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Network Thoughts by Ameya - 1M ago

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Recently I, along with my parents, had the pleasure of travelling by IndiGo from Mumbai (BOM) to Coimbatore (CJB) on its flight 6E 293. The flight was at 12 noon so we decided to take an early morning cab from Pune and reach airport by 9 so as to avoid Mumbai traffic. We left from Pune at 5.45AM and reached Mumbai well ahead of time at around 9AM. While alighting from the cab, I told my parents “good we reached early, now we can check in aaraamse!”

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On 11th August in a joint press conference with Etihad, Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways announced the shift to a Full service model. Vistara, the yet to fly full service carrier, a joint venture of Singapore airlines & TATA group and Air India, after its entry into Star Alliance was considered tough competition in the full service space.
 
The mixed model
As Kingfisher Airlines bought Air Deccan to have presence in growing Low cost segment, Jet Airways bought Air Sahara, then a full service carrier and converted it to Jetlite, a low cost arm of the parent. All the CRJ-200s were retired, the airline pulled out of few sectors and others were converted to ATR flights, which were operated by Jet Airways. Later, a new segment came up, flights which would be called Jet Konnect, which was low cost offering of the mainline. Many aircraft saw decals of “Konnect”, over Jet Airways titles on the fuselage and these were to operate on Tier-II routes. However, as expected, the aircraft flew all across leading to confusion in minds of passengers.
 
Soon there were rotations, where flights went from Origin to Destination as Full service and returned as Low Cost, carrying food to be given out in the first leg and on return, the crew would sell on board!
 
First Blink
What options did one have on the service front?
  • Aircraft – Jet Airways metal
    • Business Class & Economy Class Full service
    • Business Class & Economy Class – Buy on Board (BoB) in Konnect
  •           Aircraft – Jetlite (Ex- Air Sahara aircraft)
    •          Business Class & Economy Class – Buy on Board (BoB)Business
As this confusion started affecting the airline, first of many changes were made. This included having premium cabin being served complimentary food, across Jet Airways, Jet Airways Konnect & Jetlite.
 
The second change involved doing away with Jetlite and having two offerings, Jet Airways & Jet Airways Konnect. This also was confusing for the travelers, because the aircraft operating under Air Operators Permit (AOP) of Jetlite continue to have the light blue livery with Jetlite prominently written on the fuselage.
Just before the shift
Jet Airways was in news for planning to shift ATR fleet to Jetlite and also its plan to shift pilots creating road blocks, issues related to seniority and much more!
 
Thankfully, common sense prevailed and Jet Airways decided to make a move to Full service offering. The now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, had made a similar statement but it was too late in the survival cycle for them to invest, change and make the move. The airline shifted to what they called a holding pattern and later stopped operations, much before they could complete re-configuration of their aircraft and shift to a full service model.
 
Code share
With court cases, ruling out a merger between Jet & Jetlite, the airline resorted to code share, a common practice globally, but unique in this case since it is between the airline & its subsidiary. It involves each airline publish and market the flight under its own airline designator and flight number. Seat can be purchased on either of it but the flight is operated by only one, known as operating carrier.
 
The seat and revenue sharing could be done in multiple ways
  •        Set number of seats are given by the operating airline to its code share partner and the partner airline maintains a separate inventory and sells it. The operating airline gets a fixed cost for sold/ unsold seats
  •        No restriction on seats, where in both airlines open up all seats for sale. There could well be a cap on maximum seats sold under this arrangement
Code share between Jet Airways & Jetlite did have issues for the passengers, since until recently the passengers booked on 9W code with operating carrier being Jetlite were not able to do a web check-in!
 
Move to Full service
The move to full service on 1st December was a silent affair. An email to frequent fliers, statement on social media and the website jetkonnect.com directing users to jetairways.com was all that happened, along with meals being served on all flights, irrespective of which aircraft the flight was being flown on – Jet airways Boeing, Jetlite boeing or Jet Airways ATR.
However, due to legal disputes, the Jetlite AOP (S2 code) continues to be in operation and there are 4 x B737-700, 5 x B737-800 and 1 x B737-900 which are part of Jetlite AOP and remain in operation. Amongst them, they operate 564 flights a week. As part of this move to full service, the passenger would get complimentary food in these flights, but how is Jet Airways managing the Flight numbers, Inventory and trying to be seen as one airline ?
 
Complex or Simple – Code share to the rescue
Prima Facie, this is how Jet Airways seems to be managing the move. The airline had said it will throw more light on this before the move, but hardly did it give out the details of the move. The answer to how Jet Airways is managing two Air Operating Permits lies in Code Share.
 
Readers would recollect how an online booking engine would show flights under 9W code (9W 7xxx) and S2 code when they would search for flights on some sectors where both were operating (Eg: Mumbai – Bhopal – Mumbai or Delhi – Chandigarh – Delhi). The flight times would be same, but there would be marginal fare difference owing to how code share is handled).
 
After the move on 1st December, entire inventory will be managed by Jet airways code (9W 7xxx) and inventory for S2 code, the original flight number will be zeroed out. For operational reasons, the flight plan, ATC, would continue to consider the Jetlite aircraft as an aircraft operating with S2 code and S2 flight number.
 
A random search on online travel portals reflects these changes and now you can see only one entry for a particular flight, unlike two in the past.
 
Way forward
The airline has effectively used Code Share as a tool to make this one brand strategy work. However, the livery remains different for the Jetlite aircraft. They would either be moved (sub leased / leased / sold) to Jet Airways, like it happened with VT-JLJ, a B737-900 with Jetlite and now with Jet Airways or just see a chance in livery from existing light blue to mainline colors to further reduce confusion.
 
But in a country obsessed with food – the first cut has been made. “Jahaj kaunsa bhi honedo, khana jarur milega jee” (Let there be any aircraft, you will certainly get food)
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As my destination in Mexico, shifted from Mexico City to Monterrey, the travel plan had to be rearranged. The AeroMexico ride from Mexico City to Dallas, my next destination in this trip had to be modified.
Options were explored and there were some great options on United via Houston on ERJ which meant another Embraer and a new type, but repeat for airport and airline. Besides this would not be a direct flight and depending on the rush for immigration, connection time will have to be managed. A quick search resulted in few direct flights on this sector, being operated by American Airlines with MD83. Voila! A new airline and a new type – yet again!
Flight confirmation was quick – AA1272 operated by MD-83 non-stop from Monterrey(MTY) to Dallas Forth Worth(DFW). Aviation is an addiction, one is never satisfied. I did a search again, to check if I can land at Dallas Love Field, since my Lufthansa flight back would be from DFW, so I would touch DFW in any case, but there weren’t viable options.
A weekend before this flight, I decided to know more about the MD-83. Last year, I was close to their plant in California, but never got an opportunity to visit it. It was also the first time I had seen the MD-80 series because of its next to NIL presence in ASEAN.
It indeed is an interesting aircraft with great history. I never imagined it would seat so many to be honest, but I am not a fan of 2-3 seating. This would also be my first flight on such a seating. I had only seen this in the SSJ at Aero India in 2011. 
This would also be an experience of the P&W JT-8D powerplants after such a long time, the last I remember was in 2006 between Hyderabad and Mumbai on the rickety Alliance Air B737-200.
MD-83
B737-800
A320
Seating Capacity
172
189
180
Length
45.01M
39.5M
37.57M
Wingspan
32.82M
35.7M
34.1M
Fuselage Width
3.35M
3.76M
3.95M
MTOW
72600KG
79010KG
78000KG
Wow, the MD-83 is longer than the B738. Interesting ride this one will be.

No flight of mine is complete without tracking rotations and in case of American Airlines; it is the most difficult job to do so. None the less I tried observing the pattern and this time around guessed it right!  
American Airlines did not allow seat blocking till web-check in opened and I later realized it did not allow that even after web-check in opened!  Limited seats were available till then and all at a cost. I logged in 24 hours before the flight and it had auto assigned seats to my colleague & me,
11E/F – sadly on the right which was a set of three seats but in premium economy. I wanted to be seated in the rear to get a closer view of the engines.
All the American Airlines MD80 series aircraft are a legacy of TWA and so was my aircraft an ex-TWA bird. Glad to have made it on this flight and aircraft, which are being slowly phased out and replaced with more efficient aircraft in similar seating configuration.
Monterrey airport is located about 35kms away from the city and has three terminals, named A,B and C. With A being used by all airlines except AeroMexico which uses B and VivaAerobus which uses C. The two busiest routes as listed on the web are to Mexico City (from where I came) on the domestic leg and Dallas (where I am headed) on the international segment. The airport has two runways with the longer being 9843Feet (Runway 11/29).
Monterrey stay took us to a lot of places to eat – including Curry Sultan which is the only Indian place in the entire Northern part of Mexico. The locals with whom we went liked it and compared the gravy of Butter Chicken to Mole (pronounced MOLEY) which is a delicacy in Mexico. The way the Butter Chicken was made, I agreed that it was closer to Mole. The place was only 70% authentic. Other places included some Italian food chains and Chilis & Apple bees. A visit to a French café – Le Marche was a total flop, since their entire menu has only Mexican Dishes.
Knowing that taxi’s and I don’t get along well, we had requested the hotel for a taxi at 0515 hours, which came late and amidst heavy rains we made our way to the airport. There was a long queue at American Airlines counter and the check-in machine suggested that we need assistance to check-in, which was promptly available. This was to check our visa and confirm.
Baggage was drop was quick, after we made it to the counter and we proceeded for security. There is no dedicated immigration while departing from Mexico, the counterfoil given at the time of entering the country is attached with the boarding pass and kept by the airline. The passport is not stamped, similar to that in USA.
First view

The terminal is small and with not much of a view. Our aircraft had already landed the night before and parked at Gate 7, from where we would do a zone wise boarding. I noticed that there was a flight boarding to Chihuahua and wondered if the dogs are named after this place and yes it indeed was the case!

Emotional to see this bird

Boarding was announced 45 mins before departure time and before that – announcements were done for some Senguptas and Iyers – I wondered how many Indians are suddenly visible around as we head to the USA. My colleague remarked if zone wise boarding has shifted to Name wise boarding.




Weird arrangement of chairs before boarding

We were in Zone 3 and part of last call. The aircraft looked small, but I was expecting this. The yellow lighting was also on the expected lines but travelling in a vintage like MD-83 would mean ignoring all such things and seeing and experiencing most of the aircraft in this short ride. I was overwhelmed with emotions as I entered the aircraft, only to be interrupted by my colleague who quipped that the aircraft looks pretty much like the State Transport bus which has 2 by 3 seating.

Doors were closed at 0838 in what looked like an On Time Departure. This was followed by a lot of noise, and every time a cool air blast for few seconds. The safety demo followed. The Pilot came on PA at 0851 to announce a delay since APU is not starting and they are waiting for the ground unit to come and start. It was getting stuffy inside the plane. Around 0910 the APU started and was followed by a push back at 0917, engine start and taxi to runway 29 from where we made a memorable takeoff. The climb rate and angle was much more than any previous experience and I will remember it for a lifetime. I would compare that to the MD-11F I have seen so many times at Bengaluru, taking off like a rocket with over 30 degrees climb angle.

Settled in my seat. Volaris A320 which joined in next doors and UA ERJ off to Houston

The new safety card denoting the registered name of MD-83, a derivative of S80 and the menu
Soon we stabilized at FL330, as announced by the captain and the quick drink run started. I opted for Water & Orange Juice. All those who complain about Air India Flight Attendants and other airlines in Indian skies, need to definitely be on such American flights, where things were being dumped on to you and next row was serviced. 
The FA also did not allow people to use the loo since it was a short flight. However, I did manage to make a quick dash to the aisle and walk till the back of the plane to see the 4th emergency exit from the tail, the loo, engines and the galley along with the 4 seats between the galley and the toilets.
Since the flight was absolutely full, there was no way to go near the windows and click pictures of the engine. Descent started at 1010 and we landed at 1034 on runway 36L, one of the 7 runways at Dallas – head quarter and hub for American Airlines. DFW is largest airport in terms of area, behind Denver, in USA; third busiest airport in world by movements and ninth busiest in terms of Traffic. It has direct connections to 205 places! The hub and connections were evident since the FA announced a long list of connections and gates for passengers who are onboard.
You know you are in USA when you see the roads like these. A Sun Country Airlines B737 – Rare opportunity see this airline. 

Immigration was relatively quicker with no forms now and baggage was already rolling on the belt when I reached. Customs was fast too. Dallas has limited public transport and in this case where we are not going for car rental, it’s going to be a challenge.
Memorable Picture

                         

Aircraft Details
American Airlines MD-83
Registration: N978TW / MSN: 53628
Delivered to TWA in Oct’99.Switched to AA in 2001.
Currently in old AA livery
Seating Configuration: 16J, 124Y All of which was full in this flight
STD/ATD: 0845/0917
STA/ATA: 1035/1036
On-Time: 3/5
Website &Check-in: 2/5
Check-in & airport experience: 4/5 
Aircraft Cleanliness: 4/5
In-flight experience: 3/5 
Food: N/A
Alighting & Arrival experience: 4/5  


@Flightradar24 flight history of the flight


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As we exited the arrivals on return from Leh  DEL-IXL-DEL, we quickly went to the AVA counter to purchase a laptop bag at Rs.999/- and headed back to Departure level via Domestic transfers. Great work by GMR-DIAL here on having these transfers built in during the design phase. We had to show the ID and ticket to the security on ground floor and again at the first floor!

Seats were already blocked by family, a day in advance, and we got our boarding passes at the empty Jet Airways counters in row C. The security again was a breeze with a lot of channels open and the CISF staff guiding people to avoid bottle necks for any of the channels. Buying a few magazines and catching up on news later, we settled at the food court and ordered from Vangoo – which was part of the Buy Delhi Bye festival which is going on.

Trip Planning & Booking

We had this trip fitted in to visit Amritsar and enjoy the food there in addition to doing the tourist circuit. The choice of Jet on this comparatively crowded market offering a choice of B788 to ATR & Q400 was because of point’s redemption and nothing else.

Booking was a breeze on the website of the airline and redemption seats were available.

Rotation

Since the flight was booked in advance, I was apprehensive  every now and then if Jet Airways would withdraw the flight without much notice. Network changes on the domestic front are now a regular phenomenon.

I tracked the flight for last few days and it looked like the aircraft mostly does Mumbai – Delhi – Amritsar – Delhi – Amritsar – Delhi – Mumbai, a mix of Full Service and BoB-LCC flights with the same aircraft.

This rotation of 9W 370/370/2662/2791/373/373 was maintained on both the days. The aircraft is shifted from International ops to domestic at Mumbai on most of the days.Based on this I tracked the flights, and realized that it would be VT-JFN for us at Gate 37B.

 Flight Experience


VT-JFN arrived at 1155hours operating as 9W 2662 from Amritsar and parked at Gate 37B. We observed that from the area opposite Starbucks and left for the gate, which is a short walk.
METAR: VIDP 200800Z 290009KT 4000 HZ SCT030 BKN090 33/23 Q0999 NOSIG=

Delhi was hot at 33 degrees with a lot of Haze, as was depicted in the METAR of 1230hours
The loads looked light and they indeed were, with just 49 pax on board this new B737-800(WL) with MSN 39062 and sky interiors. Finally Boeing realized that white light is more pleasing to the eyes than yellow lights.

Capt. Vinit along with F/O Karan were in command this flight which was code shared with Alitalia and Etihad and the we were informed that it would take 45 mins to reach Amritsar. Doors closed at 1233 and pushback commenced at 1240 as we taxied to end of runway 29 and made a powerful take off at 1250. The aircraft had a proper partition unlike VT-JGY. BoB service commenced shortly, and we did not buy anything again. 

I observed that Jet Airways is serving water from any supplier and not a standard one. It was Bailley on Delhi – Leh, Go Green on Leh – Delhi and some company named Icy Splash providing water on Delhi – Amritsar! The lack of standardization is a case study!

I spent some time reading Jetwings – which claims that JetAirways flies to Paris Daily from Mumbai, while it flies only 4x weekly.

At 1315 the pilot came on PA informing that Amritsar is reporting clear weather with 32 degree temperature and we expect to arrive by 1345, which we did after a decent landing with a lot of braking on runway 34 of Amritsar.
The route and flight level summary for 9W 2791


Flight Summary

9W 2791 / B737-800(WL) VT-JFH Sky Interior
STD: 1240        ATD: 1240       STA: 1350        ATA: 1345
On-Time: 5/5
Website: 5/5
Check-in & Airport Experience: 5/5
Aircraft cleanliness: 4/5
In-flight experience: 3/5
Food: NIL
Alighting & arrival experience: 4/5

 Amritsar Airport

·     Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport Amritsar is the only international airport in Punjab and as one taxi driver had told me in my last visit, Amritsar is the only city to have International Rail, Airport and Road!
·         The airport is named after the fourth Sikh Guru and founder of Amritsar Guru Ram Das.
·         Runway 16/34 12001Ft long Asphalt runway
·         Existing operators
o   Air India – Delhi & Birmingham via Delhi on 4days
o   Air India Express – Dubai
o   Jet Airways – Delhi and onwards to Mumbai / Chennai
o   Qatar – Doha
o   SpiceJet – Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar
o   Turkmenistan – Ashgabat
o   Uzbekistan – Tashkent
·         Terminal Capacity – 600 each for arrival & departure
·         Traffic
o   April’14: 32390 International pax, 74265 Domestic Pax
o   Jul’13: 24956 International pax, 45768 Domestic Pax

We made our way to the city center where we were put up in Hotel Ramada – not the best of places from service perspective but centrally located. The next 2.5 days were spent in sitting in hotel due to a bandh called by Shiv Sena, visiting the tourist places, including the ceremony at Attari – which has grown in impossible proportions. I have managed to get some unusual photos since I stayed away from the crowds till my better half saw the ceremony from the ladies only stand.

One of the reasons of choosing Amritsar was  food  and we thoroughly enjoyed eating a lot of Amritsar Dal, Prantha and Lassi at Kesar Da Dhaba and Giani Lassiwala, with the other popular option – Brothers Dhaba and Bharawan da Dhaba are overrated.

 

  Food at Amritsar

The return leg was planned on 23rd July with a tight connection to Pune with a terminal transfer. As I woke up in the morning, I noticed that the rotation was running behind schedule and VT-JBG would operate the flight. Delivered in 2008, this aircraft is 6.5yrs old with MSN 35083.

Check-in & Airport Experience
We reached airport at 1235hours & re-checked the flight status, Jet was doing good job at getting the rotation back on time. Post baggage screening, we checked-in at 1245hours. I requested for Priority tagging of baggage, which was promptly done.
The terminal at Amritsar is small, with the check-in counters still having the old style manual FIDS and not Television. Security area looks makeshift and the security allowed taking water along.We settled in a small seating area, and observed the three C-130Js of IAF parked at IAF dispersal across the runway.

FIDS showed that Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan airways will land shortly and I had my eyes set at Flight radar and the runway. Uzbek landed after a lot of circling over Amritsar at 1310 and was being operated by A320, it was followed by Turkmenistan B757 from Ashgabad and VT-ANO operating AI 114 from DEL. 

9W2791 departed Delhi at 1300hours, but again I got no SMS for the alert I had set up. Incoming aircraft arrived at 1355 and was parked at remote . Soon boarding was announced from gate 2 which is on ground floor.





At 1421 ground personnel were asked to deplane and doors closed at 1424. We commenced pushback at 1428 and saw the Uzbek bird parked at extreme right of the dispersal. We taxied till end of runway 16 and took off at 1439 hours. The Captain came on PA informing that we expected touch down at 1540.

VT-JBG was horrible. An aircraft with 12J configuration had Jet international inflight magazine. The IFE was ON and said “Thank you for flying Jet Airways” all the time. The AC vent was as dirty as the seats, windows were dirty.


This was FSC – long time on Jet FSC, but without expectations. Food service started immediately after take off and having seated in row 10 meant we were the first to be served, with an option of Veg or Non veg puff, to go along with Frooti, marble cake and water. The puff was not tasty and dry, but the marble cake was good. 


The crew was horrible – patted on my back with trademark Indian way of “psss” used to calling strangers and told me to have the seat upright. Not at all polite, What more, the seat would not come up! Within no time, the crew was back to have the trays with most of the passengers still having their share of food, including my wife. Even after seeing that people are eating, the crew asked for trays!


 The dirty seats, tray which got stuck, international magazine and the non operative IFE

As I tried putting back the seat tray back into the arm rest – it refused to go in, and was the case for the middle seat on the left as well. Capt.Rahul Gupta announced that we would commence descent at 1500 hours, which was rather quick and that Delhi has 4500MTR visib with 32 degrees temperature and apologizing for the delay. The crew again was very rude as they came to prepare the cabin for landing. I took time to read the in-flight magazine, which had some surprising things!

Jetairways route map showing cconnections to Toronto and Newark via London! Either this change came out in magazine too early or nobody in the company is bothered about what is happening in the airline.

We landed and braked hard yet again before coming to gate 37 in a flight I would call forgettable.


Flight Summary

9W373 / B737-800(WL) VT-JBG
STD: 1420        ATD: 1435       STA: 1525        ATA: 1532
On-Time: 4/5
Website: 5/5
Check-in & Airport Experience: 3/5 (Good on the staff front, but horrible bus)
Aircraft cleanliness: 2/5(Broken trays, Dirty seats, and leather)
In-flight experience: 1/5 (Manner less crew)
Food: 2/5
Alighting & arrival experience: 4/5


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Market leader IndiGo announced the launch of its 40th destination in its network and 35th domestic destination on 10th February. The airline will launch services to Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand from 1st March 2016.

The airline which has been in the news recently for the slide in its stock post announcement of its record breaking results, will launch the station with triple daily flights from its hub in New Delhi, which will extend to Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

The airline has a reputation of launching a new station with multiple flights. The last station it launched was Udaipur which the airline started with double daily flights from Mumbai & New Delhi. Dimapur is the only domestic station in its network which has only single departure a day. The airline launched Dimapur in April 2015 with a single daily flight from Kolkata with connection to New Delhi. On the international front, Muscat & Singapore have single daily departure.

The airline has not been able to strengthen its last two destinations Kozikode (launched in January 2015) and Dimapur (Launched in April 2015). Kozikode has direct flights to Dubai and Mumbai, with one stop to Delhi while Dimapur has direct flight to Kolkata which operates onwards to Delhi.

The three flights involve extension of existing flights.

6E194 BOM0750 – 1000DEL

6E194 DEL1040 – 1140DED

6E679 DED1210 – 1310DEL

6E679 DEL1405 – 1610HYD

6E692 HYD0940 – 1155DEL

6E692 DEL1250 – 1345DED

6E169 DED1415 – 1510DEL

6E169 DEL1600 – 1805BOM

6E146 BLR1325 – 1610DEL

6E146 DEL1640 – 1735DED

6E107 DED1805 – 1900DEL

6E107 DEL1940 – 2230BLR

The Bengaluru – Dehradun flight via Delhi is the same flight number which operates Bengaluru – Lucknow via Delhi and will be discontinued effective 1st March 2016. The airline operates non-stop services on this sector. The Delhi – Lucknow leg operates with a different flight number starting 1st March.

Dehradun is the 78th most populous city in the country handled 378646 passengers in 2014-15 and is expected to be 39th most busiest airport in the country. The airport which has a 7000 feet runway which was extended in 2008. Kingfisher Airlines was the monopoly operator on this sector until late 2009 when Air India Regional and Jet Airways launched flights with ATR42 and ATR72 respectively with services from Delhi. Jet Airways later upgraded few services to B737 and proposes to fly non-stop from Mumbai to Dehradun this summer. Air India has in the past tried connecting Lucknow with Dehradun.

Currently Air India Regional, Jet Airways and Spicejet operate scheduled services to Dehradun. As per data released by DGCA, the Bengaluru – Dehradun sector carried 20 passengers each day each way, while Mumbai – Dehradun had around 40 passengers each day each way. The Delhi – Dehradun sector saw an average of over 500 passengers each day each way. The Mumbai and Bengaluru statistics show only direct flights thus leaving out the number of connecting passengers.

Dehradun will see a spike in passenger number owning to additional availability of seats putting pressure on fares. The airline could also add more flights to Dehradun going forward with possible connections from Kolkata or Chennai.

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Background

A cross country holiday was being planned and that involved few flights & train journeys. The first of which was till Coimbatore with either non-stop flights from Mumbai or one-stop ones from Pune.

Website Experience – Booking & Web Check-in

The tickets were redemption of JP Miles from two different accounts and the online redemption process was smooth, efficient and hassle free. Seat selection was allowed and tickets emailed in no time.

There were a few options on this sector, including one by IndiGo via Chennai and three by Jet Airways, early morning departure via Bengaluru, evening via Chennai and Afternoon via Bengaluru which we choose.

Rotation

The airline has increased its utilization many folds with swaps at metros for engineering requirements and evening departures to Gulf sectors. The Pune – Bengaluru flight operates after arrival from Kolkata via Mumbai. On the day of departure there was an additional flight being operated on Mumbai – Pune – Bengaluru with Jetlite aircraft.

Airport Experience

Pune continues to be my favorite airport for its small size and speed. Typically 10 mins or less from the car to Security Hold Area. The expansion work is now over, yet the terminal is not sufficient for the city of this size.

Counter Experience

The experience was pleasant, with an efficient & jovial gentleman checking the printout of boarding pass which we already had and tagging out luggage, which were a few grams overweight.

Security

Owing to heightened security measures which involved removal of shoes, the security was relatively slow but efficient. The Security Hold Area was congested as ever with multiple flights supposed to land at 1030, when the airport opens for civilian movement. Over 7 flights depart between 1100 and 1125 and the airport just does not have as many chairs or standing area due to the small terminal. These include 3 IndiGo, 2 Jet Airways, 2 Spicejet and one each of Air India and Go Air.

Boarding

Our aircraft landed on time from Mumbai and parked at Bay#3. Without any announcements Jet Airways started the boarding after a while. As we made our way in the line, some announcements were made.

Was aghast to see so many people click photographs of the apron and selfies, at a sensitive airport like Pune where photography is banned and a board mentioning this has been put up at various locations.

Aircraft Impression

The initial impression was good with clean seats but dirty windows. Magazine placed neatly and the seat belt properly kept on the seat.

In-Flight Experience – Food & Service

Doors closed late, despite the on-time arrival from previous sector. We eventually pushed back at 1140 hours and taxied to runway 28. An HS748 took off before us as we lined up on runway 28 and took off in westerly direction at 1150 to bank left and set course to Bengaluru. Capt. D.K. Chowdhary was in command.

Service started soon thereafter and the option we choose comprised of Egg & Noodle puff with average taste and moist and tasty slice of cake. The imli was around as well. Tea/Coffee services post that in which the crew served Tea when asked for coffee to me and the reverse to the neighbor.

Meal Service on Pune-Bengaluru sector

Sighted an airfield under construction and that looks like Davanegere airport under construction going by when it was spotted.

The First Officer announced on PA that we were cruising at 39000 feet and the flying time to Bengaluru would be 1 hour and 10 minutes. We started our descent about 30 minutes to touchdown and landed on runway 09 on-time at 1255 hours docking to an aerobridge.

Transfer Experience

The transfer boards near the arrival gate took us to a transfer desk on the ground floor where the CISF looked clueless. When informed that we do have our boarding pass, they started the work. Lady staff was missing, which meant more time for the wife to clear the security as the ladies line waited for CISF lady staff to appear.

Two gentlemen of CISF were not able to manage the whole screening process and a crowd of 8 became too much to handle for them.

B737-700, not many in India. This one belongs to Spicejet

Tribute to JRD Tata. Great gesture from Air Asia India

The smallest airline in India – Air Pegasus

BIAL support staff was around and strangely did nothing to help the whole process. Surely some improvement needed here from BIAL.

Boarding

As we made our way to the first floor, the flight was already boarding and from the ground floor. The bus took us to Bay#26, where VT-JCK was already filling up fast. We boarded at 1335 for a 1345 departure. Other passengers seemed to have boarded a long time ago since many were asking the Flight Attendants as to why we continue to wait. The reason for the wait was more connecting passengers.

This wait was very uncomfortable since the aircraft did not have the any air circulation and it was very hot inside.

Eventually doors closed and we commenced pushback at 1350 hours and taxied to runway 09.

The Captain came on PA post take off to inform that we would make it on-time at Coimbatore and would cruise at 16000 feet. Before landing there could be some turbulence.

Service & Food

Meal service started soon and on offer was a paneer or chicken puff, which came in a box along with Imli and a moist muffin. Wish the airline had offered Juice instead of muffin or in addition, since the sector does not have tea / coffee service and the whole food option is too dry.

Veg. Meal

Non-Veg Meal

Arrival Experience

We commenced a short descent into Coimbatore and saw the city and also the airport. We landed on runway 05 and taxied to the bay where the busses were already waiting for the passengers. Luggage followed soon after. The airport is small, clean and sufficient for the city by the looks of it.

Overall Rating & Comments

Booking – 5/5 (Effortless)

Ground Experience – 4/5 (Some improvements required at boarding)

In-Flight Experience – 3/5 (Improvement in food options & IFE/WiFi)

On-Time Performance – 4/5

Will I choose Jet Airways again? The airline is rapidly changing and my acceptance is going up than what it was before

9W2842 (B737-800 with Winglets)

VT-JFA MSN: 38029

Delivered: July 2012

9W 2325 (ATR 72-500)

VT-JCK MSN: 775

Delivered: December 2007

9W2842

STD: 1125 ATD: 1140

STA: 1255 ATA: 1255

9W2325

STD: 1345 ATD: 1350

STA: 1445 ATA: 1450

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Indian low cost carrier and market leader IndiGo is adding flights to its network effective January 2016. This will be the airlines 99th and 100th active aircraft in fleet. The airline will launch two rotations in quick succession, with one aircraft being based in Bengaluru (BLR) and another in Hyderabad (HYD). Some of the flights have been open for sale for the last few weeks.

The airlines 99th rotation will be effective 7th January 2016 and will be the 18th aircraft to be based in Bengaluru, its second largest base behind national capital and its hub of New Delhi.

The aircraft will operate 8 flights a day with a utilization of 13 hours and 30 minutes.

6E288 BLR0545 – 0715VTZ D

6E287 VTZ0745 – 0920BLR D

6E313 BLR0955 – 1210AMD D

6E314 AMD1240 – 1445BLR D

6E324 BLR1520 – 1715BBI D

6E324 BBI1745 – 1845CCU D

6E343 CCU1915 – 2020BBI D

6E343 BBI2050 – 2255BLR D

The airline will base its 100th active aircraft in Hyderabad. This will be the airlines 9th aircraft in Hyderabad. All flights do not start on the same day and are progressively introduced from 7th January 2016 to 15th January 2016.

6E428 HYD0445 – 0605BOM D

6E461 BOM0640 – 0800HYD D

6E365 HYD0830 – 0940MAA D

6E365 MAA1020 – 1140TRV D

6E352 TRV1210 – 1525DEL D

6E359 DEL1605 – 1920TRV D

6E455 TRV1950 – 2110MAA D

6E455 MAA2140 – 2250HYD D

The airline has also opened reservation for flights to Kolkata, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad from Delhi which are their 9th, 12th and 6th daily respectively and additional flights on Hyderabad – Mumbai – Hyderabad and Bengaluru – Kolkata – Bengaluru sectors.

The airline will have monopoly on Delhi – Trivandrum – Delhi sector which will be second longest flight in India, behind the bi-weekly Air India regional Port Blair – Delhi on CRJ700. The airline operates one stops to Delhi, one via Kochi and another via Mumbai.

Air Asia India, the Bengaluru based low cost carrier and subsidiary of Air Asia already operates double daily flights on the Bengaluru – Vizag sector with A320. With the new flights, IndiGo will match capacity of Air Asia India. Air Costa is the other operator on the route which operates a daily flight.

On the Bengaluru – Ahmedabad route as well as the Kolkata – Bhubaneswar sector the airline would have three frequencies each. While Air Costa has one flight a day on Bengaluru – Ahmedabad sector, Go Air has one flight on the Bhubaneswar – Kolkata sector.

IndiGo will have 6 flights between Hyderabad and Chennai, a sector which does not see any flights from Jet Airways.

VT-IDO (MSN 2275) manufactured in 2004 landed in New Delhi on wee hours on 14th December 2015. The aircraft has seen service with China Southern, Cyprus Airways, Avion Express and Vueling. The 100th aircraft landed on 24th December 2015 and is registered VT-IDR (MSN 2359). This aircraft has been manufactured in 2006 as well and has seen service with Norwind Airways.

The airline is expected to launch more stations when the Airbus A320NEO, 430 of which are on order starts arriving. The delivery of the Airbus A320NEO has been delayed due to minor issues to its engine as reported by press.

Related Post

IndiGo’s fleet planning – the missing 30

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