While contemplating going for the conference, the first thing I did was book the return ticket. I had to return on a Sunday, and hence I had to get a ticket well in advance. I decided to fly a "day" flight - I mean one that would land in Bangalore before it was dark. I had two options - IndiGo and Jet. The latter was cheaper, plus the fun of flying my favorite aircraft, the ATR 72! I booked through the Jet Airways website itself - and the e-ticket popped up in my inbox in no time. I checked in the previous evening, and bagged Seq/1 as well!
August 09, 2015:
I was staying at my mom's place in Alappuzha, some 100kms away from the airport. My flight was at 1605hrs, and we (Me and my parents) decided to leave home sometime around 1000hrs - a good 6 hrs before my flight. They (my parents) were going to my hometown, while I was to head straight to the airport. I wanted my parents to reach home before it was evening, and before crowd builds up. I travelled with them till Ernakulam (Vyttila, to be specific), where I got off and changed to a bus going to the airport, while my parents continued to the city and took a bus to my hometown. (I intend to write about this bus ride separately).
|Cochin International Airport..|
|Anna Cafe.. the Food Court.|
|The way to reach Domestic Terminal, from International..|
I reached the airport sometime around 1330hrs - I had a small get together with some friends there. The meet was very short, and we parted ways at around 1400hrs. I was already hungry by this time, and badly wanted to have my lunch. I headed straight to Anna Cafe - located between the International and Domestic Terminals. The menu did not look elaborate - and I chose to have lunch. It was a typical no-frills
Kerala meal, consisting of rice, a gravy, a vegetable curry, a dry vegetable, curd, a chutney and pickle. The meal wasn't very filling, and did not cost a lot as well. At Rs. 100, it was probably the cheapest meal I've had an at airport. The restaurant seemed patronised by a lot of airport staff as well.
|That is Domestic departures.. look at the crowd.|
|The terminal building...|
|The terminal, once again..|
I got into the domestic terminal sometime around 1430hrs. For some reason, the terminal was heavily crowded - there was a long queue for baggage screening. Collecting the baggage after screening was also messy - lots of people crowded around the receiving area. The Check-in counters were also crowded - so crowded that the agents decided to split it by flight. A counter was dedicated to my flight (9W2661). I tried getting to that counter - but a JetKid came in between and asked me not to cut the queue - excuse me! There was nobody at the counter! So where is the queue?? She apologised when I questioned, and let me approach the counter. I checked in my bag, and got my boarding pass by 1450hrs - still an hour and 15 minutes to go for my flight. As she finished my check-in, the agent started calling out for more Bangalore passengers. With all the mess at check-in, I was sure that security check wouldn't me a cake walk.
|This side of the terminal was empty..|
|The Jet Airways Check-in counter..|
|My Boarding pass..|
There was a very long queue at security check - there were a few confused foreigners who had no idea of what to do. The CISF guards helped them greatly in getting through the process. With the just two scanning machines, it took a long time to finish security, and I got into security check by around 1500hrs. While going through security check, I understood that there were a lot of international connecting passengers, who were flying out from Kochi on Jet Airways - either on the Bangalore flight, or a Mumbai flight that leaves after us. And then there was on Indigo Flight to Delhi after us as well. That was three flights departing in a 35 minute interval. The security hold was crowded - thankfully, an Indigo flight was boarding already - Hadn't that been the case, the crowd would've been much higher.
|A model of the new International Terminal that is coming up at Kochi..|
|The FIDS. Thats my fight, second from top.|
Date of Journey: August 09, 2015
|The Security hold.. This is quite crowded by Kochi's standards..|
9W-2661 || Seat:
ATR 72-500 || Regn:
I headed towards my favorite seats - near the Apron - near a defunct boarding gate. I left my phone to charge and browsed on the free WiFi for some time. A few minutes after I sat down, the aircraft for my flight came in (1518hrs). The aircraft was on the ground a good 47 minutes before its scheduled return departure - this meant we'd surely have an on-time, or a before-time departure. Boarding was called at 1532hrs - Kochi always has seat number wise boarding - passengers in rows 1-9 were called first. I was among the first to get in - I was in seat #4F. I got into the bus and sat on the airside - in the mean time, VT-JGK taxi'd in to the stand nearest to the terminal. This aircraft will fly to Mumbai afterwards. The bus got moving as soon as the seats were occupied. We were dropped near the aircraft a few minutes before 1540hrs.
|Thats my aircraft.. seen from the tarmac coach..|
|Getting into VT-JCM..|
It was VT-JCM, an ATR 72-500 delivered to Jet Airways in June 2008. This was my second flight in the same aircraft (the last
being in November 2014). I got into the aircraft by 1540hrs - it was hot, really hot inside the aircraft. It took sometime before I could reach my seat - #4F. Although the aircraft was clean, the seats weren't really well maintained. The seat pockets were torn, and needed some urgent attention. I was sitting right next to the massive Hamilton 568F propellers. Like everytime, the window was awfully dirty this time as well. Boarding was completed by 1547hrs, and door was armed at 1549hrs. The flight wasn't full - there were a few empty seats around. The seat next to me - #4D was empty. We were pushed back at 1551hrs - a good 14 minutes before time.
In the deck were Capt Joshua and Capt Nikhil, while Dimpi and Sindhuja took care of us in the cabin. Soon after pushback, the security demonstration began. Around the same time, the Pratt & Whitney 127F came alive - and we were all set to taxi to the runway. We started taxi at 1554hrs - it was a very long taxi to the holding point of Rwy27. We reached there at 1559hrs. The captain came on the PA now, and informed that we are waiting for an aircraft to land, and we'd be airborne in a couple of minutes. Just as he finished saying this, an IndiGo A320 touched down, and we were cleared to enter the active runway. We were finally airborne at 1602hrs. We took off to the West, then turned around a couple of times to head North-east. It was a beautiful takeoff - I could see the airport again soon after takeoff.
|Lifting off from Kochi..|
|Thats Kochi Airport seen again, after takeoff..|
The Seatbelt sign was turned off at 1610hrs. It was a bit cloudy outside, and there wasn't much to see outside. I was busy with JetWings - I had identified a few articles to read on my inbound flight itself. Sindhuja came around with the trolley soon. A few passengers in the front row refused food - but they asked for, when they were told its free! The trolley came close - and I got my snack box with a bottle of water. Quite unusually, the FA informed what it contained - she said its a coleslaw sandwich while handing over. The snack box contained a Coleslaw sandwich, and a small pack of KitKat chocolate along with the Imli (Tamarind) candy. The sandwich was very soft and very tasty - I really liked it. The KitKat was a let down - I'd have preferred having a slice of cake or a muffin instead. All said, the snack was filling.
|The Snack box - thats the Coleslaw sandwich, and KitKat chocolate.|
|The Imli candy..|
The seatbelt signs came back, and landing was announced at 1644hrs. It was still cloudy outside, and I couldn't even guess where we were. As we came closer to Bangalore, the clouds got darker - at one point, I felt we are going to have a tough time landing. The captain came on the PA, and announced that we were fourth in the queue for landing, and we were expected to touch down just past 1700hrs. I could see it was raining a few kms away from the airport. I had the fears of having to hold or divert if it rains heavily. We finally touched down on Rwy27, exactly at 1700hrs. We taxi'd to the airport very soon, crossing VT-JCN on the way. We finally parked at 1705hrs. The FA announced that passengers continuing to Chennai, on 9W2738 were asked to remain seated in the aircraft. I was the last to alight from the aircraft - I did not see anyone remaining in the aircraft. The coach driver desperately wanted me to get on board, so that we he could head to the terminal. Although my bus was the second to leave from the aircraft, we were the first to reach the terminal - at 1715hrs.
|Shortly before landing... look at the cloud cover..|
|VT-JCM @ Bangalore..|
Our Baggage was to come on Belt #6. Belt #6 is a very unique belt - its located inside a glass partition - which means they could make it a belt for international arrivals if needed, and make it domestic when needed. It took quite a lot of time for bags to start appearing - in fact, people were getting a bit restless, and the Jet Airways baggage agent was also getting nervous - he was making a few enquiries on his radio. The first bag came out at 1725hrs - and that was mine! Quite excited, I grabbed it, and just rushed out of the airport. I got into a bus from the airport - and just seconds later started a very heavy downpour. I am sure that rain would've affected operations.
That was a good flight - good food this time, punctual and before time at either ends. The aircraft was clean, but showed lack of seat maintenance. I can't have enough of flying ATRs.. hope to have another one soon.
Check-in: 5/5 (used on-line check in, and got my boarding pass at the check-in counter)
Cleanliness: 4/5 (the interiors were clean, but seat pockets were torn)
Punctuality: 5/5 (Before time, at both ends)
Crew: 5/5 (Awesome service!)
Catering: 5/5 (Great food)