March 27, 2023

Whereas taking a look at tickets for an upcoming vacation with pals, I had a number of airways to select from for the ultimate leg of the return journey from Delhi to Mumbai. I opted for flag provider Air India to see if the current Tata acquisition had began having any main results within the total expertise. Although going for AI meant we needed to change terminals at DEL and kill a great few hours on the airport after our inbound flight. Right here’s the way it went.

The preliminary a part of the journey offered some gorgeous views. Photograph: Devansh Mehta | Easy Flying

Getting into the airport and safety

After being dropped off at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi Worldwide Airport (DEL) in Delhi, we made our method to the check-in desk. However earlier than that, there was a big line to get into the airport. For these unaware, Indian airports require you to current your flight tickets and id proof to enter the airport’s concourse. Armed guards on the entrance will examine the ticket and confirm your id earlier than permitting you in.


For a flight scheduled to depart at 1900, we made it into the airport rather less than three hours earlier. As soon as contained in the constructing, we scooted off to the closest Air India check-in desk in sight at 1610. There was no queue and we went straight to the closest desk solely to seek out it was for worldwide flights. Nonetheless, the AI agent behind the counter was very happy to accommodate us. Baggage drop took round 10 minutes and none of us had been anyplace close to the utmost weight restrict as Air India permits 25 kg (55 lbs) for the check-in baggage even on home flights versus simply 15 kg (33 lbs) in low-cost carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet.

The Air India check-in and baggage drop space was pretty empty. Photograph: Devansh Mehta | Easy Flying

After dropping the baggage and pushing the trolleys apart to the designated space, we began strolling in the direction of the safety examine for home departures. The queue wasn’t too lengthy however it didn’t transfer in a short time both. We had been required to empty all digital units right into a tray and our hand luggage in one other tray, each of which might then move by the scanner. Sounds fairly simple however one scanner was fed by two adjoining traces, so there was fairly a wait to position all our trays onto the curler.

On the opposite aspect of the machine, trays would come to us on one in all two automated rollers. Trays approaching the outer rollers had been cleared by safety and free to be grabbed by the passenger, whereas these on the interior rollers had been flagged for safety considerations. On the finish of the interior curler, safety officers would scan that tray’s RFID tag after which scan the code in your boarding move with a special reader, earlier than directing your consideration in the direction of a pc monitor. The display screen would have an x-ray picture of your bag and the safety official will level to things of concern and ask for a proof.

The safety examine had a brief however prolonged queue. Photograph: Devansh Mehta | Easy Flying

Fortunately, my bag made it into the outer part, however a few my pals weren’t so fortunate. Because it turned out, the safety personnel mistook a few randomly scattered fridge magnets meant as souvenirs from the journey, to be knives. As soon as the officers had been happy, we had been allowed to proceed in the direction of the gate. Phrase to the sensible, don’t litter your hand baggage with a number of pointless objects and if requested, promptly present the officers what they ask for thus you may be in your method sooner. Arguing with the official will get you nowhere.

All-in-all it took us simply round 40 minutes to get previous safety after coming into the airport. The general expertise was extremely clean, however the safety examine was a bit of nerve-wracking.

To the gate and boarding

The safety examine was accomplished at round 1645. I briefly left from the group for a couple of minutes to go aircraft recognizing from the terminal home windows earlier than returning to seize a fast pre-flight snack. Delhi airport’s Terminal 3 hosts many eating places and fast-food chains, providing passengers a number of choices to select from.

At round 1745, we began strolling in the direction of the assigned gate. Flight AI 624 was at gate 34B of Terminal 3, which is situated close to the top at one aspect. The stroll was lengthy however fortunately, we had been earlier than time as boarding was scheduled to begin at 1800 (an hour earlier than departure). There have been lots of people ready on the gate, giving me the impression that it was going to be a full flight. Boarding began about 5 minutes later than deliberate and we had been in our seats by 1820.

My flight was departing out of Gate 34B in Terminal 3 of Delhi Airport. Photograph: Devansh Mehta | Easy Flying

The boarding course of continued for an additional half an hour, and in the direction of the top, security bulletins had been made stating that the plane was being refuelled. With all aboard and the aircraft adequately fuelled for the two-hour flight, flight AI 624 was being pushed again from the gate at 1859, a minute earlier than its scheduled departure time.

In regards to the flight and plane

As talked about, we had been touring on Air India flight 624 on July 1st. AI 624 is a each day scheduled service from Delhi’s IGI Airport to Mumbai’s CSMIA, operated utilizing an Airbus A320neo plane. The flight is scheduled to depart DEL at 1900 for a 2115 arrival into India’s monetary capital.

On July 1st, flight quantity AI 624 was operated utilizing an A320neo registered as VT-CIN, a reasonably new, 4.3-year-old airframe that has been with the Indian flag provider since new, information from ch-aviation reveals. Air India took the brand-new aircraft on Might 2nd, 2018 and has been utilizing it on home, in addition to, short-haul worldwide routes like BOM-AUH or MAA-SIN. Like all AI A320neos, VT-CIN incorporates a two-class cabin configuration with a complete of 162 seats between common economic system and enterprise class. Of these, 12 seats are in enterprise class, whereas the remaining 150 are in economic system.

In-flight expertise

After having flown with IndiGo and SpiceJet inside per week earlier than my AI flight, one factor that caught me immediately was how Air India does a high-quality job of together with Indian tradition within the total flight expertise. When setting foot within the aircraft, I used to be greeted with the standard Indian greeting “Namaste,” as an alternative of the same old and admittedly fairly boring “whats up” or “good night.” The cultural join doesn’t cease there; Air India crew refers to passengers as “Atithi” the Hindi phrase for visitors, one other tiny but impactful gesture.

A lot to my expectations, the flight was stuffed to the brim. We had been touring in economic system and luckily, I used to be capable of block-out the whole row 22 for our group of six a day earlier than the flight whereas checking-in by the web site. I used to be seated in seat 22A with a nice view by the portside window.

Whereas ready for different passengers to board, I stored myself busy with taking some photos for this overview. Nevertheless, I additionally seen how the cabin crew was very useful when some passengers had been having bother discovering house within the overhead storage bins for his or her carry-on luggage.

After pushing again from the gate, VT-CIN fired up its engines and started taxiing at 1906. We had been assigned to Runway 11 at DEL for take-off, which occurred within the subsequent eight minutes.

The Recaro seats on VT-CIN had been fairly snug. They supply 28/29 inches of pitch and measure 18” in width. I couldn’t make full use of the four-inch recline performance as the good woman behind me politely requested me to maneuver ahead since she was touring with a child.

The legroom and tray desk had been useful however common. Nevertheless, one factor that irked me was the absence of a seat-back pocket. This meant I had no place to stow my cellphone away throughout the meal. Certainly, there was some house behind the tray desk, however it was solely good for storing items of paper like the security directions pamphlet.

Meal service

Lower than 20 minutes after take-off, cabin crew introduced starting of the meal service, however because the aircraft was full, it took one other 20 minutes for the crew to get to row 22. I had pre-selected the “Vegetarian Hindu Meal” by the AI web site a number of weeks earlier than the flight. Nevertheless, having skilled sub-par meals with different Indian airways in the previous few weeks, I wasn’t anticipating a lot from the Maharaja. Therefore, the aforementioned pre-flight snack on the airport earlier than boarding.

The meal was hearty and intensely scrumptious. Photograph: Devansh Mehta | Easy Flying

Because it turned out, that snack was an enormous mistake as AI’s meals was spot-on. The menu included conventional Indian curry and dal (cooked lentil curry) together with some hearty aspect dishes. For the principle course, we had matar paneer, (a North Indian curry made out of inexperienced peas and paneer (cottage cheese) ready in a tomato sauce with loads of spices), Dal Makhani (a lentil curry, additionally riddled with varied spices), and plain rice. This mix was meant available with one Aloo Paratha (bread full of a spiced potato filling).

There was a small cup of curd and a fair smaller field of blended veg pickle to go along with the meal. For dessert, we had Ras Malai, a candy dish from Japanese India made out of clotted cream flavoured with cardamom.

Because it was my ordinary time for dinner, I loved the meal totally. The curries and rice had been steaming scorching and so was the bread. However the dessert dish was private favorite; it was smooth and extremely juicy, bursting with flavour after each chunk.

A bit later, the flight attendant additionally went round pouring espresso for anybody who needed however I settled for a glass of water. One factor I discovered notably notice worthy was that the cutlery was all-metal, not one thing you usually see in economic system.

Last method and touchdown

After masking round 1,200 km (705 miles) flight 624 arrived into BOM at 2100 hours, quarter-hour sooner than scheduled. Descending beneath roughly 5,000 ft., I might see that it was raining closely in Bombay however the flight crew managed to place the aircraft down with none points. VT-CIN touched down on runway 27 at BOM.

Views out of the suitable window had been even higher. Photograph: Devansh Mehta | Easy Flying

If you need to catch a glimpse of a few of Air India’s retired Boeing 747s, be sure to seize a window seat on the left aspect for any flights arriving into BOM. The airport makes use of runway 27 more often than not, however the alternate runway won’t disappoint both.

Last impressions

The flight was extraordinarily clean and the whole expertise was solely improved by the caring and environment friendly cabin crew that went out of their method to accommodate particular requests on a full flight. The journey took an hour & 45 minutes and we caught some unimaginable sundown views proper after departing DEL. Air India staff had been imposing and themselves following the Indian authorities’s mask-on-flights coverage and I didn’t come throughout any well being violations onboard.

This was my first flight with Air India and it has solely left me wanting extra.

See also  Why Montreal Airport Is Frightened About WestJet’s Sunwings Takeover