Unexpectedly - Indigo from Bangalore to Kochi

This was another trip planned at a very short notice. I had no intentions of going home that weekend. But the situations changed rapidly as the weekend approached. I had two important personal work to finish - one in my hometown and one in Mangalore. I initially toyed the idea of flying in to Mangalore - but the exhorbitant prices on that sector made me replan my journey. I was badly homesick - it had been close to three months since I went home, and decided to make a quick hop home as well. I was taking offs on Monday and Tuesday, and had an important meeting on Saturday in office. I thought it would be a risk to book for Saturday evening, and decided to fly out on Sunday morning. I initially toyed the idea of taking a morning flight - but Saturday turned out very hectic and I badly wanted to sleep for sometime. On Saturday evening, I decided to fly by Indigo, the 1255hrs flight. Booking was made through my Credit Card issuer's site, and I immediately checked in online in order to get the seat of my choice.

July 26, 2015:
I had a lazy start to the day - woke up a bit late, then went about lazily reading the entire newspaper and having a rather filling breakfast. It was almost 0930 by the time I was ready to leave. I had initially planned to take a bus to the airport, but then made up my mind to call a taxi instead. I was using the services of a cab aggregator - no less than 3 drivers refused to accept the ride - the fourth driver turned up without any questions. That was seriously a good driver - he drove at very sane speeds, and still landed up at the airport in around 55 minutes (covering 47 kilometres) through Bangalore city! I was at the airport by 1135hrs. The entry to the terminal was unusually crowded - certain gates were absolutely empty, while people mobbed certain gates. I got in to the terminal through one of the empty gates.
The first departure gate - look at the crowd
The remaining gates...
The FIDS... my flight is on time as per this board..
I was in for quite a surprise when I saw that the IndiGo check-in counters were deserted - infact, the "express baggage drop" counters had longer queues than the regular check-in counters! The agent at the check-in desk said my flight would be 10 minutes delayed - that was okay! I got my boarding pass by 1139. I wanted to rearrange my bag a bit, and hence sat down at the waiting area before security check. While waiting there, I receive a message from IndiGo - a bombshell to be more precise - my flight was rescheduled to 1420hrs! A good 85 minute delay! This was the worst thing to happen - I stand to lose the entire day now! A 1420 departure means I reach home only by 1730hrs! Being on time is a wonderful thing - my foot! Leaving the feelings aside - the reschedule was due to "late arrival of incoming aircraft" and Runway closure at Kochi airport.
Deserted check-in counters of IndiGo..
The boarding pass..
On my way to security...
Deserted security check...
Updated FIDS - now my flight is late..
I went to security check - the area was absolutely deserted - there was no queue at all. However, the cops too were in a relaxed mood, and it took some time to get my bag scanned. I cleared security and headed to the security hold by around 1205hrs. By now, the FIDS starting showing my flight to be "delayed" and the ETA was put at 1420hrs. I decided to check out if lunch was ready at Malgudi - they said they'd open for lunch only at 1230. I headed straight to the waiting area near Gate #1. That area gives a marvellous view of the apron and the taxiway used by aircrafts to exit the runway after landing on #27. I spent considerable time watching aircrafts there - the turboprop corner was busy as hell - ATRs and Dash8s coming one after the other. I headed for lunch sometime around 1245. Malgudi Tiffin Centre, now MTC, is a good choice for people to have some good food.
The Prop corner!!
Lunch @ MTC...
The food was awesome - a very soft Malabar parotta (note the point), a very limited quantity of rice, with a vegetable gravy, sambhar, a curd based curry, a dry vegetable, a sweet, curd, rasam, a fritter and some fried crispies. The meal was good - not really value for money, in my opinion, though. After food, I headed back to the waiting area near Gate #1. By now, I could see VT-INV (my aircraft) parked far away in the apron. Sometime around 1330, I headed towards Gate 10. Gate 10 is on the lower level - in fact, majority of the domestic gates are on the lower level. Gates 10-14, 19 and 20 are located below the international area. The gate area was crowded, but there were lots of empty chairs around Gate 11. The waiting passengers were largely composed of families - especially with small kids. I felt really bad for them - the reschedule meant all the kids were getting restless, many of them missing their afternoon nap, or timely lunch.
The airport was mostly deserted...
Way to my gate.. ahead of the partition lies international departures..
Date of Journey: July 26, 2015
Flight No: 6E-407 || Seat: 08F
Aircraft type: Airbus 320-200 || Regn: VT-INV
Sector: BLR-COK
STD: 1255hrs, ATD: 1408hrs
STA: 1355hrs, ATA: 1517hrs
The reaction to the first boarding call...
In the boarding queue...
Lots of passengers were restlessly walking up and down. The first boarding call was made at 1345hrs - by the time the agent finished calling for passengers, a long queue of restless passengers was ready. I remained seated till the queue shortened. I got into the second bus at 1352. Interestingly, IndiGo displays the flight number and destination on their buses - its a reassurance to passengers. The bus headed to the aircraft only when it was packed. The aircraft was parked far in the apron - towards the end of the passenger area. We got to the aircraft by 1357hrs. This was my first experience with the IndiGo Ramp - the ramp really made boarding the aircraft very easy. I applaud IndiGo for this innovative thinking. I got into the aircraft - VT-INV, Airbus A320-200 (cn 3618) delivered to IndiGo in September 2008 - at 1359hrs.
The bus that got me to VT-INV..
VT-INV... my ride to Kochi..
Our neighbours.. thats Air Pegasus' VT-APA at the front..
Right before getting in..
There was one more bus of passengers to board. Boarding was completed at 1405hrs, and doors were armed at 1407hrs. Now began the flurry of announcements - starting with Welcome to IndiGo, then their bragging about their On-time performance (seriously??), then some more. The leading lady, Aita, introduced the deck and cabin crew along with their native place. In the deck were Capt Himanshu and Capt Abhishek Jain, while Aita was joined by Barnali, Komal and one more female attendant, whose name I couldn't get. Safety demonstations began right after the flurry of announcements. We were pushed back at 1408hrs. It took some time before taxi began - we had to wait for the "follow me" vehicle to escort us. Ahead of us was an Air Costa E-190 (heading to Jaipur). We started taxi at 1415 - there was no waiting, and we turned directly on to Rwy27 at 1420hrs. We were airborne at 1422 hrs - we took off straight to the west, and then turned to south west soon after climbing up. I was on an identification spree - and I was successful spotting my office campus up from air.
Taxiing to Rwy 27 @ Bangalore..
Lifting off from Bangalore...
Somewhere en-route...
Seatbelt sign was turned off at 1432hrs and the trolleys starting rolling out. Since the flight was badly delayed, most people had finished their food from the airport and hardly anybody bought things online. I restricted myself to a glass of water. There was heavy cloud cover for most of the time - and hence there was no spotting outside as well! IndiGo doesn't provide any magazines - all they have is a catalogue on buy-on-board items, called Hello 6E. The catalogue did have some interesting details about IndiGo, including a fair bit of bragging about their on time performance and their mega orders for A320s. The Buy-on-board service was folded up real quick. As the clock ticked closer to 1500, I could see the western coast below - a marvellous scene. I knew we were holding over till the runway opens in Kochi. We were flying over my hometown at this moment - I was again busy trying to identify landmarks below. Landing announcement was made at 1503hrs, and we turned back towards Kochi. What was irritating here was the constant announcements bragging about their commitment to "being on time", when we were heavily delayed already. We turned around, and headed towards the airport - then turned around once again to align to Rwy27 of Kochi. We finally touched down at 1515hrs, and reached our parking stand by 1517hrs.
Hello 6E - The on-board BoB catalogue..
Approaching the western coast..
On the finals to Kochi...
Welcome to Kochi!!
Another Indigo flight had landed right before us (from Mumbai), and a Jet Airways B738 came right behind us (from Mumbai, again). I was out of the aircraft at 1523hrs. Since we parked right in front of the terminal, hence no tarmac coaches were provided. I was shocked at the crowd inside the terminal as I got in - three aircrafts had landed behind each other, and all of them had fairly good loads. The arrival area of the terminal isn't big enough to handle so many movements - and to make things worse, baggage of both the Indigo flights were put on the same belt. It was a bad rush to collect baggage - I remained away till the "Last Bag" signs appeared for the Mumbai flight. Thankfully, my bag was among the first to come among the Bangalore flight baggage. I got my bag at 1531hrs and got out of the airport by 1532 hrs - back into the hot and humid God's own country after almost three months!
After reaching Kochi..
This is what happens when three aircrafts land together..
Epilogue: I am not impressed! An 85-minute delay, and no advance information to passengers. Passengers struck at the terminal during noon hours - no courtesy, not even a word of regret. The airline keeps bragging about on time performance and their commitment to "being on-time" - but absolutely silent and regret free about keeping their passengers waiting for a long time, and then bragging about their so-called commitment. The flight attendants lacked the warmth in service - frowning on passengers who don't buy anything - the very lack of a smile was irritating. The leading lady did her job efficiently, and did show her expertise when dealing with passengers - the other three weren't great.Overall a flight I wouldn't want to remember for long.
Tracking of my flight from Flightradar24.
Check-in: 5/5 (used on-line check in, and got my boarding pass at the check-in counter)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (the interiors were clean)
Punctuality: 0/5 (To hell with the commitment of being on time)
Crew: 3.5/5 (A smile while dealing with passengers will be great)
Catering: Did not use
Overall: 3.5/5 (Okay - I am being a bit generous)