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MAA-BOM 9W whY, BOM-HKG 9W Premiere and HKG-XMN KA whY

MAA-BOM 9W whY, BOM-HKG 9W Premiere and HKG-XMN KA whY

Old Jan 15, 11, 3:29 pm
  #1  
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MAA-BOM 9W whY, BOM-HKG 9W Premiere and HKG-XMN KA whY

I have to start of by apologizing. While many have enjoyed my TRís, I have received criticism for not posting pics. Honestly, while I love TRís with pics, I donít travel with a camera and am not comfortable taking pics while travelling. I debated continuing the write TRís because of this but figured that Iíd still give them a go when time permitted. I hope that my descriptions and detail will help recreate some of the experience and that you will enjoy them either wayÖ

Over the last few months, due to work requirements, Iíve been flying to China every month for a trip that lasts 4-5 days. Based in MAA, I usually take CX in spite of the horrendous regional J seats on a 0315 am departure, since the return is very convenient, giving me a near full working day in China and I get back home early on a Sunday morning with a day to recover before getting back the office.

Unfortunately, CX only flies out of MAA 4 times a week. I usually manage to work my schedule around it, but this time around I had to fly out on a Tuesday night, so my options were KA from BLR or CX from HKG. Since I own my own business, even though I fly paid Biz, I am always looking for ways to save on cost. I was lucky to find a BA redemption on CX Ė PVG-HKG-MAA in biz for the date I needed and it was fairly reasonable at 40k miles. I then bought a one-way ECO ticket MAA-BOM-HKG-XMN on 9W/KA and used miles to upgrade the BOM-HKG flight.

My schedule was such that I didnít have to work on the day of my arrival in China, but only the next morning. I scheduled a quick meeting in HKG and opted to take the evening flight to XMN which would give me most of the afternoon enjoying the Wing first class section on my BA Emerald card.


Fast forward to day of departure:
Having almost missed a flight to BLR the last time due to construction on the roads, I took my luggage to work since itís halfway between the airport and home. A quick call to the JET Guest relations team at MAA (9W has a team of Guest relations staff at major hubs to take care of regular premium fliers and they do an excellent job), and my baggage tag was printed for one checked bag all the way to XMN. I pulled into the airport at 19:30 comfortably for a 20:25 departure to BOM on 9W 462. I was met kerbside by a wonderful young lady who escorted me through the chaos that is MAA under construction and straight to the lounge. Shortly after that my hand luggage was brought up by a porter and my boarding passes to HKG (9W canít print KA Bípasses, but will tag your bags through), baggage tag etc. were all handed over to me. I had a quick snack of a chicken kebab from the buffet and a diet coke, made some last minute phone calls, charged my cell. At 19:50 boarding was announced, but the lounge agent told me to wait (I know the drill all to well, as the GR staff come up to the lounge with a loader when there 20-30 left to board and whisk you on the plane). Around 7 minutes later as I was packing my stuff, the same lady who had taken care of my check-in arrived with a loader and we made our way down, through security and to the gate where I was on the last bus along with 10 other passengers and we headed for the aircraft. I must admit, slight embarrassment and being walked on the plane like a star and then going past the divider to the back, but hey Ė itís a domestic leg and I was saving more then $600 and using up expiring miles but flying the short hop in whY. I had web-checked in onto an exit row window (the aisles were gone, since I was a few hours late to check-in from the 48 hour window), and had more legroom than the guys in BIZ.
I wonít bore you with too many details of the domestic flight, but service was average (actually excellent by most of the crew, marred by one extremely arrogant crew member who both for take off and landing barked orders at passengers Ė for a moment I felt like I was on a US airline). Dinner was the usual veg or non-veg options. I had the chicken chettinad which was spicy, and quite average Ė have definitely had better meals in whY on 9W.

Coming next - Arrival at BOM
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Old Jan 15, 11, 3:30 pm
  #2  
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Air-traffic at MAA on departure, and worse air-traffic at BOM meant we were vectored in for a landing at 22:40, 15 minutes late. On arrival at BOM a GR Supervisor and loader were waiting for me at the aircraft. I handed over my hand luggage and got on the bus to arrivals. Depending on when the shuttle to the international terminal has left I either opt to hop in a cab or wait for the shuttle. This time I was lucky as the shuttle had just pulled up. I was rushed on the shuttle and politely informed by the GR Supervisor that someone would receive on arrival at the International terminal. The bus ride was around 15 minutes inside the secure runway perimeter. I pulled up the international terminal and there again a GR Supervisor and loader were waiting for me and I was whisked into the terminal past the heaving crowds where I caught up with the GR Executive whom I knew very well from her days in London and also from my many BOM-EWR 77W flights in the gold old days of Jet. I ran into her a few times while flying BA ex BOM so she was very happy to welcome me back to flying 9W. It was definitely like a bit of a homecoming. She called one of her supervisors to take me through security to the lounge. Immigration was uneventful, thanks to the fast track. The loader was not allowed past security at BOM, but he loaded my baggage onto the security scanner and I was through security fast enough to receive at the other end. As we were walking to the clipper lounge I noticed the BA galleries and decided I would give “Open Doors” a shot. For those unfamiliar, “Open Doors” is BA policy that allows Gold card holders when flying non-oneworld flights, access to any BA operated lounge during normal operational hours. The Jet lady insisted I wouldn’t be allowed in as I wasn’t flying BA, but I politely disagreed. She also told me that she would come get me for boarding (which is normal procedure for CIP’s), but that if she didn’t have the time and got stuck after they announced boarding I should just proceed (not very much in keeping with normal Jet handling). She gave me the lounge card for the clipper lounge in case I had a problem. I walked into the galleries and I was welcomed by name (they don’t have many GGL’s in India – just 12 I think). I presented by 9W boarding pass and BA Gold card, which was quickly swiped and I was in what is IMHO the best lounge in BOM. Given the mediocre food on MAA-BOM I opted to have some supper here – the spread was very good. The spread included smoked salmon sandwiches, Chicken-tikka sandwiches and a couple of veg options, hot samosas, rice pilaf, chicken curry, dal, and a veg and a non-veg hot wrap. In another area of the lounge the bar was set up along with some breakfast foods (cereals and yogurt), a cheese platter, a selection of wines and spirits and bottles of water. Another section of the lounge has a coffee bar with cookies, cakes etc.
After dinner, I was informed the shower I had requested was now available. While fairly simple, it was neat and clean and I was presented with Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries, which was a pleasant surprise. Given that I had boarded at MAA straight from work a shower was a welcome refresher after a long day. I checked a few e-mails on the wifi and my cell phone rang. I was surprised to receive a call at 1am, but it was the Jet GR executive calling to tell me to wait in the lounge, and that someone would come get me from the BA lounge for boarding. She also offered an unsolicited apology for her colleague who told me to go if she didn’t show (I am guessing her GR Supervisor told her what she told me, and she was aware this was not in keeping with Jet’s stellar ground service at BOM). I forgot to mention that in the interim I had taken a walk to see the Clipper lounge. While it has been renovated and the food selection is good, it was crowded, lacking in facilities (wifi isn’t free), and the staff attitude was very poor. I was very thankful for BA’s policy and reflected on how these little things generate so much loyalty in an airline and am already plotting to retain my GGL status for next year (at 1450 tier points and 8 months to go, I was going to not push for GGL but stick with Gold, but the extra recognition when flying BA with a 97 CIV score is worth it).

On a side note about this policy, SQ used to be at the forefront of this with their PPS club and has now changed their policy to apply only when flying SQ/Star depending on the location. Personally, I think using an airlines lounge when not flying with them for top elite members is a wonderful way of creating a sense of “belonging” and helps a customer indentify with a brand. When 9W used to fly out of terminal 1 in SIN, I used to always use the BA/QF lounge over the SATS. The few airlines that still maintain such policies to my knowledge are CX and BA.

Anyway, back to the TR. At 0110 the same lady who dropped me off came to get me, and I packed my things, thanked the lovely BA BOM lounge ladies (who are the furthest from dragons on the BA network) and headed on my way. Our gate had been changed from 10 to 3, so I had to trek to the other end of the terminal, which wasn’t so bad. Made some small talk with the GR Supervisor who was talking me through, and I was whisked on board through a priority boarding line, after a quick and polite passport check.

Overall, I had no problem with the BOM transit – without the BA lounge it wouldn’t have been anywhere near a pleasant experience – so thank BA for still recognizing the value of loyalty in some areas.

Last edited by avm2806; Jan 16, 11 at 8:03 am
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Old Jan 15, 11, 3:30 pm
  #3  
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Once we arrived at the aircraft, there a few cabin crew milling about, waiting to escort Biz passengers to their seats and direct economy passengers to the correct aisle. I was very impressed overall with the welcome – it was very warm and very much like 9W in its hay days when they had a set of Singaporean crew (mostly EX SIA, some EX UA SIN) supervising international flights. I was greeted by inflight executive Rebecca, who walked me to my seat and was offered a sleeper suit, while I settled down. While no overnight kit was offered, the toilets were always stocked shaving kits, toothbrushes and combs and an excellent selection of Bvlgari toiletries. CX offer overnight kits, but no PJ’s in Biz, and no duvets as this a regional flight, and honestly I’d much rather have the sleeper suit to get comfortable than an amenity kit of which most of on FT have too many (I will do a comparison 9W vs CX on BOM-HKG on Airlines of India forum shortly and post link in this thread).

Cold towels were offered, along with a selection of refreshing beverages (9W doesn’t serve alcohol on ground due to various customs regulations, but it never bothers me – I always find the pre-poured champagne quite flat anyway by the time it gets to you). The options were Fresh Watermelon juice, Coconut Water, Fresh-Lime Water and Water. I opted for the watermelon which was perfectly chilled and served very graciously. Menu’s were distributed and I was disappointed to note that unlike Saad’s previous flights last year on the 77W, they had switched to a breakfast only service, with sandwiches before departure.

Shortly after, newspapers and magazines were distributed and I went in to change. Rebecca was waiting with a hangar and as soon as I was out of the toilet she rushed to hang up my clothes. All other crew were equally responsive. Order’s were being taken while I was in the washroom, and the cabin crew had passed my seat, but instead of waiting to be done with everyone, came rushing to me to enquire about my drink and meal choices. I opted for the Sauvignon Blanc after take off along with a chicken sandwich, and told her not to wake me for breakfast. She asked me for my preference of main if I was awake and she wanted to make sure she had reserved it for me (compared to the past when status meant nothing for meal choice on 9W, I was very impressed).
I opted for the scrambled eggs.

Pre-take off checks were fairly smooth, however with many passengers the crew had the unpleasant task of waking those who had fallen asleep to put their seats back upright. I have to say this was done with the utmost grace and ever so carefully. In the case of my neighbors, he was so fast asleep that Rebecca just quietly held the position preset on his seat till it was upright without disturbing him (and after take off when he didn’t wake for a while, she returned his seat to an almost flat position and covered him with a blanket, all without waking him up – now that’s what you call service!).

Just before take off I was welcomed back by the Inflight Supervisor and we had a brief chat. It’s evident she had been briefed by the ground team that I was a “prodigal son returned”, and she was very warm about making sure I was comfortable and making it known that Jet was happy to have me back. There was a time in 2007 I pretty much new every single IFS and most IFE’s that were flying long-haul for 9W, so I mentioned a few names and passed on regards. This was definitely a homecoming – and it was wonderful to see 9W service starting to look like what is used to (even with the cut back winelist etc etc – the one thing that slipped that shouldn’t have was the cabin crew service– I guess mainly because of morale at the time).

After take-off, I started watching some entertainment. I was offered by multiple crew to have my bed made up, but I politely declined since I was quite hopped up on caffeine given the cappuccino’s I had consumed in the BA lounge. My wine didn’t show up for a while. I was just about to press the call bell, when one of the crew noticed I hadn’t been served anything and rushed into the galley to check the order list. Two of them came back shortly after with nuts, a wine glass and an apology for the delay. I was offered a taste – it wasn’t bad, and I just wanted a glass or two to ware down the effects of the caffeine. My table was dressed chicken sandwich came out shortly thereafter which was a pretty large one with a side of coleslaw. I was offered more wine, and opted to switch to a diet coke (I know bad move given the caffeine already consumed)… Popcorn was offered to those of us awake and I obliged. After my meal, I was again offered to have my bed made up which I again politely declined. After a couple of episodes of lie to me I decided to try and sleep (probably an hour into the flight, somewhere over central India).

I reached into the overhead bin for my set of bedding and started to make my own bed and instantly a crew member appeared and took over making my bed. I settled in and tossed and turn a bit, but couldn’t sleep so went back to the Inflight entertainment and watched a few more TV episodes. Around 2.5 hours later the IFS came by noticed me awake and asked if I was hungry and offered to prepare my breakfast. I agreed and around 20 minutes later my table was being dressed and I was enjoying a wonderful Papaya smoothie and some fresh fruit. I was offered tea or coffee and opted for a cappuccino which came shortly. Service was a bit a spotty – I wasn’t offered any cereals or yogurt, which was fine since I just wanted my main – so even though the crew were very polite, service wasn’t the most efficient.

After breakfast, the caffeine started to ware off so I reclined and napped for a bit, and before I knew it we were descending into HK. I rushed to the Lav to freshen up and change back into civvies and returned to find my seat upright, bedding cleared away and a bottle of water waiting for me.

Overall – the inflight service was very solid, but a little rough around the edges when it came to serving meals and drinks. Would definitely recommend 9W without hesitation on this route.

Last edited by avm2806; Jan 16, 11 at 9:46 am
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Old Jan 15, 11, 3:31 pm
  #4  
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We landed at 0935 (20 mins at the fare side of HKIA and caught the shuttle into the main immigration. 9W is running a promotion where Biz class pax can use the plaza premium arrival lounge for free (I think the promotion runs through April). I cleared immigration through the e-channel thanks to the FV registration (a huge time saver and highly recommended if you qualify and fly to HK often). My check-in bag was tagged through to XMN so I headed for a shower in the arrival lounge and caught the airport express into Kowloon. I was quite tired given the lack of sleep, but caffeinate enough to make it through an hour long review meeting, and was back in HKIA at the KA premium check-in by 1pm. My boarding pass at lounge invite were printed, baggage confirmed as seen in HKG and I was walked to security where my 2nd hang bag was waived through as I was an emerald card holder. I also managed to score an exit row aisle in row 40 on the 33L that was operating the evening flight.


Usual Hong Kong efficiency meant I was at the wing at 13:15, where I asked for a cabana, a pillow and a blanket and crashed till around 4:30pm. I woke up and found that my flight was delayed to 18:10 – great enough time for a relaxing bath, a quick walk to the smoking room and a Late Lunch/ Early Dinner from in the haven with my usual wonton noodle soup from the noodle bar. I checked a few e-mails, it was now approaching 5:30 and my gate was gate 48, at the other end of the terminal. I was assured by the lounge staff they would inform me when to leave, and they even checked with the gate repeatedly – didn’t look like we’d be taking off at 18:10. By around 17:45 I was told that they would commence boarding in 5 mintues and I could make my way over. I packed my stuff up and just as I was leaving the lounge I heard the special boarding announcement for the flight. I know CX staff in the lounge can be a little rigid, but today the service was excellent – almost on par with CX on board.

Last edited by avm2806; Jan 16, 11 at 10:12 am
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Old Jan 15, 11, 3:31 pm
  #5  
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Rather than taking the shuttle, I opted to walk as the views for an FT’er are magnificent along the gates of HKIA. I spotted many gorgeous birds and enjoyed the brisk walk to burn off some of the noodles and haagen dazs consumed in the lounge.

By the time I reached the gate the priority line was empty, and there were a few people left to board in the economy line. The flight wasn’t very full so I knew I wasn’t going to get an op-up, which is fine for the short hop. On board after boarding was completed I was greeted by the purser (KA pursers walk through whY cabin on short hops before take off and slightly longer flights after take off and greet Emerald, MP Gold and MP Diamond members on all flights). For this short flight they had a variety of TV channels on personal screens and served a hot bun with pork, cookies and juice along with coffee or Chinese tea. It was a 48 minute flight and the crew were serving the entire time – KA economy service is excellent – I don’t fly Economy often, but my last 2 KA flight were just excellent, even in the back of the plane.

Touch down was smooth, and my priority bags came off the belt instantly. Before I knew it my journey was over.

Last edited by avm2806; Jan 16, 11 at 10:13 am
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Old Jan 16, 11, 3:29 am
  #6  
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I look forward to your full trip report, but I just wanted to let you know that there are still plenty of FTers (myself included) who enjoy trip reports regardless of whether they have photos or not. So please, don't let that discourage you from posting reports in the future!
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Old Jan 16, 11, 10:14 am
  #7  
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http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/airli...iere-menu.html

The link for the menu of the flight from BOM-HKG
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Old Jan 16, 11, 10:17 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by armagebedar View Post
I look forward to your full trip report, but I just wanted to let you know that there are still plenty of FTers (myself included) who enjoy trip reports regardless of whether they have photos or not. So please, don't let that discourage you from posting reports in the future!
thanks for your encouragement - hope you enjoy this one...
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Old Jan 17, 11, 1:23 pm
  #9  
 
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Wonderful report, you write very well so it makes it easy to visualize without any pics, and for those of us who do have a great imagination, it's almost fun trying to visualize the lounge, the seats, and the food without any pics Look forward to your future reports!
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Old Jan 18, 11, 3:00 am
  #10  
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thanks all for your positive comments - glad to hear my TR is being enjoyed by you.

Also - I have on the Airlines of India Forum placed a comparison for BOM-HKG 9W vs CX, same would apply to DEL-HKG for biz class travel.
the link is:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/airli...omparison.html
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Old Jan 18, 11, 5:00 am
  #11  
 
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Nice TR! Thanks for posting!^
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Old Jan 21, 11, 8:25 pm
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Yes. You can definitely describe everything in words very beautifully.
Awesome!^
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Old Jun 18, 12, 4:32 pm
  #13  
 
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I came across this trip report just by googling "9W BOM HKG" because I'm taking this flight tonight, and it's the first item on the list. I must say the whole report is so earnest and descriptive, and provides a far greater appreciation of the onboard service than those that merely say, "this is a picture of the seat... menu... meal... bed... pyjamas... toilet, etc."

So, do keep it up - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it... if there's one "problem", you've set my expectations really high for my flight tonight!
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Old Jun 19, 12, 12:35 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by carrotjuice View Post
I came across this trip report just by googling "9W BOM HKG" because I'm taking this flight tonight, and it's the first item on the list. I must say the whole report is so earnest and descriptive, and provides a far greater appreciation of the onboard service than those that merely say, "this is a picture of the seat... menu... meal... bed... pyjamas... toilet, etc."

So, do keep it up - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it... if there's one "problem", you've set my expectations really high for my flight tonight!
Thanks so much - but I have to warn you - this TR was written a year and half ago and since then 9W has seen the disappearance of IT and AI from this sector as serious competition. They have upped their product to a 77W with First - but the cutbacks are evident and it no longer compares to what it was back then. Nevertheless, I hope you had a great flight.
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