I was invited for a Chef’s table by Vistara in New Delhi and the airline offered a one way journey. With the timings of Vistara flight, it was the evening Delhi – Pune trip on offer. This meant that I make my own arrangements for Pune – Delhi for the morning and the choice narrowed down to Jet Airways ( 0535 / B737), Spicejet ( 0725 / B737), 6E (0735/A320), Air India (0735/A320)
I was tempted to book Spicejet – since I have not flown the airline for a long time and to see its recent improvements and the airline also had a hand baggage only fare on offer, until one fine day the Jet Airways 50% off on redemption email landed in my inbox.
Decision was made and I booked Jet Airways on redemption.
Website experience and booking
Jet Airways recently shifted to a new look website. I have yet not been able to activate my Jet Privilege account as the email was verified but not the mobile number for some reason. Similar experience for few others in the family.
However, the redemption was a breeze and within no time the ticket copy was in my mailbox. Except for the schedule page, which is a 5MB dump from somewhere, the Jet Airways website is pretty good. With the recent change, the flight status option has also improved by leaps and bounds. Earlier one used to know either the arrival or departure of the flight and not both, which I always thought was a little stupid thing to do. Now one can find arrival/departure in same search.
Over the last few quarters, the airline has slowly increased its fleet utilization and has now crossed 12:00 hours of utilization, which is a good number for a Full Service Carrier which sees longer turnaround times at its hub in Mumbai due to domestic – international swaps of aircraft.
This particular aircraft has a tight rotation too which involves not having a full night halt for 3-4 days at a stretch and multiple Abu Dhabi.
Last Flights on Jet Airways
My last flights on Jet Airways were on its ATR on Pune – Ahmedabad Sector and then on Pune – Chennai. While the earlier one was very well, the next one did not go down very well. I was told that the catering issue has been sorted out and I was eager to see the change myself.
It was easy to predict VT-JFB will be the operating aircraft three days in advance and it had departed on time for Abu Dhabi the previous evening. But as I woke up, I saw an SMS from Jet Airways informing me about a delay of 25 minutes and revised departure being 0550 hours. Too late to change the cab time, I reached the airport at 0405.
Online check-in was smooth and I selected emergency row window.
With nothing to check-in, the interaction at the counter was limited since I was already carrying my boarding pass. The counter staff informed me about the delay when I went to take the baggage tags.
Lufthansa passengers were undergoing immigration as I entered security. With a small terminal, the mixing of international and domestic passengers is common at Pune. I cleared security in no time and from entry to security hold within 7 minutes yet again. Security was friendly and quick.
On ramp were Spicejet B737 after arriving from Dubai, Privat Air B737 and two IndiGo A320s. VT-JFB arrived from Abu Dhabi at 0450 and was followed by VT-SJA from Delhi. While boarding for VT-SJA started within minutes, our flight took considerable time, obviously since it was an international flight and involves many more activities in the turnaround. I was surprised to see the announcement of 9W and S2 flight numbers for the Bengaluru flight of Jet Airways. I am under assumption that the flight is now sold as 9W flight and S2 is just for the operations and flight plans.
There was no further announcement on delay for our flight and boarding started at 0530. The aircraft was parked at Bay 1 which meant a very long walk. I was seated by 0550, by when IndiGo’s both flights were taking off way before departure time.
VT-JFB is a Boeing Sky Interior aircraft, with white light and is refreshing as compared to the older yellow lights. The aircraft was clean but the windows were really dirty. The crew was busy preparing for the departure so there was nobody near the door.
However, a crew quickly came for the emergency exit row briefing as I took the window. Post the briefing, she made a very valid request asking me to stay awake for landing and take off. Valid because of the time of the day. Doors closed at 0558 and push back commenced immediately as we taxied to runway 28 while all others were taking off from runway 10 and made a powerful take off in westerly direction, banking right and heading towards Delhi.
Food & Service
Service started 25 minutes post take off and I was glad to see a good meal comprising Omelet, Fruits, Sausage, Hash brown – which was very oily and soggy and water. The food may have been uplifted in Abu Dhabi because of the brand of water and butter.
While the meal taste was leaps and bounds better than the previous experience, what was missing was Imli! For some reason or the other I keep having co-passengers who talk about it when Imli is not there.
Trays were collected after a while and a Tea/Coffee service round was done. The flight was under command of Capt. D K Chowdhary and an hour from departure a very informative First Officer made announcements on PA giving information about delay, information of Jet Airways and detailed routing information along with assuring that he would be back before landing.
The First Officer was back on PA giving information like surface temperature (26C), runway for landing (runway 29), visibility (3000 meters), flight level (FL 390) and wind (6km)
We landed on runway 29 and docked at gate D46 at 0807, a delay of 32 minutes. The crew did not announce the baggage belt as I made a long walk to the arrivals area.
Overall Impression & Rating
The flight was good except the delay which could have been controlled by a bit. The boarding for Bengaluru & Delhi at the same time was chaotic. There were missing passengers and a lot of mix up with staff running around in all directions. Compare that to IndiGo doing a simultaneous boarding for two flights from the same floor in very orderly manner and tracking missing passengers, Jet Airways has some tricks to learn.
The improved food and Tea/Coffee service was good. What could be an improvement is another round of water service for a flight of this duration.