Old Apr 27, 09, 6:06 pm
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 2,361
A quick trip to Amritsar (Part 2)

Seat 17D – Jet Airways Economy on an ATR-72
BiH: “Where are you, it’s freezing and I’m not wearing a coat, I’m going inside”.
Friend: “Er, you can’t, I haven’t got a printout”

One of my best friends is a consultant and had been working in India for several months. We had decided to go to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple, flying out at 7am on Saturday and returning the following day.

I had completely misjudged how long it would take to get to Delhi’s domestic terminal and so had arrived at 6am instead of 6.30am. I rang my friend who had just got into a taxi. Despite sending him a copy of the e-ticket and asking him to print out his own copy, he had neglected to do so. You aren’t allowed to enter an airport in India without a copy of your ticket and so that meant I would have to wait outside in the cold for half an hour. Finally he pitched up and we walked into the semi-organised chaos that is the terminal 1.

Whilst I awaited my friends arrival, I noticed that none of Jet’s flights had departed. In fact, it was quite quiet outside, it didn’t sound like there was very much movement on the airfield. We spoke with our check-in agent who confirmed the fog had halted all movements but that the groundstop was now over and flights were arriving and departing. The Delhi fog is at its peak in December and January so I hoped not to encounter it on my trip.

The queue to get through security was huge and snaked all the way through the small terminal building. It took just over 30 minutes to get through and we went directly to the gate, into a bus and to our ATR-72. Once onboard our departure time came and went. It was 45 minutes after our scheduled time of departure that the Captain finally addressed us to say that we would be leaving around 10.30. The ATR cabin is quite small and cramped and so after some negotiation, we were allowed to exit the aircraft and stand next to it. At 10.30, were asked to get back on the aircraft, the door was shut behind us and seconds later, we taxied out towards the runway, finally on our way to Amritsar.

The flight was full, a stark mix of Sikhs, many of whom were visiting friends and relatives, and tourists who were off to catch a glimpse of the Golden Temple. Despite it being a short flight, Jet serve a hot breakfast with the usual Indian choice of ‘veg or non veg’. My friend took what turned out to be the last non-veg tray and so I settled for the veg option. Upon simultaneously removing the foil covering, it was clear that I had won this battle. My tray contained a couple of soft parathas and spicy lentils and he had the dodgiest looking chicken sausage that I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing. I’m glad that I didn’t have a camera with me to capture it.

We landed and taxied the short distance to the terminal building. Like many Indian airports, Amritsar is undergoing a huge renovation program. We walked the short distance from the plane to the terminal building and took a taxi to our hotel.

The Golden Temple
Stunning. Worth seeing at night and again at sunrise.

Back to Delhi
Seat 7D – Jet Airways Economy on an ATR-72

When we planned our trip to Amritsar, we decided to take the first flight out on the Saturday and the last flight back on a Sunday. On arrival however, we realised that once we had seen the Golden Temple there was little else to do in Amritsar itself. On Saturday night I rang Kingfisher Airways to see if I could change our one way ticket back to Delhi. Both Jet and Kingfisher serve Amritsar twice daily, once in the morning and again in the late afternoon/evening. Kingfisher had no seats left on their early flight so I rang Jet. They had two seats on their 10am departure but wouldn’t sell them to me over the phone. Anxious not to have to wait around all day and take our original flight in the evening I rang Air India to see if they had a flight on Sunday. They did, it was cheaper than the other two but again I was faced with a problem in trying to purchase a ticket. They could only accept a credit card over the phone if it was issued by a bank in India, Bangladesh or Nepal. Grrr!

After waking up at a ridiculous hour to visit the Golden Temple for the second time and see it at sunrise, we made our way to the airport. We arrived well before the Jet and Air India flights were due to depart and decided to purchase a ticket with whichever opened their ticket office first. We then found out that the Air India flight originated in Sharjah and was in fact the delayed departure from the night before. The aircraft was ‘on it’s way’ and so were we; to the Jet Airways ticket counter.

We bought two seats to Delhi which were issued as paper tickets. Check-in was busy with most passengers (we later found out all except us) connecting onto other Jet destinations via Delhi.

Our flight was called and we walked the short distance to our ATR-72 via a further security screening. Onboard I can recall drinking a bottle of water before falling asleep, waking up just over an hour later during the long taxi from Delhi’s new runway to the domestic terminal.

The afternoon was spent at the Imperial Hotel. A very leisurely lunch at the sumptuous buffet followed by beer and sport on TV at the bar.
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