A Red. Hot. Spicy. Hop from Bangalore to Kochi: Part 1 [Bangalore to Chennai on SG3301]

My usual pass time.. hunting for tickets to go home (where else!)..This time, however, the trip was absolutely not planned. I had an inclination to go home, but return tickets weren't available and I kept dilly-dallying on my decision. All it took was an email - a brochure of a seminar happening at a town near my hometown - and my teacher was organizing it! I was surely inclined to make it to the seminar, and did the required paperwork quickly. Getting tickets was the next problem. I looked at a variety of options. Since the program starts in the morning, and I had to get home, change and drive down to the venue, I had to be home really early. It dawned to be me later that I was looking for tickets for a day before Ugadi, the Karnataka New Year - and beginning of a long weekend for techie's Bangalore! I understood it would be futile to look for tickets in the evening, and began looking for tickets in the morning. I finally found the cheapest flight to be a SpiceJet one stop flight! My final itinerary look like this:

SG3302 BLR MAA 0720 0825 Y Q400
SG3263 MAA COK 1000 1120 Y Q400

This was a booking I had fancied long time ago - this booking was not made because I wanted to try this, but was forced to select this because it was the cheapest! All said, I surely was excited. Since the flight leaves early, I had to arrange a cab to get to the airport - my usual public transportation ride wouldn't work. Airport taxis are a big business in Bangalore - a plethora of options threw up on a simple google search. I evaluated all the options and decided to try KSTDC - or Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation,which is an authorised Airport Taxi operator. A cab was booked online - the confirmation call came in minutes, followed by a confirmation message. Details of the driver came in the previous night, followed by a call from the driver confirming the pick-up point and timing.
The terminal was quite empty...
March 07, 2016
I reached home from office a couple of minutes past midnight. I hardly had time to sleep - the cab would arrive at 0430hrs. I caught up with a few hours of sleep before getting ready and leaving home. The cab had over 4.6 Lakh kms on its odometer, and did not show any signs of ageing! The driver appeared a bit tired - he drove slow and I was happy he did not overspeed. I am always worried while traveling on the airport road in a cab - its a routine accident spot. The cab reached airport by around 0550hrs - a slightly longer ride for the time, but absolutely worry free.

Date of Journey: April 07, 2016
Flight No: SG 3302 || Seat: 7D
Aircraft type: Bombardier Dash Q-400 || Regn: VT-SUF "Kesar"
Sector: BLR-MAA
STD: 0720hrs, ATD: 0732hrs
STA: 0825hrs, ATA: 0842hrs

The terminal wasn't very crowded, although it was the beginning of a long weekend. The SpiceJet counters were terribly overcrowded though. Although my ticket had a Priority Check-in service listed, there was no counter for priority check-in. All passengers were asked to join the regular check-in queue. The queue moved very slowly and I finally got my boarding pass(es) by 0605hrs. I was handed over two boarding passes - one for the BLR-Chennai leg, and another for the Chennai-Kochi leg. Security check was a mess. Queues were long, disordered and slow. People jumped queues as they wished. The security staff ensured they stopped people whom they saw jumping queues. I could clear security only by 0625hrs.
Check in counters...
The Boarding pass..
Once past security, I headed to my favorite spot - the seating near Gate #1. I decided to wait till the aircraft for my flight came in from Chennai. FR24 had already updated that VT-SUF would fly me to Chennai. Sierra Uniform Foxtrot landed at 0705hrs. Soon after she landed, I headed towards my boarding gate. It was 0707, and boarding had already been called. I joined the boarding queue immediately. I got into the bus at around 0715 - I was among the last to get into that bus, and the bus got moving immediately. Along with the passengers was a lady captain (Capt Samanjeet Kaur) in uniform. She traveled in the same flight as a passenger to Chennai. We were made to wait near the aircraft for sometime, since passengers from the earlier bus were still boarding.
VT-SUF coming in to the apron.. 
Boarding in progress..
Final Call message flashing.. 
Face off with VT-SUF.. Pax from earlier bus still boarding..
Getting into VT-SUF Kesar.. 
VT-SUF, (cn: 4382) delivered to SpiceJet in October 2011, was named "Kesar". Boarding started a few minutes after we reached. I was inside the aircraft by 0725hrs. As usual, I was among the last to get on board. Boarding was completed by 0726hrs. Refueling was in progress as I took to my seat. Next to us was VT-SUK heading to Mangalore. Doors were armed at 0732hrs and we were pushed back at 0733hrs. In the deck were Capt Prabhat and Capt Rohit Singh. In the cabin were Reempi, Bipasha and Afzal (a trainee). The aircraft had a few empty seats here and there. We commenced taxi at 0737, and headed straight towards Rwy27 end. We did not have to hold, and had a rolling take off. We took off at 0742hrs.
Just before boarding.. baggage loading was already completed..
Just before pushback.. thats a sister ship around 
We climbed west before turning around and finally heading East towards Chennai. The seatbelt sign was turned off at 0747hrs. The buy-on-board serviced commenced immediately, and as promised, passengers with pre-booked meals were served first. I had ordered for a Paneer Tikka Sub in Multi Grain Bread. My meal was served quickly. The sub was delicious - had chunks of soft and succulent Paneer (cottage cheese) in every bite, and the baguette was very soft as well. I asked for a serving of water as well. Sometime around 0800hrs, the captain came on the PA and announced some details about the flight. He gave out details like our cruise altitude (FL210) and added that we would be landing on Rwy25. I was quite excited since we'd be making an approach from the seas.
The Paneer Tikka Sub.. 
The sub.. 
On the finals over Marina Beach.. 
We had already commenced descent. The seatbelt signs were back on at 0820hrs. We overflew Chennai and headed straight over the sea. While we were still flying East, I could spot a couple of aircrafts on their finals. This was the first time I was on this approach - and I surely was enjoying it. I was busy identifying landmarks as we came closed to land. We finally touched down on Rwy25 at 0838hrs. We docked at a remote stand at 0842hrs. I got off the aircraft at 0844hrs, and we were bus'd to the terminal by 0848hrs. I directly headed towards the elevator that would drop me at the departures level. It was a long walk to the elevator which was located at the other end of the terminal building. [Continued in the next part].

Ratings:
Check-in: 2.5/5 (Long queues, denied priority boarding)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (Aircraft was clean)
Punctuality: 4.5/5 (Slightly delayed at either ends)
Crew: 5/5 (Nothing to complaint)
Catering: 5/5 (Awesome food!)
Overall: 3.5/5

Summary: 
This was my third flight in a Q400. Unlike my previous flights, I felt the cooling was really good in this one. There was a foot facing air vent which ensured that the cabin cooled really fast. The aircraft was very silent - this was the first time I flew in a row ahead of the engine. The crew were great, as usual. The meal was amazing as well. Overall a great flight.

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