LH J - New 747-8 Upper Deck - YYZ-FRA-BLR-MAA-COK-DEL-FRA-YYZ
Business would take me back to India…this time to MAA, KOC, BLR and DEL from YYZ…
Unfortunately, with equipment limited and decent sales on LH, I had to take LH instead of CX/KA (BA was out since I really am at a loss as to why they were so much more expensive than both CX and LH..and many others) – I really hope CX puts more capacity on CX to HKG out of YYZ soon…at least I was on the 747-8 to BLR and from DEL to FRA…which is mostly why I have gathered up my thoughts to do this report as I had not intended to.
So off I was on a rather abridged trip.
YYZ-FRA-BLR-MAA-COK-DEL-FRA-YYZ…at least it was structured with a day and a half in Delhi to catch some sites and take a day trip to Agra…too bad it was not a week later or I could have thrown in the grand prix also…F’rack. I also should have arrived a day earlier (although timing would not allow).
Also, will review a few nice hotels and I really wished I took pictures of the meal I had at Southern Spice at the Taj Coromandel Chennai---WOW WOW WOW…it was the feast or Virundh (not sure if it was confined to the private room or not). Most impressive spread I have seen and tasted. I cannot emphasize how much if your travels ever take you to MAA, you MUST go to this place and order the Virundh (make sure you have a few friends and are good and starved before) set menu… http://www.tajhotels.com/Luxury/City...estaurant.html the description of the place is bang on and not marketing fluff either…in fact, they seem to be rather reserved in their description. In fact, we actually told them to stop bringing out food at one point and opted only for two of the many planned deserts… http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844359 and this link have some photos of a few of the dishes…I think I had about 25 different items…but alas this is not a food report per se…
LUFTHANSA, LH 0471
Equipment - A346
Arrives: 8:20am plus 1
03G (well, ended up in 4G to allow another pax to sit with his wife).
No pix of this flight or lounge.
Flight was jammed. Waited in the AC lounge for a little. Place is getting a little tattered but nice enough for a glass of water before the flight. I was starting to get ill so no EtOH for me. As usual, very poor wine selections and not the best hot food selections. I had already eaten dinner at home with my family and had no intention of having dinner on the flight either.
Boarded with lots of gate lice. Had to fight through the people to get to the priority line.
Yuk..old J seats. Made an older couple happy by switching seats…
Seats would be fine for a flight during the day but when you need to get sleep, terrible (although I have been spoiled lately with new CX J…).
At least the one upside with a jammed flight to FRA from YYZ was that my colleague was upgraded to F and allowed me into the F lounge as a guest in FRA…sadly, I was starting to get sick and my no-EtOH policy at the time resulted in not being able to take advantage of perhaps one of the best stocked open bars I have seen at any lounge (actually, best stocked bars…PERIOD)…the meds that I was on would have made me have an episode that might require me to be hog tied on the plane and emergency landing near the Caspian…but I could not resist one glass of an odd Japanese whiskey that I had not seen before.
I think the flight only ended up being just over 7 hours from FRA…strong winds behind us. This was what I was worried about.
Do not really have much to say about this flight other than it proved to be as terrible as I expected.
Way too short to get any decent level of sleep…I took two melatonin and a swig of some cough syrup with some hydrocodone and still had one crap of a sleep. Mostly to blame, the TERRIBLE seats…well, probably partly to blame is departure time and flight length…It was a very very short flight. Did not really sleep only to wake up to a decent breakfast – in fact, I actually like the rather small spread of different things. I think it is the middle portion of the seat that seemed to cause the discomfort.
My colleague got a nice drive to the F terminal, I said enjoy yourself and proceeded with another to the J lounge, which is not horrible, and then got a message to join him in the F lounge.
I must say, and others can get photos on this board as they wish, LH’s F lounge at FRA is perhaps the nicest lounge I have been in. I only took one photo…of a souvenir that I got for my daughter…staff asked if one was enough…of course it was…
LUFTHANSA, LH 0754
Arrives: 12:30am plus 1
So I was very happy to see that LH put the 747-8s on the flights to and from DEL and BLR. Decided on the upper deck. Turned out to be the better choice in my view. I was travelling with a work colleague so the configuration worked fine. I also did not get to try out the bed since I was planning to stay up the whole time to India. Very nice J product IMO. Nice colours and the storage next to the window seat was fantastic. Special meals from the chef from the Leela Palace in Bangalore…the irony was that I would be there for the next two nights and have eaten at Jamavir before also so I know that there is no way what I am getting on the flight is even remotely close to what I will get and have gotten at the Leela…oh well.
The Queen awaits.
Amazed at the size of the engines on this one.
And a few cabin shots and obligatory leg room shot.
Only ate a little and just desert on the second meal. I really was not feeling that great. Very tasty.
I think they gave me too much bread..
A couple shots along the way.
Almost there….in fact, as we landed in Bangalore, that allowed me to officially state that I have officially flown around the world..although on two separate trips…YYZ-HKG-BLR and then on this one, YYZ-FRA-BLR. So I have that going for me now..and a second one going home so technically around the world twice..
Stayed again at the Leela Palace in Bangalore. I have seen an uptick in business at this place and an uptick in more business activity since the last time I was at the hotel.
It has now been about 2 years since being here…and to be honest, I was pretty sure I would not be back but hey, funny how things turn out. Room was outstanding as was the food again. I love this place. I long for the Dosa’s in the morning and the south Indian drip coffee….just thinking about it makes we long for more. Just some photos of the room and not the grounds but the hotel is fantastic…although I was not here that much.
And a few drinks at the bar on our last night…not the smartest thing when you have to get up at 3:30 to go to the airport…
Did not get around in BLR other than to our places of business and then out for a dinner and back to the hotel...
JET AIRWAYS, 9W 7029 737-8?? Either way, I was so freaking tired it could have been a box for all I cared..
Operated by: JETKONNECT
Y…(only Y on this flight…although so early and no booze on domestic flights, who cares… ;-))
arrived at BLR for our early flight...had to leave the city at 4 to ensure enough time to get to the airport. Checked in and was through security in no time flat. Grabbed a cup of coffee and boarded by jet bridge. Was very effecient although those flying through India will be used to the double and tripple checks of stamps etc. on boarding card and luggage tag...as silly as it sounds, security was more effecient than many airports in NA and the EU...
Landed in torrential rain in MAA...the second monsoon had started. I did not think it could rain that hard...well, at least it was 36 degrees out...
Sorry, no photos of equipment (they had lots of no photo signs)....and none of seat. There was just a drink but I slept the whole flight.
The hotel is close to the airport but I would not consider this to be a number 2 hotel or a 5* property. It was just average to above average in my books. The room was very well stocked with everything you needed etc. but just not at the 5* level. Price was certainly cheaper. That said, but for having to be at the airport for a 6am flight to COK (and it was nice to be very very close), we would have stayed at the Taj Coromandel. Also, was there just as the second monsoon started this past October. I did notice there was a considerable issue with mosquitos (including in the hotel), perhaps an issue noticed in Chennai generally. It was just average in my books and between 3-4* in terms of North Amercia standards. Buffet was just OK. That said, having only stayed one night and only really spending less than 5 hours in my room with meetings and off to the airport that night, take my review for what it is worth. Service was decent.
I did see a little mozzi in my room when I came back from my india feast at just around 1am...had to be up at 4 and just decided to sleep with my cloths on and put some bug spray on....seemed to survive without any bites.
Either way, here are some photos.
I probably would pass on this hotel and as noted, stay at the Taj or the ITC had just openened a brandnew hotel that we could have stayed at...bugger
JET AIRWAYS, 9W 2729
Operated by: JETKONNECT
Y…(only Y on this flight same note as above).
Arrived at the airport early again…MAA domestic terminal seems rather small but efficient. Lots of bussing to flights. I actually like the India security. They just have really mean looking military guys do the searching. Use the metal wand on all people and do it very efficiently and quick. Check all metal and all items through the x-ray. Took way less time than I thought. At this point, I am very very tired. In fact, I am starting to have trouble keeping my eyes open and pretty fall asleep immediately.
Flight was mostly uneventful until I noticed we had started looking around COK...in fact, we flew right over Athirappally Waterfalls that are located 78 kms from Kochi....
I had also noticed that we had decended a lot but yet there was still lots of cloud...that is when I figured it was fog...crap...we circled a little more but then landed and you could tell the fog had just burned off...
Little did we know that it caused some major problems...read about the AI pilot that pressed the highjack button when pax became pissed off about being on the ground too long...this was the fog that was preventing them from landing it would seem...
Either way, we landed and what a change from BLR...since I did not see the light of day in MAA, i suspect it is the same, but Kerala is clearly in the tropics...
Our car dropped us off to check into the hotel in COK.
Our meetings would start at noon so had a little down time.
We stayed at the Taj Malabar. WOW. Fantastic hotel that was about the opposite of the business hotel. This place was a vacation resort. I needed it big time. My cold was getting worse with the lack of sleep.
Wow…what a nice hotel. Nowhere near where we needed to be for our meetings and an hour from the airport, but WHO CARES….
Taj Malabar continued. You can see in one of the photos the hotel has a daily reception and then takes you on a free harbour cruise at sunset...sadly, not on the boart they pack out in front but on a more ferry type boat...
It was very nice to see the harbour...a couple of shots to see Fort Cochin and also the chinese fishing nets in the harbour.
My work mate was falling apart and retired early. I had dinner at the hotel restaurant and had the most amazing shrimp ever. The meal was remarkable. i went up and choose my dinner and it was cooked in a local manner. highly recommend this place. that is softshell crab with a spicy breading fried.
A few photos of my room...right on the corner and right over the water.
AIR INDIA LTD., AI 0466
Most amazing waiting lounge seats. Lounge in MAA is before security and is not worth going to IMO. It is a waste of time. Same efficiency at COK as in MAA but a little smaller airport.
Very very odd to see a heavy land in COK...I think it was a charter from a company in the middle east possibly bringing workers back??? I think the pilot deadheaded back on our flight to DEL...either way, not something I thought I would see at such a small airport although there is lots of lights to the middle east i understand.
Our bird getting ready.
Nice old style seats, a little tattered but not bad...very empty J cabin.
no Et-OH on domestic indian flights, did not eat much since I was stuffed from the night before...
Next up, Humayun's Tomb. As noted on the UNESCO site, "This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal."
Then onward to the India Gate and a drive by the presidential palace just as the sun was starting to set…WOW….that was a whirlwind.
Then down for a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant. I have firmly decided that my preference is for southern india cuisine…in fact, less than 5 years ago, I would never eat any Indian at all…must to the chagrin of my wife who is now particularly pissed about my trips to india for business….the food alone would cause her to go into a food comma…