For something a little bit different to the norm, this week’s trip report starts in Singapore. Despite there being many non-stop options to Europe on offer, our traveller is tempted by a bargain priced business class fare, with a catch.
It was with some trepidation that I booked Air India flights to Europe. Whilst Air India’s reputation precedes them, I just couldn’t go past the business class fare. The fare was $1735 SGD (~$1500 AUD) …. Singapore-Delhi-Paris/Milan-Delhi-Singapore, about the same price or cheaper than most carriers fares in economy to Europe at the time. With such fares there is always a catch, and in this case it was the layover … 13:50 at Delhi (airside) … although due to rescheduling later this was reduced to 13 hrs + 15 mins!
With a 4 hour delay to the first flight, things certainly did not start well. A tight one hour connection in Delhi for the Paris leg meant alternative arrangements needed to be made. Luckily Air India at Changi was on the ball, calling the customer some three hours before departure with the details. After a visit to their counter to pick up documentation, our traveller was soon strolling to the other terminal to check in for the trip with Jet Airways.
So the 9W flight proceeded without problem, I won’t provide too much detail. Breakfast Ok, AVOD with a limited selection of movies, some turbulence over the Bay of Bengal , landed on time (but being a 737 was 15 mins longer than the scheduled Air India 787 flight).
With a 60 minute transit now a 45 minute one, things were getting interesting. While it may have not been a problem at Singapore, at Delhi it was a different story. Although the onward flight had closed to check in, having hand luggage only soon saw our traveller issued with a boarding pass. The next obstacle to overcome was security. With a long line up, our travellers escort took matters into their own hands. Normally, express security lanes are reserved just for flight crew, after much discussion with the attendant and escort in a mix of languages, permission is granted. Our traveller had made their flight.
A couple of firsts: First long haul Air India flight and first 787 flight. I was last to board. I organised myself, caught my breath and once sitting down was offered cool drink and a choice of hot or cold towel. Given that I was sweating a bit, the cold towel was a nice touch. First impressions of cabin – very open, quite spacious, and the much touted larger 787 windows were evident.
Will the leg to Europe be a dream on the Dreamliner? And how will our traveller cope with such a long layover on return via Delhi, join the trip to Europe in Business Class with a difference HERE.