Since I was going to be heading to Colombo via Chennai, I arrived at the Mumbai Airport domestic for my check-in on the BOM-MAA leg of my trip on Jet Airways (9W 469). I was going to be seated at the back of the plane, but I found some amusing things happening around here! Jet Airways wanted to prove a point, that they would take care of this entire trip to go event free, because I’ve been poking holes in their service delivery for a short while now.
Since this was a long weekend coming up, there was the obvious long queues at the airport on the evening wanting to fly somewhere. On arrival at the airport, I checked myself and my brother in at the Business class queue of Jet Airways. We were through checked-in to Colombo. I had already completed a web check-in for the BOM-MAA segment, but I needed to get a verification stamp from the airline so that airport security could be sure that the airline had spotted me as a passenger and verified my credentials. For the MAA-CMB segment, however, they handed me out new boarding passes because on international sectors, self-printed boarding passes are still not recognised for travel from an Indian airport.
Boarding passes out of the way, I passed through airport security and went over to the Carnations lounge at Mumbai Terminal 1C. I’ve already reviewed this lounge in a bit of detail here, and the experience is similar every time, a huge crowd, a quick plate of hot food and then over to the flight. This time it was no different. As a Gold tier, I was allowed to +1 a guest into the lounge while travelling economy, and that helped getting my brother into the lounge. We grabbed a quick little meal and a beer, and we were good to wheel up shortly.
The flight check-in was pretty smooth, and we occupied our seats on the airplane. I did discover during this trip that if I was a Gold tier and my brother was a lower tier than me, then we could not check-in together 48 hours prior. So, I had to select one seat 48 hours prior and pray that the next seat was going to be empty for the next 24 hours. That would have been a breeze for other seats, but probability said that when you are trying to get the 10A (the first row seat in economy) this might not be the case. Everyone wants it, right?
Eventually, we had 10A and 10B to ourselves and we were all set and boarded. At this point, I was pretty surprised when I was approached by a Jet Airways ground staff to check if everything was okay and I was comfortable or not. I had a short discussion and then he deplaned. I got a call from another Jet Airways personnel, perhaps Guest Relations, to check if I was fine and told me someone would meet me on the other side to take care of my transit in Chennai. So, the step-up in treatment was showing on the face of the passenger in seat 10C who was wondering why was he not asked about his well-being on the plane.
Jet Airways 469
Mumbai(BOM) – Chennai(MAA)
Thursday, April 08 2011
Depart: 9:45 PM
Arrive: 11:30 PM
Distance flown: 642 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 10B (Economy)
Meal Service: Dinner
The flight took off on time, which is a slight rarity in Mumbai now a days. Shortly after the cruise altitude was set, the captain announced that we looked set for an early arrival at MAA, which sounded like good news. I usually don’t take the middle seat but to be able to chat up with my bro, I was game for it. The leg space was not bad at all, but I had this little screen in my face all the time!
Welcome drinks were offered, with lemonade and water on offer. I went with the lemonade and it was quite well made. There was no AVOD on this plane, since somewhere down the road Jet Airways cannot decide if it wants AVOD on domestic flights or not. So it is just living without it on domestic flights for the time being.
The flight crew started with meal service shortly after, and I went with a non-vegetarian dinner which was sumptuous and just the right temperature. While airline meals at the back of a plane on a short haul flight are usually not good, or non-existent, on a ‘full-service’ 9W flight, you still get the bells and whistles of a meal and a hot drink if you please.
The reason I say it was a delicious meal was because it had rice, lentils, a good curry, yoghurt, a dessert and bread. And the portion was just right to befit a dinner (discounting for the little nibbles I had at the airport lounge earlier!). This was followed by a coffee service and a short while later, we were on our way, descending into MAA. The positioning flight done, the next leg was going to be more promising!