Friday, April 28, 2017

Air India A321 - Bagdogra to Delhi AI880

As part of my India travels last year I took a flight with Air India from Bagdogra to Delhi, it was on a 7 year old A321, VT-PPU and I was actually quite impressed with the flight and service. Here's a quick look at the experience!

FLIGHT: AI880
AIRLINE: Air India
ROUTE: Bagdogra to Delhi
DEPARTURE: 2.10PM
ARRIVAL: 4.15PM
DISTANCE: 698 Miles
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A321 VT-PPU (2009 build)

The check-in experience at Bagdogra was typically Indian, kind of 'organised chaos'. There did not seem to be anywhere for star alliance gold members to get priority check-in so I just joined a queue. It wasn't too long a wait and soon we were through security. There isn't much in this terminal but we decided to chance it on the airport restaurant and we had quite a decent meal there at a cheap price. Soon though it was time for boarding so we headed to the gate and then onto a bus for the short ride out to the remote parking spot where VT-PPU was waiting, looking splendid in the Air India livery. I love the details around the windows.



Monday, February 6, 2017

Drukair - Royal Bhutan Airlines : Bangkok to Kolkata on the A319

For my trip to India I decided to start on the east side of the country (Kolkata) and work my way west and south, ending in Goa. Since I was coming in from Bangkok this meant I needed to find a flight from Bangkok to Kolkata and once I realised Drukair was an option, there was simply no other choice! I headed straight to the Drukair site, which is remarkably user friendly, and booked flight KB121 at a cost of USD126. Quite reasonable I think and cheaper than Thai who flew at a much less friendly time of day.

FLIGHT: KB121
AIRLINE: Drukair
AIRCRAFT: A319 'A5-RGG' (12 years old)
CLASS: Economy Class
DEPART: Bangkok @ 09.10
ARRIVE: Kolkata @ 10.00
FLIGHT DURATION: 2 hours 20 min

After an early start at the Millenium Hilton I grabbed a cab and arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport at about 7am, 2 hours prior to scheduled departure.

Arriving at Suvarnabhumi (the King had only recently passed away)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Ride On A 'Classic' - The Double Bogey A320 With Air India

Here's a look at another flight I took on my trip around India from November 2016. This flight was from the beautiful town of Udaipur to the metropolis of Mumbai. I booked it with Air India since their price was hard to beat and the timing suited me too. Originally this was scheduled to be flown with a fairly new A319 but a couple of weeks before departure the timing was changed slightly and the equipment swapped to an A320. Knowing that it was going to be an A320 I was aware there was a chance I might fly on a very rare beast, the double bogey model A320. I believe only 31 of these were ever produced and there is less than 20 still in operation. They were ordered new by Indian Airlines to operate on the rather poor airstrips that were around India in the late 80s and early 90s and were eventually inherited by Air India.

By now the runways have been replaced but the double bogey aircraft are still flying around, but I can't imagine for too much longer as they are becoming VERY old! Now, onto the flight....


Arriving at Udaipur Airport - quite a pleasant experience actually

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jet Airways Domestic Business Class : Mumbai to Goa B737-800 9W472

The route between Mumbai and Goa is extremely competitive with Air India, GoAir, Spicejet, Vistara and Jet Airways all flying the route. Most operate either the A320 or B737 for this flight which is usually under an hour in duration. On my trip to India I decided to use Etihad miles to book this flight as I found the prices pretty high on the day I planned to travel. I wanted to have a sample of Jet's business class so paid the extra miles to fly in the 'Premiere' cabin, even though it really is a bit of a waste on such a short sector.

I arrived at the huge and ultra modern looking Mumbai airport with about 90 mins to go before departure:

The drop off area at Mumbai airport

Thursday, January 5, 2017

IndiGo :- Goa to Bengalaru Flight 6E6493 A320

During my trip to India a couple of months back I used the services of several local airlines, including the LCC IndiGo which is now the largest carrier in India in terms of passengers carried. They are one of the worlds fastest growing airlines with literally 400 Airbus A320's on order! Quite incredible.

I had the need to get from Goa to Bengalaru to meet up with my Singapore Airlines flight and IndiGo was one of about 4 carriers flying the route. They offered the best schedule and best price so I booked a seat for just 1900rs (AUD38) and then added a front row extra leg room seat for an extra 600rs (AUD12). IndiGo includes a basic checkin baggage allowance of 15kg with additional at around 100rs per kg.  

FLIGHT: Indigo flight 6E 6493
DEPART: 16.35
ARRIVE: 17.40
FLIGHT TIME: 1 hour 5 minutes
DISTANCE: 300 miles
AIRCRAFT: Airbus A320 VT-IDU (11 years old)

Arriving at Goa

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Singapore Airlines A380 - Business Class SQ217 Singapore to Melbourne

Here is a trip report on a recent flight I had with Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Melbourne in business class.

FLIGHT: SQ217
ROUTE: Singapore to Melbourne
CLASS: Business Class
SEAT: 91F
AIRCRAFT: A380-800 9V-SKQ (5 years old)
DEPART: 10.45AM
ARRIVE: 9.10PM

After a visit to the T3 Silverkris lounge I headed to gate B5  for the departure. I arrived at 10am with boarding not yet started and found 9V-SKQ at the gate. This was one of the newer A380's, only 5 years old. It has the upper deck configured exclusively with business class, 86 flat beds in total!

Those that have flown the 2006 SQ business class seat know that the bulkheads are generally preferable as they have more leg space since there is no seat in front. I had chosen the centre bulkhead in the rear cabin, seat 91F. When boarding was called I noticed very few other passengers joining me on the upper deck jetway.

9V-SKQ at the gate

Monday, August 29, 2016

Virgin Australia Boeing 777-300ER : Brisbane to Los Angeles Business Class VA7

FLIGHT
Virgin Australia VA7
AIRCRAFT
Boeing 777-300ER VH-VOZ (7 years old)
ROUTE
Brisbane to Los Angeles
CLASS
Business Class seat 4A
DEPARTURE
10.50AM
ARRIVAL
6.55AM
DURATION
13 hours 05 minutes

So, this review is already out of date because the seats have been replaced but here is a quick look at a flight I took in April this year with Virgin Australia from Brisbane to Los Angeles. 

Virgin Australia operate a small fleet of 5 B777-300ER's, serving Los Angeles from both Brisbane and Sydney, along with the Sydney to Abu Dhabi route. This is flight VA7, the daily flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles. Virgin compete with Qantas on this route who fly a daily B747-400.

Brisbane International Checkin

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Virgin Australia Short Haul Business Class : Melbourne to Brisbane B737-800

Virgin have had short haul business class on domestic for a few years now. I have read mixed reviews on the product with some experiencing great service and others being almost ignored. Here is my experience on a recent trip.

FLIGHT: Virgin Australia VA309
ROUTE: Melbourne to Brisbane
AIRCRAFT: Boeing 737-800 VH-VUJ (almost 10 years old)
DEPARTURE: 7.00AM
ARRIVAL: 8.10AM
DURATION: 2 hrs 10 min

My flight this morning was operated by VH-VUJ. This aircraft is almost 10 years old, delivered to Virgin Blue in 2006 and later repainted to the current Virgin Australia livery. The aircraft, like all the other VA 737-800's, has 8 business seats and 168 economy. I was in seat 1A for this sector.

Upon arrival at the terminal I headed to the Virgin Australia lounge and snapped a pic of my aircraft which was parked right nearby:


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Qantas A330 Suites Experience : Perth to Melbourne

With the suites upgrade on Qantas A330s almost complete, flights across the country are going to finally have a consistent business class product. Here we have my experience about 6 months ago on a dinnertime flight, Perth to Melbourne.


Terminal Entry

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Qantaslink (Network Aviation) Fokker 100 : Geraldton to Perth

Just before Christmas I flew over to WA to fly on the Fokker 50 before they were retired from Virgin Australia's fleet. I happened to find myself in Geraldton, an interesting town with some interesting characters. Having flown 3 sectors on the F50 it was time to go back to Melbourne and I redeemed some Qantas points to do it. The routing was Geraldton-Perth-Melbourne and the first leg was on the Fokker 100. This would be a first flight for me on this aircraft type which has become the standard type in use in the WA mining market. It's an aircraft that is long out of production and most airlines have retired it (or are in the process of doing so) but it's somehow found a niche here in Australia and in particular, Western Australia.

Flight: QF1619 (Qantaslink operated by Network Aviation)
Route: Geraldton to Perth
Aircraft: Fokker 100 VH-NHJ
Departure: 08.40 AM
Arrival: 09.45 AM
Flight Duration: 1 hour 05 minutes

Qantaslink recently stopped flying the Q400 in WA and to replace it they are now using Network Aviation Fokker 100's. Network is a subsidiary of Qantas Group and they operate as Qantaslink flights.

I arrived at the airport in my rental car and had a look at the small but modern terminal: