9th May- The day that with be etched in my history. Some years back I took my first flight this day. It was a Kingfisher flight and coincidentally the anniversary of Kingfisher airline- So the first time I flew I was greeted with Belgium chocolate and smiles. This time not that much smile and definitely no chocolate only upgrade is an ATR72-500 to an ATR 72-600.Booking:
I wanted to travel to Bangalore for official reasons and was looking at all options to travel, Since the distance is not that much the entitlement is for a sleeper bus or a 2 tier AC.The fare for Cochin-Bangalore Air India flight was reasonable and hence I thought will go ahead and book it. This time I used the app and it was uber cool. The booking was done really fast and the ticket was mailed to me with in seconds.
The app shows the time for checkin and time for the flight which and have even feature to gather the passenger information by scanning passport, Overall I was really impressed with the app and it worked even when the website was having some glitches.Check-in
I have inherited a particular habit from my dad, I will always be at any place well before time , I reached airport very well in advance - 2 hrs 30 minutes before flight and started my wait for check-in counters to open,Since there are no other flights operated by Air India at that point the check in counters were not open - I thought it will open 2 hours before flight - It came and went and I started getting concerned.
In Cochin the baggage scanning is done before you check in your baggage, Here there are 3 check in machines and they are allotted to the airlines, The airline staff has to man the scanners and a particular airlines baggage are screened only once the employee mans the scanners.
Since I know its a two step process I was waiting for somebody to start the baggage screening. Almost 90 minutes before the flight the screening started.
The check-in was a breeze and I got my boarding pass in matter of seconds. There is an option to block seat while booking in Air India and I have availed that feature but I was assigned to a completely different seat and I was a bit sad about that
I have always liked the Air India boarding pass, The colour , The swam with the national emblem and the Maharaja gives it a regal look.
After the security check I was so boarded and started following the inbound flight from Agatti in flightradar Boarding
The boarding was announced within minutes of the incoming aircraft
I remember some years back AI was using ATR 40-320 in the COK-AGX sector and the airline looked completely in bad shape, The livery was that of Alliance air and it looked like its a very old horse. Seeing the new ATR 72-600 in a very beautiful livery I felt so happy, I really like the inscription of "Regional" on one side and "Kshetriya (Regional in hindi" in the devanagari script.
Since I got to know the registration now a bit ahead I just checked the aircraft history. Its just 2.3 years old. In flight
The load was somewhere near 70% , I am not yet sure why the pre-selected seat was not assigned to me. I got 15C and I was looking forward to a window seat. I noticed that 16th row was empty and I quickly check the Airhostess if I can switch to that seat and just took that seat.
The mandatory legroom shot
Air India has no PTVs in the ATRs. However, There were newspapers avaliable and the Inflight magazine - Shubh Yatra,However the magazine was from January 2017, almost 5 months old Inflight Service
Once the seatbelts signs were switched off the snack service started. We were offered water first and later a box was handed over. It had one juice and a small slice of sandwich. I would have appreciated if the sandwich was a bit more bigger than what was served.
There was airtraffic congestion in Bangalore and the Captain gave a detailed announced describing the air traffic congestion and why we were circling around, There were rain clouds around and the captain informed us he is trying his best to avoid the clouds, Despite the best efforts at one point we were fully into rain clouds to the point where I could not find the wings but the crew commandeered the flight well without much of a rough turbulent ride. We had a near smooth touch down at around 3.29
I really enjoyed the flight
Check in : 2/5 (The checkin counters opened late)
Boarding : 4/5 (Smooth and organized)
Inflight Entertainment : 2/5 (Give me the latest Shubh Yatra and the score will change)
Meal Service : 2/5 ( Something more than a really small slice of sandwich would be appreciated , Dont give snacks for the sake of giving it)