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  • Air India JFK-LHR-DEL-BOM (Long)

    This is my first trip report, and my first post in the forum. Hope you enjoy it!

    Flight Number: AI 112
    Routing: JFK-LHR-DEL-BOM
    Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 (VT-ESN Tanjore)
    Date: June 9th, 2002
    Time of departure: 21:15 pm
    Time of arrival (LHR):08:25 am
    Time of arrival (DEL):23:55 pm
    Time of arrival (BOM):3:35 am
    Total Flight time:18 hours and 20 minutes
    Seat:70 K

    I arrived from Pittsburgh on a American Eagle Saab 340 and connected as fast as I could to the international terminal. The bus over took quite a while, navigating through the traffic. The new International terminal in JFK is amazing, but it took me about 15 minutes to find the AI check in counters. Once I reached there, I was not shocked to see an enormous line. They had a separate line for connecting passengers whose luggage has already been checked in. The check in agent was very friendly and quickly fixed a problem she found with our tickets. This made check in very easy and we were on our way, to explore the terminal. We did some duty free shopping and picked up some gifts for family in India. Then we were allowed to proceed through security and go to the gate. Security was first rate and very efficient. Before I knew it I was on the airplane, the usual B747-400 used on this route. Right next to us at the very next gate, a PIA 747-200 was departing to Manchester, Islamabad, and Karachi, and I thought this was funny, since India and Pakistan aren't very friendly toward one another! I wonder what they thought when they saw our bigger, beautiful plane next to them!

    I had a window seat in the last section and it was not very comfortable. There was enough legroom, but it would have been great if it was more. I was very surprised to see no inflight magazine, but I was glad that I had grabbed the American Way on the way to JFK and some magazines that I had purchased. I also had my CD player to keep me company. I settled in and had a chat in Hindi with the older lady who was seated in 70H. Up till this point, no one was seated in 70J and I was happy about that. A pre-flight drink was served with menus and towelletes, which I thought was a nice thought. There was a delay of 45 minutes pushing back due to the loading of more luggage and cargo. Before I knew it, we were off after a powerful, but very long take off, due the fully loaded aircraft.

    After we had reached the cruising altitude, this drunk snob from New Jersey came and sat down in 70J. I thought to myself,"This is going to be a long flight!" Little did I know what was in store for me! He kept yapping away about how much money he has and how he could have flown in First but he is a simple man so he chose Economy and how he came to the airport in a limo. I could care less. Have another beer I thought, which he readily did! Drinks were then served and I had a ginger ale. Dinner was then served promptly. This is the best part of the flight! The food in AI in any class is excellent. Dinner consisted of 3 choices in economy:

    Chicken Curry, which was served with Rice Pulao, Lamb which was the non-indian item, and the vegetarian option, which was Aloo Makani. The Indian options were served with indian bread, and the other with rolls, all of which were warm. This was in addition to a salad with dressing and an indian dessert. I had the chicken curry and believe me, this was an excellent meal.

    Once meal service was complete, the movie was promptly started. I don't remember what it was, but I didn't watch it. Air India doesn't have PTV's in economy, but the usual big screen in the center, with several drop-dpwn TVs in the areas where the big screen is not visible. After the lights were turned off and and the shades closed, the drunk loser beside me decided to not only continue bugging me but implode on my personal space as well. He decided to get comfortable and put his arms behind his head and spread his legs out. Now, I'm a fairly big guy (5'10'', 160 lbs) and I had no room, so all I could do was put a pillow against the window and fall asleep. I slept for about 2 hours, when I checked the airmap to find out that we were almost to the southern tip of Ireland. The stewardess passed by with some water, which I had. I partially opened up my window shade to see a gorgeous sunrise. About an hour and a half before arrival in London, the cabin crew switched on the lights for a breakfast, that was not very good and consisted of cake and tea. A little while later after the "so called breakfast" was cleared up, we began our decent into cloudy London. We were in a holding pattern for about 45 minutes where I saw on different flight levels, a BA 744, a Virgin A340, a United B777, and a BMI 737. We then desended and had a great view of the millenium dome, LCY, and all the other downtown London attractions. Arrival into London was on time and we landed on runway 27L. We parked at terminal 3 and a transit time of 1 and 1/2 hours was slated. I got out, got a transit card and promptly got in line to be rechecked for the flight. We waited in the lounge for about an hour and boarding recommenced. I got back to my seat and prayed that I would not have to sit next to the Boozer. Luckily (or not) to my luck a woman wanted to trade me seats since she could sit with her kids. I said "definitely" and got moved to 68K and then I realized my mistake! Next to me was an OLD, OLD, OLD indian guy, who smelled really bad! Too late now I thought, well atleast I have a window seat. We waited on the ground for about another hour and then departed from runway27R.

    After departure from London, we were promptly served breakfast. Two choices this time which were eggs or indian-veg. I went for the indian-veg as I hate eggs on the plane. It was a great choice. Aloo Parathas with fresh yogurt and upma. Just what I needed. After that a movie was shown, which again I did not watch and tried to get some sleep, since I was very tired! A little later in I noticed some light shining on me, but how could that be since I closed the window shade? I open my eyes to see my seatmate strecthed over me peering out the window peering out at the barrenless and arid terrain of Iran. He was marveling at it in Hindi! Then, not to be rude, I closed the shade and tried to go back to sleep, but lo and behold it happened again and again. I told the stewardess and that shut him up. He then proceeded to cover me with his own blanket and put his hand on my thigh! I was furious! BAM, I threw his blanket on him and flatly told him to get his paws off of me! He did and that shut him up too. I was mad, and the flight was not even over.

    3 hours before landing in Delhi we were served Lunch. Now, arrival into Delhi was at 1200 am. Why we were served lunch, I don't know! The three choices were served once again. I once again had to have the chicken curry, but hey I love this! It was as usual, Excellent! Our flightplan took us over Iran then onto the Arabian Sea, surpassing Pakistani Airspace, reaching land over Gujurat then we turned northeast toward Delhi. I got to see some great thunderstorm activity over Ahmedabad. Arrival into Delhi was smooth and on time. We quickly taxied to the gate and parked at the jetway beside a China Eastern A300 and an Uzbekistan Il-62.

    We had to wait 2 hours on the plane. Thankfully, old man smelly got off here and I was free to relax now! We could deplane if we wanted to but most of the passengers chose to stay on board. It was hot and muggy. The plane was being cleaned and serviced with the passengers going to Mumbai on board. After 2 hours in Delhi, we taxied behind the China Eastern A300 for take-off. Take off was swift and before I knew it, we were at cruising altitude. Now up till now the load factor in this flight was 100%. Now between Delhi and Bombay, it was around 50 %. This was great and I was able to stretch out. I striked up a conversation with the guy who was sitting next to old man smelly. Service consisted of open faced sandwiches, where a choice of veg or non-veg was given, fruit salad, and beverages. I had the non-veg, which was chicken and it was very good. A short film was also shown. The decent began as soon as I was done with my snack.

    Arrival into Mumbai was at 3:35 am on runway 27. Taxied off at the last taxiway at the end of the runway by the Indian airlines terminal 1A, and proceeded to the international terminal and parked at the last jetway. The newly renovated Mumbai Airport (only the AI terminal) was good. We cleared immigration with no line. The bags took too long to come. Ours were the first and after clearing customs, my family was the first ones out of the terminal. My grandparents were their to greet us on a very very hot and muggy early morning. Boy, was I happy to be in my homeland!!!!

    All in all, it was a very long flight, but great food made it all the worth!Service was efficient, but more friendier faces would have been appreciated. My seatmates just plain sucked! But other than that, I like Air India. It has its pros and cons. I would definitely fly with them again ( and I am on May 8th from EWR to BOM via CDG. It is a taste of India even before getting there!

    I will try to post the return and the eagle flights as well later. As for now, questions? Comments? Constructive criticism?
    Pete at PIT.....KPIT Rocks!

  • #2
    Thanks, Pete, for another great report. Really good reading. I look forward to seeing more of your reports. And yes, I got hungry, I love Indian food!

    Regards,
    Peter

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    • #3
      Peter,

      Thanks very much for the great comments and believe me there will be more! This is my first review and my first post in the forum.

      Have you ever flown Air India? How was it for you?

      Thanks again Peter

      Any more comments are always welcome!

      Take care,
      Pete
      Pete at PIT.....KPIT Rocks!

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      • #4
        Great trip report, Pete. Food seems really good. Too bad the seatmates sucked. It's just bad luck...happens to all of us.

        Btw, are you Indian? If not, how come you speak Hindi?
        "The Director also sets the record straight on what would happen if oxygen masks were to drop from the ceiling: The passengers freak out with abandon, instead of continuing to chat amiably, as though lunch were being served, like they do on those in-flight safety videos."

        -- The LA Times, in a review of 'Flightplan'

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        • #5
          No, I have not flown on Air India so far, and have not visited India either. But I lilke to see Air India's planes, their livery is neat. And I like Indian food, or at least what they sell as 'Indian' over here.

          Reards,
          Peter

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          • #6
            Tanuj,

            Yes, I am Indian. I was born in Bombay, but I have lived abroad since I was 2 months old. (all over UK, L.A., then to Pittsburgh, where my entire family is right now.) I try to visit India every year, and I will be going this year on May 8th. Thanks for the great comments! Take care.....by the way how is the situation in H.K. with SARS and all?

            Peter,

            India is definitely worth a visit. Make sure you visit the beautiful palace cities of Rajasthan. They are great. I like Kerala and Goa a lot (if you like beaches). Air India, in my opinion has one of the best liveries, and gives you a feeling of being in India before even leaving the ground. But, from personal choice for long haul travel, I like Swiss. So believe me, you are not missing anything. Thanks again Peter.

            Take care,
            Pete
            Pete at PIT.....KPIT Rocks!

            Comment


            • #7
              Very nice report and also welcome to the forums. The only obnoxious passenger I had was a guy who got onboard my America West flight in Las Vegas and reclined the seat all the way back. I think he had bad luck on the strip so he was drunk to high heaven. I pushed his seat up and he got angry he tryed to hit me and callled the flight attendant. He got kicked off the plane for being a jackass. The flight went great afterwards.

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              • #8
                Greg,

                Oh I totally understand how you feel. I hope you never have to go through what I did. Just wait till you read my return trip. I always have the worst passengers sitting next to me or behind me. Now, let me say this. Don't let this deter you from flying Air India if you ever do. They have pretty good service, and the food is the best part, even in economy. I know people don't like airline food, but this stuff is great! Thanks for the reply.

                Take care,
                Pete
                Pete at PIT.....KPIT Rocks!

                Comment


                • #9
                  You should book a flight with your friends so you have friends next to you. Or book an entire row. or ask the flight attendant for a seat change because you dislike the passenger you are next to. I've seen it happen.

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                  • #10
                    Greg,

                    Next month when i'm flying to India, I don't have to worry about a thing! My dad is going to sit next to me, and since I will have the window, he will have to endure whoever sits by him! Should make for a good laugh! So tell me, what has been your best flight? worst?

                    Take care,
                    Pete
                    Pete at PIT.....KPIT Rocks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Best flight was MetroJet 737-200 BWI-MCO http://jetphotos.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=587 has the report. My worse flight was this: http://www.jetphotos.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=673.

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                      • #12
                        Greg,

                        I've never had the pleasure of flying Metrojet, as it did not operate out of PIT, but of course, here in PIT, we do have an abundance of USAirways, which happens to be my favorite airline, and it also operates the largest type in to the aircraft into the airport, an Airbus A330-300 from Frankfurt. God I love those planes. They are so gracious and magnificent! To bad Metrojet is no more, although I loved their color scheme! Thanks again and take care!

                        Has anyone ever flown Air India? What routes have you flown? How was your service? What aircraft did you fly? And lastly, how was the food?

                        Take care everyone,
                        Pete
                        Pete at PIT.....KPIT Rocks!

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                        • #13
                          THIS IS THE BEST REPORT IVE EVER READ!!!!!!



                          -Pete
                          Pete Ganabathi
                          Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

                          Fly Frontier Airlines - A Whole Different Animal

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                          • #14
                            Uh....isn't this just a tad bit old???

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re:

                              Yeah, I was wondering why this one bubbled up from nowhere, lol. Anyway, nice reading it again.

                              Foxtrot

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