IndiGo 413: Bengaluru to Kochi

Bangalore - Kochi was once a happening sector - and I was once a regular passenger. Over the months, my frequency of travelling home reduced, and I flew less often. I did not have any plans for Onam until that innocent message popped up on WhatsApp - IndiGo is running a sale, and a travel portal is offering big discounts! I suddenly developed the desire to travel home for Onam. A quick look at the holiday calender - Onam was on a working day, but we had a restricted holiday for it. Decided to add up a couple of leaves with a holiday that Monday. I now had to find a flight! After a bit searching around, I found an affordable flight departing on a Sunday morning, operated by IndiGo. Did not think a lot - went ahead and confirmed the booking. All this happened in mid August.

A lot of things happened after that. A lot of forced holidays happened. Holidays were juggled around. Sunday ended up being a working day. I ended up having to reschedule my leaves to make this trip happen - but I was committed to make it happen this time. I web checked in, got a seat on the right side of the aircraft and even pre-reserved a meal, since it was a morning flight.

September 11, 2016:
It was a very early start to the day - but, as usual, I ended up missing my alarm and jumping out of bed quite late. My cab driver had called me no less than 7 times, but I had left the phone on silent mode. After calling him back, and explaining him the route to reach the pick-up point, I headed down to the gate of my apartment. The cab had already arrived. He zoomed out of the building, and I spent some 45 minutes praying like never before - this F1 wannabe driver was too fast for comfort, and only added to the Airport Road Phobia that I have. I was dropped at the airport, in one piece, by 0650hrs - thats like 45 minutes to cover a little over 48 kilometres! I was happy to be there in one piece - and just walked into the terminal, still trying to overcome the idiotic show that the driver just put up.

The terminal was a little too crowded for the time, especially for a Sunday morning. It looked like majority of the passengers were flying out of the country - large cartons and heavy baggage were seen everywhere. I was quite hungry, but my last experience of almost missing the flight made me hurry in, and complete the check-in formalities first. The check-in counter had a fairly long queue - the queue was worse at the baggage drop counter. The check-in agents were quite efficient, and the queue moved at a constant pace. I had some fragile stuff in my bags, and asked for the bag to be labelled fragile - which was done immediately. I got my boarding card by 0702hrs, and moved towards security. Security was again a mess - a lot of first timers, less number of frisking booths and even lesser number of scanning machines added to the chaos. A lot of people got frisked twice.
Check-in counters @ BLR..
The gate before boarding was called..
I got past security by 0719hrs. The first stop was at MTC Tiffin Express, to grab a pack of Podi Idlis for breakfast, washed down with, what was called, a Madras Coffee. The KIA App on my phone kept updating me about the status of my flight as it happened. It kept telling me where the gate was, and how long would it take to reach there. Quite a friendly app, and acts like a personal assistant. My flight was to board from Gate #14, a remote gate. The gate was located on the lower level, at the farthest end of the terminal. Quite interestingly, all the 4 gates active at that time in the area were used by IndiGo. Gate #14 was quite crowded, and I opted to wait near Gate #19 instead (this gate is right next to #14). A fairly long queue had already formed at the gate - and the aircraft was yet to arrive from Hyderabad.

Date of Journey: September 11, 2016
Flight No: 6E413 || Seat: 27F
Aircraft type: Airbus A320-232 || Regn: VT-IGK
Sector: BLR-COK
STD: 0845hrs, ATD: 0851hrs
STA: 0950hrs, ATA: 0950hrs

The incoming aircraft landed at 0817hrs - fairly behind its schedule. The aircraft working the rotation was VT-IGK - my first flight in the IG* series. I was quite excited to spot the aircraft arrive - it had deployed its reversers as I saw it. Soon after the aircraft touched down, the first boarding announcement (call) was made - 0819hrs. I remained seated till the first bus was filled. I got into the second bus by 0825hrs, and the bus got moving by 0830hrs. IndiGo generally fills their buses before sending them from the gate - and the same was the case this time as well. We reached the aircraft, which was parked at the farthest bay, by around 0833hrs. Boarding through the rear entrance was quite slow due to more number of assisted passengers.
VT-IGK touching down at BLR..
VT-IGK.. boarding in progress..
Boarding in progress.. waiting for the wheelchairs to be out..
The IndiGo Ramp in all its glory.. the IAE V2527 can be seen..
I was inside VT-IGK by 0841hrs. VT-IGK (cn: 4216) was delivered to IndiGo in February 2010. The IndiGo Ramp is a great idea, and makes life really easy for passengers instead of climbing by a stair. I got to my seat quite quickly since the aisle was free. Boarding was completed by 0843hrs and the rear door was closed immediately. Ground personnel took some time to leave the aircraft. We were done, and the doors were armed by 0650hrs. By now a round of welcome announcements were done. Flying us to Kochi were Capt Shreyas and Capt Aniruddh. In the cabin were Shreya, Ripudaman, Priyanka and Sharon. We were pushed back at 0851hrs. The safety demonstration, and the advertisement of Hello 6E followed. The safety demonstration was rushed through - in the typical IndiGo style.
My boarding pass poses with Hello 6E
We commenced Taxi at 0855. We reaching the holding point for Rwy27 by 0901hrs. We entered the active runway and held on for a minute before commencing take off roll. We were airborne at 0902hrs. We took off to the west and then turned south west. The takeoff was quite cloudy and hence turbulent. The seat belt sign was turned off at 0906hrs - and we were still climbing. The meal trolleys came out in no time, while pre-recorded announcements informed that only passengers with prebooked meals will be served and others may use the call button if they needed something. The announcements also informed that hot meals or hot beverages will not be available in this sector. The meal trolley reached my row quite soon. The FA, Sharon, addressed me by my second name and gave out the options I had - I took the Veg Submarine Sandwich and a serving of Del Monte Fruit Juice.
The Sub sandwich..
I had very little expectations about the sandwich - the last time I flew with them, I got a very stale sandwich. The experience this time was a little different - infact, I think Submarine sandwich is a new offering on IndiGo. The sandwich was big - it surely was filling. The bread was soft and the filling was made of picked bell peppers, onion, carrots in Mayonnaise sauce, topped with oregano and chilli flakes. I enjoyed a sandwich on IndiGo for the first time - the last time I enjoyed their sandwich was, probably, back in 2007 when IndiGo was still new. Like everytime, landing calls were made when I was half way through the sandwich. The FAs didn't hurry with clearing the thrash, though - we were still 20 minutes away from COK. The juice was the typical Benadryl in Water flavour - I'd surely not repeat this one.

The seatbelt was back on at 0931hrs. Landing announcements followed. We were lining up already, and were turning around to align to the ILS path. We touched down on Rwy27 at 0947 - braked hard, full reversers deployed and we stopped right at the rapid exit taxiway. We stopped on the taxiway for a minute or so, before proceeding to the apron and parking at a remote stand. Engines were out by 0950 and doors opened a minute later. I was out of the aircraft by about 0955 - I stayed put till the crowd thinned out, as usual. The first coach was filling out then, and I decided to wait for the second coach, which was right behind. Since ours was the third flight to arrive in quick succession, the arrivals hall was a mess, and our coach held on for a couple of minutes before letting us get off.
Tracking of my flight from FR24..
The baggage belts were busy. It took about 10 minutes for my bag to appear. It was a full lot of fragile tagged bags that came together. I got my bad by 1008hrs - walked out of the terminal into one of the three KSRTC buses lined up, waiting to head to their destinations.

Ratings:
Check-in: 4.75/5 (Did Online Check-in. Efficient Check-in crew)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (Aircraft was clean)
Punctuality: 4.5/5
Crew: 3/5 (Very mechanical crew with the typical Scorn face. Sharon did a god job, though)
Catering: 4.5/5 (Good sandwich. Very limited choices, though)
Overall: 4.5/5

Summary:
IndiGo, India's leading airline, does its job of taking you from place A to place B effectively. It will be really great if they could do their job with a small smile though. The FAs have a fixed expressionless face, all the time. I rarely find IndiGo FAs smiling - the FA serving my row gave a nice smile though. It was a routine, eventless flight. 

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