Like I mentioned a few days back, I happened to make an impulsive trip to Delhi to meet my family over the first weekend of the month. For this, I used 16,800 JPMiles (+ Rs. 2500) per head for a roundtrip redemption in Economy on BOM-DEL-BOM, including the 20% discount that is available for online redemptions domestically till March 31, 2013. By the time I booked the ticket, the JP Service Centre was closed for the night, and I could not check for the upgrade against cash that would have costed me another Rs. 2,000 per pax on this segment. However, it being a short flight, I was okay with the travel in the back.
First and foremost, the amendment to the security setup worked, and I was able to access the airport by displaying the ticket on my iPhone along with my identity card. I did not even carry a back-up copy on paper, I was sure it would have to work.
Once at the airport, I worked with a long queue at the Premiere check-in counters. It was a Saturday morning, but the queues were still long, and since I had to check-in a bag, I had no option but to get in line.
Premiere Check-in Queue
Aggressive Amex 9W marketing
I would expect only longer queues in the days to come as their credit-card eligible passengers number swell. The disappointing news was that I was going to be taking a bus to my airplane, which meant we were boarding from Terminal 1B, and I had no access to Terminal 1C where the only lounge exists in the Domestic Terminal. They razed down the Oberoi Clipper Lounge in Terminal 1B not so long ago.
Security check was not so much of a breeze. I’ve noticed that the Mumbai security machinery works the best in the morning, however, this time around I had a mile long bunch of wires in my bag, which clearly did not give them a good view. So, a long wait after, I was made friends with my cabin bag again, and off I went to the bus.
I was almost expecting it to be parked on the international side of the airport, which would have translated into a long ride. That is what exactly happened, and we had a 15-minute long ride around the tarmac to reach the plane.
Jet Airways 305
Mumbai(BOM) – Delhi(DEL)
Saturday, January 05 2013
Distance flown: 708 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800,
Seat: 17F (Economy)
Meal Service: Breakfast
I was, very very anxious about our flight making it on time. Delhi Airport is a mess during the winter months due to the fog-related visibility issues, and this was one of those days. However, boarding was completed on time, and we set out on time for a hopefully on-time arrival at Delhi.
Being a last-minute plan, I was not able to secure my favourite Y seats, the bulkhead behind the partition with the extra legroom. Someone else already had those. So, I settled for the emergency exit row 17. What went wrong was getting stuck in the non-reclining ones. The seatmap only showed Row 16 as being non-reclining so I conveniently went for Row 17, only to find out that the seat would not recline.
Another thing that went wrong was the middle seat not being empty. We checked in (me and my brother), on an aisle and window seat hoping the middle seat would go empty. But, on a flight with a 70% or so load and an empty 17ABC, the guy who decided to sit in the middle seat just decided to be parked there, sigh! Let the armrest wars begin!
There were personal AV screens on this plane, since it was used on the regional legs as well, however, 9W did not activate the system, not even the airshow.
A JetScreen with no view
Loads of legroom
Being a dawnbreak flight, and me not having slept the night before since I had to be at the airport at 5 AM, I immediately dozed off in the confines of my small seat after take-off. After being airborne, the flight crew immediately started working on the breakfast service. There was the regular choices on breakfast flights, an Eggs breakfast, or a North Indian Vegetarian breakfast.
I went with the North-Indian Vegetarian breakfast, which had Alu Sabzi, Kulcha (Potato + Indian bread) and fruits and bread on the side. There was also the aftermint, which has gone away on Jet Airways, making its return as a marketing tool for Jet Airways’ Amex. My brother, on the other end of the row, went with the Egg breakfast which came with sausage on the side. Breakfast was served warm, and was tasty!
The seatmate, who seemed to be travelling on this flight thinking it was a low-fare carrier, declined breakfast at the first. Later, when the flight attendant came by serving tea/coffee, they offered again, and he realised it was a part of his ticket so he went with it. Trouble was, the others were done with meal service and were trying to sleep and he was chomping away to glory!
The window seat was however worth it, since I got a nice view of dawn break from the skies. Me and the seatmate were unofficially trying to get the best pictures from the window, but clearly with a better phone and being on the window seat I was winning.
We arrived into Delhi on time, in fact a few minutes before the scheduled time. Thankfully, the decision to take the earliest flight out worked, because the fog cover had not yet built up fully and the arrival was on time. Later in the day, there was dense fog for a while.
Pulling into Terminal 3, we met the Air India 787 which was getting ready for a flight two gates ahead.
Meet the gate
The AI 787 (More pictures here)
My bag came first on the belt, so, that was the best part of the journey so far, because I quickly could find my way out of the airport and on my way home.
On the way back, I took a dinner flight on Monday back to Mumbai. As it was a last minute plan, I could not find a Monday morning flight on DEL-BOM, but afternoon and night flights were available instead. I thought it was going to be a better call to work during the day from home, and then take a flight back during the night. However, I had another flight booked up for Tuesday morning just in case I changed my mind and decided to sleep over in Delhi on Monday night as well. As a Jet Airways Platinum member, I was eligible for a full refund on my miles and copay as long as I cancelled my travel within the regular timeline.
On the way back, I got into the airport in time, however getting there was a slight trouble because of a delayed arrival of my cab from OlaCabs. After the usual rigour of security check which is very smooth in Delhi, specially at late hours, I went over to the Delhi T3 Plaza Premiere Lounge, which is the lounge Jet Airways uses for Delhi airport’s domestic passengers.
Jet Airways 312
Delhi(DEL) – Mumbai(BOM)
Monday, January 08 2013
Distance flown: 708 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 10F (Economy)
Meal Service: Dinner
The flight back was similar, however I was able to get my favourite bulkhead seat again, with lots of legroom. The benefits of being able to check-in 48 hours before the flight
The difference I noticed was on the meal. I have previously discussed Jet Airways’ Olive Theory in detail with supporting proof, and this looks like they were reversing it to bring back good and tasty food, in a sizeable portion back on the plane.
My options were Vegetarian v/s Non-vegetarian, and I went with the non-vegetarian option. I was served Saag Chicken and Daal (Chicken gravy and Pulses), along with a generous portion of Rice and Indian bread. There was also a nice dessert to go along the meal. However, there was no aftermint this time around
I’ve noticed in my past few flights with Jet Airways that they are going back to the attention to detail and are upping the experience on the flight again. Simple things have changed, the flight attendants are more forthcoming to help and courteous to customers. Maybe they were stressed, or maybe their hands were tied with 9W snipping around amenities for guests, but things are looking up again. But I am looking forward to more 9W flights this year!
Live From A Lounge is present on Facebook, Twitter & available via email, RSS.