Monday, February 23, 2015

Signs of Positive changes - Jet Airways from Pune to Bengaluru

I decided to jump jobs in Jan, which meant I was relatively free till I join the new assignment and take a day off to visit Aero India. I firmed up on Feb 20th and 21st as the days I would be at Yelahanka and proceeded with bookings.

Bengaluru from Pune opens up unlimited options across the day, with frequencies led by IndiGo – 5, Jet Airways & Go Air – 2 each, Spicejet & Air Asia – 1 each. To reach well in time and make it to Aero India – I decided to take up the first departure from Pune, the 0545 Jet Airways flight. This would also be my first after the airline moved to an all FSC model. The old flight number 9W 2363 is retained, which once indicated the LCC wing of the airline.

This is one the older flights of Jet Airways and for a brief period in 2009 operated by ATR. This rotation operates as PUNE – BENGALURU – KOLKATA – GUWAHATI – JORHAT / IMPHAL – GUWAHATI – KOLKATA – BENGALURU – PUNE.

I decided to download the Jet Airways mobile app to process my booking. The experience was new and good. Just that the app closed immediately after the PNR was generated. I received the tickets in my mailbox in 10 minutes.

About 23 hours to departure, I logged in and did a check in from the app, which again was effortless.

Check-in, Boarding & Airport Experience
I reached the airport at 0425, about 1:20 mins to departure and the standard two CISF checks at Pune led me to the check-in area. I only had a hand baggage and thus made my way to security. Within 7 mins of getting dropped off by the cab, I was in security hold area. The benefits of a small airport in a city like Pune!

I carried printout of the boarding card and thus did not visit the counters. The airline ground staff reached the boarding gate around 0500hours as soon people formed a line. Boarding started early and we were seated by 0525.

At this time, another Jet Airways ATR to Hyderabad was getting ready while two IndiGo birds were parked next to us which would make a trip to Chennai & Kolkata respectively. Spicejet aircraft arrived from Sharjah, which would then turn around for Bengaluru.

The aircraft was non Boeing Sky Interior (BSI) bird with yellow lighting in 12 business class seats and 156 economy. The loads were brilliant with 11 out of 12 seats occupied in Business and almost all occupied in economy.

Inflight & Meal
Doors closed at 0540 and we pushed back on time and were holding before entering active, probably for clearances since there was no other movement at that time of the day. We soon entered active runway 10 and took off in easterly direction, banked right to reach cruising altitude.

The seat belt signs were soon switched off and the meal service started. The meal consisted of a Paneer Roll or a chicken roll. I opted for the later. The tray comprised – the snack, a bottle of water, kitkat, the famous Imli and AVA discounted items card.

The meal was not adequate for that time of the day. I would have preferred tea/ coffee with lighter snack rather than chicken roll which wasn’t upto the mark in terms of taste.

There is a lot that the airline needs to do in terms of food improvements.
The aircraft on the other hand was clean. Not just the seats but also the windows.

We landed on runway 09 at Bengaluru and taxied to one of the aero bridges. Since the flight was going onwards to Kolkata – security staff at the gate checked our boarding passes before we set out.

Overall Verdict
In the last few months, Jet Airways is improving in leaps and bounds. I had an opportunity to connect with the top management with few suggestions and the promptness with which they were responded too along with the way of response was commendable.

The airline needs to work towards fleet standardization and improvements in food. The last year has seen it become number 2 in On Time Performance at all airports and in few months leading the pack too.

Will I fly Jet Airways again? – I think I will, costs matching the competition, good timings and Frequent Flier Program points – make it an attractive option.

Flight Summary
9W 2363 Pune to Bengaluru
VT-JGK B737-800 (WL)
MSN: 32579
13.3 years old
Configuration: 12J / 156Y
STD: 0545; ATD: 0545
STA: 0710; ATA: 0700

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