First of all, I am excited to write my first Trip Report (TR) getting inspired from many guys in Airliners India forum. So apologies if its too lengthy and also for grammar as I’m not well versed with English. I’m bit shy in taking photos. So you many not find many in my TR. The few I took were also not in good quality. So bear with me this time. I’ll surely take better ones in my next trip. And I’m nowhere related to Aviation. Keep that in your mind before you start reading.
It was in November when I planned for a January trip to Madurai (IXM) from Doha. In the past two years, I always find “via BOM” is much cheaper than “via MCT/DXB/BAH”. Via CMB was reasonable. I needed to leave on Thursday night, but there was no flights by Mihin Lanka on Fridays to IXM from CMB. So I opted for DOH-BOM-IXM. It’s a known thing that IX will be the cheapest in DOH-BOM sector. So without thinking, booked on IX244 which arrives BOM at 02:55. But confused to select between SG and AI for onward.
SG has 06:05 departure to IXM via MAA and AI has at 09:40 in the same route. SG costed around 5.5k while AI was 6.5k. But SG’s consistent cancellation and delays made me to think twice. Though SG291/304 BOM-MAA-IXM-MAA-DEL has been flying for 4 years without any cancellation even in their hard times, I don’t what to spoil my short visit. By the time, there was a mail popped up saying the fare to IXM is 2.5k. Thanks to Air India Sale. I made up my mind for a 7 hrs transit and went ahead with booking. I was actually excited to travel in this particular AI flight as Sumantra sir said a lot about it, especially its food.
Getting to the airport
The day came and I was hoping for a 3 hrs delay to reduce my transit in BOM. But luck wasn’t with me this time. VT-AXJ did an on-time BOM-DOH-IXE-DOH. As most of us, I always opt for a window seat. But the non-availability of OLCI in IX made me to reach airport much earlier for a 20:55 departure. Also my colleagues were taking IX DOH-CCJ-COK scheduled at 20:30. So along with them, reached airport around 18:00. Finished my Magrib prayer in airport mosque located outside the airport and entered into the airport.
Date : 21.01.2015 Thursday
Airlines : Air India Express
Flt No : IX 244
A/c reg : VT-AXJ
Sector : DOH – BOM
STD : 2055 STA : 0255
There were 4 counters assigned for CCJ/COK and 2 for BOM. But the line was same. So happened to wait 45 min to check-in. Thankfully, I got a window seat 23A. Cleared Immigration and Customs in no time. Gates opened an hour before. I got to see the bird and tried to take photo. It came out weird.
Boarding and Take-off
Boarding started half an hour before. Seats were ok and the a/c was clean. I was surprised to see the load for a Thursday evening flight. Apart first five rows, all middle seats were empty. Pushback was on time and it was a smooth take off.
After an hour, crew started giving snacks box worth of not more than 5 QAR.