I Fly Cookies: iFly 521 from Kochi to Bengaluru

Again that normal Tuesday towards the end of November 2016, sitting bored in office, and excited after getting a low fare ticket to go home in mid February 2017. I had to search for a ticket to return. Almost every airline in India were running sales, and I headed straight to the Indigo site to bag a low fare ticket on their new red-eye flight. I selected a seat, did not add a meal and confirmed the booking. A little later, my ticket along with the boarding pass popped up in my mailbox - IndiGo's Integrated Travel Document. I was shocked seeing my boarding sequence number - it read Seq/001 - I was the first passenger to check-in - a whole three months in advance!

February 19, 2017:
I left home some time around 2100hrs, after a heavy home cooked dinner. The taxi driver dropped me at the airport a little past 2200hrs. I had some work at the AirAsia sales office, which kept me engaged for some time. There was negligible crowd at the entry points. I had no bags to check-in and directly walked towards the check-in counters. A brief re-think, and I turned to the check-in kiosk instead. New self check-in kiosks were installed at Cochin airport a few months back, and I wanted to try them once. The kiosk offered self check-in for four airlines - Jet Airways, Air India, IndiGo and Go Air. I clicked on IndiGo - it asked me to key in my PNR. It did not accept the bar-code that was displayed on the IndiGo App. After entering the PNR, it asked if I wanted to change my seat, and then let me print the boarding pass. The machine responded quite slowly. I received a print out of the online check-in boarding card on a thermal paper with the Cochin airport logo by 2211hrs.
The self check-in kiosks..
The screen displays my boarding pass before printing..
The boarding pass is printed..
IndiGo check-in counters at Kochi. SpiceJet counters nearby have closed for the day.
I headed straight to security check-in, which was quite deserted. Only one scanning machine, and one frisking booth each for men and women was open. I remembered that I hadn't taken a baggage tag only after I reached the scanning machine. Luckily an old baggage tag of Indigo was lying in my bag - used that and saved myself from the hassle of going back to the counters to get one. I was done with security check by 2215hrs and headed to the security check. I headed to my favorite seat near Gate #4, left my phone to charge, and logged in to FlightRadar24 to track the incoming aircraft. The domestic section had one Air Asia heading to Bangalore, and right next to it was another AirAsia, heading to Kuala Lumpur! Then came some Air India Expresses in quick succession, and an Air India B777 from Saudi. I continuously tracked the informing aircraft. VT-IFC was coming in for me. VT-IFC (MSN: 5291) was delivered to Indigo in October 2012.

Date of Journey: February 19, 2017
Airline: IndiGo
Flight No: 6E521 || Seat: 21A
Aircraft type: Airbus A320-232 || MSN: 5291 || Regn: VT-IFC
Sector: COK-BLR
STD: 2350hrs, ATD: 2351hrs
STA: 0110hrs, ATA: 0047hrs

India Foxtrot Charlie touched down in Kochi airport by 2318hrs. I was terribly sleepy and tired, hence headed to the gate and queued up even before boarding was called. The agent at the gate was awaiting clearance from the ground staff to start boarding. The first boarding call was made at 2329 hours. A long queue had already formed. First priority was given to passengers requiring assistance and those with infants. The agent at the gate apologized for keeping the others waiting, and continued with boarding. A bus was used for boarding. The aircraft was actually docked right outside the gate itself - but the bus helped passengers who needed assistance. I got on to the bus by 2332hrs - the bus dropped us near the aircraft by 2336hrs! Boarding started immediately, and I was inside the aircraft by 2336hrs.
Boarding through Gate 1..
About to board by Flying Cookie: VT-IFC
The airconditioners were in full flow, and it was quite cold inside the aircraft. Boarding was quite slow and we were done by 2346hrs. Doors were armed by 2350hrs and we were pushed back by 2351hrs. In command of the flight was Capt Bhanuprakash and First Officer Raj Pardeshi. In the deck were Shruti, Anusha, Radhika and Jasmine. The crew rushed through the safety briefing. We commenced taxi at 2357hrs, and headed to taxiway C1 to reach the holding point of Runway 09 by 2359hrs - a very very short taxi. We had to hold for a while, until an unknown single aisle aircraft landed on Runway 27. We entered Runway 09 by 0002hrs, and had a rolling takeoff. We were airborne by 0003hrs. We took off to the east, rotated to set direction to North East. The seat belt sign was off by 0007hrs.
My boarding pass & Hello 6E
Announcements were made that passengers with pre-reserved meals will be served first, and no hot meals/beverages would be available. The trolleys came out soon, and they appeared quite empty. Just a couple of sandwiches strewn around. It appeared there weren't any pre-bookings. I picked up a pack of cookies and a serving of water. The FA serving my row did not have cookie tins - but she picked up from another trolley for me. IndiGo pioneered the concept of re-usuable cookie tins in India. The tin contained Chocolate-Chip cookies, manufactured by Unibic. The tin was the attaction, not the cookie, which was very easily available in supermarkets. The flight was uneventful - lights were dimmed for most of the flight. The seatbelt sign was back on by 0031hrs, followed by prepare the cabin for arrival call from the flight deck. There was no cleaning this time - the FAs came around to check if the seatbacks were upright and the tray tables were closed - they did not come around to clear the thrash. We touched down on Runway 09 at 0044hrs. We docked at a night parking stand by 0047hrs - 56 minutes from chocks off to chocks on.
The Cookie Tin..
Ground staff seemed to be quite lethargic - maybe because this was the last sector of the day for the aircraft. Disembarking took a long time, and I was out of the aircraft only by 0054hrs. There was one tarmac coach waiting, which was already full, and there were enough passengers to fill another bus. They sent out the first one, and the second one came to the bay. I remained near the front door of the bus. The first officer was also on the same bus. They did not dispatch the bus till they got clearance from the cabin crew - who were busy gathering their belongings and disembarking. Quite interestingly, they realised there was a passenger who required assistance only after they signalled the bus driver to move. They stopped the bus, scrambled off to get  wheelchair and then assisted the passenger out of the aircraft. The ride through the tarmac was slow - we had to stop by due to aircraft movements on the apron. The bus dropped us at the terminal building by 0107hrs - 13 minutes after I disembarked from the aircraft and 23 minutes after we touched down. I did not have checked in baggage, and I was out of the terminal in no time. Took a bus to the city, and then a taxi for last mile connectivity.
The overcrowded tarmac coach..
Ratings:
Check-in: Irrelevant. I was auto checked-in, then used the kiosk to get my boarding pass
Cleanliness: 5/5 (Very Clean)
Punctuality: 5/5
Crew: 5/5 (Good crew)
Catering: Irrelevant. I picked up a cookie tin - standard Unibic Chocolate chip cookie.
Overall: 5/5 (Good one)

Summary:
I'd remember my 11th flight with IndiGo as my Cookie flight. The first time I got the IndiGo Cookie tin, which is now of great utility in my daily office commute. The crew seemed to be quite excited about working their last sector - they seemed to be Bengaluru based. I didn't like skipping cabin thrash clearance - I am guessing this happened since this the last sector of the day. We departed perfectly on time, and landed well before time - infact, including all the goof ups on ground, I was outside the airport well before scheduled arrival time. This was another good flight with Indigo - they seem to be making me an IndiGo fan. If only they introduced a frequent flyer program as well! 

PS: I hope you'd have guessed why the report is called 'I Fly Cookies' by now. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

First ride on Airavat Diamond Class: Bangalore to Thrissur

The Bangalore "Satellite" bus station...