NinerWhiskey: Raipur to Mumbai via Bhopal, and on to BLR - Part 1
After bagging a cheap fare flight from Bengaluru to Raipur, I got busy hunting for return option. As usual, I hooked on to my usual OTAs - I found a great fare on Cleartrip (my favorite among the lot). The cheapest option for that day was on Jet Airways, with a flight change at Mumbai. The second cheaper option was IndiGo, the timings of which weren't comfortable for me. I decided to check if these fares existed on the Jet Airways website as well. The website had some interesting stuff for me!
The fare did exist, and it had some fun hidden as well - the routing had a total of two stops in between. First leg on 9W2121, from Raipur to Mumbai via Bhopal, and the second leg on 9W7145 (S24381) from Mumbai to Bengaluru. The #avgeek in me did not want to miss an option to experience three flights in one! I made the booking through the Jet Airways mobile application, which gave some sweet discounts as well. My final itinerary looked like this:
9W2121 RPR BHO 1955 2100 Y B738
9W2121 BHO BOM 2130 2255 Y B738
S24381 BOM BLR 0200 0330 Y B738
The flights in my itinerary was re-scheduled no less than 4 times during the last one month before the flight. Three of the changes happened to S24381 (I'll write about that later), and one change happened to my Raipur-Mumbai booking. One day prior to my flight, I got a mail from Jet Airways, reading this:
Please note regarding Schedule / Route change :While I was generally unhappy about the delay, I was secretly happy about the delay, since my wait at Mumbai would be somewhat shortened (not much, just a few minutes). Twenty four hours before my departure from Raipur, I try doing a web check-in. The mobile app is quite slow, it kept swirling for a long before each page. It let me select seats for the two flights and gave a confirmation that I had been checked in. Later, in the page where it asked for my email id (I wonder why should they ask that, since my app is anyway linked to an email id, so is my Frequent flyer membership, and the booking database would surely have all my contact details), there was a message that boarding passes for "one or more" sectors in my booking cannot be issued, and I must contact their airport counter. Never mind. I would anyway go to the check-in counter to drop my bags, and I prefer the airline issued boarding passes, than taking a printout myself!
Flight No Date Sector DEP ARR
2121 28JAN RPRBOM 1955 2255
Your reservation has been updated accordingly .The revised timings are as below:
Flight Nbr Date From/To Status Dep Arr
9W2121 28JAN RPRBOM HK 2020 2320 /OPERATED BY JETKONNECT
9W7145 29JAN BOMBLR HK 0215 0345 /OPERATED BY JETKONNECT
January 28, 2017:
The convention was over by afternoon, and I got some time to rest at my hotel room. I needed to rest since I'd hardly sleep that night, and I hadn't slept properly the previous nights as well. But, then, I was excited, like everytime before a flight, and I couldn't sleep. Another delegate at the convention was also taking the same flight and we had decided to share a cab, although I secretly wished to take a bus. But, I did not feel it would be a great idea to take a bus with baggage, especially during evening hours. We finally opted to hire a cab, and I booked one through the Ola app. First, there was very poor availability, and, second, the driver refused to come down for an Ola booking. He wanted a private booking, and asked a fare slightly more than what was estimated by Ola. I wanted a cab, and accepted.
The cab driver turned up in 10 minutes. The maniac at the wheels drove fast, overtook zig-zag and honked as if he was playing a keyboard. The car was in fairly good shape and rode fairly well. He had some near misses on the way, and was engage on the phone for most of the time as he neared Raipur. It took a lot of time for me to understand the geography of the place. He dropped us at the airport by around 1812hrs. The airport looked amazing - too good for a city like Raipur. The terminal was well lit and decorated. Although the design was the typical oval shaped, ACP & Glass structure, the lighting and the ambiance gave a special feel to the airport. I took some time to enjoy the airport before entering the terminal a few minutes later.
|That is Swami Vivekanand International Airport, Raipur|
|Landscaping at Raipur Airport|
|Check-in counters of Jet Airways..|
|Thats the security check area..|
|Inside Raipur airport..|
|Thats the Zesto Lounge!|
|The Paneer Hotdog and Cappuccino that I picked up..|
Airline: Jet Airways
Flight No: 9W2121 || Seat: 17A
Aircraft type: Boeing 737-85R (WL) || MSN: 34804 / 2297 || Regn: VT-JGW
STD: 2020hrs, ATD: 2038hrs
STA: 2125hrs, ATA: 2147hrs
Golf Whiskey touched down at 1954hrs. The first boarding call was made at 2008hrs, and strict zone-wise boarding was enforced. Along with the boarding call, an announcement was made that the aircraft had JetScreen, Jet Airway's onboard WiFi based entertainment system, and that passengers should download the AirTime app before passengers boarded the aircraft. I just did that and remained seated till the tail end of the boarding queue was seen. The aircraft flies a triangular route - Mumbai-Raipur-Bhopal-Mumbai, with the flight number 9W2121 throughout. It appeared that the number of passengers boarding from Raipur wasn't high, but the aircraft was more or less full. I got into the aircraft by 2018hrs - since most passengers had already settled, boarding didn't take a lot of time. The first thing that stuck me as I sat down was - its damn tight! Hardly any leg room, and I felt claustrophobic sitting there. The seats had individual PTVs, which just showed a "Thanks for Flying Jet Airways" message. A Boarding Completed announcement was made at 2022hrs. The doors weren't closed and armed until 2038hrs due to some pending paper works. In command of this flight was Captain Janak Dev and First Officer Varun Kumar. Cabin crew were led by Jitendra Kumar. Mr Sandup and Ms Hoeineichong were taking care of the zone I was seated in.
|Strict zone-wise boarding..|
|My boarding cards, JetWings and the JetScreen manual..|
|JetScreen.. some screenshots..|
|Snack served in the Raipur-Bhopal sector..|
STD: 2155hrs, ATD: 2213hrs
STA: 2320hrs, ATA: 2357hrs
|The seats.. taken during transit at Bhopal..|
|The roll up close. The quintessential dessert can be seen behind...|
Check-in: 5/5 (Quick)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (Clean)
Punctuality: 3.5/5 (Rescheduled by 25 minutes. Landed 37 minutes after rescheduled time)
Crew: 5/5 (Great crew)
Catering: 4/5 (The food served was great! Poor Dessert, lacklustre presentation)
Overall: 3.5/5 (Good flight - enjoyed this one. Loses points for terrible seating)
|The route I flew - from GCMapper|
|FR24 track of RPR-BHO Sector|
|FR24 track of BHO-BOM sector..|
This was my 14th flight on Jet Airways (discounting three flights operated on the JetLite AOP), and the 4th on a Jet Airways Boeing 738. Majority of my flights with Jet Airways were on their ATRs, which are aplenty down south. And, except on flight on the 9W B738, all others were disappointment in terms of catering. This flight was disappointment - terrible leg room and very claustrophobic seats. The Full Service Carrier image that Jet tries to portray doesn't really gel well with the very apparent cost cutting they do in their meal service - a small roll with a chocolate hardly makes a meal! Coming to the meal, the product served tasted good. I understand that the catering was done by Taj-SATS, the leader in the industry, beyond doubt. The crew were great - very polite and helpful. The ground staff messed up quite a lot during the transit check. Housekeeping was perfect. JetScreen is an awesome addition - but it needs to be supplemented with charging points on board. Overall, an average flight, more so due to the seating.