Flying AirAsia after long! On I5-1126, Kochi to Bengaluru

I hadn't flown AirAsia since a very long time (almost a year to be precise - the last journey was in April 2015). AirAsia has been an object of ridicule among many circuits - inconsistent operations and a confused management seemed to be the reason. My experiences with them were a mixed bag - delays were more or less the norm, but they served some great food. When I found them to offer low fares for the day I wanted to travel, I did not look further - made a booking through the AirAsia website. Quite unusually, I added a meal right at the time of booking itself. I did not select a seat though. The system charged me for seat selection even during web check-in - I decided not to web check-in and try my luck at the check-in counter instead.

March 24, 2016:
I did my usual journey to the airport - used public transportation all the way right from my doorstep till the airport. In fact, I generally hire an auto or a taxi for the last leg to the airport, but this time waited and took a bus instead. I made it to the airport by 1000hrs, for a 1135hrs departure. Terminal entry gate was unusually crowded - it took some time to get into the terminal. I was greeted by a longer line inside - a huge queue at the baggage scan. I found that there were two machines, one used by IndiGo and Jet and the other used by AirAsia. The long queue led to the former. I just walked across the queue and headed straight to the machine used by AirAsia - my bag was scanned in less than a minute, and I headed to the check-in counters. The check-in counter was free - no queue at all. I got my boarding pass by 1008hrs. I asked for a left side window seat, and I was given 8A, up at the front!
Check-in at Kochi..
Date of Journey: March 24, 2016
Flight No: I5-1126 || Seat: 8A
Aircraft type: Airbus A320-216 || Regn: VT-JRT "The Pioneer"
Sector: COK-BLR
STD: 1135hrs, ATD: 1119hrs
STA: 1235hrs, ATA: 1218hrs
The boarding pass..
Security was a bit crowded, but was fast. I got past security by 1011hrs, and headed to the security hold. I headed to my favorite seat around gate #4, where there are lots of power plugs. I plugged my phone in to one, and let it charge. In the meantime, I checked FR24, and was quite excited to see VT-JRT heading towards Kochi. I was hoping this plane came, and I was quite happy it really happened. With nothing much to do, I just kept browsing endlessly on my phone - I did keep checking the status of VT-JRT once in a while. She landed in Kochi at 1049hrs. Soon after the aircraft landed, the boarding gates became active - people started forming a queue, even before the agents called for boarding. The first boarding call was made at 1057hrs - by now the queue was really really long! I remained seated for most of the time, till the tail end of the queue reached closer to the gate (#2).
The gate..
FIDS showing my flight.. 
I finally cleared the boarding gate at 1105hrs, into a tarmac coach. Quite unusually, the aircraft was parked a little away from the terminal, and tarmac coaches were used to ferry passengers. The bus dropped us at the aircraft by around 1107hrs. Juliet Romeo Tango looked resplendent in its The Pioneer livery. VT-JRT - the short form of Jehangir Ratanji Tata - celebrates the legacy of Shri JR Tata, the person who pioneered India's first airline, the Tata Airline, which is now known as the Maharaja, Air India. The aircraft was adorned with the images of Shri Tata, and the Pussy Moth aircraft that he first flew into India. I took some time taking some pics of the aircraft and enjoying the livery. I got into the aircraft by around 1112hrs. People were still settling down, and it took some time to get to my seat. Boarding was completed by 1116hrs and the doors were armed at 1118hrs. Pushback happened at 1119hrs.
VT-JRT while boarding..
In the meantime, welcome announcements were made. The deck crew were Capt. Arun Nair and First Officer Capt Shreya. The safety briefing followed. We commenced taxi at 1122hrs. While taxiing, I spotted VT-SUB of SpiceJet touching down (inbound from Chennai). We reached the holding point of Rwy27 (C5) at 1128hrs. Soon after we stopped, a Jet Airways B738 landed. We entered the active runway at 1129hrs, and took off at 1130hrs. We climbed quite fast towards the west, and then turn North-east. The seatbelt sign was switched off at 1133hrs, and the onboard service commenced quite soon. Passengers with pre-booked meals were served first - meaning my order came quite soon. I had orded for a Ajwain Poori with Aloo Methi Tamatari & Veg Cutlet. The serving came in a red coloured container, as usual, accompanied with a bottle of water.
My meal..
Unpacked.. 
Inside the pack were two Ajwain Pooris (Unleavened deep-fried Indian Bread with Ajowan Caraway seeds) neatly folded, a vegetable cutlet (was badly twisted to fit into the space), accompanied by a dish made of potatos in a tomato based gravy topped with fenugreek. The pooris were soft (even after being reheated) and weren't rubbery in consistency. The potato dish was made dry so that it doesn't leak - the potatoes were cooked to perfection - the gravy (sauce) wasn't too sweet or too spicy. The cutlet was nothing special to talk about - it was crisp and tasted good. AirAsia has the best food among the LCCs in the country, and they don't cost a bomb either.
En-route.. 
By the time I finished my meal, the seatbelt sign was back on (1155hrs). Soon later, the captain officially announced that we would be landing shortly. We finally touched down on Runway 09 of Bangalore at 1212hrs. We exited through the rapid exit taxiway and headed towards the apron. We docked at Stand 17, at 1218hrs. This was a jetway stand. It took a couple of minutes to commence de-planing. I was out of the aircraft by 1222hrs. It took a very long time for the baggage - I got my bag only by 1235hrs - 17 minutes after touchdown! It was then a long journey home from the airport.

Ratings:
Check-in: 5/5 (Quick check-in, no crowd)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (Aircraft was clean)
Punctuality: 5/5 (Perfect!)
Crew: 5/5 (Nothing to complaint)
Catering: 5/5 (Awesome food!)
Overall: 5/5
Tracking from FR24
Summary: 
Ariya 1126 was perfect! Great food, Amazing crew, a very jovial captain who did some #avgeek talk when making a briefing and perfect on time flight. AirAsia's catering has been their big positive point. Another great flight with them :)

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