Trip Report – India Trip 2009
After flying the A380 for the first time (Link: EK A380 YYZ-DXB June 2009 – opens in a new tab) I had a great start to the summer of 2009. Then around July, it was time for a short trip to India.
2009 trip to India
I haven’t flown Air India (or Indian Airlines) in a while now. The last time I recollect flying them is January 1st 2004. Air India introduced their “Express” product around 2005, and most of the flights to the Middle East were now primarily flown by Air India Express. Their direct connection from Dubai (DXB) to Pune (PNQ) was a real feather in their hat (in my opinion) as previously, the only way to get home is to take a flight to Mumbai and then either take another flight to Pune or catch a shuttle from the airport to Pune. This made my trip pretty exciting. So here’s the Itinerary:
DXB-PNQ – Air India Express
PNQ-BLR Jet Airways Konnect (No pics during this leg…sorry 😦 )
BLR-DXB – Emirates
1st Leg – DXB – PNQ
10 July 2009
Air India Express IX 212
VT-AXG Boeing 737-800
This is the first time I would be travelling through DXB’s Terminal 2 (T2) even though I have lived here for almost ten years. T2 in DXB is primarily used by budget airlines. The last time I flew in a budget airline, I flew out of Sharjah with Air Arabia (Do check out that report! Link: Air Arabia 2007 Trip – opens in a new tab)
My first impression of the T2 was “Is this really DXB, :O I mean such a normal sized terminal in DXB…..Wow!”. The rest of the airport was pretty much like the airport in Sharjah before they renovated it. There were just around 20-35 check-in counters, followed by the immigration and security check. After that we enter a lobby, where to the left are duty free shops and to the right are the gates. Well not exactly gates, T2 does not have aerobridges, so passengers were taken to the aircraft by bus.
Takeoff and Cruise
We took off toward the Arabian Gulf, and then turned around to head towards India. Pretty soon after takeoff, the sun had set and the rest of the flight was a night flight. As for cabin service, it was prompt. The flight attendants (F/A) however refused to put on a smile. This is a bad sign as F/A is a people-oriented job and if they refuse to smile then they are clearly in the wrong field.
After almost an hour into the flight, I was surprised that there was a meal service. Being a budget airline, I was expecting to get a menu with overpriced sandwiches and under-filled cups of coffee – but no, it was a proper meal service. We were served a cheese sandwich, a muffin and a juice box. Thumbs up to Air-India Express for showing consideration to traveling passengers. Another good thing about this flight was the inclusion of IFE (in-flight entertainment), though PTV’s weren’t present at the back of each seat, there was a common PTV that was present after every 4-5 rows. They showed a Hindi movie and people had to purchase the headphones separately. Lucky for me, I had my iPod touch loaded with some movies, so my entertainment was covered 😀 .
Landing and Conclusion
Well I must admit I was scared during the approach. The weather was bad – it was raining and the pilots were facing heavy winds. I distinctly remember the left gear touching down first. Anyway all that aside…any landing you can walk away from, is a good landing right 😉 .
Back in 2009, Pune didn’t have aerobridges so passengers used to enter or deplane using the portable staircases. I got off the aircraft and lucky enough, the aircraft was parked right in front of the terminal. So it was a quick walk in the drizzling rain. Once I entered the terminal, there was a huge line…apparently passengers were being checked for swine flu. There was not much of checking per say, they took the temperature of the passenger and asked them if they had visited any country that was affected by the outbreak within the last month. Lucky for me I flew from Canada, a little over a month ago, so I said no. I then proceeded to the baggage carousel (I hope the spelling is right? 😛 ). Being a small aircraft, I got my bag fairly quickly and exited the airport to meet my cousins who had come to receive me.
In conclusion, I must say that AIX service connecting DXB-PNQ really is a feather in their hat… however I do hope they would make it a rule for their flight attendants to smile from time to time.
2nd Leg – PNQ – BLR
Jet airways Konnect
Ok first off, Let me apologize for not taking any pictures during this leg. The Indian authorities are not very #avgeek friendly, so I just kept my camera inside to avoid being mouthed down by some rude security fellow. The last time I flew Jet airways was back in 2000, between BLR-BOM, I remember they offered me a kids meal with some special goodies in it. Anyway, I got an aisle seat right in the first row. (Seat no. 1C), so hands down the best part was being able to catch a glimpse of the flight deck before pushback and after landing by just leaning to the right. I was however surprised by the fact that Jet airways had put old seats in a new aircraft…I could tell they were old, because they were pretty creaky and I could see the layer of paint. They probably must have painted it to make the seat look new (oldest trick In the book). Being a short hop (just around 1.5hours of flying) and a budget airline, there were snacks and drinks served – but for a small fee of course. The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. After landing at BLR, I collected my bag from the carousel and headed out to catch the Volvo bus to my relative’s place (who live near the HAL airport – old BLR airport).
3rd (and final) Leg – BLR – DXB
Now I am pretty sure you guys (and gals 😉 ) are wondering if I am going to repeat this leg yet again. I know I have written a detailed report on the BLR – DXB flight. Well, I won’t repeat myself here, I will just let the pictures do the talking 😉 .
Pushback and Take-off
Descent and Landing
In conclusion I must say that this was an interesting trip. As an aviation nut, I managed to try two new airlines (Air India Express and Jet Airways Konnect) I hope you enjoyed this report as much as I enjoyed the trip. So what’s next?? Well my trip back to Canada on the Emirates A380, but this time I fly upstairs in business class (and I also managed to visit the flight deck). As always, comments are welcome and until my next post… happy landings!!!