Like regular readers know, I am a big fan of the Jet Airways A330-200 planes, primarily because they have the herringbone seats in their business class section of the plane, which is a product I love. It is spacious and private, and good for travellers like me who usually travel alone.
Jet Airways also started operating one of their A332 domestically on the Delhi – Mumbai – Delhi route every evening, which gives their domestic travelers an opportunity to experience their wide body product as well. The flight numbers to look out for are 9W 361/362.
So a couple of weeks ago, Shipra & myself were booked to go to Delhi to visit my parents. We did not realize we were on the A332 since we booked flights in a hurry, but a few days before the flight, I did get emails from Jet Airways as well as JetPrivilege to upsell to Premiere via miles or money. The upgrade was offered for INR 8999, making it significantly cheaper than buying the ticket at INR 35000 for Business Class. That made me check the flight number again, and I realized this was the flight I have always wanted to be in Business Class on.
Like Shipra mentioned here, once I was upgraded on the Delhi – Mumbai leg due to a full plane but she was not, so I handed over the upgrade to someone we did not know. This time around, the plane was going to be sort of empty, so we figured why not try it out.
We web-checked into our Economy class seats, and arrived at the counter at the airport to collect our boarding passes and deposit our check-in bags. Ran into an agent who was perhaps new to the job, or was not trained, but was manning the Gold/Silver check-in counter. Since the Platinum check-in counters were busy, he waived to us and we went over to him. Except, he did not know much or anything as we realized later.
He took 15 minutes to check-in our bag and hand us over our boarding passes. I asked him if business class had two seats available for a voucher upgrade, and he looked puzzled. Eventually he found it there were 7 seats open on that flight. So I handed him two vouchers, and he started going over the T&C at the back to see if he could upgrade us. I had to inform him that these were Platinum tier vouchers, and hence could be used on any fare class.
Sigh, he took a while to register that and then proceeded to assign us seats. Except, we were first given boarding passes for seats in different rows. I was literally groaning inside by now about the slow responses he was giving us, that too without applying his brain. I mean, isn’t it common sense that a family would like to sit adjacent to each other, and not on other ends of the cabin. I peeped into his screen and asked him to assign us two seats which were empty, and yet he gave us two other seats adjacent to each other. I did not contest this and moved on.
Mumbai (BOM) – Delhi(DEL)
Tuesday, July 14, 2016
Departure: 09:07 PM
Arrival: 11:18 PM
Flight Duration : 02 hr 11 min
Distance flown: 709 miles
Aircraft Type: Airbus 330-200
Seat: 5K (Premiere)
Meal Service: Dinner
We spent some time at the GVK Lounge catching a bite, however since I was most interested in seeing how the meal service was going to be on this flight, I did not eat much. We proceeded when boarding was called, and went left to our seats in the Premiere Cabin. I immediately felt the cabin to be warm, and it seemed to have stayed that way throughout the flight. There were no nozzles to direct some air to make me feel cooler.
Shipra was seated next to me in 4K. We were brought about a welcome drink, and were offered a choice of Water, Buttermilk and Watermelon juice. I went with some water. In a bit, we were offered a cold towel.
Menus were distributed for a dinner meal service. Magazines were brought about as well.
The cabin filled up quickly and we were 16/18 full in business on this flight. One of the pax was a Jet Airways’ employee. This meant either two op-ups or upgrades happened after we left the counter.
We pushed back on time, which is a sort of an amusing thing at Mumbai airport at Mumbai airport these days, given the congestion that happens every evening. The cabin crew came about to take meal choices. Now since our friend the friendly 30 minutes for checking-you-in agent sent us to the other end of the cabin (4K/5K) instead of giving us 5A/6A which were empty when we asked, the interesting meal choices were over, and I was either left with Indian vegetarian or a Thai Chicken Curry choice. I went with Vegetarian option in that case while Shipra took the Thai option.
We took off after 15 minutes of queuing up, and the moving map started to show up on the IFE screen now. Little did I know that this was going to be our entertainment on the entire flight since someone told us earlier that the IFE would be switched on after take off, which is standard of Jet Airways. Dang! I think this was not done because of their licensing pact perhaps, where they are allowed to only display movies on international flights and not on domestic flights. This should change when Jet Airways installs their new wifi IFE system.
Since I was now getting bored of reading, I was waiting for food. The meal was served up quickly after the climb. First, the salad was brought out. A bread basket followed, where I went with my usual choice, the garlic bread.
The next course was the mains, and the vegetarian Indian course included a portion of Okra and a gravy along with Rice. The bread basket was brought about again, and I chose a parantha this time around. It was a boring meal for me because I’ve had it umpteen number of times before. The crew apologized again for running out of the non-vegetarian Indian option.
Here is the Thai Red Curry which Shipra had for dinner.
The dessert course was however interesting. There was a choice of Malai Sandwich and Apple Tart, and the flight attendants brought out both for everyone to be able to make a choice. I felt a sugar rush, so I asked if I could try out both, and got it my way. The Malai Sandwich was good, but the tart was served cold, and hence a bit too hard for me. I polished off the Malai Sandwich, but left the other after a few bites.
Surprisingly, no one during the service ever offered me a beverage, hot or cold. I usually don’t like to hit the call button, so I let it pass. The cabin was set up in ambient lights so that we could rest a bit. I slid my seat down for a bit and caught a bit of a nap, before we commenced descent and were supposed to get back in upright position to prepare for landing.
9W operates this flight on a wide body to be able to showcase their international standard to domestic passengers, as well as go around the slot constraints at Mumbai airport these days. So color me unimpressed when a crew uses a comparison that this flight would be similar to my flights to Paris with them.
After all, if there is no IFE and not ample meals, then the only differentiation is a nicer seat, but we can’t use it for long due to the timings of the flight. So, I find it underwhelming that a great product is not used to its full potential. Worldwide, airlines have put in special differentiated experiences such as JFK-LAX transcontinental, and this is one great opportunity missed if the airline does not create an experience around the A330.
Have you flown the Jet Airways’ A330 domestically? How do you like it?