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Old 17th October 2022, 12:44   #61
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

2 months since i took AI687 to Delhi, it was time to try Air India again.

I had to visit Goa last week and since the timing suited me, i booked on Air India flight AI663. This time, i was happier than my previous flight to Delhi.

Since i knew we will be served coleslaw / cheese sandwich, i opted for a fruit platter a couple of days after booking the ticket. Was pleasantly surprised to see it was accepted.

Check in:
Since this was around peak hour, we were able to check ourselves in within 15-minutes of entering the airport at Mumbai. As usual, the older staff was there to direct passengers to check in counters. Check in process itself was smooth and there were no issues at all.

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-img_5151.jpgOur aircraft at the gate.

Boarding:
Air India announced sequential boarding but our people being themselves crowded the gate asking why cant they board early. The gentleman there managed this very well. The staff greeted us with warm smiles.

This service was operated by one of their all-economy Airbus A320CEO aircrafts (VT-EXE). The legroom was generous for our seat (2A/B)

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-img_5153.jpg Good legroom for economy

In-flight:
The pilot greeted us and gave general flight information (altitude, direction, speed etc). Once we were airborne, the flight attendant came and handed us the fruit platter we had requested. The fruits were good and we had no complaints whatsoever.

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-img_5152.jpgFruit platter with water bottle and AI branded steel cutlery.

Before touchdown the pilot once again briefed us on the ETA at Goa and general information like weather etc. The touchdown was the smoothest I have ever experienced at Goa. Unlike Delhi, the luggage landed on the same belt announced.

Also, a very good thing i observed was that when we reached the gate, the staff constantly reminded everyone to be seated and we were deplaned in sequence. Hats off to the crew managing that flight. They ticked all the right boxes.

Word to fellow BHPians, if your Air India flight is more than an hour, there are certain special vegetarian options you can choose from, please refer to this screenshot. The fruit platter was way way better than the coleslaw sandwich they served on-board.
Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-img_5164.jpg
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Old 4th November 2022, 00:11   #62
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-img_20191215_095649.jpg

I have flown Air India's service from PNQ-DEL-SFO and back several times. The last one being in Sep'21 when I moved to the US for good during the pandemic. While this was before the acquisition, some things that I'd like to share are relevant event today.

1. Convenience:

Nothing beats the ease of a direct flight from your local airport to a local hub and onward to your final destination. A lot of time is lost if I were to fly a middle eastern or European carrier to the US from Pune. First, I need to leave really really early to beat unpredictable traffic on the expressway and then in the city of Mumbai. Then, after taking a flight that takes off anytime between midnight till the wee hours, I have to get off, run security again and board another aircraft in an unknown country. I was once stuck at LHR for over 24 hours in Feb'09 where all of us with a non-friendly passport spent close to 14 hours in a queue to get a ticket reissued.

For the AI flight, I spend a leisurly day with the family, we head out for lunch and then at ease pack and head to the airport for a late evening flight to Delhi. In Delhi, one can checkin early and choose to spend time reading or chilling in a credit card affiliated lounge for a quick snack. I prep my jet lag hours right here and avoid sleeping altogether. The flight from DEL takes off at around 2 ish in the morning. After that, I don't need to worry about any other transit connection.

A straight 16 hour flight takes me to SFO in the wee hours when arrivals are low and immigration is lightning fast! The airport had toyed around with a quick immigration system via a kiosk in several journeys which made exit time from the aircraft to the arrivals deck less than 45 mins end to end. This was infact a lifesaver but it seems to have been retracted ever since.

From door to door, this is undoubtedly the fastest way to get around the globe crossing a time difference of over 12 hours!

2. Cabin and customer experience:

For someone who doesn't give too much importance to the medium of travel, the aircraft interiors still stood out like an eyesore. The haldi kumkum laced interior colours are rather bright for my liking and extremely flashy. Something with a shade of earth colours or the Blue pallete would really make a big difference to the in-flight experience.

I have taken about 8-9 flights in total on this route in the last 5 years and one of them was during the Indo-Pak crisis when one was sure to miss their onward connection due to the longer loop down south and then north to avoid the closed airspace. Barring this, the connections have been always on-time or within a threshold of comfort to not miss my onward connection to PNQ on the return leg.

The seats are worn out and uncomfortable, the trays are not clean and I don't know when they last cleaned the carpets in these planes. The restrooms are faded and cramped. Cleanliness in-flight is as bad as any public toilet. Fellow travellers make it worse as time progresses. I have managed to hack my way around this to use them at their prime before mayhem sets in.

Food has always been great and I'm told it has gotten better after the acquisition / transfer to Tata group.

3. The Aircraft:

The Boeing 777-200LRs that Air India uses for this leg primarily is past it's prime. Why just the 200s, the 300ERs or even their 787 Dreamliners are worn out and dead. There is an urgent need to refurbish all of them and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

VT-ALF, VT-ALG and VT-ALH are the three 200s that Air India is left with. I have had the opportunity to fly on all three across my travels. The ALG has gone through several mishaps. They had a blown door in one flight. It also a fire in the Auxillary PU while parked at Delhi. These are no longer usable and offer a state transport bus grade comfort. The inflight entertainment systems are dead and not-usable. I have always pre-downloaded content from streaming websites in advance to cover my 16 hour journey.

Good part is that Air India has a clear plan to retire these. Two out of three replacements are already leased from Jettran and are ex-Delta 200 LRs that were parked in storage. As I type this, these two aircrafts are undergoing rebranding, paint and refurbishment for replacing AIs ageing fleet of 200s. These are three seating configs with Delta's premium suites in them. I cannot wait for these aircrafts to be operational and joining the leg from DEL-SFO-DEL sector.

4. Booking experience

I booked a flight for my wife to fly SFO-DEL-BOM and PNQ-DEL-SFO . I anticipated that I wouldn't be able to do this on Air India's portal but the multi-city option in the refreshed portal is a breeze. The pricing was cheaper than SIA and EK by a few 100 dollars for late 2023 travel. I am hoping that the newer 200s are operational by then.

The new website is a long leap from the previous sarkari website. It even ran on non-standard web ports (8443 IIRC). The seat booking is absolutely awesome with free options to cater to your needs as well. I was a sucker for the emergency exit rows in my previous travels. For some 7,500 bucks you could get ample leg room and a free to walk out seat configuration. The same seat on expensive airline is north of $150 to $200. I hope AI retains this option.

5.Ground staff and Crew

Air India would be my preferred carrier when my mom comes visiting. I don't want to stress her out with flight travels that involve transits in any country. The last time she flew BA via Heathrow in business class, she had to wait an hour and half for the wheelchairs to be made available at the gate. Which cut her time from the lounge access to refresh and rest for her flight connection. The staff was arrogant and non-helpful. My experience with Air India staff on the other hand has been fairly ok. If you talk to them nicely, you can get work done. They have a baggage to carry from their sarkari days and it is hard to navigate through that.

Some of my pilot friends have been with Air India for decades. Their experience is unmatched. The mighty Boeing 777-300 is a workhorse but even the best can experience failures. One such disaster was averted when an experienced crew onboard AI101 in 2018 managed to land safely in New York with just VNAV and experience on their shoulders. The aircraft experienced catastrophic failures in final approach. I would bet my life on such crews who can think and act fast to take you from A to B safely.

Cheers.

Last edited by moralfibre : 4th November 2022 at 00:13.
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Old 4th November 2022, 19:17   #63
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Voted no.
Will prefer Indigo and Vistara over Air India if the choice exists for that sector.
I have to fly to Delhi and this flight is one of the options available, and although not the cheapest one, it is the fastest. All other flights take about 3.5 hours but this one shows 2.5 hours. Well, all are direct flights, but why is Air India having such a short duration? Something to do with the aircraft? I'd like to keep the flight short, hence the question.

Last edited by Turbanator : 6th November 2022 at 11:39. Reason: Quoted post trimmed.
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Old 4th November 2022, 19:54   #64
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

Interesting thread. Have flow Air India only once since the Tata takeover. Flight took off on time, food was decent - but even the business class seats were dirty. Further, other than from Delhi, they don’t have evening peak connections to Bombay. I will stick to Vistara for now for domestic business class travel, and also whenever I get Premium Economy for personal trips. And take Indigo on the many routes where it is the only option. May consider Go First if there is not other choice / but would not touch Spicejet in its current avatar with a barge pole.

One Aside - and it’s very rare one gets to correct Mr. Narayan on anything - much less aviation. The Tatas have NOT owned Air India for a year yet - the deal closed in late January 2022. So still another 3 months to go for the first anniversary to be completed.

Last edited by Hayek : 4th November 2022 at 19:56.
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Old 6th November 2022, 11:26   #65
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonfire View Post
I have to fly to Delhi and this flight is one of the options available, and although not the cheapest one, it is the fastest. All other flights take about 3.5 hours but this one shows 2.5 hours. Well, all are direct flights, but why is Air India having such a short duration? Something to do with the aircraft? I'd like to keep the flight short, hence the question.
It is both the aircraft (dream liners are faster than 737/a320) and the way flight time is calculated :
. Departure boarding time
. Flight time
. Landing and debarkation time

The basic flight time is quite short (e.g Delhi Mumbai is 1.5 hrs). The rest is the boarding and debarkation time, which can add up to an hour or be as short as 15m. Airlines who want to boast use the maximum alowable time between boarding and debarkation as flight duration (sensible)

https://www.airportdistancecalculato...l#.Y2dLtnZBwUE
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Old 8th November 2022, 01:14   #66
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

I know this is a review thread but one thing that I wanted to add was the intent to expand shortly. Two ex-Delta Boeing 777-200LRs are currently undergoing refitting in Singapore. These jets are equipped with a 3 class seating configuration and are relatively better equipped than their ageing fleet. We hope to see them in action to service Air India's winter and summer schedule that plans to expand by 11 non-stop routes to the US from India

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-screen-shot-20221107-11.43.39.png

And to those that like to track planes, here's their current fleet.
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Old 8th November 2022, 13:24   #67
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

Travel updates on Air India (International sector)

Flight : AI1911 & AI1912

Dates : November' 22

Class : Business

Sector : Ahmedabad - Nairobi - Ahmedabad

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-20221104_135634.jpg


Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-20221031_024922.jpg


Travellers : 2 Adults + 2 kids (7 & 5 y.o)

We are avid & frequent travellers, and since most of our journeys start and eliminate at Ahmedabad, the direct flight options are limited - thus we end up taking Emirates, Etihad or Qatar for one-hop to anywhere globally. While wanting to explore Masai Mara with kids, we were delighted to find a direct flight connection to Nairobi from Ahmedabad, albeit on Air India. Initial skepticism later, we took the plunge and booked ourselves on their business class (Always the preferred class of travel for us).

While at the back of our minds was our lack of recent experience flying Air India, and a 6.15 hour flight without the comfort of pedigreed carrier, there was some reassurance of its on-time performance in the recent past.

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-20221031_025446.jpg

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-20221104_134430.jpg

Pros :

- Extremely roomy, and almost private, with a 6 x 3 configuration for the Business Class.

- Unbelievably hospitable crew, with no request too much for them! This is with two kids in tow, who can behave very pampered.

- On time (In fact before time) both ways

- Efficient check-in and boarding process

- Decent meal options on Nairobi - Ahmedabad sector

- Surprising to see on offer a vanity kit, pyjamas, and toiletries

- Flat bed with massager, and cozy pillows and comforter

Cons:

- Sad In-flight entertainment, with limited options

- Frozen breakfast on Ahmedabad - Nairobi sector (Lunch was decent), since the flight originated in Delhi

- Some seat fittings were falling off

- Poor quality of headsets on offer (I am nitpicking now, or spoilt by Middle Eastern carriers)

All in all, I would definitely use Air India again for international sectors where available. Tata would only make it better, safe to assume.

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-20221104_141123.jpg
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Old 8th November 2022, 13:54   #68
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

In the previous two months, I have flown the following sectors with AI:
Jed-Hyd
Hyd-Bom
Bom-Hyd
Hyd-Dxb

Long way to go, but what a massive (and consistent) improvement!
The routes I have flown are all high load factors low yield and I am yet to fly long haul.

On the Hyd-Dxb sector, the flight was packed and the maximum response time to a passenger call bell/button time was about 15 seconds. I measured this because there was a family seated ahead of me and they must've pressed it at least two dozen times through out the flight.
Higher baggage allowance is also really attractive.

Otherwise, my experiences have been the same as most members have posted about, which in its self is good. Excellent crew behavior no matter what, ground staff as well!

Adding to the usual criticism:The meals were meh and the Economy class seats were insanely cramped. Might not fly AI narrow bodies if I can't book an XL seat at the time of booking the ticket but this additional criticism is more subjective than general.
My biggest concern is that Air India might try to mimic British Airways going ahead, i.e. An LCC masquerading as a full service carrier.

All in all, the changes are very evident. I will wait 3 years before forming a final judgement though. There's a lot of damage to undo and a long road to go but I gotta say: I believe in Tata's Air India. They have what no other airline in India currently does; a good international P2P network, the planes/facilities/slots to compete with the European Carriers and of course, the pockets to finance all this.
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Old 8th November 2022, 15:12   #69
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

After a long time, I will be taking an Air India flight AI346 from Chennai to Singapore and AI347 for the return in Economy class. Will be flying out coming Friday and eagerly looking forward to the experience post Tata takeover, hope it turns out to be pleasant. its going to be an Airbus A320 Neo and will share my overall flight experience next week.

Last edited by pms : 8th November 2022 at 15:14.
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Old 8th November 2022, 17:52   #70
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

I flew the AI933-934, COK-DXB-COK, 787 Dreamliner- Business class , in April this year. I was pleasantly surprised with the onboard service, very polite and good attention to the customer. The departure and arrival was on time and smooth. The seats were comfortable and I could adjust it to lie flat. The decor looks dated and the furniture and fittings could do with a bit of updating. The food however, left much lacking. I am a vegetarian and the food was bland and tasteless. The onboard entertainment was not much to talk about either.

I am sure things are improving after the takeover. Henceforth, I will definitely check out the AI flights in any sector, before the usual West Asian carriers. I am due to fly out again the day after tomorrow on the same sector, same flight, let me see if the improvement is consistent.

Cheerio!
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Old 8th November 2022, 19:23   #71
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphadog View Post
I flew the AI933-934, COK-DXB-COK, 787 Dreamliner- Business class , in April this year.
So, my family and I flew the same itinerary in July and again, last month. The trip in July was much like you said, the flight attendants were very attentive, service was great and reminded me of the nostalgic writings about the old Maharajah service standards. However, the flight last month made it seem like Air India hadn't changed at all. The crew couldn't care less, the flight wasn't that clean... it seemed like they were back to their old ways.

Yes, it seems like change is on the way. And just like for any type of change, there seems to a set of crew who have wholeheartedly embraced the ways and standards of the new-old owners, as well as a set of crew who are still stuck in the ruts of the old ways, be they good or bad. It's only a matter of time before we see which side tides over the other.
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Old 8th November 2022, 20:28   #72
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

On Thursday last week, my cousin took AI from DEL to ORD, the flight arrived 20 minutes early.. Except for the onboard entertainment system, everything was fine, he said. .

Quote:
Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post
Nothing beats the ease of a direct flight from your local airport to a local hub and onward to your final destination. A lot of time is lost if I were to fly a middle eastern or European carrier to the US from Pune.
Absolutely true.

Slight OT here: I often feel envious of Delhi residents, especially those who visit NY or CHI by AI. As though it were a single overnight journey, they arrive around 10 p.m., complete all formalities, board an AI (single flight), and land at JFK or ORD the next morning.

Last edited by RGK : 8th November 2022 at 20:30.
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Old 9th November 2022, 01:14   #73
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

I just flew on an Air India flight from Coimbatore to Chennai.

Boarding was smooth, except, while entering the aircraft, a staff asked me to show my ID card again as I was having my Boarding pass in my phone. When asked, he said this is as per DGCA guidelines but no other airlines was following it.

The age could be seen from the fabrics and some plastic bits but oh boy, when I sat, the seats felt so comfortable and along with the brilliant legroom, it really felt great. Indigo seats felt like a torture compared to these. The flight was on time and the crew were helpful. They served a whole-wheat sandwich, which was okay, and a bottle of water. I really hope they can have a wonderful journey ahead. Running an Airline business isn't a joke is what I've realised over the years and I wish the TATA group the best. I will not hesitate taking their flight again as the comfort is quite unmatched to my experience. Funnily, I am yet to try Vistara.

In the last one year, the worst experience in terms of flight condition was of Srilankan Airlines from Colombo to Chennai. The seat bits were broken, my armrest was missing and there were some rattles.
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Old 9th November 2022, 20:30   #74
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

Excellent review by moralfibre. In fact all the reviews are all valuable and will guide us for our future travel.

I have one concern and one wish:

a) Anyone who wants to forecast how the future Air India will look like may draw comfort from the fact that what a wonderful airline Vistara has turned out to be. And here i refer to the softer issues more than the hardware. Web experience, frequent flyer programs, OTPs, crew behaviour, food, and IFE are all super. I only hope that with the impending merger, culturally Air India will veer towards Vistara and not the other way round.

Now the wish:

b) I hope Air India doesn’t only remain a Delhi based airline (it’s largely Air Delhi today rather than Air India). (In fact someone has commented also that how envious he’s of Delhiites here). But it doesn’t need to remain like this. Hope their strategy paper takes this into account and make multiple hubs in the country and makes logical conclusions. it's a shame that our national airline has so few (even) West bound flights from Bombay. They should learn from Indigo. If Indigo had started twice daily Vietnam flights from Calcutta and still had the birds full, they proved that there is merit in thinking geographically. (The Kolkata Hanoi flying time is only 2 hours and a few minutes).

Come to think of it, on most days the daily Delhi Sydney and Delhi Melbourne flights overflies Calcutta. If most passengers are from Delhi, continue with it. But if their plan is to collect pan India passengers, then bring them to a logical hub within the country closest to the destination.

For AI to become a successful International airline, they also have to be a successful domestic airline. They have a paltry 10% or so market share now, compared to Indigo’s 50+%. That will also need to change

Last edited by moralfibre : 13th November 2022 at 21:22. Reason: Typos and grammar. Please also avoid typing with excessive dots. Thanks!
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Old 15th November 2022, 01:57   #75
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Re: Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over

KSFO Airport has already announced AI's direct connections to Mumbai and Bengaluru:

Your review of Air India | 1 year since Tata took over-screen-shot-20221114-12.26.31-1.png
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