cricket
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Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:16 pm

The simple fact is that if you want to fly and A320neo for sure you have to come to India. IndiGo is the largest neo operator by far, with over twenty planes in service. Air India has six neo’s, Go Air has five and Vistara recently got their first. While IndiGo and Go Air use the -271N variant featuring the first into service Pratt and Whitney 1000G engines and both airlines have had major teething issues Air India and Vistara are flying the -251N CFM LEAP1A engines - although it is surprising that P&W and CFM (GE) got new engine codes from Airbus instead of their traditional (X1X for GE) and (X2X for P&W) maybe to show the ‘new-ness’ of the neo. Wonder if that will be the case on the A330neo as well.
Anyway, if you want to guarantee yourself a flight on a A320neo you actually have to choose Air India. IndiGo’s planes do swap out a bit so there is no guarantee of flying one other than having on average a 1 in 5 chance. Air India however does use their neo’s on all DEL-BLR-DEL services through the day. To give you an idea, VT-CID the aircraft I flew did the following routes on the 6th of June.
AI 804 BLR-DEL
AI 506 DEL-BLR (my flight)
AI 503 BLR-DEL
AI 504 DEL-BLR
On other days, the aircraft sometimes do three return trips between the cities with at least two aircraft used during rotations.

VT-CID was the first A320neo delivered to Air India in February 2017, and the first -251N in India. I knew this was the aircraft operating my sector well in advance thanks to Flightradar24. I cut it a bit fine getting to the airport because I couldn’t find my phone in the morning, because I’m growing absent-minded and old. That said, security queues did move fairly fast (despite a lot of first time flyers thanks to the school vacations) and I met a friend in the queue on the same flight, Delhi T3 involves more walking than I would like, but we found our way to the gate where boarding had already started. From the time I entered the terminal to the time I was on the plane - 25 minutes - extreme efficiency even by my standards.
Image
Post Security hand-luggage carts

As far as interiors go, this aircraft like the other A320neo’s in AI’s fleet has the new slimline Recaro seats - much less storage space for books and magazines, let alone a laptop. Not even enough space for Air India’s crappy in-house magazine Just one newspaper, and Air India’s experiment with seat-back screens has stopped. However, the slimmer seats and lack of lower seat storage means more legroom straight up. It is interesting that Air India has stuck with their cloth upholstery. The armrests are of the new ‘slimline’ design as well - thankfully the middle seat on this flight was empty, I can’t imagine two burly arms sharing it! But, well, the seats are a teensy-weensy bit wider as a result.
Image
Slimline Seats, less storage and in fabric
Image
New 'slimline' armrest - nope!
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Emergency instructions - front
Image
Emergency instructions - Rear

AI 506 was scheduled for 0930IST and the door shut two minutes ahead of schedule, and we pushed back right on time. As departures were westerly, tis meant taxiing almost all the way to Gurugram to the runway 29 threshold. But as the major morning rush of domestic departures was over by 9AM, we got on the runway immediately for take-off.

Image
Neighbour - a company A321 on the parallel entrance to 29-11

While this wasn’t my first neo flight - I’ve done a couple on IndiGo already, I must admit that the CFM-LEAP did sound quieter. Listen to the noise on this take-off video. Maybe this also has a bit to do possibly with better insulation than older A320’s, but really quiet for a take-off and palpably more powerful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-UQ2tLP2uc

So, the rest of the flight was like any normal domestic hop inside India. Air India’s food has become extremely boring and breakfast was two sandwiches which I turned down and caught a few more shows on my laptop before catching an hour of sleep. Even with my head leaning against the sidewall, the noise levels were much lower.

Image
I think I've had worse food on a plane, don't remember when
Image
Approach - the red earth of the southern Deccan

While I’m waiting to fly on a MAX - I’m hoping Jet and SpiceJet get theirs by sometime next year, I must admit that the neo is quieter. Also, the entire approach phase felt quieter as well and I guess because the weather was so nice in Bangalore, it was smooth sailing down.

Approach and landing in Bangalore
http://youtu.be/BqyEdBWNRVo

The bonus was the fact that we didn’t use the aerobridge, using the stairs instead. Sitting towards the back, I took the rear stairs and walked towards the bus at the front and while there were AI security shooing people from taking pictures I got some nice ones of VT-CID including a this one of the CFM-LEAP.
Image
If it says it is a neo...
Image
This is what makes it a neo then - the CFM-LEAP - Air India does have pretty engine covers


I’ll cut this one short here, the return flight on Jet Airways was a bog standard domestic flight but we did get some pretty nice views of the sunset. And I must admit onboard catering standards have gone to the dogs. ‘Snacks’ on a dinner time flight Jet? Really? And Air India’s food was bad!

Image
Interesting sight... :-D
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Lovely sunset
Image
Jet took up Air India's catering challenge... and it is a draw
A300B2/B4/6R, A313, A319/320/321, A333, A343, A388, 737-2/3/4/7/8/9, 747-3/4, 772/2E/2L/3, E170/190, F70, CR2/7, 146-3,
 
11725Flyer
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 4:51 pm

Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:06 am

Thanks for turning a quick trip into an excellent trip report. The food looked rather mediocre. I hope your Fitbit gave you credit for flying! :)
 
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hirofumi
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Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:32 pm

Interesting report! Looks like I can confirm AI has stopped serving hot meal on all domestic flights? I was surprised that on my recent flight to Mumbai the main dish was just a piece of sandwich - where as before, they always served hot meals on this sector! Even the Jet meal looks unappetizing... I wonder what's happening with Vistara in the meanwhile - our last hope!
 
9w748capt
Posts: 1024
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:27 am

Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:15 pm

Wow - those were the (unsustainable) days - when even a one hour short hop served a delicious hot meal.
 
cricket
Topic Author
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Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:46 pm

hirofumi wrote:
Interesting report! Looks like I can confirm AI has stopped serving hot meal on all domestic flights? I was surprised that on my recent flight to Mumbai the main dish was just a piece of sandwich - where as before, they always served hot meals on this sector! Even the Jet meal looks unappetizing... I wonder what's happening with Vistara in the meanwhile - our last hope!


Hahaha... Well AI used to serve shit sandwiches on the DEL-JDH and DEL-UDR flights earlier - I've taken those a fair bit but Jet at least tried. The last time I did BOM-JDH though on 9W I had a surprise in being served a Subway.

Flying Vistara PE to BOM and back in a couple of days - so I'll do a quick report on that...
A300B2/B4/6R, A313, A319/320/321, A333, A343, A388, 737-2/3/4/7/8/9, 747-3/4, 772/2E/2L/3, E170/190, F70, CR2/7, 146-3,
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:26 pm

cricket wrote:
To give you an idea, VT-CID the aircraft I flew did the following routes on the 6th of June.
AI 804 BLR-DEL
AI 506 DEL-BLR (my flight)
AI 503 BLR-DEL
AI 504 DEL-BLR
On other days, the aircraft sometimes do three return trips between the cities with at least two aircraft used during rotations.

For the DEL-BLR route, the VT-EDx series used to be dedicated with a 3 day rotation pattern. So if you flew every 3 days, you would get the same aircraft. The one month when I was a regular on this route, I got VT-EDD all the time. Looks like the NEO has taken over some of the EDx flying.

cricket wrote:

So, the rest of the flight was like any normal domestic hop inside India. Air India’s food has become extremely boring and breakfast was two sandwiches which I turned down and caught a few more shows on my laptop before catching an hour of sleep. Even with my head leaning against the sidewall, the noise levels were much lower.


Image


AI now caters differently for non-meal time flights. and a 930am departure is certainly in that zone. Their breakfast(AI803), lunch(AI501) and dinner (AI173) flights are good. AI173 catering is extra super in business class. Standard menu that hasnt been changed for a decade: but decent filling food in both classes. Breakfast has 2 veg (NI and South Indian) and 1 non-veg option, though they run out of the North Indian option by the 3rd row. Problem if like me you hate eating sambar on a plane. Lunch/Dinner on the route is usually Chicken Chettinad - don't remember a time on this route when it was anything else. But I am a fan.

Jet is infinitely worse on routes other than DEL-BOM. On a 730pm flight in Premiere class, we were served what looked like a child meal.

But surely anything, ANYTHING is better than the shitty overpriced "Shendwees" that the Indigo children try to sell you!
L' Esprit de Mai 68
 
LAHockey
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:25 pm

Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:09 pm

Amazing trip report! I hope the flights were smooth.
 
cricket
Topic Author
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Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:13 am

BawliBooch wrote:
cricket wrote:
To give you an idea, VT-CID the aircraft I flew did the following routes on the 6th of June.
AI 804 BLR-DEL
AI 506 DEL-BLR (my flight)
AI 503 BLR-DEL
AI 504 DEL-BLR
On other days, the aircraft sometimes do three return trips between the cities with at least two aircraft used during rotations.

For the DEL-BLR route, the VT-EDx series used to be dedicated with a 3 day rotation pattern. So if you flew every 3 days, you would get the same aircraft. The one month when I was a regular on this route, I got VT-EDD all the time. Looks like the NEO has taken over some of the EDx flying.

cricket wrote:

So, the rest of the flight was like any normal domestic hop inside India. Air India’s food has become extremely boring and breakfast was two sandwiches which I turned down and caught a few more shows on my laptop before catching an hour of sleep. Even with my head leaning against the sidewall, the noise levels were much lower.


Image


AI now caters differently for non-meal time flights. and a 930am departure is certainly in that zone. Their breakfast(AI803), lunch(AI501) and dinner (AI173) flights are good. AI173 catering is extra super in business class. Standard menu that hasnt been changed for a decade: but decent filling food in both classes. Breakfast has 2 veg (NI and South Indian) and 1 non-veg option, though they run out of the North Indian option by the 3rd row. Problem if like me you hate eating sambar on a plane. Lunch/Dinner on the route is usually Chicken Chettinad - don't remember a time on this route when it was anything else. But I am a fan.

Jet is infinitely worse on routes other than DEL-BOM. On a 730pm flight in Premiere class, we were served what looked like a child meal.

But surely anything, ANYTHING is better than the shitty overpriced "Shendwees" that the Indigo children try to sell you!



Hahahahahahaha; AI has gone 'all-veg' in Y in Domestic apparently. My problem with IndiGo is mainly a lack of ******* choice. Oh yeah and the ability to buy seconds on a flight - I've been picking up Starbucks for that one reason. Jet sucks! I'm completely sold on Vistara, but they need to grow fast.
A300B2/B4/6R, A313, A319/320/321, A333, A343, A388, 737-2/3/4/7/8/9, 747-3/4, 772/2E/2L/3, E170/190, F70, CR2/7, 146-3,
 
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BawliBooch
Posts: 766
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:24 am

Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:33 am

cricket wrote:
Hahahahahahaha; AI has gone 'all-veg' in Y in Domestic apparently.

So not true. Just flew them yesterday. Same old Chettinad "Biryani". But yeah, many short sectors are veg only. Like the morning HYD-BLR is veg only, but afternoon flight is not. Not sure why.

cricket wrote:
My problem with IndiGo is mainly a lack of ******* choice.

Oh! Thats the ONLY problem? I cant stand their paisa-vasooli game for every little thing. Excess baggage? 500 Rs! Some stale shendwees? 300 Rs? Cancellation fee 2500 Rs. Seat Selection: 100Rs, Good seat 600 Rs.

Uffff! I am sticking to full service or Go Air.
L' Esprit de Mai 68
 
11725Flyer
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 4:51 pm

Re: Quick trip to Bangalore on AI’s new A320neo

Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:51 pm

Great trip report. Interesting the way each window has its own frame of paint. And yes, the food does look boring. Thanks for the pictures!

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