Trip Report – Part 2 – 2011 Summer Trip (IT, EK and AC)
Welcome to Part 2, In case you missed part 1 – please click on the link below (opens in a new tab)
–> Click Here for Part 1 <–
So… While in Bangalore (BLR)
I arrived at my relative’s place and they were shocked to see that I just had a backpack with me. Their first question to me was – “Is that all you are carrying for this trip?” I told them about what happened at Toronto. Almost immediately, they supplied me with an emergency kit consisting of the bare essentials – toiletries and clothes. Anyway my time at BLR was short and I spent the whole of 28th August adapting to the Indian time. On the 29th I met the rest of my relatives and on the 30th, it was time to head to Pune (PNQ).
* Part 2 *
4th Leg – Kingfisher Red BLR-PNQ
30 August 2011 (Departure time 1705)
This flight was special in many ways. As always I make it a point to try new airlines when I travel and this time, Kingfisher Airlines (IT) was the new airline. Looking at this at 2014, this trip is all the more special now as IT ceased operations in October 2012. On the 29th August, I called the IT call center and listed myself as a passenger on the IT3415 flight from BLR – PNQ on the 30th of August (the next day).
I was now more or less adjusted to the Indian time. I woke up rather early as my relatives wanted to spend some time with me before I left BLR. At around 1:30PM, I head out to the bus stop outside the HAL airport (old BLR airport) from where I would catch the shuttle to the airport. Once at the airport, check-in was routine. The check-in agent asked for the reservation code given to me during my call with IT’s call center. Almost immediately she said there were a few seats on the airplane and she handed me a boarding pass. I glanced it and saw that I got a window seat on the emergency exit row (window + ample leg space 😀 ).
I then cleared the security procedures and headed to the waiting area by the gates. A lot had changed at BLR since the last time I flew out of there in 2010. There were more duty free shops, restaurants and charging stations. The terminal still made good use of natural lighting but of course today it was cloudy and wasn’t very effective. As i was walking around admiring the changes and watching airplanes at the other gates, I saw my ride taxi to the gate. It was an Airbus A319-100.
At around 16:30, passengers were invited to board the aircraft. The boarding was routine, first passengers with young kids or with special needs were invited to board, followed by everyone else. I joined the queue and as I approached the ground staff, they saw my boarding pass and wished me a good flight.
I got to my seat and started taking pictures of everything around.
Taxi and Take-Off
It was a short taxi to the runway. On our way, I managed to take a good picture of the BLR terminal.
Once on the runway, I switched to video mode and took a video of the take-off. Please click on the link below for the video of the take-off (opens in a new tab)
Kingfisher Red is a low cost subsidiary of Kingfisher Airlines. It was born when Kingfisher Airlines took over Air Deccan. Hence, there are no meal services, but passengers could buy snacks for a small fee (called Buy-On-Board or B-O-B). The flight was otherwise pretty uneventful. After about 1hr and 15mins of flying, the captain announced that we would be starting our descent into PNQ. A few minutes later, the flight attendant got on the intercom and made an announcement regarding the prohibition of photography during landing and on ground at PNQ (I could have sworn she looked at me when she said that 😛 😉 ) as PNQ is still an active military airfield.
I can’t express how badly my hands were itching to film the approach because it was beautiful day with scattered clouds. The landing was smooth and the taxi to the ramp was short. Although PNQ now has two aerobridges, our airplane was parked at the ramp. As I deplaned, I thanked the crew and proceeded to the terminal. Again, since I had no bags checked in, I just walked out and caught a taxi to my relatives place.
Interlude – My little trip to Mumbai
My folks at Pune received a call from Air Canada on 1st September. Apparently my bag was in Ottawa all along and it was delivered to Mumbai. We asked them if they would deliver the bag to Pune, but no, they wanted us to go to Mumbai and collect it ourselves. Well, we just have to look at the bright side don’t we…at least the bag was in the same country as I was.
The next day (September 2, 2011) we hired a car and went to BOM to collect my bag. It has been almost 10 years since I last visited Mumbai and I was just amazed at how much things have changed here. We reached the airport at around 1PM, and we spoke to the security guard to let the staff know that I was here to collect my bag. It was a chaotic at BOM because a Turkish Airline’s A340-300 (flight TK-720) had skid off the rapid exit taxiway. There were a lot of delays and were passengers screaming at the airport staff in frustration. After about 10 minutes of waiting, a young lady named Saba approached me and took me inside the terminal (My relatives were asked to wait outside). She took me into a room and sure enough I was reunited with my bag. On my way out, I was asked to place the bag through the X-ray scanner. I then thanked Saba and exited the terminal to meet my folks to head back to Pune.
* Return to Canada *
5th Leg – Emirates BOM-DXB
Seat: 46A Zone C
5th September 2011 (Departure time 0430)
After two relaxing days in Pune with no further incidents, it was time to head back to Canada. Although Pune has an international airport with flights to DXB, I chose to fly out of BOM as Air India Express’s flight between PNQ – DXB would go to terminal 2 at DXB and my connecting flight to YYZ was from Terminal 1 (the opposite side of the airport). So far, there are no connection between Terminal 2 and the other terminals.
On 4th September, my relatives arranged a cab to take me to Mumbai’s airport. At around 10:30PM the cab arrives and off I go to BOM. After about two and half hours we reach the outskirts of Mumbai, but thanks to the traffic, it took us another hour to get to the airport. Well I still had two hours for my flight..so no complaints 😀
I enter the terminal and look for the EK counters. I locate them, join the queue and check in. I was given a window seat (46A). My first thought was ‘Row 46 wow, maybe they are using an Airbus A340!.’ I proceeded through the immigration and security checks. The queue at the immigration were long and the security checks were a little old school. They asked passengers to place their luggage through the X-ray machine and while that’s going on, passengers were checked individually and their boarding passes were stamped. Well the queues at the immigration and security post were painfully long.
I finally made it to the gate and at this point I was getting a little tired. I had been up all night during my ride from Pune and my flight was not for another hour or so. I walked around to see what’s new at the airport and see what other airlines are flying out tonight. Boy was I amazed at how radicaly the airport had changed. There were restaurants, duty free shops and a spa (yes, a spa :O ). At this point, I had this awesome feeling inside me….I was proud to tell people that I was born in Mumbai. I go back to my assigned gate and saw that the Emirates staff were preparing the gate for baording. At this point curiosity had taken over, so I approached the ground staff and asked her what airplane was being used for this trip. She checked her computer and told me that the airplane used was a Boeing 777. The Boeing 777 is my favorite airplane and I didn’t get a change to fly it since 2009. At this point, I was THE happiest person on the planet.
As with every Emirates flight, boarding was done zone wise. Since my seat was at the back of the aircraft, Zone C was one of the first zone invited for baording. Since I was tired and being a night flight, I didn’t take any pictures. I just stayed up for dinner and then dozed off until the captain announced that we will be descending into DXB.
Once the captain made the announcement, I opened the blinders to my window and I was treated to some breathtaking views of the sunrise.
–> Click Here for the Video of the Descent <– (opens in a new tab)
As we clear the clouds, we get to see the first signs of the U.A.E.
–> Click Here for the Video of the Landing <– (opens in a new tab)
We docked at Terminal 1 (my favorite terminal at DXB). I proceeded to the transfer desk, cleared the security check and I was at the departures area.
6th Leg – Emirates DXB-YYZ
Seat: 77A Zone D
5th September 2011 (Departure time 0955)
Airbus A380-800 A6-EDN
A few years back Emirates moved most (if not all) of its operation to Terminal 3. Occasionally, some EK flights do originate from Terminal 1. With the exception of my first flight to Toronto in 2009 (Link: 2009 Jan trip to YYZ), all my flights to YYZ have originated from Terminal 3. Well much to my surprise, today’s flight is from Terminal 1. Apart from that little change, the flight was pretty much how i described it in 4 of my previous reports…so to avoid repetition, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Taxi and Take off
–> Click here to View the Video of the Take-Off <– (opens in a new tab)
Descent and Landing
–> Click Here to View the Video of the Landing <– (opens in a new tab)
7th Leg – Air Canada YYZ-YOW
5th September 2011 (Departure time 1835)
As soon as I got my bag from the baggage carousel, I walked to the transfer desk and checked-in for my hop to Ottawa (YOW). Although I slept during the DXB – YYZ flight, I was still pretty tired and to top it off, I didn’t trust Air Canada with my bag. I passed through the security and headed to gate 122 where I saw our aircraft (Airbus A319) was taxing in. After about 20mins, they announced that the aircraft was ready for departure.
I joined the queue and boarded the aircraft. Once I got to my seat (15D- aisle), I settled down and looked around. The aircraft was packed. The captain got on the intercom and announced that we would be delayed as a few passengers were clearing security and the weather in Ottawa was pretty bad. After about 20mins, we finally pushed back. It was dark, I had an aisle seat and I couldn’t look out the window. Well, I just went to sleep. The next thing I felt was our aircraft touching down at YOW. Yes, I literally passed out during this flight. Anyway, once we docked at the gates, I exit the airplane and head down to the baggage carousel. I had flown Air Canada twice before and my bag never flew with me….I was sure this was case this time too. Well, surpise surprise, my bag was the third bag out on the carousel. I happily took my bag and caught a cab home.
Well this trip was short and it had a real shaky start. But I enjoyed it none-the-less as it gave me a break I yearned for since the beginning of summer. The Kingfisher (IT) flight between BLR – PNQ is something I’ll always cherish as the quality of service was just beyond words. IT was India’s only 5-star airline and it’s a pity that they ceased operations a year later (October 2012) with the drama that played along with it.
Well there you go, that was my 2011 Summer trip, I hope you enjoyed reading it and as always comments are welcome.
Until my next post…Happy landings!!!