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Long and w/ pics; Part 1

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  • Long and w/ pics; Part 1

    **Note: All times are local**

    Aftre a pretty busy but fun, two-month stay in India, we were headed back to the States. A couple of long-time freinds accompanied us for the ride to the airport. We started off at around 10:30p.m. for our 1:55a.m. departure. Mumbai’s traffic is never light as such, but this night, it was heavier than usual given the time. After a 50 minute ride, we reached Terminal 2’s departure level.

    “Take the Long Way Home…”

    Date: August 9th
    Flight: Delta 119
    SDT: 1:55a.m.
    ADT: 1:53a.m.
    SAT: 8:20a.m.
    AAT: 7:55a.m.
    Seats: 31FG
    Equip: B767-300ER
    Registration: N1613B
    Dep. weather: Overcast w/ rain. Temperature in the low 80’s. WSW wind at 15-20 mph.
    Arr. weather: Overcast. Temperature in the 60’s. Light easterly wind.
    Notes: I’m pretty sure about the registration number, but not 100% sure. I only saw the number on the nose wheel door as 1613, and then did some research online, where it popped up as 1613B.

    Well, after arriving at the terminal, we began the search for the baggage carts. Strangely enough, they were nowhere to be seen. What followed was 20 minutes of pacing back and forth to look for them. I asked four different policemen on duty (there are no other employees assigned to help pax out), but they were all unwilling to help. I wasn’t surprised at all, that’s how they usually are. It’s pretty much normal behavior for them. What was even more strange was that other pax were pushing carts, and I was wondering where they were getting those. By this time, a light rain shower had started, and I was about to give up searching, when I went back to the car to find my mom and friends with two carts. Well, we got the bags loaded on them and headed off to the entrance to the terminal. After parting ways, we said goodbye and headed off into the terminal. Again, I wasn’t surprised to see long trains of carts being pushed to get them out of the terminal for pax. After putting all of our carry-on luggage through the initial security check, we were questioned as they do at Israeli airports, and then we headed off to check-in counter. We got the boarding passes for the BOM-CDG leg, but for some reason, the lady wasn’t able to get the boarding passes for the onward legs. She asked her colleague who was checking in other pax, and he said something like “Release the seats and try again”, or atleast, that’s what I heard. Well, she tried doing that, and wound up unable to get back into the system. She said that we would have to get the boarding passes at the gate at CDG, and that we wouldn’t get our originally booked seats. Great. I asked why, and all she said was Air France handles all the seating and ticketing stuff at CDG, and their system’s different from the Delta system. Now I don’t know, but I think she goofed up somewhere in the process. Somehow, I had a feeling that we still had those seats. So we dcided to go ahead and ask another guy and told him what had just happened, and he told us that we would still get our original seats, we would just have to go to the gate counter at CDG. Anyway, we decided to deal with that problem once we landed at that airport. After filling in the embarkation form, we headed on to immigration. Surprisingly, the there was no long line, and we were told to go to counter #14. We waited for a while, and were about to go there after it was open, when a guy, in true Indian fashion, headed on to the counter. The behavior of some Indians is still very dissapointing. Anyway, we decided to take the next available counter since we the one we had been waiting on was now occupied. It was pretty quick, and we headed on down to the mezzanine level. Ok, here’s a run-down of the flights that were headed out: Alitalia 763ER to Milan, NW DC 10-30 to AMS, BA 744 to LHR, AF 343 to CDG, LH 744 to FRA, CX 773 (I think) to HKG, Singapore 772ER to MAA and SIN, AI 744’s to FRA, LHR and CDG, AI 310’s to DBX, Doha, Sharjah, Nairobi and BKK, and some others. On the way down, I was wondering if I could get a snap of the AL 763ER that was on the ramp, and so I asked a few security personnel if I could. They looked at me surprised and puzzled, and then said no. I wasn’t supposed to have batteries in my camera. Yeah, right. That’s why I’ve passed my carry-on bag through the machine so many times and not been asked even once to have them taken out. Ok, so that didn’t fly too well with them, no biggy. I just said to myself that I’ll get inside the aircraft and snap pics where no one can touch me. MUA HA HA HA HA. That’s another thing, no one seems to be aware of the new photography rules in India. Anyway, we went to one of the new shops they have out there on the mezzanine. I bought a small, wood-carved Indian Elephant, and then we walked over to the last security checkpoint (the passenger waiting areas are sterilized, and no, once you’re in, you cannot get out). After the check was done, we sat down and I looked out at the ramp. There was a light shower falling. Our heavy was already at gate 6. It was in the new c/s and looking great. A Singapore 773 got pushed back from one of the satellite stands just south of the terminal. It was interesting to see it get pushed back from a satellite stand, usually, it’s at the terminal. The NW DC 10-30 got pushed back for the AMS departure, but I noticed it got pushed back to the east. There was some taxiway work being done between gates 6 and 7, so it headed out in an easterly direction and then took the taxiway right by the cargo ramp to the RWY 9-27 twy. The Swiss 332 had to do the same, followed by the AL 763ER. I was feeling pretty thirsty by this time, so I went around to look for a soft drink machine or a vending stall, but none were around in the gate areas (gates 5 and 6 have waiting areas that are connected by a short corridor), so I went to a Lipton Tea stall. Man, that was some hot tea! Anyway, after a while, I managed to drink it. The LH 744 came in at around 1:30a.m, right on time. For a moment, I wished I was flying in that instead of the 763ER (not that I don’t like it, but I’ve flown the 744 twice and fell in love with it). Soon enough, boarding was started for our flight. We were in Zone 6. After a short wait, it was down the jetway and into the plane, but not before one last check of passports and ID’s. I took seat 31G. The view was nice. I caught a BA744 in the new c/s taking pax for an LHR departure:

    [BA 744 headed to LHR as flt 139. Takken from DL 119 bbefore departure from BOM to CDG.]

    [LH 744 at the gate at T2 at BOM. Headed to FRA as flt 757.]

    The chief FA welcomed us aboard. The safety demo was shown on the overheads. I saw the AF 343 being pushed back and it headed out to RWY 27 for departure. Soon, we got pushed back. After engine start-up and taxi, we backtracked on RWY 27 and the pilot used the turnaround area and did the 180. It was interesting ‘casue pilots of twinjets usually don’t backtrack to use the full length. I guess it’s b/c there still was a light rain shower coming down and the runway was pretty wet. Anyway, we held position for a few seconds and the engines were cranked up to t/o power. I saw the runway edge lights whizz by and some awesome spray get kicked up from the asphalt surface. We zoomed past the crosswind. 80 kts… rotate! After a brief 25 second roll, we were off to CDG. I caught a glimpse of the Jet and Sahara planes parked for the overnight rest on the terminal 1B ramp. The city lights were awesome to watch as usual. Once the coastline passed under us, the captain banked the ‘craft to the right and we started flying to the NW. Not too long after takeoff, the FA’s started the snack service. Here’s what was offered:

    -Non-Veg: Turkey and Cheese Sandwich.
    -Veg (we had this): Potato Bonda Sandwich-for you Indians (and anyone who’s familiar with Indian food), I’ll spare you some reading time and let you know it was nothing more than a classic “Vada Pav.” The Potato Bonda Sandwich was a potato fritter (potatoes, green chillies, bay leaves, some chili powder and other spices dipped in a batter then deep-fried) sandwiched between two slices of round bread.
    -Banana. (This was good)
    -Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate.

    Well, after that was over, they started showing some Indian movie, but I preferred the window instead. Seeing nothing much for a while made me realize how tired I was and I dozed off. This flight was about 97% full. So yes, it was a bit unusual for a flight departing from an Indian city at this time of the year. Ok, so the rest of the flight was pretty boring, and I dozed off once every now and then (I only sleep in planes when my body goes, “AAARGGHHH, I can’t take this anymore, you must sleep now!!!” ), listened to some good ol’ classic rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, Fleetwood Mac, The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, etc). Finally, I began to see some daylight and got these pics:

    [Passing by some early-morning storms somewhere over eastern Europe. This is what flying is all about.]

    [Nice hues on the wing. Taken onboard DL 119.]

    [Can you see the halo?]

    [Sun refllection on the cloud deck below.]

    Well, about 2 hours from CDG, the sun had come out enough to get us full daylight. It was pretty clear over the region under us, but the forecast for CDG called for overcast conditions with possible storms, so I knew what lay ahead. Anyway, after about half-an-hour, the FA’s came by with breakfast. Again, here were the choices:

    -Entrée (Non-veg): Cheese Omelet with Mexican Sausage and Galette Potatoes. (sounded delicious, but I went for the veg anyway)
    -Entrée (Indian veg): Chole Served with Bhatura, accompanied by Kalimirchiwala Aloo. (Ok, basically, Chole is a veggie dish consisting of chickpeas in a thin tomato gravy, and Bhaturas are a super-sized form of the Indian “Puris.” Puffed-up flatbreads, in a nutshell. Kalimirchwala Aloo-Diced potatoes cooked with green chilies and spices)
    -Sides: Fresh seasonal Fruit and Warm Croissant with butter and strawberry preserves-Chunks of White Melon, Regular Melon, Kiwi, Pineapple, Apple and Orange. (Scrumptiously delicious, some of the best fruit I’ve had in-flight. The croissant was great too, warm and flaky and was a great combo with the butter.)
    -Beverage: Orange Juice. (Not bad, not too good either)
    -Mint: Your regular run-of-the-mill aftermint. (Not bad)

    After the meal, the FA’s handed out the disembarkation cards for those who were gonna be staying in Paris/France. Our descent took us over the eastern parts of France (south of Dijon), then we turned right and headed east of Troyes. It was, of course, pretty overcast.

    [Spoilers deployed as we start the descent to CDG.]

    [Passing by CDG on the donwind for RWY 8R. Check out the AF heavy that has just landed on 8R, and anoher jet that's taking off on 8L.]

    [Banking to hhead bback to CDG for an 8R arrival.]

    Once over the outskrts of Paris, we headed west and then WSW. I got overview snaps of CDG and Le-Bouget (my first), and then we headed quite a ways west of the field. On the way, I saw multiple aircraft on final for runways 8R and 9R/L. It’s great to be on the ‘correct’ side of the aircraft when you’re an aviation enthusiast! We started the turn for the final to 8R. On the way back, we passed Le Bourget again and I got some more shots:

    [Spot the Eiffel Tower. Hazy day in the Paris area. Photo taken onboard DL 119 on final to CDG's 8R.]

    Just before landing, I realized something. We would be passing by Terminal 2E! I had my camera ready. Flaps 30, gear down. It’s fascinating to watch the front halves of the 76’s flap guides coming down. They provide some gr8 sound effects as well! I also like the way the 76’s gear gets deployed-no ‘thud’ of the gear door going down, just a nice whoosh of air. We passed over some freeways, and some buildings. Full flaps. “Five-Hundred!”… “Four-Hundred!”…I saw the field start passing under. “Three-Hundred!”… “Two-Hundred!”… (Houston we have runway) “One-Hundred!”… “Fifty!”, “Forty!”, “Thirty!”, “Twenty!”, (An amazing flare) “Ten!” A soft plop, that was the touchdown. Really smooth. Nose stayed in the air for a good part down the runway and no reverse thrust was used. We took the second rapid-exit off the active. I got a shot of an AF 321, but to my dismay, it didn’t turn out too well.

    We passed by the remote stands where I saw some AF Avros and F-70’s. Then of course, I saw this:


    Man, like all failed structures, it’s one thing to see it on the web in pics, it’s another thing to see with your own eyes right when ur there. It definitely would not be good to be either one of those passengers or their relatives/family. Well, we made our way to 2C, where we got off at C85 or something.

    Well, that’s the end of part one. Look out for part two, there’s more excitement on the way!

    As always, all comments/corrections/suggestions are welcome.

    Happy Flying!

  • #2
    Great Report!

    You stay in friend's house in India?


    • #3
      Great Report Man!!! Very interesting to see the pics and how they operate at BOM. If it was me I would have said a small prayer for the people that died in that collapse. Very erie im sure to see it thru ur own eyes. Great pictures, keep them comng!!

      Stop Searching. Start Traveling.


      • #4
        Entrée (Indian non-veg): Chole Served with Bhatura, accompanied by Kalimirchiwala Aloo. (Ok, basically, Chole is a veggie dish consisting of chickpeas in a thin tomato gravy, and Bhaturas are a super-sized form of the Indian “Puris.” Puffed-up flatbreads, in a nutshell. Kalimirchwala Aloo-Diced potatoes cooked with green chilies and spices)
        Great report. One question though? Since when did chole, bhatura and aloo become indian NON-Veg! j/k
        "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'


        • #5

          Hey guys!

          pbateson: Thanks! To answer your question, we still have some apartments in Mumbai.

          Alex: Yep, it was pretty eerie seeing that with my own eyes.

          Tanuj: Thanks for picking that out. It is now corrected.

          Thanks for the feedback people!

          Happy Flying!


          • #6
            Love the shots!
            - The baby will be back -


            • #7

              Thanks dude! Glad you like 'em.

              Happy Flying!


              • #8
                Hey Ameya

                Awesome report man!!!

                Just one question....when did SQ route their SIN flights through MAA???? I thought it was 10 x weekly to SIN nonstop?

                Correct me if I'm wrong.

                Pete Ganabathi
                Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

                Fly Frontier Airlines - A Whole Different Animal


                • #9

                  Hey Pete! Thanks man!

                  Nevermind about the SIN flight going through MAA. It's now nonstop. I must have been in the late 90's when I typed this review. I'll have it corrected.

                  Thanks for picking that out!

                  Happy Flying!