Just recently my family and I decided to visit the famous Taj Mahal in Agra, India. A lot of discussion was put into what kind of airline are we going to use. With two kids in tow, we should have chosen the one that provides easy connections. We pondered on Thai Airways or Singapore Airlines as Philippine Airlines already stopped their New Delhi flights a few years back.
In the end, we went for experience instead of convenience. After all, what could be a better way to experience India before landing in India than flying with the country’s flag carrier, right?
First, we flew via Philippine Airlines till we reached Hong Kong and then we had an 8-hour layover at Chek Lap Kok International Airport before our connecting flight with Air India. It was supposed to be just 6 hours of layover but the Air India flight 315 (AI315) was late from Osaka (the flight flies from Osaka onwards to Delhi and then Mumbai). So we ended up with an 8-hour layover.
As we are travelling with two children, we were given priority boarding.
TIP: Always insist in priority boarding when travelling with infants and children. This will reduce the hassle of your trip.
The plane was already 25% full when we boarded. These are the passengers from Osaka bound for either Delhi or Mumbai. The aircraft for this route is the brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The interiors of Boeing 787 is pretty much spacious and the seat pitch is really good even in the economy section. Each seat is fitted with personal IFEs. One new thing that I observed with the Dreamliner – the windows can be darkened with a push of the button and are way larger than those of other aircrafts!
Air India’s interior motifs are awash with colors. The seats are colored alternately with bright orange and dull red. They also have USB ports where one can charge their mobile phones or other electronic devices.The carpets burst with floral patterns.
The IFE onboard contains a lot of entertainment options including games, Bollywood and Hollywood movies and even the latest news. The inflight magazine of Air India is Shubh Yatra which is Hindi for bon voyage. It contains entertaining articles mostly focused on interesting places in India.
Before the dinner was served (Air India 315 left at about 08:15 pm local time), light snacks were served with a choice of juice – apple or orange – and a packet of peanuts.
For this flight there were three choices of food – chicken, fish or veggie. Air India flights always carry vegetarian meals.
TIP: If you don’t particularly like the curry spice, forget Air India.
As we love Indian food, Air India meals was our preview of what lies ahead culinary-wise. I chose chicken which was absolutely wonderful. What amazed us all however was the dessert although we have no idea on what it wa! It was a yellowish sweet with mashed potato texture and some bits of pistachios.
Air India has quite a polite cabin crew. They always greet you with the usual namaskar greeting complete with clasp hands. I was quite aware that India changed their uniforms this year from deep red to rich yellow. It comes in three varieties – western style, sari and churidar. Unfortunately, I only saw the western style uniform on this flight.
Our experience with Air India exceeded all of our expectations. Some of our friends in India actually advised us against flying with Air India because the airlines’ notoriously bad service. Well, except for the late aircraft, Air India has an excellent service. Perhaps we were only lucky because we were in a relatively new aircraft but I would give our entire experience four stars out of five. I would definitely fly again with Air India and I would advise the readers to give it a try. It is after all, experiencing India before ever landing in India!
Categories: Flight Reviews