my boarding time neared, I left the lounge and went to my assigned gate, on to a new 747 flight F. yeah, lets go! 


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Some views outside


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This 773 was also doing a Domestic-Intl' hop, but I don't recall which.


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And now…my ride!


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Hello gorgeous


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Boarding time came…and went. 

F M L

No news from the ground crew. Niente. Rien. Nada

One hour later they told us we were delayed (you don't say!)

By then I reckoned I was gonna miss my train to Hosapete. Now this would be a major pickle. Fortunately there were open seats for the next day's train, and thankfully, train fares in India are dirt cheap. So there went one less problem. Since I wasn't planning to do anything in Hyderabad, I didn't know where to stay. So I went for the best rated hotel for the reasonable price I was willing to pay (50 euros or so). This was also solved rather quickly.

But then, the AI ppl said something that almost broke my heart. The Jumbo was INOP, and we needed an equipment change. 

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

 I thought we were going to be bumped to the boring 777 besides, this was not what I had paid for… but wait, there is another 747 in the distance.


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We got a newly assigned gate (it all pointed to the other 747, wee!) and the heard moved along


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They handed out vouchers for the compensation meals, but I had already bought something at starbucks (talk about globalisation and its downsides)… 

As you saw up there, our STD was 18:30. My train left at 21:05. Technically I could still make it to the planned train. Or so said google. But I was not going to risk it.

In the meantime this odd little fella was going back to Africa, how long is this flight? It must be one of the longest 737 flights.


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And now, my new ride:


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Boarding my last 747 flight


Once we were good to go, I had a stew of mixed feelings. Sheer happiness to be able to fly the Jumbo, but frustration over the delay and all that it had envolved. It was soursweet.

 I was greeted by this charming guy:


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I didn't know back then that these views were going to become impossible in months time…


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The awe waned a bit upon entering the plane. It felt like entering an old log cabin in the middle of the woods. It was dark, damp and with a mildewy smell. 

 Quite a contrast from the A380 I had taken 24 hours before


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The Queen showed its age, and unfortunately it was not kept with the dignity it deserved. But…a Jumbo is a Jumbo I guess (and this was gonna be a very short time, so I had to savour every single minute).

I then settled into my seat (which I had specifically selected hoping for gorgeous views leaving Mumbai on takeoff)… 


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The seat was quite battered. And he PTV was frozen.



En route to Hyderabad


Of course we didnt make it to the estimated departure time…I didn't care by then.

The PTVs showed the security video while we pushed back. I was just listening to the 4 engines turn on… 


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We taxied to RWY 27, unsurprisingly there were several planes departing at the same time, meaning more time on ground. We slowly made it to the runway. I was amazed by how close the houses in the surrounding shanty town are to the runway, I felt the inhabitants could easily spit or throw things onto the planes…

And off we went! 



The rest of the flight was pretty much eventless. I was super tired. I had been in survival mode for too long. I needed rest.

The cabin lights were turned off so it was cool for my plans. 


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We cruised over the country, I was just wondering what secrets that darkness hid…


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As told the PTVs never worked, but they still passed some sort of IFE. I was not interested. They also passed with some food, but I wasn't feeling hungry.


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Sooner than later, my flight had elapsed



We taxied to the terminal, and we were on block at the same time the train to Hospet was leaving. I made the right call booking for the next day and so on..

The flight was done, but another surprise was awaiting for me. This time, a good one, we were going to descend through stairs.

I was going to be able to appreciate the Jumbo in its full greatness and glory:
 


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As I descended, I was pondering that the Jumbo served Air India for almost 50 years, I knew by the moment that AI was planning to retire the type (I didn't know that almost all 747 operators would mothball or retire the Jumbo 3 months later)

It carried thousands (maybe millions?) of people around the world…how many stories and lives were touched by these planes.

 I felt lucky and thankful that I had the chance to be one of these stories. 


Coda


We entered the terminal, as this was an international flight we went through Immigration, and I had to show my sealed BP. Bags took their fair time…and in the meantime I tried to figure out what to do in Hyderebad for 24 hours and if I could find a SIM Card over there…

I grabbed an Uber to my hotel, I was kindly checked in by the staff, who mentioned they had never seen a Colombian passport. I told them about my trip and asked me if I had eaten well, I told them no and so they gave me the menu so I could have a good dinner. Chicken Tikka please, with tonnes of Naan. 

I went on to sleep like a little baby…

See more

Verdict

Air India

4.5/10
Cabin5.5
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi0.0
Meal/catering5.0

Loyalty Lounge - Terminal 2

4.9/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Services3.0

Mumbai - BOM

7.9/10
Efficiency10.0
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness9.5

Hyderabad - HYD

6.8/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Air India is a relic of these paquidermic inefficient state owned airlines. But I reckon it was part of the trip and the India experience. Hassle and having your plans torn away are part of travelling, and in hindsight are part of what make the experience fun.

The 747 was in shameful shape. The crew was nice, but nothing special. Although they offered food I didn't try it so there's nothing to comment about.

BOM T2 is an awesome terminal. It does have its quirks (such having certain areas cordoned off...but this is a thing in India, I would come to learn).

The lounges were super bad. But maybe are a fair option for food if you don't mind. Just don't expect anything fancy.

HYD was cool, but a bit chaotic on the baggage claim. Downtown Hyderabad is far, but transport in India can be as cheap or expensive as you wish.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the rest of this Story.

Saludos!

Information on the route Mumbai (BOM) Hyderabad (HYD)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 5 avis concernant 3 compagnies sur la ligne Mumbai (BOM) → Hyderabad (HYD).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Jet Airways avec 7.3/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 1 heures et 27 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 616234 by
    NGO85 SILVER 2002 Comments
    Hola Chibcha, thank you for the report! At least you finally got your elusive AI B747. It’s not surprising it was archaic inside, most airlines just ran them into the ground at the end. I remember how bad the QF B747s were at their end, but you can always go to FRA to keep flying them. LH must be your dream airline B747s and A340s ;) Doesn’t look like the most enjoyable experience overall, aircraft type being the saving grace…

    many AI routes for what I've found out, have odd routings. They are domestic legs of international flights.

    Chinese airlines used to do this too, I remember most of the MU flights from NGO would hit a city (Shanghai, Tianjin, etc.) on the coast before heading inland (Wuhan, Xi’an, etc.)

    Some views outside

    I like how they just tried to paint over the 9W tail logo, so lazy

    how long is this flight? It must be one of the longest 737 flights.

    Not as far as you think, no longer than a transcon in the US and considerably shorter than what CM does out of PTY [you should know this ;)]

    I was just listening to the 4 engines turn on… 

    Listening? Or taking in a huff of the jet fuel burn?
    • Comment 616517 by
      Chibcha SILVER AUTHOR 581 Comments
      Hello

      you can always go to FRA to keep flying them. LH must be your dream airline B747s and A340s ;)


      It sure is. Unfortunately, their prices and their sub par service in these times woo me away from them. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and fly them if I want to ride a 4 holer again...

      I like how they just tried to paint over the 9W tail logo, so lazy


      Jaja..wait and see

      > Not as far as you think, no longer than a transcon in the US and considerably shorter than what CM does out of PTY [you should know this ;)]

      Wow. I don't know why Nairobi seemed so far away then.

      Listening? Or taking in a huff of the jet fuel burn?


      Both ;)


      Thanks for passing by!
  • Comment 616306 by
    Pilpintu TEAM 1001 Comments
    Absolutely amazing experience, Chibcha! With all the ingredients for a movie!! You could be named the Indiana Jones of aviation lol

    I wanted to force myself to travel around

    HAH. Lucky you. I have to force my credit card. lol

    the ruins of Hampi

    Never heard of it

    Another thing I wanted to experience were trains

    Indian trains. I have seen photos of people sitting on their roofs. I think JetSmart is moving that way.

    At least the ceiling was amazing.

    Indeed! :O

    I got my BP

    I love that little guy popping up everywhere! Something like a genie, isn't he?

    Niente. Rien. Nada

    You mean, nichts?? XD As a colleague of mine says, "La nada misma y la cosa ninguna."

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    I think you need this: https://www.myinstants.com/es/instant/noooo/

    It was dark, damp and with a mildewy smell.

    Awww, such a faithful, trustworthy machine. She carries that mildew with pride. Those yellowish hues speak tons of her. Everything must have been white when she was young.

    I was just wondering what secrets that darkness hid…

    Ignorance is bliss.

    They also passed with some food, but I wasn't feeling hungry.

    Was it a BOB service or what?

    Moho y todo, me alegra que hayas tenido la oportunidad de viajar al menos una vez en un 747, reminiscencias de un tiempo de gloria de la aviación. Ahora todo es tan uniforme, tan insípido.

    En algún momento de mi corta y juvenil historia contemplé Hyderabad como un destino para un viaje por la sencilla razón de que encuentro que el alfabeto Telugu es el más hermoso del mundo. jajaj Hasta aprendí algunas letras. Pero después me di cuenta de que allá hace un calor del demonio y me arrepentí! El calor me hace pésimo.

    Apart from the experience of flying a 747, a domestic flight on Air India doesn't seem like something to write home about. And the delays...!

    This information and other reports about the complete contempt of civility from the part of locals is pushing India very low in my bucket list. I hope your overall experience was worth it!

    Thanks a lot for sharing!!
    • Comment 616519 by
      Chibcha SILVER AUTHOR 581 Comments
      Hola!

      Absolutely amazing experience, Chibcha! With all the ingredients for a movie!!


      Thanks for the compliments, I hope future FRs are equally entertaining :)

      I have to force my credit card. lol


      Well that one went without saying. I finished paying for that trip well over a year later.

      Never heard of it


      That was precisely the point of going somewhere "new"...

      I love that little guy popping up everywhere! Something like a genie, isn't he?


      I reckon it is a Maharaja (king).

      Awww, such a faithful, trustworthy machine. She carries that mildew with pride. Those yellowish hues speak tons of her. Everything must have been white when she was young.


      LOL

      Was it a BOB service or what?


      Nope. It was free food for an 90 minute jump. I just wasn't feeling hungry, probably from the stress...

      reminiscencias de un tiempo de gloria de la aviación. Ahora todo es tan uniforme, tan insípido.


      100% de acuerdo

      En algún momento de mi corta y juvenil historia contemplé Hyderabad como un destino para un viaje por la sencilla razón de que encuentro que el alfabeto Telugu es el más hermoso del mundo. jajaj Hasta aprendí algunas letras. Pero después me di cuenta de que allá hace un calor del demonio y me arrepentí! El calor me hace pésimo.


      El calor es complicado. Pero bueno nada tan horrible como España en verano. Creo que no deberías renunciar a ese sueño, deben haber miles de cosas interesantes para ti por alla!

      This information and other reports about the complete contempt of civility from the part of locals is pushing India very low in my bucket list. I hope your overall experience was worth it!


      This would be a spoiler to my conclusions on the trip...but India is awesome. I didn't expect much and now I crave to go all around this land.

      I wouldn't say there is a complement for civility in India. It's just a different culture and way of understanding life. In many senses it felt like Colombia and even more civilised than my homeland...I guess its all relative to each ones perceptions and expectations.

      You'll have to go with an open mind and willing to test your resistance to difference and experiences you may think are unpleasant. I hindsight I remember my trip with fondness...

      Saludos!
  • Comment 616501 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6856 Comments
    Hola Chibcha!

    We’ll, on the bright side you got to ride an AI 747 one last time before they were retired along with most other 747s around the world…everything else is bad

    It was dark, damp and with a mildewy smell.

    Eew that’s definitely not something you ever expect to experience on a plane. Yuck

    I still can’t believe AI and Vistara will be merging…they’re total polar opposites. I just hope Vistara will bring AI standards up and not the other way around.

    Thanks for sharing!

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