Pune to BLR: on a Niner Whisky B738

I hadn't flown a Jet Airways B738 anytime before this trip. I had to opt for a Monday morning flight since Sunday evening flights were selling at astronomical rates. It turned cheaper to stay overnight at Pune and take a Monday morning flight instead. The cheapest flight of the day was an IndiGo, and the next was a Jet Airways - the fare difference being under Rs. 300! It made sense to pick Jet over IndiGo - since I'd anyway spend that difference in another way. Ticketing was done on the Jet Airways website itself, and the eticket popped up in my mailbox within minutes.

October 05, 2015:
I was wary of Pune's traffic and hence opted to leave my hotel early. I was also wary about the last minute availability of cabs in Pune (my previous experience was scary). I prebooked a cab the previous night itself, and opted for a 0900hrs pickup. The cab arrived perfectly on time, but checkout from hotel took longer than expected. We started off from there around 0905hrs. As expected, the traffic on the way was heavy - it was complete standstill at some places. Despite all, we reached the airport by 0945hrs. I got into the airport quickly, and completed check-in by 0948hrs. I cleared security by 0951hrs. The airport looked quite deserted, and I had almost two hours to go for my flight. Pune is a very dry airport - there was no activity in the airport at all. But my opinion changed rapidly in the time that came after.
My Boarding pass..
I was continuously tracking the incoming aircraft. The aircraft would fly in from Kolkata to Pune, via Mumbai, before flying as 9W2842 to Bangalore. I was in for another Boeing Sky Interior aircraft again this time! It would be Juliet Foxtrot Alpha flying me to Bangalore today! The aircraft was sitting in Mumbai at that time. I was getting bored to the core, as the clock crawled slowly. I was hooked to FR24 all the time, and spotted no less than three aircrafts holding around Pune! The runway was closed due to air force operations through the period. As I was looking at the various aircrafts roaming around Pune, I find one of them entering finals. In the meantime, the IndiGo gate comes alive and a gate agent begins calling boarding for Nagpur/Delhi. In no time, a long line was formed, but they hadn't begun letting passengers.
Snapshots from FR24 tracking the incoming aircraft..
The first aircraft to come was IndiGo A320, VT-INS (1027hrs). As the aircraft taxi'd into the apron, the IndiGo agent's radio crackled INS operating One Three Four. I was expecting this rotation to go to COK, since that is the rotation normally. Soon after, VT-IED came in (1036hrs) - this was to head to BLR/COK instead. By now, boarding for both flights were in progress. Boarding for NAG/DEL was almost one. By the time passengers from the incoming sector deplaned, the passengers for the next sector were ready to board. The apron got busy by now - two IndiGos were already here, soon a SpiceJet B738 (VT-SGH) came in. Soon VT-INS was pushed back, and around the same time, VT-IEM came in. The apron was kept busy all the while with continuous streams of arrivals and departures.
The security hold area..
FIDS..
The aircraft that would work my flight was already holding over Pune. The steady stream of arrivals continued. In the meantime, the gate agent announced a delay in departure due to technical reasons, and our ETD was now revised to 1145hrs. A long line of impatient passengers had already formed, and quite a lot of them were mobbing the counter already. The aircraft finally landed at 1116hrs. As soon as the aircraft came to the apron, they began boarding for my flight. I decided to remain till the queue reached where I was. In the meantime, another Jet Airways aircraft (VT-JGR) came in. My turn to board came at 1133hrs - it was a very long walk from the waiting area to the aircraft. One has to walk a long way from the gate to an escalator to head to the lower level, and then walk out to the apron to reach the aircraft. There was a mix up of passengers in the apron - passengers were deplaning still from VT-JGR, while passengers boarding for my flight were crossing each other on the apron.
Boarding VT-JFA
Date of Journey: October 04, 2015
Flight No: 9W2842 || Seat: 35F
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-800 (WL) || Regn: VT-JFA
Sector: PNQ-BLR
STD: 1125hrs, ATD: 1144hrs
STA: 1255hrs, ATA: 1312hrs

The ground staff at the aircraft had to check every boarding pass thoroughly before letting passengers in. I boarded from the rear stairs, and got into the aircraft by 1141hrs. By now, boarding was mostly complete, and the attendants were already closing the overhead racks. Boarding was completed by 1143hrs (even before I reached my seat), and doors were armed by the time I sat down (1144hrs). The attendants prepared the cabin for departure. Safety demo commenced soon after. In the deck were Capt Riyaz and First Officer Sitanshu. Amol, Dheeraj, Sandesh, Karan and Soha were in the cabin. It was predominantly male crew - Soha was the sole female attendant on board. We were pushed back at 1147hrs. Taxi commenced at 1150hrs. Since Runway 28 was in use, it was a very very long taxi. We reached the holding point for Rwy28 at 1156hrs - at the very same time SpiceJet's Q400 VT-SUL came in (from Hyderabad?). We took off from Rwy28 at 1158hrs.
Inside VT-JFA..
We climbed quite fast in the West direction before turning around to head South-East. The seatbelt sign was turned off at 1203hrs. Soon after the seatbelt signs were turned off, the attendants got to their job. Passengers with special requests were served first - I was in one of the last rows (#35F), and my food took a long time to come. The service on this leg seemed better than what it was on the outbound. Food was served in a tray this time as well. The tray was well laid out - it had a veg roll packed in a paper cover, a bottle of water, KitKat chocolate, imli candy and the dairy whitener kit, along with the SkyMart brochure.
The meal tray..
The roll - had to tear open the cover to see how it looks like!
Beverage service..
The vegetarian roll was overheated this time as well - it stuck to the cover badly, that I had to tear open the entire cover to have the roll. The filling was less tasty compared to the outbound. I absolutely hate substituting a dessert for a chocolate - instead of a chocolate, they could've given a muffin! The meal service was followed by beverages - I opted for tea this time as well. The flight was largely uneventful - it was cloudy for quite some time. Landed was announced at 1251hrs. By now, the airport was already in sight far away. We were flying Eastwards now, before turning around to align to Rwy27 of Bangalore. We finally touched down at 1306hrs.
Somewhere enroute..
Spotting Bangalore airport far away...
Banking to align to the runway
Full reversers deployed after touchdown...
The AI A319 being pushed back to let us enter our parking stand..
We vacated the runway quickly and entered the apron - but had to wait for quite sometime, since an AirIndia A319 was being pushed back. We finally parked at a jetway stand at 1312hrs. I was out of the aircraft only by 1323hrs - I waited till the crowd to de-board settled down. But waiting in the aircraft turned beneficial to me - baggage took a very very long time to come. I got my bag only by 1332hrs. I had to rush to office after that - a very heavy rain followed afterwards.
VT-JFA after reaching BLR..
Ratings:
Check-in: 5/5 (Had web checked in - used the counter to get my boarding pass and drop my baggage)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (the aircraft was in great shape - clean and well kept interiors)
Punctuality: 3/5 (Left late, reached late)
Crew: 5/5 (Great service)
Catering: 4/5 (Overheated, no proper dessert)
Overall: 4.5/5
Tracking from FR24..
Summary: Overall a good flight. Delay was improperly handled this time too. Food was overheated, and substituting a dessert with a chocolate in unacceptable. This was another normal flight - nothing special to cherish, and nothing worth cribbing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

First ride on Airavat Diamond Class: Bangalore to Thrissur

The Bangalore "Satellite" bus station...