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From the Kerala Backwaters to Delhi by Vistara Airlines

From the Kerala Backwaters to Delhi by Vistara Airlines

Old Mar 30, 19, 1:53 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: London
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From the Kerala Backwaters to Delhi by Vistara Airlines

Moving from one major location to the next while on holiday in India, specially moving 1200 miles, is usually just a pain, with minor irritations and impatience. This time the whole exercise was a pleasure and went so smoothly.

Jumping about a bit, our arrival in Delhi after a three hour flight was early and our bags were on the belt when we got to the baggage hall. It was a bit of a walk from the gate to baggage reclaim so they did have time to unload the baggage while we plodded along. A nice young Indian man waiting for his bag lifted ours on to our trolley and 50m to the exit where the hotel man was waiting. “Come this way” to a discrete side door another 50m away that led into a lovely small private garden and our car pulled up at the curb. We were away within four or five minutes of picking up the bags. The traffic into town, at 9pm, was light.

We had flown up from Kochi on Vistara airlines. A newish company that is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines, flying only domestic routes. We had business class tickets because they seemed very good value though up to now all my many flights inside India have been economy, but a lot shorter than this one.

They put British Airways European business class flights to shame. A proper cabin, not some space separated by a bit of old curtain, proper reclining leather seats with a foot rest, two seats each side, no nonsense with an empty middle seat, a welcome drink, a menu with three choices of main and served on a white table cloth. No alcohol served on board but it was not missed. The in flight entertainment, maps and so on, was delivered by WiFi so you needed a phone, tablet or laptop as there were no screens. I was hoping for too much when searching for an internet connection as well.

The business class cabin has eight seats in two rows and there was only one other passenger on our flight. The cabin crew spoke good English and were pro-active and attentive for the whole flight.

I did check that it was not a B737 MAX. It was an A320

Our two nights on the backwaters boat in Kerala were so laid back it was unsettling until you stopped expecting discipline and order. Actually there was both but it was hidden from us. All the time on board the boat there had been speculative gossip about the driving time to the airport. Four hours was the gloomiest. It seemed impossible to plan to arrive right on check-in time and our actual driving time was two and a half hours so we had a bit of hanging around but the airport was cool and there was plenty of comfortable seating.

On our departure day from the boat we felt it only be decent to vacate the cabin and ship so that they could prepare for new arrivals. Our previous cruise ship experience has always been get off an an unreasonably early hour like 8am. Our car and driver could be seen in the courtyard around 11am so by 12 we suggested they might take our bags ashore. “But you will stay for lunch won’t you?” It seemed a bit too grand looking out the window as we ate lunch seeing the driver standing under the trees to keep cool but is was a blessing not to be arriving at the airport too early and having to wait hours until check-in opened. The whole crew, including the chef, saw us to our car.

Kochi airport looks modern and it functions well. Vistara business class passengers had access to a really pleasant lounge with modern comfortable seating and a good selection of food and beverages and with a good view of the apron beneath. Our incoming aircraft was spotted arriving a few minutes early.

We had only five minutes of grumpy time. At check-in at the Leela Palace hotel in Delhi. I think we should have been met at the curb and looked after but when we arrived there was a scrum of cars and people and we passed through to reception to stand behind someone who took forever to examine several pages of his bill. We waited a long time until someone in a frock-coat and striped trousers asked if we were checking out. He got a rather brisk no, trying to check in. “I’m so sorry, come this way” and we were seated, tea and biscuits produced and calm was restored
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