Earlier this July, after the interesting incident involving the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and his cronies at Rajahmundhry airport, I headed back to Hyderabad for an onward connection to Mumbai. I had covered this incident in detail in my earlier blog - Shameless Men in White.
When my JetKonnect ATR72 took off from Rajahmundhry, the drizzle had just started. The SpiceJet Q400, which flown in the "dignitaries" looked awesome against the backdrop of the ominous dark clouds.
Incidentally the previous night had seen a massive downpour, said to be the heaviest in years, which had flooded the streets. Despite the dark clouds, the takeoff was rather smooth. The views of the massive Godavari River, after take off, were stunning, the ground was lush green - an indicator of how the Monsoons have a magical effect on India.
Very soon we reached cruising altitude, above the cloud cover the blue sky looked pristine, the clouds looked like cotton layered underneath us. Reflection of sun rays looked amazing on the short wings of the ATR72.
In less than an hour, we were set for touching down at Hyderabad, which is undoubtedly one of the best airports in India today. I had a two and hour hour stopover here.
Thanks to Jet Airways who have undone their partnership with Citibank for their cobranded credit card, I had recently migrated to the Premier Miles card which gave me ready access to the Premier Plaza lounge at the airport, where I had a lovely lunch - salads, chatpata chicken gravy, rice and green tea with tea cake. Complimentary net access got me hooked on to my mails - I was traveling light without my laptop, for a change!
The lounge itself was plush and trendy and quite welcoming. The best part was an exciting view of the runway and the ramp, a delight for any spotter - you can see my blog Plane Spotting at HYD for more pictures.
For some inexplicable reason, my JetKonnect flight to Mumbai was delayed for over half an hour. But when I boarded, I was upgraded to business class, which was a pleasant surprise.
While service in business class borders on awesomeness, I wonder why Jet Airways or even JetKonnect can't shape up in "cattle class", without resorting to what I would call mindless cost cutting. If they do that, they sure would get a lot more fliers.
Thanks to the upgrade, I enjoyed a warm cup of lemon tea with a ITC Sunfeast chocofill cookie. That kept me awake and I could complete Ruchir Sharma's Breakout Nations, by the time we touched down at Mumbai!
The earlier editions of Up In The Air can be accessed at:
Up In The Air .... Part 7
Up In The Air .... Part 5
Up In The Air .... Part 4
Up In The Air .... Part 3
Up In The Air .... Part 2
Up In The Air .... Part 1