- Check-in: Clipper Lounge, Terminal 2, Mumbai
- Airborne: Flight 9W228 (BOM-BRU), Jet Airways, Premiere (A332)
- Hotel Manhattan, Rotterdam
- Hotel Sheraton Brussels Airport, Brussels
- Check-in: Jet Airways Lounge, Brussels
- Airborne: Flight 9W227 (BRU-BOM), Jet Airways, Premiere (A333)
Earlier this month I needed to plan a trip to The Netherlands, not for fun but for work. The direct route from Mumbai (BOM) to Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) has only one flight, which is actually a SkyTeam flight operated by Delta on the route Mumbai – Amsterdam – Atlanta, using their Fifth Freedom rights. However, having travelled on that flight once, I decided I did not like it much. What could you expect of Delta afterall? They took 1.5 hours just to serve me water!
Anyways, a lot many more options could open up if I had a valid UK Visa at all times, because then I could have flown BOM-LHR-AMS, and unlike flying to the USA, I cannot transit UK with a valid Schengen visa. But since this visa is not always available to me, I have chosen to be flying BOM-BRU, a route that is served by Jet Airways for years as a part of their Mumbai – Brussels – Newark service. Brussels is 9W’s scissor hub, and here passengers from the Delhi – Brussels – Toronto flight come in as well, and can switch flights to Newark for instance. I’ve done this flight quite a few times, and here are some pictures from a past trip in business class in 2011 (the trip report is still due), and economy in 2012. I sometimes take a short regional flight from Brussels to Amsterdam, but most of the times the trains work for me.
Once my dates were firmed up, I ticketed economy class seats on Jet Airways website using the Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card. Not just did it mean I got 12 JPMiles per Rs. 100 spent on the ticket, I also got a 5% discount on the base fare, which worked to about Rs. 2,000. Not bad I say!
Since I was going to be getting straight into work mode after landing, I decided it was worth it to try and upgrade to Premiere. Since I am Platinum with Jet Airways, I thought it was going to be easier since there is no fare class restriction for Platinum members, and to add to it the ticket was purchased close to the date of travel so it was not a deep-discounted ticket either. However, after multiple assurances from Jet Privilege, I only got the waitlist till the day of departure. You can see how to use Jet Airways upgrade vouchers here.
For the stay, I was going to head up to the corporate agreement hotel of my company in Rotterdam, The Manhattan Hotel, since this is the only 5-Star hotel in Rotterdam, and is way better than some of the other ratholes I have stayed at in the city. On my way back from Rotterdam, I was going to spend a night at the Sheraton Brussels Airport, which would have made life easy in the morning since I just had to walk across the road to check-in for my flight.
All in all, apart from the snow in Brussels which had me off-guard for a while, since I did not think trains would not work due to this, we did good. So, I’ll try and go through the details over here and I hope you have fun reading it.