Considering Jet Airways was out to prove a point, they had put out their Guest Relations manager at Chennai on the job to make sure my transit at Chennai was smooth. I arrived at the Domestic Terminal of the Chennai Airport, and I had a porter waiting for me right outside the plane waiting to bring our handbags to the International Terminal. He insisted to carry my bag but I had to really request him and plead with him that I was okay carrying my own bag!
He brought us to the Arrival area of the Chennai Airport, where I was coming after quite a few years. There was construction going around all over, and I was told that they were renovating the airport facade entirely. This, however, was a loud noise situation at about 1130 PM in the night and we requested to be quickly whisked away from there.
The Domestic and International terminals of the Chennai Airport share the walls, however, for some reason, do not have a transit gate to walk over to the other side. As a result, we had to take a walk all out of the Domestic Arrivals area and into the International Departure area. Here, we were greeted by the Guest Relations executive of Jet Airways in Chennai, who walked with us to make sure we would get on our plane just right.
Thanks to the red carpet being rolled out by Jet Airways that night, we did not have to queue up at the Passport Control counters and we were brought to one where the official of Jet requested to process our passports early. Passing though there, we were walked to the Clipper Lounge which is used by Jet Airways for their international passengers in Chennai. This lounge was located land side, and is the one that is contracted by other prominent airlines also for their flights out of Chennai. Some of the names I remember seeing here were Cathay Pacific and Emirates.
I walked into the lounge, and the Jet Airways crew deposited our Lounge vouchers with the reception. I was told that they’d be back to pick us up when the flight was ready to board and bring us through the security gates. Here is how the lounge looked like:
The lounge soon crowded up. They had free wi-fi internet there so I tried to log on to get some work finished but the speed was too slow, and I dropped the idea within five minutes. I headed to check out the food and beverages, and there was free flowing Kingfisher Beer and hot snacks on offer. Also, a lot of alcohol was on self-serve.
The food was good by itself. There were vegetable sticks and sandwiches on offer, and some snack preparations which were mostly South Indian cuisine.
We spent about 45 minutes at the lounge, and got bored since there was too much chatter in this small place. We decided to go over to the security check, and queued up to walk through without Jet Airways’ assistance. After the security check, we met the Jet Airways crew again, and this time she came with us all the way to drop us to the plane. This was a narrow body service again, and it did not even feel like a international flight considering the flight time was only about an hour or so.
Jet Airways 254
Chennai(MAA) – Colombo(CMB)
Friday, April 09 2011
Depart: 1:30 AM
Arrive: 2:50 AM
Duration: 1hr 20min
Distance flown: 400 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 10B (Economy)
Meal Service: Light Snack
The business class was the regular Jet Airways short-haul product which they use inside India. The cabin was almost empty, except for a singular soul inside there who turned out to be a South Indian actor sitting upfront.
We headed to our usual seats 10A and 10B at the back of the plane. A little later the flight was good to go, and it took off on time. Once airborne and cruising, the flight attendants started with the drinks service. There was a full bar in the air, but I went with a cola.
Since we were tired and it was late night already, we informed the crew that we did not want to eat on the flight, and dozed off almost instantly after that. We already knew we had to keep up later that night when we arrived at the hotel, since we were informed our rooms were booked up from 6 AM only (including the early check-in) and we were going to arrive at the hotel at about 4 AM. Towards the later half of the flight, the crew distributed the disembarkation cards, which would be needed for the passport clearance at Colombo Airport
For the rest, it was an uneventful flight, and shortly before 3 AM we arrived at the Colombo Airport. This was a very small airport for international standards. Passport control was a breeze, with a visa on arrival for Indians. We browsed through the duty free just to kill time, and noticed that there were actually a lot of shops at the airport selling all kinds of stuff from utensils to TVs and the works. For us, the only useful thing we could find there were some M&Ms and we proceeded to the car which was waiting to pick us up outside the airport.