S2 4016 Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji BOM – Goa Dabolim GOI
Code Share: 9W 7009
Boeing 737-700 9W-SJI
Gate 4 Seat 11A
For club guests staying at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai, there was complimentary drop-off at the airport and I was provided with a Toyota Camry that was equipped with towels and water. The 10 minute ride was a relaxing ride as the hotel car dropped me off at Terminal 1B and I arrived early when the queue for check in was still not too long. This meant a short wait of approximately 15 minutes and one senior check-in agent passed me the boarding pass, while indicating boarding will not be announced.
The check-in area in the older Mumbai airport terminal was slightly antiquated and definitely not as good as the one in Delhi. Security check in the airport was a huge hassle, with electronics needing to be taken out, including my camera and lenses! And here I was thinking there would be no one worse than the TSA.
Past security, the waiting area was another huge mess. Not only was there not enough seats but the place was dark, noisy and feels more like a market than an airport terminal. It seems like only Air India uses the jet bridge here as all other domestic flights board by bus. A row of desks and doors acted as gates with a small and crowded holding area for multiple flights, and this would be fitting for a small rural town airport. Come on Mumbai, for a city that sports one of the most expensive real estate, you cannot even spare money to upgrade the airport?
Boarding was by bus and multiple lines emerged when the process started which made it chaotic. The worst part of it was when the bus reached the plane it was actually not ready for boarding yet! And we were held in the hot and stuffy bus in front of the plane as the crew prepares the plane. Again, what were the Jet Airways staff thinking, or was there even any communication between the terminal agents and the cleaning staff at all? I have never experienced something like this and it definitely gave a bad impression on Jet Airways and how airline management works in India.
There was a small business class area when boarding through the front, which is weird since JetKonnect was supposed to be the low-cost subsidiary of Jet Airways. This airline is just having difficulties in streamlining its operations. I had a window seat in the front portion of the plane and my first impression was that JetKonnect is perhaps on par with Air India, but it was still an old plane with lots of advertisements on the plane. The cabin does not seem to be well maintained and does not give an impression on Jet Airways at all.
From the remote stand, I had a nice view of the various airlines of India as we passed by numerous airlines to the runway before we took off in the afternoon sun providing me a nice view of Mumbai’s suburbs.
Anyway this was a short flight and being operated by JetKonnect, this meant there was no catering for passengers at all. However there was a buy-on-board menu at the seat back pocket with drinks starting from 50 Rupees (~US$0.90) while snacks and hot meals could range between 120-300 Rupees (~US$2-5). Generally very reasonable prices and I would have ordered something if the flight was longer.
Since it was an afternoon flight and I had a window seat, I spent most of the flight gazing at the hilly landscapes with lakes and dams. There was also some inflight reading materials on the seatback pocket that should keep one sufficiently occupied before the plane started its descent into Goa. There was an announcement regarding how photos were forbidden in Goa’s airport due to the military operations within the airport.
Thus the last photos I took was that of the sunset landing with the coast of Goa seen in the distance. There were more photos when I disembarked from the plane since some other passengers were also taking photos and with the new airport terminal under construction much of the military activity was covered. Disembarking was once again by stairs and passengers were ushered into a bus for a short drive to the airport terminal which is perhaps within walking distance.
While the airline is not one I would likely fly with again, I did enjoy the sunset flight and the plane spotting especially when landing at Goa. It was indeed my first time landing at an airport with that much military presence. It was also fascinating to see the military aircrafts of India while taxiing towards the terminal. Naturally no photos of these as I did not want to break any laws involving national security on the last leg of my Indian trip!
There was not a long wait for my luggage and the old terminal is just like those old airports found in small resort towns. Reminds me a bit of the airport at the Maldives and in Denpasar, Bali. On exiting the terminal, I managed to catch hold of the representative from Grand Hyatt Goa and got on a private car ride onboard a Toyota Corolla sedan for a 30 minute ride to the resort.