After immigration formalities were complete, we followed signs to the domestic transfer. Walked up to the Air India counter and the guy looked at our passes and basically told us to go up to departures and do a bag drop … sigh. Urge to kill … rising. Went up one level to the departures area, found the aisle for Air India and walked to the J counters. The agent re-issued passes on AI card stock and the bags were on their way. We asked if we had access to the lounge and she said we could pay for it. I asked why we would have to pay if we were business class and her response was “Oh, you’re business class?” and had to check our BPs again to make sure. My wife anticipated my imminent meltdown and quickly defused the situation by telling me it was time to go through security. Past security, we were spit into the main atrium with many shops and a food court above us with the AI and PP lounges.
We went to the upper level and walked through the food court, past the PP lounge to get to the AI lounge. We were scanned through, provided the WIFI password and were left to our own devices. We asked for shower rooms and the agent said he would find us when it was ready.
There was no food available except for wrapped sandwiches that did not look appetizing. The coffee machine dispensed ready-made coffee and it was good.
I really did not know what to make of the Maharaja cut-outs on the top shelf. Definitely tacky.
After 30 minutes of waiting, my wife went back to the front desk and asked again for shower rooms. The agent came by to collect us and told us the cost for the showers. I asked if the cost was applicable to business class and his response was “Oh, you’re business class?” and after showing BPs as proof, he escorted us to the 2 shower rooms. They were small and lacked sufficient toiletries like soap but it was enough to refresh ourselves and get the hell out of dodge. We headed over to the PP lounge to get some food. There were two separate entrances depending on whether you had a local AMEX card or PP card. With wifey’s PP card, we were told to head to the right side. Both sides looked the same to be honest.
Most of the seats were taken and people were catching up on sleep as it was roughly around 3am. We were told the breakfast buffet would start at 4am, so had some time to kill.
What’s for breakfast?
Once we had our fill, we walked down to our gate.
Looking down when exiting the lounge.
Boarding was called with families and business class first but people just queued up and gave no room.
Another agent came to the next counter and we walked up and went through. Business class was arranged in a 2-2 configuration in 3 rows. We were the only J passengers plus a pilot who sat across us who was probably there for the return leg.
Service from the cabin crew was lacklustre as was expected (I really set my expectations low). Neither of the 2 cabin crew members working in J welcomed us. One of them came by during boarding to offer a drink. During the meal service, the same person came by ask if we wanted the veg or non-veg meal. At least the service was efficiently done. We never saw the other crew member who was constantly behind the curtain the entire time and only came on the horn to make announcements during takeoff and landing.
Boarding was done on time and we were on our way after what seemed like an eternity of safety checks. There was no queue for take off and we were off to the races once we turned onto the runway.
See ya in a few days, DEL.
The cabin crew member brought our meals shortly after take-off. The veg meal was way more appetizing that the non-veg. Yes, egg is considered non-veg.
An hour and change later, we handed in VTZ. We had a 30 minute layover where we would stay on the plane since we were continuing on to IXZ. After passengers got off the plane, security and cleaning crew came on board to get it prepped for the next leg. Security confirmed that the carry-on bags above us were indeed ours and moved down the line. Once that was done, new passengers boarded and we were on our way after.
Back in the sky.
Same crew, same service. We asked what the veg and non-veg meals were this time and the crew member described it to us – so we went with the non-veg option consisting of kebabs, meat pastry and deep fried veggie patty. The dessert of the top left was decent.
The rest of the flight was uneventful and we arrived at Port Blair.
The bus drove for all of 30 seconds to the terminal. While waiting for our bags, we checked in with local security and showed our passports/visas as per process. Once waived through, we collected our bags and made our way out to find the Taj Exotica rep.