go to Kochi!

I was on the hunt for what was originally the first journey of 2018! A ticket to travel to Kochi towards the end of February - and I was still in the first week of January 2018. Almost every airline offered tickets at Sale prices. My favorite OTA listed Go Air as the cheapest. Go Air is a new entrant on the Bengaluru-Kochi Sector, a re-entry rather. I opted to book the ticket on the Go Air website instead - the website was clumsy, and the progress through the booking was slow. I finally booked my first ever ticket on Go Air for the Kochi sector - I added a meal - 'Veg Smart Snack' and opted for a 'free' seat as well.

February 21, 2018:
It was an unusually busy day at office - I could get free much later than expected, and I had to literally hurry my way to the airport. I did not want to take a cab, and opted to hire an autorickshaw to the nearest 'airport bus' stop. I managed to get a bus quickly, and managed to get to the airport a little before 1600hrs. I hurried into the airport - Go Air check-in counters were deserted - managed to get my boarding pass by 1608hrs, and rushed towards security check.

Date of Journey: February 21, 2018
Airline: Go Air
Flight No: G8-658 || Seat: 29A
Aircraft type: Airbus A320-214 (WL) || MSN: 5990|| Regn: VT-GOQ
Sector: BLR-COK
STD: 1715hrs, ATD: 1722hrs
STA: 1840hrs, ATA: 1823hrs

Long queues welcomed me to the security check area - and the queue moved really slow. Baggage screened happened very slowly, and frisking even slower - it appeared as if the cops were doing it slow on purpose. I got past security by 1625hrs. I headed straight to the gate - #10 - I scrambled around to find a mobile charging point - finding one near Gate #13. I left my phone to charge, and logged on to FR24 to track the whereabouts of my aircraft - VT-GOQ. The bird was on its short finals at the time. I remained seated till boarding commenced. I headed towards the gate only as the boarding queue almost finished - I got on to the tarmac coach by 1705hrs. There was a bit of confusion - they filled and dispatched the first bus, but had to wait for a while till the second bus turned up.
Lifting off from Bengaluru..

VT-GOQ as boarding commenced..

The GoAir Cafe Menu, and my boarding pass..

The bus took us to Stand 26 by 1708hrs - passengers of the first bus were yet to board the aircraft. Boarding happened only through the front entry - which was surprising. I was inside the aircraft by 1712hrs. My seat was at the aft end - row 29, to be precise. As I reached my row, the purser made a boarding complete announcement (1714hrs) - we had around 100 souls on board. Doors were armed by 1716hrs. A completely undecipherable welcome announcement followed. I couldn't get head or tale of the announcements. The captain (Capt. Ashok Kumar) came on the PA system a little before pushback - this announcement was more decipherable and understandable. We were pushed back at 1722hrs, and taxi commenced at 1727hrs. We had a long ride to runway 09.
The interiors - every inch used for advertisements..

We didn't have to hold short, and directly entered the active runway. We were off on a takeoff roll by 1733hrs, and were airborne by 1734hrs. We took off to the east, before quickly turning south and finally setting a south-westerly course. Seatbelt signs were turned off by 1737hrs - we were still climbing. Onboard sales trolleys were out very soon - two trolleys came out - the first went to serve goBusiness passengers, and the first 10 rows, while the second trolley was to serve 20 rows! I had a prebooked meal - but there was no sign of me being served. The FAs took their sweet time serving each row - they seemed to sell in almost every single row. I finally received my Vegetarian Smart Snack a little past 1755hrs - and the seatbelt sign was turned on by 1758hrs, followed by the captain announcing the crew to prepare the cabin for landing!
The Veg Smart Snack..

The Smart Snack contained a sandwich (made with brown bread, sweet corn, capsicum and cheese), a chocofill cookie and a serving of water. I could also pick a beverage of my choice - this was not offered initially. The sandwich was filling and tasty. I had to hurry with the snack since the seatbelt sign was on, and the FAs had already commenced cabin clearance. The FA serving my zone came around to take my order for beverage a little past trash clearance was done. I had only two choices - Tea or Coffee. They had run out of cold beverages it seems, and I picked up Coffee - it was a premix coffee (presumably from Coffee Day, since the sandwiches were from them) - the coffee was great, to be honest. Had the right sweetness as well. I had to hurry with the coffee since we had entered short finals by now.
After touching down at COK.. notice the setting sun..

We finally touched down on COK Runway 09 by 1820hrs, and docked at the stand by 1823hrs. Deboarding commenced a little later - and like in Bengaluru, only the front exit was opened. The rear exit was opened almost 5 minutes after deboarding commenced - I took the rear exit, and was out of the aircraft by 1829hrs. The tarmac coach took me to the terminal by 1832hrs. I was out of the airport in no time - with the opening of Terminal 3, the entire exit path of the domestic terminal was rearranged - resulting in a very long walk from the terminal exit to the pick-up zone. There were no buses in sight, and I opted for an Uber taxi!

Boarding: 4/5 (A little disorganised)
Cleanliness: 5/5 (Very Clean)
Punctuality: 5/5 (Perfectly on time)
Crew: 5/5 (no-nonsense service)
Catering: 5/5 (Good food - Value for Money)
Overall: 4.95/5 (A good flight!)
Tracking from FlightRadar24

This was my fifth flight with Go Air, first on this registration. VT-GOQ is a 4 year old bird, delivered fresh to Go Air in February 2014. The aircraft was well maintained. The interiors were full of advertisements - ads everywhere - the seat backs, tray tables, overhead bins - resembled interiors of a government bus! The flight was perfectly on time - the announcements were undecipherable, but the crew were great. I loved the food as well - the menu wasn't very vast, but had the right items for an LCC. Great flight - looking forward to my next flight with Go Air. 


Sunup said…
Does Go Air have A320-Neo in their fleet? I have booked quite a number of Kochi-Bangalore tickets on Go Air early this year during the sale. All recent scary news on faulty A320-Neos is now awakening the nervous air-traveler in me.
Binai K Sankar said…
Go does have NEOs. But the neos aren't "Faulty" as being reported by the hype-crazy Indian media. They do have their teething issues, but the aviation regulators are doing their best to keep them within safety margins. And, Go doesn't fly NEOs on the BLR-COK sector.
Binai K Sankar said…

Bad news.. Go Air pulls out of Kochi-Bangalore route until mid-June.
Sunup said…
Thanks for letting me know Binai! Those fellows didn't have the courtesy to inform pax with confirmed bookings. I called them up and they confirmed your news. And when I asked them why I wasn't informed beforehand and by when I would be refunded, the tele-caller said my voice was breaking and cut the call!!!

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