BLR to COK by 9W ATR once more....

Sometime towards the end of October. I was busy browsing travel websites in the hunt for air-tickets - Flying to Kochi from Bangalore meant a lot of time savings for me, and this was getting on me. Tickets for a Friday flight in November showed up for somewhere around 2.4K on a ticketing portal - and the portal was offering a cashback coupon for bookings using credit cards issued by an particular bank. I thought of checking out how much does the cashback work out to, and hit the book button - the website turned up the "Please wait while we reconfirm the fares and availability" message. The next page sprung up a surprise for me - the message there read, "The fare for your booking has been reduced". And, I got a ticket for Rs. 899!

Date of Journey: November 14, 2014
Flight No: 9W-2655 || Seat: 15A
Aircraft type: ATR 72-500 || Regn: VT-JCN
STD: 1710hrs, ATD: 1652hrs
STA: 1840hrs, ATA: 1811hrs

I left office a bit late - It was already 3pm by the time I reached out of office. I had to take an auto to the next bus stop and then change a bus to get an Airport bus. As my wait for a bus towards Hebbal got longer, I got a bit uneasy and worried. I was at Hebbal by around 1520hrs. It was drizzling and there was no shelter at the bus stop. An Airport bus turned up at around 1530hrs, and the bus dropped me at the Airport sometime around 1555hrs. One thing I noticed while approaching the airport was that I did not notice any takeoffs. As we neared the Airport, I noticed an AirIndia aircraft taking off from Rwy09. I was very excited by now - taking off from Rwy09 would be a first for me.

I got off the bus and rushed to the terminal - being a Friday evening, the terminal was fairly crowded. I wanted a print out of my boarding pass - so headed straight to a self check-in kiosk - but for some reason, it did not print my pass, nor did it read the code on the mBoarding pass. I headed straight to the Jet Aiways check-in counters - the regular counters had long queues, but there were two counters dedicated to passengers with hand baggage only - headed to one of them, and got a boarding pass issued. The lady at the counter informed me that boarding would be from Gate 5, and there would be no announcements/calls for boarding, while adding that the boarding time was 1625hrs. I thanked her and headed to security check. This area was even more crowded - for some reason, the Security guys at Bengaluru are quite slow and behave very awkwardly at times.

The guarded wanted me to remove the umbrella from my bag and re-scan it - it ate some 5 minutes of my time. After security check, I remembered that I was running short of cash and headed to an ATM in the security hold area. I wanted to grab something to eat, but nothing at the eateries caught my attention - I decided to try out SkyCafe this time. Took the elevator down to the lower level where Gate 5 is located. There are three departure gates at the lower level - Gates 4-6. All of them use buses to ferry passengers to the aircraft. Since the time was already closer to 1625hrs, I decided to remain around the gate itself. Exactly at 1625, the agent at the gate called for passengers flying to Kochi. Since I was standing close to the counter, I decided to be the first to get on to the bus - the bus had just come - got in an picked a seat on the airside - a SpiceJet B737 and a Go Air A320 were boarding. Just as the bus was about to move, an Air India A320 came in. The bus ride was short - the aircraft was actually visible from the boarding gate. We were dropped outside the aircraft, and I was the last to get off the bus.
The aircraft: VT-JCM (Photo Courtesy: Sriram Hariharan @ JetPhotos.net)
VT-JCM, an ATR 72-500 delivered in 2008, in the Jet Airways livery, with the "Konnect" Stickering was flying me to Kochi (as 9W-2655) that day. I joined the queue and was inside the aircraft by 1635 or so. The first thing I noticed after being seated was that my window was fogged up - I hoped it would clear up after taking off. We were full today, and boarding was taking quite some time. Around 4 buses came in with passengers for our flight - the last bus had just 3 passengers, though. Boarding completed at 1642hrs. In the meantime, SpiceJet's VT-SPU was parked next to us, and was flying as SG246 to Kochi. We were pushed off at 1652 hrs. The security demo started soon after. In command was Captain Vismay and First Officer Praful, while Savitha and Mahesh were taking care of the passengers. We started taxiing at 1657, and finally took off from Rwy09 at 1703hrs. We took off towards the east, and then turned around and took the course towards Kochi. Buy-on-board service commenced soon - this time I was eager to try something.
One snap, I managed to take from the badly fogged up windows. It was cloudy through the journey.
I opted for a Malai Paneer Sandwich and some water - the Sandwich was average, and nothing great to talk about. As the service was on, the seatbelt sign came on, and an announcement was made that we were expected turbulence and all passengers were requested to be seated. It was quite cloudy outside and the aircraft shivered as we passed through them. My window was still fogged and I couldn't really enjoy the scene outside - but it was very beautiful. On the right side of the aircraft, the sun was slowly setting and the golden rays made for a beutiful scene - I really cursed myself for not selecting a seat on the right side, and for being stuck up with a fogged window. The captain came online and announced that the weather in Kochi was bad - we were expected to land amid mild showers. He announced that we should be in Kochi in another 20 minutes. As we started descending, the cloud cover slowly reduced, and Kochi Airport was visible in entirety by around 1757hrs - and landing was announced at the very moment. While we were overflying the airport, an aircraft was on its short-finals, about to land on Rwy27. After overflying the airport, we headed east once again, and turned around to line up with the approach path. We finally touched down on Rwy27 at 1808hrs.

The runway was still wet from heavy rains a few hours ago. We taxied to the apron and finally parked right next to VT-SPU (which was at BLR when we were taking off) at 1811hrs. Quite unusually, I too hurried to get off the aircraft this time. Buses were waiting outside the aircraft to ferry us to the terminal. I was out of the airport by 1820hrs. Unfortunately for me, the bus towards the city was already gone - but fortunately got an auto-rickshaw which dropped me at the highway. I was too tired to travel standing, and hence waited to get a bus which had empty seats and did the same for the next two bus changes - I was finally at home by 2030hrs.

Ratings:
Check-in: 5/5 (Not really relevant, since I had web checked in)
Cleanliness: 5/5
Punctuality: 5/5
Crew: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Comments

Great review...
But please travel by bus next time as bus reviews are much more exciting than the flight ones.. (Hope you haven't given up bus journeys for good :) :) )

Popular posts from this blog

First ride on Airavat Diamond Class: Bangalore to Thrissur

The Bangalore "Satellite" bus station...