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Old 15th October 2016, 10:37 PM   #61
yflyer
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There was a good selection of Western and Indian hot mains...











Dessert...

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Old 15th October 2016, 10:39 PM   #62
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Massage chairs with tarmac views...



There were showers...



And a spa with massage and spa services for a fee...



All in all, a very impressive lounge.
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Old 15th October 2016, 10:54 PM   #63
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It was a fairly long trek to the departure gate for my flight AI342, an 11.50pm departure for Singapore (A flight just over 5 hours in duration).



Today's flight was operated by VT-ANJ, a four year old 788 in Air India livery.



The Y cabin, in 3-3-3 layout.



I can't recall if they did a drink service before their supper service, but after take-off I did ask for a glass of whisky, and the cabin crew brought this to my seat, along with a pack of nuts.



This was their supper service...



Not a particularly impressive meal, but the spicy curry preparation did taste good.



Dessert was so so...



The cabin ambience...



I am still not a fan of the 9-abreast layout on the 787. The plane is simply too narrow for this to be comfortable.

That said, on this flight, I had a centre block of 3 Y seats to myself, and this made all the difference: the perfect Y-flat bed for this red-eye sector.



I lay down after my meal and slept soundly for several hours.
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Old 15th October 2016, 10:55 PM   #64
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When I woke up, we were close to Singapore. All cabin windows were electronically dimmed, but it was clearly daylight outside...



Cabin ambience during the day...



Our flight path that night...



Final approach into SIN, with angry dark clouds low in the sky...



A very smooth landing on runway 20R...so far all my Dreamliner landings have been very smooth...similar to 777 landings.



I took a pic of the J cabin, laid out 2-2-2, as I deplaned.



VT-ANJ at the gate on a very wet morning.

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Old 15th October 2016, 11:01 PM   #65
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Overall, this was a very comfortable flight, mainly because I had 3 Y seats to myself -- I am still not a fan of the 9-abreast layout.

Cabin service was good, and catering was ok (Which was unusual, because on most other flights I have had on Air India, the catering has been very tasty).

So once again, I was impressed by Air India, and would be happy to fly them again to-and from India.

I spent a week in Singapore before heading to San Francisco and back on United's non-stop service UA1/2.

I have started a separate thread for the 3rd set of Dreamliners flights on UA1/2 here.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by yflyer; 16th October 2016 at 05:29 PM..
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Old 15th October 2016, 11:06 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yflyer View Post
Continuing with the TR...

We deplaned into the large, modern terminal in MAA...



I cleared customs and left the International Terminal, and headed outside to walk to the Domestic Terminal for my connection to Bangalore.

The good thing about the airport in Chennai is that you can actually just walk from International to Domestic. However, at the spot where I exited the International Terminal, I could not see any signage telling me where to go. I had to ask for directions to Domestic, and was pointed in the correct direction by one of the many people milling around the terminal.

Folks in India are generally very helpful, and standard practice getting around, whether on foot, car or 3-wheeler is to just stop and ask for directions when in doubt.



After a short walk, probably 200-300m, I reached the Domestic Terminal, which was a new and modern affair, with a large, airy interior.





Boarding pass in hand, I headed airside...



By this time, the ground crew had turned around VT-ANU, and she was already taxiing for take-off to her next destination.



As balajih67 remarked, a very heavily utilized aircraft!



Now that Air India was part of Star Alliance, I was eligible to use the airside lounge in MAA.



This was not a large lounge, but it was fairly empty...



...and the lunch time buffet, featuring mainly South Indian specialities, was superb!

Local style ready-made milk coffee, served in traditional metal cups...



A selection of crackers...



Curd rice and pickles...

Thanks Yflyer for speaking wonderfully about my hometown airport(chennai),But i think you have not visited the old international terminal of chennai airport which is still in use and houses departure gates 8-16.From the picture of the arrival plane from SIN parked at the gate which you have posted,the gate is 18 which is located in the new extension of the terminal building.The arrival section of the terminal is good.

If you manage to catch a departure from chennai and if you are Unlucky enough to get a gate 10-16,i assure you your perception about chennai airport will change completely.I had boarded from gate 16 only recently to SIN on SQ(may 2016),and the terminal looks very bad.No shops,no proper seating,AC doesn't work,no free wifi.

Yes,all chennai ppl are friendly and approachable for help,maybe next time you should visit more places in chennai.

Thanks,for the pics from the lounge...always wondered how it was inside....
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Old 16th October 2016, 01:45 PM   #67
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Thanks yflyer,

Starwood definitely treats you really well. ITC Windsor looks better and more contemporary than I remember it. I must have been put in the old wing the other time. It's a good hotel. Did you have dinner at Dakshin - I would say my 2nd Favourite restaurant in all of India

Also I stayed at the Westin before and indeed it's a very good property. Although I wonder why did you stay all the way out there since you had to be in the city in any case? because it's Starwood? But still ... it must have taken you 2.5 hours by car back. Unless you are like me - I figure out how to use the train and it would have taken just 30 minutes to Goregaon.

For Mumbai, my current Favourite hotel is Taj Santa Cruz. All rooms are junior suites as minimum category and have bathrooms larger than most hotel rooms in Mumbai. It just opened in January this year and located inside the domestic airport. It has the best room in all of Mumbai at the moment. I have given up Starwood platinum and I A my Taj platinum now. It's not a very generous Programme but they have some really nice properties.

Mumbai airport is currently I think the most spectacular in the world. And it has a 5-star hospitality mood combined with high end mall feel. I was expecting Doha to be matching but found it cold and dark and gloomy. Mumbai is the best. Of course Changi is the most comfortable but changi's architecture is flat boring and uninspiring.

GVK lounge i also find the best in the world currently even exceeding Changi's flagship SilverKris. Decor is a little too opulent for my liking but the luxe feel and the quality of the food especially surpasses SilverKris by multiple notches. I have been avoiding SKL greasy buffet for awhile. GVK lounge serves 5-starhotel food standard only. And the bar serves all sorts of cocktail.

I didn't know StarGold is entitled to use the same lounge. The last time I asked, the staff told me it's another lounge which I used to go to when on AI'/ domestic flights which connect to international.

Anyway, they just opened another GVK lounge called GVK EastWing. Very disappointing. It's similar decor but more bare, more counter seating rather than sofas and too bright. It's still exceeding SKL in standard I feel but falls short of expectation compared to the older lounges.

Mumbai is the only airport I would turn up four hours in advance to enjoy the lounge, spa, and dinner buffet and free flow cocktail. But since apparently Sq is now assigning pax to the East Wing, I would probably reduce the time spent there...but yes, I still feel the airport has got a 5-star hotel feel with its reduced lighting and warm tones. And I love it. You didn't seem to spend much time there though. You would have taken more pics. There is a huge gallery of very interesting art works towards one side.

Last edited by SQueeze; 16th October 2016 at 01:51 PM..
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Old 17th October 2016, 06:11 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by balajih67 View Post
Thanks Yflyer for speaking wonderfully about my hometown airport(chennai)

Yes,all chennai ppl are friendly and approachable for help,maybe next time you should visit more places in chennai.
Thanks, balajih67! I have always enjoyed visiting Chennai. I feel very at home there. The weather is similar to Singapore, and the food is wonderful, especially the vegetarian food. And as you have said, everyone is warm and welcoming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by balajih67 View Post
If you manage to catch a departure from chennai and if you are Unlucky enough to get a gate 10-16,i assure you your perception about chennai airport will change completely.I had boarded from gate 16 only recently to SIN on SQ(may 2016),and the terminal looks very bad.No shops,no proper seating,AC doesn't work,no free wifi.
OK thanks for letting me know. I hope they finish the renovations soon, and bring that part of the terminal up to the same level as the newer parts!

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Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
Thanks yflyer,

Starwood definitely treats you really well. ITC Windsor looks better and more contemporary than I remember it. I must have been put in the old wing the other time. It's a good hotel. Did you have dinner at Dakshin - I would say my 2nd Favourite restaurant in all of India
Thanks, SQueeze! Yes, Starwood has treated me quite well over the years, whether I was Gold or Platinum. I particularly appreciate the 4pm late checkout that they are able to offer on quite a regular basis.

The tower rooms at the ITC Windsor are generally newer than the manor rooms, but I quite like the old world charm of the manor rooms too.

And yes, Dakshin is one of my favourite, if not THE favourite, restaurants in India! Yes, I had the non-veg thali at the Dakshin at the ITC Windsor while I was there. Fantastic.

Some pics of my dinner at Dakshin last month...







Lip-smacking delicious...

I try to eat at the Dakshin restaurant at the ITC Maratha every time I am in Mumbai too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
Also I stayed at the Westin before and indeed it's a very good property. Although I wonder why did you stay all the way out there since you had to be in the city in any case?
It was recommended by my colleague who stays there so regularly that he often orders off-menu items from his favourite chef in one of the restaurants there. Yes it is a bit further north than most people would stay. And traffic at peak hours was terrible. But that said, we managed to time most of our commute to avoid the jams (except for one day), and it is a very nice property.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
For Mumbai, my current Favourite hotel is Taj Santa Cruz. All rooms are junior suites as minimum category and have bathrooms larger than most hotel rooms in Mumbai. It just opened in January this year and located inside the domestic airport. It has the best room in all of Mumbai at the moment. I have given up Starwood platinum and I A my Taj platinum now. It's not a very generous Programme but they have some really nice properties.
Thanks for letting me know! Might check out the Taj Santa Cruz next time I am in Mumbai. I've previously stayed at the Taj West End in Bangalore, Taj Land's End in Mumbai, and also the Taj Krishna in Hyderabad -- all wonderful properties. Yes, the top-end Taj properties are really excellent. But I am not in India often enough to switch allegiance to the Taj loyalty scheme.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
Mumbai airport is currently I think the most spectacular in the world. And it has a 5-star hospitality mood combined with high end mall feel. I was expecting Doha to be matching but found it cold and dark and gloomy. Mumbai is the best. Of course Changi is the most comfortable but changi's architecture is flat boring and uninspiring.
I was very impressed as well! Not sure if I would rank it right at the very top, considering all factors, since the workflow in Indian airports is a little idiosyncratic, but from an architecture perspective, it is certainly one of the most impressive!

Agree that Changi's architecture isn't awe-inspiring in the same way as HKG, KIX or BOM. But that said, I think Changi remains tops for efficiency and being passenger-friendly.

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Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
GVK lounge i also find the best in the world currently even exceeding Changi's flagship SilverKris.
I think the GVK Lounge is very good, but I think that some other airlines have lounges which are even more distinctive, for example VS, QR, EK and CX have J lounges in their home bases which are quite superb, and QF's F lounge in Sydney is spectacular as well.

And SQ? I don't think it takes a lot to beat Changi's Silver Kris Lounge, which is good, but not great IMHO...for some reason SQ have not yet been able to come up with a "statement" lounge. The last SQ lounge that really impressed me was the old ICN lounge in the main international terminal, which is now closed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
I didn't know StarGold is entitled to use the same lounge.
Hmmm...not sure if it is a designated Star Gold lounge. Maybe they only allow *G in if they are travelling on an Air India flight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQueeze View Post
You didn't seem to spend much time there though. You would have taken more pics. There is a huge gallery of very interesting art works towards one side.
And here I was thinking I already take too many pictures...

Last edited by yflyer; 17th October 2016 at 08:58 PM..
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Old 9th September 2018, 09:53 PM   #69
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Pardon me for digging up this old post, but may I know around what date you took the AI flight?
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Old 10th September 2018, 07:36 AM   #70
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I'm glad you got to enjoy Chennai. It's a very beautiful place, food is excellent in many places and you really can't go wrong with a Madras coffee wherever you go. The good food is usually because of the climate. Additionally that's where we also go and do Indian cultural shopping.

Even though we're not sure of our plans, Chennai is always what we'd aim for as we tend to get the best things for religious and other reasons whilst shopping.
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Old 10th September 2018, 08:38 PM   #71
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Pardon me for digging up this old post, but may I know around what date you took the AI flight?
Hi balajih67, the AI flights to/from India were in early September 2016...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SQfanatic View Post
I'm glad you got to enjoy Chennai. It's a very beautiful place, food is excellent in many places and you really can't go wrong with a Madras coffee wherever you go. The good food is usually because of the climate. Additionally that's where we also go and do Indian cultural shopping.

Even though we're not sure of our plans, Chennai is always what we'd aim for as we tend to get the best things for religious and other reasons whilst shopping.
I love the food in Chennai!
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Old 12th September 2018, 07:47 AM   #72
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Hi balajih67, the AI flights to/from India were in early September 2016...



I love the food in Chennai!
So do I, and the South Indian food in Singapore is pretty equivalent (i.e. Kaveri at Changi T2 and T3). In the US, it's also pretty good but you can notice the difference in the freshness and quality just because of the climate.
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