Travel always means excitement. Sometimes positively, and sometimes chaotic. Recently on a trip to Bangalore, I had a flying first. I was at the airport well on time, checked-in, past security and ready to board. While waiting in the lounge, I headed towards one of the display boards to check the flight status. I noticed that my flight was delayed by 35 minutes. I then went out in search of the ground crew to get a confirmation. The staff I spoke to, confirmed the delay. So I settled down to catch up on some work. The usual, check mail, check all servers are operational and being looked after. A quick check on twitter, and then settled down to read.
My ears were paying close attention towards the public address system for flight announcement. However, the wait seemed endless. The display board continued to show a status of “delayed” and the ETD as 1735 despite the fact that it was now 1740. Anxious to board and leave, I once again searched for the ground crew. To my horror, I was mockingly informed that the flight had just taken off!
Surprisingly, before I could even begin to register what had just happened. The crew took my boarding pass, scampered off to the check-in counter and promptly returned with a fresh boarding pass for the next flight.
I now had an additional 45 minutes before the next flight. I curiously inquired as to how it was possible for a flight to depart with a passenger missing, and yet no announcement or page from the airlines. The lame excuse I got was *we are aware that announcements cannot be heard in the lounge” cialis livraison rapide canada. This is really weird, I had twittered a while ago that I heard a paging announcement for Shiv Khera and was wondering if it was the famous management guru being paged. The area I was sitting in I could very clearly hear all the announcements, and I surely never heard my name being paged or an announcement for my flight. The second statement was, there were 145 passengers for the flight and 144 boarded. I really find that hard to believe. In fact, I have a feeling I saw several passengers who were at the check-in counter with me.
Anyway, I decided as long as they put me on the next flight, I should just move on. In order to not miss my next flight I decided I may as well make my way down to the gates and wait there. The new airport is great, but when it comes to managing seating areas, there still seems to be a shortage. Despite the fact that the travel boom is sort of on the slow-down, there is just very little place to sit at the airport. And absolutely none at the GATES.
I waited patiently at Gate 13, and even when it came to the flight being board, a) there was no announcement and b) the display board kept showing the GMR logo rather than the flight details. In fact, after approximately 15 minutes the display finally showed the flight details and several people left the queue after realising that they were not headed to Bangalore but to another city all together.
I just can’t understand how between the airport authorities and the airlines they can have such a lax approach. IMHO, the fact that I missed my first flight, I feel that was a serious security lapse. If I had checked-in baggage it would have been totally chaotic.
Finally, I am not sure what to say about the airlines, they handled the situation smoothly. Deprived me of ranting, raving and a good fight, by putting me on the next flight. But at the same time, excessively lazy ground crew, which mocks passengers and was rather inattentive. JetLite and DIAL, get your act together please!
In contrast, the return was so much smoother. As I twittered – Blissfully uneventful, brutally efficient and fanatically on-time! BIAL and INDIGO, thanks for a pleasant return journey.
Phew! it was quite a task. Earlier this year, Jyoti planned a nice little vacation for the three of us in Goa. It was a great trip, we got off at the airport and were greeted with a car, which I then proceeded to drive around all over Goa. At least it seemed that way. At the end of the vacation I had driven at least 1500 kms so I guess we did cover a lot of ground.
We started by going to North Goa and stayed in Baga for a few days and then into the more dense forest area at Molem and ended with the calm and serenity of South Goa at Sernabetim. Trip report is on Jyoti’s blog.
One of the things that was also planned, was to look at the possibility of buying a small apartment, which we could use as a get-away home.
We did get a little bit of a break here, when our neighbour from Gurgaon told us about a friend wanting to sell his apartment. From that initial meeting to almost three months, several emails and phone calls we finally managed to get the place.
We are now the proud owners of apartment 211at Las Palmas, Arpora, Goa.
There were a lot of anxious and tense moments for all involved, with the lawyers and banks asking for all kinds of papers, but it finally concluded.
I was too tired to take photos and JÃ¼rgen who was carrying a new camera was very willing to use both his own and my camera so we got some shots of the place.
As Jyoti put it, we are now Bhargoans 😉
During the summer break we do try and get out of Delhi for a while and as soon as Kabir got back from his Bangalore vacation we planned a trip into the hills. Our trusted friend and hardware provider Amit, has a little shop in Manali that he wanted to visit and we decided that we would drive up along with him and his family.
The biggest problem with driving out is having to wake up at an unearthly hour to start the journey in order to beat the traffic and have a smooth drive. Despite protests from everyone, we did manage to leave the house by 0530 hrs and got out of Delhi well on time.
Jyoti was the car DJ and kept the music running through the entire drive. A very good mix of it ensured I did not fall asleep. With the various minor stoppages, we made pretty good time and reached just outside Kullu within 12 hours. The drive was pleasant, we had rain in some places in the plains and as we hit the hills it cleared up and the weather was great. A little warm but fresh mountain air instead of diesel.
Well, the trip report could go and on, so I won’t because I am sure Jyoti will be writing one out soon enough. I just wanted to share some of the photos that I took during the trip. I got some good views and some great people shots.
For some strange reason, the drive back was not that great. Maybe it was the fact that we would have to get back to work as well. But the Delhi border was blocked solid and it took over two hours to get in. The road after Karnal was also just plain SLOW. Final drive time was over 18 hrs.
Trip was good and we all enjoyed it.
Every now and then one comes across some really funny graffiti on trucks. I saw this one in the morning. Unfortunately, I was not carrying my camera and had to use the one on my phone and that too while driving! I have never used my phone camera before and fumbled quite a bit, but got the essence of the writing on the truck.
More graffiti and signage coming soon, I have lots of really funny ones.
I was recently on a short business trip and had to pass through both Hyderabad and Bangalore. I have not been to Hyderabad in quite a while. I recollect my last trip as some time in March’07. This was going to be the first time for me at their spanking new airport. The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad started operations some time in March this year. I must say that my overall experience at this airport was great. The arrival lounge seemed very basic but it was large and clean. Baggage came out well on time and after the exit, the hunt for a taxi was trivial. There were over 600 Meru cabs just lined up and as you exited the arrival lounge you could just step into a cab and were on your way into town. The distance was quite a change from Begumpet and the drive did take over an hour. But at least it was smooth.
In contrast, my trip to Bangalore was quite a nightmare. Some of it was related to the new airport and some of it was related to Kingfisher. I’ll reserve my comments on Kingfisher for a little later, but first the airport. I happened to land on the day the airport commenced operations. It wasn’t the first flight to land at the new airport, since operations began at midnight. But still it was amongst the early flights of the morning. Clearly, Bangalore was not ready for this. Neither the Airport nor the Airlines.
After landing it took almost 20 minutes before we could get off the aircraft. The reason…Well, first of all the aircraft was not able to dock into the aero-bridge. After several attempts, they decided to abandon the aero-bridge and use the regular ladder instead. Surprisingly, even that took over three attempts before it aligned correctly and passengers could start getting off. Next came a severe shortage of buses. The coaches came at a very slow pace, it seemed to be a long drive to the terminal. it actually took more than 15 minutes to reach the terminal. On the way, a strange sight that struck me was an abandoned baggage trolley. The reason I mention this, is because after reaching the terminal, it took over an hour for the baggage to arrive. What was really irritating was the fact that all ground crew from Kingfisher was missing and there was no airport staff either. Finally, I gave up and decided to kick some butt! I grabbed one of the Kingfisher trolley boys and asked him to find me a duty manager, two people suddenly appeared and went into a bit of a tizzy trying to find both excuses and the cause for the delay. Fifteen minutes later, things started working and the baggage finally arrived. But this was by no means the end of the turmoil.
Assuming, that Bangalore would have similar arrangements as Hyderabad, I confidently stepped out in search for a taxi! Well, there were none to be found. There were several people bustling about looking busy but nobody had a clue as to where there would be any taxis. One chap with a portable hailer pointed me to the end of the airport and I happily walked all the way there only discover that there was nothing there! I came back, ticked of the chap with the hailer, grabbed a few cops (of which there were plenty, including, special forces and strike force) and demanded that I get a cab. Suddenly, there was action and I had about four people trying to arrange a cab for me.
I eventually got an un-metered Indica which charged me at the rate of Rs.15/- per kilometer. Distance was close to 37 km from the airport to home and the driver decided to add an extra few to round it off to neat Rs.600. Quite a change from what I have been used to paying in Bangalore, Rs.150/-! Later on, I discovered that it was actually not too bad. I have heard horror stories about fares as high as Rs.1200/- and that too from the heart of town.
In all for a total flight time of 50 minutes, from end to end from hotel to home, it took me over seven and a half hours. I think if I had driven the distance, I may have reached faster! Certainly with lesser grief. I wonder what people are going to do for travel between Chennai and Bangalore by air.
Considering, it was the first day of the airport, I decided to let the matter pass and was eager to see how my return would work. Three days later I was back at the chaos to catch my flight home. For a new airport, I do see some major issues here already. The first being the design, with the large pillars all over the place, they seem to hinder access to the counters. If a large group suddenly appears it would simply take hours before you could manage a successful check-in. As luck would have it, I had a really large group in front of me. The snaking queues only make things worse, you can actually see the counters with no body being served but you can’t get to them.
Once past security, things were much better, lots of choices for food and beverages and free WiFi. I was not in a mood to shop around so I settled at the Barista and checked in on some servers and mail.
When the flight was announced, I was quite horrified to see that the big pillars/planters that are placed near the “gates” were actually obstructing the flow of passengers getting on to the aircraft. If this is already the state of affairs at the airport I dread to think of what will happen when the traffic increases.
So much for the airport, now a quick note on the Kingfisher “experience” or flying the good times.
For some reason the last five flights I have taken with Kingfisher have all be delayed. Minimum delay of 45 minutes. This of course is after they have safely secured you in the cabin and sealed the doors. So you can neither get off and take another flight nor do very much else. The worst part is most of the flight commander/captain or the other crew members don’t bother to inform you of what is happening. When they finally do, its the common excuse “Air Traffic Control” its ut of our hands, we thank you for choosing the good times, sit back and enjoy the Kingfisher experience.
I do hope someone from Kingfisher reads this post.
When I landed at Bangalore and started asking about my luggage, not a single Kingsisher ground staff was available. The trolley boys were also huddled and waiting as anxiously as the passengers. When I finally got someone who turned out to be “Guest Relations” I got no help at all. I very cooly asked to speak with a duty officer, only to be told that there are eight of them, however, not one of them came forward to meet with me or any other passengers.
In case of delay at the airport, we make all effort to minimize the inconvenience. Guests are offered refreshments in case the delay is more than one hour. In case of longer delays, Guests are offered meal subject to the airport facilities and local infrastructure.
Okay, so nobody wants refreshments when waiting for baggage, but we certainly want someone to be there to keep the passengers or “guests” informed.
What shocked me the most was, when I asked the Guest Relations manager to make an announcement, he said “Sir, we are not allowed to make announcements”. I promptly asked him to show me an official notification that stated this fact, but he said “it is only with my seniors”, of course asking for his seniors to come and meet with me was totally futile.
I think its time Kingfisher started paying attention to its guests again, or it will no longer remain the ‘most favourite” airline.
In the meantime, there have been other horror stories from Bangalore Airport, but hopefully they will get sorted out and the airport will begin to function as a decent airport. I did come across a site that has much more about the airport and at various stages, do check Bangalore Aviation.
Lots more happening so will post again soon.
So what else is new, besides being lazy and procrastinating and also claiming that I have writers block, I have actually been busy! Some quick things before they get skipped over all together:
I finally sat down and wrote an article for The Mint. Basically, a simple article on how best to use your smart phone. The article can be seen on the Mint site here. It didn’t get too much user feedback or comments and the one comment that did come in was quite funny!
Apart from work, the other stuff thats been keeping me busy is of course freed.in/2008. We are less than a week away and things are looking good. It is going to be a much smaller event but IMHO it will be very focussed and fruitful. Some of the pre-event discussions have been tremendous. Do check the site out, the action is about to start.
I did also travel though for a short trip to Mumbai and apart from the work managed a quick photo outing with old friend Krishnan. We went to Airoli Bridge Project and waited all morning for the tide to come in but that did not happen. However, not disheartened, we sat on the banks and shot away. I managed to get some good shots and while I am still sifting through them, here’s a nice view of the boats on a dry dock!
In the meantime, if you are anywhere near Delhi between the 22nd-24th of February, do drop in at freed.in/2008!
Its been a really busy time and I just have not been able to write any stuff for quite a while now. The last two days I did a few things on the site, a) I upgraded to WordPress 2.2. Upgrading to a newer version is always has it anxious moments. The are Bug fixes, and there are plug-ins breaking etc etc. But WordPress being what it is (knock on wood) the upgrade went smoothly. I don’t know yet if any of the plug-ins broke. b) I added a new plug-in, a WordPress PDA plug-in. This basically, renders the site in PDA and mobile friendly formats.
Apart from the site upgrade, I was looking to create a “tagcloud” manually (not sure if I’ll put the plug-in for this on my site). I decided that there must certainly be some tools/scripts available for this, rather than going in and randomly choosing which words to make bigger in font and which to make smaller and which to change the colour off, it would just be better to let a script handle all of that. Came across there two nice sites which did the job really well:
Am taking a 2 day break and heading out to the only hill-station in Harayana – Morni Hills. I am almost certain it will be warm there, but the idea is to just go birding and possibly take some photos. In the meantime, tomorrow is big sisters big birthday! So a very Happy Birthday to you Mala!
Will share photos and other news when I get back.
PS: for some strange reason I also setup SiteMeter on the site as well, lets see what it eventually shows at the end of the month!
PPS: I forgot, I also added a “recent comments” to the sidebar, its amazing how one gets comments on posts from long ago.