It seems I was marked for some sort of special care with Jet Airways this time around, and this started with the phone call. A few minutes before I started for the airport, I got a call from an airport Guest Services Executive of Jet Airways, who was going to take care of me this evening. She asked me the time I would arrive at the airport, and was waiting for me at the entrance to the terminal with a porter. She had my Boarding Pass already printed and brought me along to the check-in pods at the Terminal 2, which Jet Airways uses to check-in International Premiere & First Class Guests.
After completing my document check, I was handed over the boarding pass and the invitation to the newly-opened GVK Lounge East Wing. I did not mention the confusion that ensued because the airport’s signage pointed all in the wrong directions still, and hence it took us 5-10 minutes of going around in circles to make it to the new lounge for the first time.
At about one hour prior to the scheduled time of departure, boarding commenced, and the guest services crew was back to pick me up from the lounge and walk me to the plane. I walked to the boarding gate with them, and thanked Guest Services for looking out for me, and then walked to the plane. The supervisor met me at the gate, and walked me to my seat.
Jet Airways 9W 232
Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) – Amsterdam Schipol (AMS)
Monday, October 3, 2016
Departure: 02:13 hours
Arrival: 07:47 hours
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300
Seat: 7A (Premiere Class)
This service is presently being operated by the Airbus 330-300 series planes, so it was the staggered seating in Premiere this time around. Since I booked up pretty late, I did not really have a pick on the seats. This time around, I chose seat 7A, which is one of the solo throne seats, with couple seats ahead and behind of us.
As I took my seat, the guest services executive, Amraja, was back along with one her other colleagues and they wished me for a good flight before signing off for the night. As soon as she left, I was brought a choice of soft drinks for a pre-flight beverage service. There was a choice of water, watermelon juice and orange juice. I went with water. I was also asked if I wanted to change into pajamas for the night, and I was brought my size shortly after.
As most of the guests settled in, Jamsheid, the cabin supervisor came around to introduce himself. I said hello and we chatted up a bit with him. After, the menus were distributed for the meal service and the reading material tray rolled out, where I also received my comforter socks, eye shades and amenity kit for the night.
Jet Airways keeps the eye shades and socks out of the amenity kit because they are a standard issue on all flights, while the amenity kits are only distributed on the night flights, so easier to distribute them separately. It would surely help if Jet could add the element of unwrapping the kit and the Pajama kits before handing over to the guest. Most other Asian carriers do it this way.
The contents of the kit are also an area for improvement. There is a comb, a dental kit, a body lotion and a lip balm from Chopard. Clearly, there could be better presentation as well. Jet Airways has changed a lot of kit vendors in the past, moving from Korres to Chopard very recently.
The seat is a Vantage style business class seat, with an inbuilt massager for the back, and 3 pre-set positions allowing you to be seated upright, or in a lounge mode, or make a bed out of your seat. Of course, you can move around the various parts of the seat individually for your best position as well.
I quickly hopped over to change into the pajamas after this. I usually wait till after take off to change, but it was an exceptionally hot evening, and I could do very well to change out of my slightly warmer clothes at the earliest. We pushed back on time, actually maybe a few minutes ahead of time and lined up for takeoff shortly.
For the IFE, Jet Airways has JetScreen, and there was a great assortment of Indian and Hollywood movies on this flight. I was not aware at that moment, but there was a much bigger Hollywood movie collection, which is now shared with Etihad Airways Partners, so that you can watch the same movies across your EAP flights. I chose to watch the moving map for a while, like I always do at take off. Noise-Cancelling headsets were provided in the closet next to the seat. I switched to watching Taken 2 after, because, hey, you already know the storyline and I did not mind if I went of to sleep in a bit after.
Meal orders were taken before take off and cold towels also distributed. For those of you who are interested in the menu and the wine list, here it is.
Here are the dining options. For a long time, on this flight and the earlier one to Brussels, the evening snack was always served after take off. However, like you see now, the crew is proactive in offering a Dine Anytime concept.
I did not want to have a drink, so I just went with a diet cola to be served to me after takeoff, and followed by the burger for a midnight snack. I have to admit I was more excited by trying out the chaat, but secretly wondering if I should be crunching golgappas at 3 AM in the morning. So, I went with the burger anyways! Jet Airways has been serving Billecart Salmon for their champagne for a very long time, which is a very nice house for Champagne.
Immediately after we reached cruising altitude, we started with the meal service. I was brought my diet cola along with a ramekin of warm nuts.
Here is the Chicken burger, served with a breadstick holding it up, a side of potatoes and a chocolate brownie mousse. I was very amused with the non-use of a toothpick for holding the burger, but I just broke the stick and kept it aside. The burger tasted very well with just the right amount of condiments inside.
I was slipping into slumber zone after, so the crew offered to make my bed. Turndown service was done while I was off to the washroom, and I had a bed ready to slip into once I was back.
While service is back to being wonderful on the Jet Airways’ flights, these seats are always a bit of a hit and miss for me depending on where you are sleeping. I sleep sideways, and usually change sides a couple of times during my sleep. So, the cubby on these seats is small and that does not allow for the movement one wishes during sleep sometimes. But the great news then is, that this flight is being up gauged to a Boeing 77W with effect from October 30, 2016, which will bring back the herringbone seats for you. Here is a review of those on the A332.
The crew had asked me earlier, and I confirmed to them that they could wake me up for breakfast. I slept a good 4-4.5 hours, and was woken up about 2.5 hours before landing. That give me a headstart to the queue for the loo, since even with 3 washrooms, it tends to get crowded in the J class cabin for the loos later. I changed out of my pajamas, and brought them home. The Jet Airways pajamas are very comfortable as long as you pick your size correctly.
Breakfast was served right after. I was brought a portion of fruits to start with, along with a bread basket. I went with a croissant. My cappuccino was served along with the meal itself and played a positive role in waking me up!
I figured I’d take this opportunity to have my last Indian meal this week, so I went with the Indian breakfast this morning. I was served a portion of Hara Moong Masala (cooked lentils), a Gobhi Parantha (Cauliflower stuffed Indian bread) and a Palak Pyaz ki Tikki (A Spinach/Onion patty).
The whole cabin was lit up shortly after, and we were on track to get an ahead of time arrival in Amsterdam. I got some lovely views as we prepared for landing.
We arrived about 30 minutes ahead of our scheduled time of arrival, for which clearly people at the airport were not ready! We waited another 10 minutes amongst the sea of KLM blue before we got our jet bridge attached to the plane.
Of course, I had a rainbow waiting for me as I got out of the plane! Off I went to Rotterdam after having my Schengen visa fears being taken away.
This has been my first trip on the Mumbai to Amsterdam flights ever since they moved here about six months ago, but it was certainly not the last. Service was excellent and flawless, and genuine. People knew what they were up to, and were walking around the cabin at all hours. With the B77Ws taking over, I’m sure the cubby space issue is going to be taken care of as well.