Heleventia
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:30 am

The Perfect Mixture of Art,Science and Magic

Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:27 pm

╔═════════════════ ೋღ☃ღೋ══════════════════════════╗
THE PERFECT MIXTURE OF ART, SCIENCE AND MAGIC
╚═════════════════ ೋღ☃ღೋ══════════════════════════╝
New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) to Cochin (COK), Kerala, India on Air India
Heleventia - June 22, 2017

Theme Music: Baby by Warpaint
You and I



Prologue

Hello! First of all I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to all those taking time to read my first trip report. I chanced upon this site while I was looking for the seat map on Seat Guru for a flight to Bangkok I took last year, and I was much delighted to discover such a vibrant community sharing interests of traveling and flying. Ever since then I have been completely hooked onto this amazing place and I have taken great joy in reading so many wonderful trip and interesting trips reports posted here on an almost daily basis. Thereafter I had always wanted to post a trip report of my own but life happened. Now that I have some time I have decided, for the purpose of documentation (and if anyone cares to read this silly write up its an added benefit), to post a report on a holiday I had taken in June to the Southern Indian state of Kerala.

Indian summers, especially inland routinely see temperatures touching 45 C; and in places like Delhi, given the urban structure and the phenomenon of heat islands, not to mention the rising temperatures with each succeeding year breaking the record of the previous one, the effect is compounded multifold. 


My favorite season, on the contrary has been the rains - especially the kind of murky, dark ones, falling whenever the air has a chill, of the kind that makes you want to spend the entire day in front of a warm fireplace with a nice, hot cup of cocoa. However, such days are a rarity in the subcontinent and I have to make do with the monsoon rains.

In Delhi, monsoon is never ‘soon’. After the SouthWest winds have covered most of the subcontinent only do the brokered winds already having shed most of their moisture reach this place. Consequently, rainfall in Delhi is comparably less than the Southern and the Eastern (parts of which receive some of the highest rainfall in the world) parts of the country.

Goa seems to be a monsoon destination and so does Meghalaya but I have already visited either of these places. I ultimately decide to visit Kerala starting from Cochin, onwards to Alappuzha, thence to Trivandrum and finally to Kanyakumari for a period of 5 days as allowed by my finances and time. A three day journey by trains rules that option out (though trains are my first love) and a quick glance over the flights indicate Air India with a layover in Mumbai as the best option (in terms of money). Moreover, I wanted to see the new terminal in Mumbai, so my planned itinerary is thus:

AI 863 DEL - BOM 1:12pm dep. 3:10pm arr.
AI 681 BOM - COK 5:15pm dep. 7:15pm arr.

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Initial Planned Route;Courtesy GC Mapper

Tickets are booked for a little over Rs. 9,000 return (return flight was non stop from Trivandrum) and all that is left for now is to wait for the holidays in June.

This is my first trip report and one of the first journeys that I have taken solo; therefore please forgive any mistakes and please do not hesitate to engage in criticism of this attempt (I have a number of reports I’d to write in the future - the past year has taken me to Bangkok, Shillong, and Diu and I’d like to cover them in a not so distant future).

A note on Theme Music

For this report, I'm choosing a song that represents the overall theme and moods which persist throughout the journey. Baby by Warpaint reflects the rainy mood and the sentiments in my mind which prevail through this trip.

Another song that I wish to chose, is not a song per se but a jingle that was composed for advertisement by Hutch, a telecom company, now acquired by Vodafone You and I. Though this jingle was for a commercial purpose , it evokes strong nostalgia and some of the places I've visited are similar to those featured in the advertisement, so I think this is yet another apt music for this trip.
Last edited by Heleventia on Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
Heleventia
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:30 am

A Glitch in Plans

Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:28 pm

A Glitch in Plans

The day of the journey arrives and I am greeted by the message that the flight from Bombay to Kochi is delayed to 1815. When I am finished with my bath and packing I get a message that the flight to Mumbai is delayed; nevertheless I decide to leave for airport at 11 am for that flight (I am too excited to stay home now). When I reach the airport I again receive a message indicating that the flight to Mumbai is further delayed, now I am worried for the gap between connecting flights is a little under 30 minutes. I convey my anxiety via phone to an agent to which I get the reply that I would have a misconnection. I ask her what does misconnection mean and she replies, “It means that you will miss your connection”, and further advises me to contact the airline counter.

After half an hour struggle at the counter, the first option I am offered is an overnight stay at Mumbai, if I miss the connection, followed by a flight to Cochin next morning (I am tempted to take that since I wanted to see the new terminal at Bombay but given the prevailing thunderstorm there it is likely that the morning is delayed); then after several requests to see if a non stop flight is available I am finally offered a seat on AI 048 departing at 1805 from Delhi and arriving at 2110 at Cochin. Furthermore, I am offered a coupon to have lunch at the airport and an attendant to take me to the international airside (the flight is departing from the international side). The attendant seems to be in a hurry to dump me at the food counter so he rushes me through security (therefore I am sorry there aren't any pictures of the landside :( ) which is empty at this time (the exciting departures to Central Asia and China Bishkek, Astana, Kunming etc. have already left and so has the Air India afternoon block to Frankfurt, Madrid, London, Birmingham, Rome etc.) as there are absolutely no international flights departing until later in the evening. I realize that I have never been to the domestic side of the Terminal (today would have been that day had it not been for the delayed flight) as all flights I have taken from Delhi have either departed from international side or from Terminal 1D.

By 1715 I am at the gate ready for the final itinerary:

Flight Number: AI 048 [my 12th flight on AI (including the now defunct Indian Airlines, Air India Express, and Alliance Air)]
Date: June the 22nd, 2017
STD: 1805 ATD: 1815
STA: 2110 ATA: 2115
GATE: 18
SEAT: 6A
AIRCRAFT: A 321
LOAD: 100% Y, 100% J

Image
Final itinerary. Courtesy: GC Mapper

A 777 pulls in. I hope that it parks at this gate despite knowing that we are flying an A321 today while hoping that the aircraft fairy has decided to bless me with a 777 today. But it is for the neighboring flight to Chennai :(

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An AI Boeing 787

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On the opposite side we have some 9Ws and SriLankan UL 195 just arrived from Colombo

At 1735 boarding is announced which unlike the boarding in this part of the world is carried out sequence wise which is followed and enforced. To my surprise the “plane will leave without me brigade” is missing in action.

At this point a couple of AI flights are departing to various destinations across India Chennai, Bangalore, of course Cochin (continuing onward to Trivandrum)

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AI 174 departing to Bangalore

And Finally

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Our ride for today

I am one of the last to board. As soon as I settle, the neighboring gate is occupied by Air India Express IX 142 arriving from Dubai. I love their tails, especially how they depict various aspects of Indian culture

There is no one to welcome the passengers. The Cabin crew is busy doing some work in the galley.

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Air India Express IX 142 From Dubai. And of course, the window is dirty.

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Seat Width

Seats have standard, comfortable width with adequate legroom. There is no charging port. The PTV is hidden behind the seat cover and is thus inaccessible. The kid behind me is kicking the seat but stops soon after.

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We're now taxing

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Would love to fly the new feeling some day

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AI 777 with Control Tower in Background

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Front View - Love those Gigantic engines

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Erstwhile Alliance Air, then Air India Regional, now again Alliance Air

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The Entire Fleet of Zoom Air (Pic not clear because I had to zoom in, given the aircraft was parked far away)

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Air borne now

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Climbing...

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Over Gurgaon

While we are found of talking about India’s economic growth (the Government is busy celebrating improvement in Ease of Doing Business Rank for India, 100 out of 180 countries, from 140 in 2014 but shouldn't we also celebrate India’s amazing HDI rank of 130 out of 180 which has remained so constant since 2014), we ignore the fact that benefits of this growth have not percolated to the bottom most sections of the society. A capital intensive near jobless growth that has fueled a healthy rural urban migration putting tremendous pressure on the grossly inadequate urban infrastructure, a fact recently recognized by a Centre of Science and Environment and Gurgaon First report highlighting the not so distant transformation of the city into a ‘living hell’ given the ‘depleting water tables, high population growth, high pollution, overcrowding’. This theme remains recurring throughout my trip as I notice complete urban degradation of the landscape at almost all places I’ve visited. A little over 15 years ago the areas that were covered in lush green forests have transformed into unplanned urban jungles which is far beyond the carrying capacity of the region.

The said report offers solutions ranging from 'recycling urban wastes' through 'decentralised waste management' to 'installation of solar panels' and 'urban rainwater harvesting' to meet the growing challenges of urbanisation. The highlighted problems and initiatives are not unique to Gurgaon but are applicable to growing cities in the developing world which need to be the focus for attaining 'Sustainable Development'. The commitment of the government to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 will be highlighted by the directions of policy planning, management, implementation and monitoring in the coming years. Such initiatives call for a unified action at all levels ranging from local to global. The Earth can survive without humans but humans can’t live without Earth.

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Flying Over the Aravalis. With population encroaching upon one of the oldest mountain ranges in India

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Now flying over Central Highlands

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Rocky Valleys

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Sunlight Breaking into Blades of Fan

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Over the clouds now
 
Heleventia
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:30 am

The Perfect Mixture of Art,Science and Magic

Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:30 pm

The Perfect Mixture of Art, Science and Magic

Let’s examine the seat pocket content (only one content remains)

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AI Magazine - Had a nice article about their pilots, why they love flying and their favourite aircraft

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AI Domestic Network. Courtesy: AI website

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AI Fleet. Courtesy: AI Website

Sorry I forgot to click the pics of route map and fleet.

Now before takeoff, the Safety card, an extra magazine and a ‘Sky Bazaar’ (in flight shopping) pamphlet have already been ‘borrowed’ by the lady seated next to me who uses each of it as a sort of mat for keeping her bag. She throws the card, the magazine and the pamphlet (given that her seat pocket had no contents at all) on the floor and keeps her bag and her kid’s bag on it. OK, even I like to maintain cleanliness of my belonging but my idea is given them a through wash after the trip rather than doing this

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Sunset

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Sunset

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Sunset

The reason that I love flying is not the thrill of the takeoff or the power of the landing but the peaceful sensation of cruising above the cloud ceiling with a feeling of having left behind all troubles and routines of the daily life; flying over in a zone of serenity with the fancy that one could jump out into the fluffy clouds (I know one would just fall off) but that is the magic of imagination which has made flying possible. “Logic takes you from Point A to B, imagination takes you everywhere” (Albert Einstein). At the same time it is to be realized the utmost precision and clockwork that takes place in every flight right from the check in agent to the ground staff to the pilots, all of whom put thousands of hours in meticulous training and practice mastering their jobs to the point of ensuring comfort and safety of all of their passengers. And finally the advances that aviation has made in the past century right from the first flight by the Wright Brothers to the supersonic jet and onward to space crafts. It is awe inspiring to realize that how far in such a short span of time flying has progressed improving upon one technology after the other and it must be remembered that such advancements have been possible by teamwork of engineers and scientists working tirelessly throughout the world.

Some Indian airlines specifically make an announcement that a meal will be served and AI is one of them, so of course, next the meal is served.

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Tonight's Dinner

There is no choice - only vegetarian meal is offered. Now, I don’t exactly know the contents of the meal but I try to guess - starting with the easiest water, bread, salad, rice with cashew nut , dal (lentils) and that gravy like thing is most probably bhindi (okra/ladyfingers). I don’t know till date what is that green thing but I guess its lauki (bittergourd) ka raita (a sort of sweetened dessert). Overall the meal is satisfying and filling.

The kid sitting next to me is offered a kid’s meal which includes pasta, mango juice and bun. Even that looks tasty.

Tea is offered after the meal but I prefer coffee so I ask the air hostess that, to which she replies, “Just wait we will serve it later.” She did serve it later. Serve it later was sweetened as per Indian tastes and overtly fine only that it impeeds sleep and delays food absorption (with the milk completely inhibiting the absorption of iron).

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Sun is finally setting

And soon it is dark outside. I can see some flashes of lighting far off and soon the captain turns on the fasten seat belt sign. I am somewhat afraid of the turbulence but thankfully it is mild and passes over quickly. But the fasten seat belt sign does not stop a few passengers from getting up from their seat only to be rebuked by the chief stewardess (she could easily be a school principal) who does not refrain from specifically shouting over the PA, “The gentleman with red shirt sit down”
“Sir, why don’t you understand it’s for your own safety.”
“Sit down!”
 
Heleventia
Topic Author
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:30 am

Small Things

Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:31 pm

Small Things

With darkness outside there’s nothing much to do. Soon some city lights come into view. This is most probably Bangalore

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Probably flying over Bangalore

In the sky I can see some stars - simple pleasure city dwellers are deprived of. I once remember looking up in the sky, when I was a child, at the stars trying to form the constellations that I had learnt that day in the school Orion, Sagittarius, Libra while walking with my parents; my mother thinking that I was perhaps trying to count the stars on that cool night. That was over 10 years ago; now a days you can only see the orangish hue of the city lights protruding into the sky.

We soon began our descent into Cochin.

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Starting descent

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The street lights here are white in contrast to the yellow lights seen in the north.

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Passing through a cloud layer (With some turbulence, I don’t like it :( )

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Almost there

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All fogged up windows.

I could only make out some Indigo A 320s parked on the domestic side. We parked at an aerobridge at the newly built International terminal.

Cochin airport has a couple of firsts - first airport in the world to be fully powered by solar power and the first airport in India to be built with Public Private Partnership. We arrive at the international terminal.

The international terminal is simply amazing. It looks really modern with a hint of incorporation of Kerala culture elements

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Waiting for the baggage

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Still Waiting

With this the flight has come to an end. On the media I had usually read horror stories portraying AI in a negative light but I don’t think they deserve that reputation. While not exactly punctual or outstanding in any manner, this flight was simply fine. Only that there were some small things missing , for example, there was absolutely no communication from the cockpit -things like, which cities we are flying over, how’s the weather, some interesting information relating to aircraft. I did find the cabin crew not exactly warm, much unlike my last flight with AI to Bangkok. That was one of the best crew I’d seen especially the fact that they were anticipating passengers need. On the contrary, on this flight the crew only showed their faces during safety briefing and meal service.

Overall a positive experience but with these small things, the flight could have been better.

EPILOGUE

I wanted to click more pictures (something that I regret) for this report but since this was my first time traveling alone I was a bit apprehensive and shy fearing what others would think about this weird kid clicking photos of everything. I don’t expect this report to be exciting, unlike the many others I have seen on this forum.

It is almost the end of the year when I am writing this trip report surrounded by the honking of the cars and the ever prevailing dust of Delhi. As I close my eyes, I can still see the palm tress swaying in the wind, I can still hear the sound of the waves crashing against the beaches, hear the sound of the rain tapping against the roof and still feel the cool sea breeze lashing against my face on the beach.

The trip wasn’t a bed of roses but that’s the thing about travel it takes you away from your comfort zone and gives you a whole new perspective on things. I think it makes one tolerant, open ones minds as one get to experience new traditions, customs, way of life that we would have otherwise not known. Also, it makes us knowledgeable - I visited temples, palaces, and monuments about which I read once I got home -something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. This was the best trip I had taken so far.

As I exited Kochi airport, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach - far away from home and alone for the first time but also a prevailing sense of excitement for the forthcoming adventure that was to begin.

Tomorrow.

Nalle
 
igtrader88
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:52 am

Re: The Perfect Mixture of Art,Science and Magic

Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:33 pm

Thank you for a nice trip report

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