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Review: Hotel Intercontinental Marine Drive, Mumbai

Last weekend was an overwhelming one, mostly for reasons that a strenuous travel schedule for this year was coming to an end, and it was the birthday of my partner and I’d decided to surprise her. I was just off a 9-hour flight less than 12 hours ago, and while I don’t get jetlagged, I was running on 2 hours of sleep. So, I thought checking into a hotel was going to be a better bet than staying home or going out, also to give vent to some of my own intentions, that I never get to stay in a hotel in Mumbai! Coming to the hotel, I missed the mark with catching the 7-day out rate, and got inside…

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Hyatt Hotels offering 30% off on weekend stays & dining at all Indian properties

Hyatt is celebrating 30 years of presence in India, and on this occasion, they are offering 30% off on daily rates across their Indian properties for reservations made by 14th December 2013, and stays made by 15th December 2013. To avail of this offer, you need to be a member of the Hyatt Gold Passport program, and inserting coupon code GPWK30. The promotional code is valid for arrivals on Friday & Saturday and departure on Sunday, for standard room accommodation, except for Goa properties (Park Hyatt Goa & Grand Hyatt Goa) where the discount is only valid for suites. I looked up a few properties to compare this promotional rate with the regular rate, and the difference was apparent. So,…

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Review: Pause Lounge, Bangalore Airport (Domestic)

One of my many gripes with Bangalore’s Airport in Devanahalli, apart from the distance, has been the lack of a lounge for the longest time for Jet Airways elites. Hey, they used to give you food coupons to eat in the Food Court, not appreciating that the lounge was not about the food but about the environment. This got fixed last year when Kingfisher evacuated from Bangalore Airport, and this place was made the Pause Lounge, accessible via select credit cards and for 9W elites & Business class travellers. I haven’t been able to sample this lounge for my few trips to Bangalore all this year, so this was my first time when I actually built in time into my…

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Review: Doubletree by Hilton, Goa (Arpora)

For the recently gone Independence Day long weekend, I decided that it would be a nice idea to go back to Goa during the rains. Usually, my preference is to go to South Goa and the Park Hyatt is one of my favourite resorts there. However, this time the brother and I decided to head to North Goa, since I found out that the Hilton now had a property there. This Hilton was actually an independent property, which was reflagged as the Doubletree only in 2012. Too bad, my brother could not make it at the last minute due to other commitments, however I decided to proceed with the trip regardless. After arriving on an uneventful flight from Mumbai, I…

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A new Indian Aviation regulator and a new fee for you

Last week was full of news articles about how a new Aviation regulator is coming up for India. The currently existing Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) will soon be replaced with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which will be an autonomous regulator for Indian civil aviation, unlike DGCA which is under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India. Business Standard published a very good news report on the proposed structure of the new aviation regulator, and how it needs to be self sufficient. Unlike the DGCA, CAA will need to earn its own bread and butter. Here is how it proposes to do that: CAA will primarily get revenues from three sources: First, the Airports Authority of India will…

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Going RTW: Flight EY205 (BOM-AUH), Etihad, Pearl Business

Introduction & Trip Index <Celebrations Lounge, Mumbai T2                     Etihad F Lounge, Abu Dhabi T3> Boarding was pretty disorganised, and I’d begin to think this was a Mumbai Airport feature but there are airlines such as Etihad, and back in the day, Kingfisher which would enforce boarding sequence pretty well. So, the incoming flight was delayed, however, instead of going back into the lounge, I just waited in the boarding area. This was my first time being at Gate 1B, so I wasn’t in the know of what I was getting into later. Boarding started about 20 minutes later, and business class was called first, being the highest cabin on this A320.…

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Going RTW: Celebrations Lounge, Mumbai Terminal 2

Introduction & Trip Index < Introduction                               EY205, BOM-AUH, Etihad Business Class> The flight timings for Etihad to fly out of Mumbai are at a very odd hour at 4:50 AM in the morning. Odd for me I mean. I usually prefer day time flights, or even with a night flight, a departure closer to midnight so that I can get on the plane and go off to sleep at the earliest. Etihad offers a limousine pickup and drop service for customers flying with them in Business & First Class. Since I was flying Business Class between Mumbai to Abu Dhabi and First Class there on to…

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Review: Flight AI 657 (DEL-BOM), Air India, Business

Introduction Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Mumbai Terminal 1A Airborne: Flight AI 660 (BOM-DEL), Air India, Economy Class Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Delhi Terminal 3 Airborne: Flight AI 657 (DEL-BOM), Air India, Executive Class Since it was only me and the television in the Altitude Lounge at Delhi, I got bored pretty quick and decided to hang out at the gate after my breakfast in the lounge. It was going to be a full flight it seemed from the numbers that were lining up at the gate. While I’ve done tonnes of early morning flights and I’ve begun to not like them much, I like the fact that planes are back at their base and hence there is less…

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Review: Flight AI 660 (BOM-DEL), Air India, Economy

Introduction Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Mumbai Terminal 1A Airborne: Flight AI 660 (BOM-DEL), Air India, Economy Class Check-in: ICICI/American Express Altitude Lounge Delhi Terminal 3 Airborne: Flight AI 657 (DEL-BOM), Air India, Executive Class After an enjoyable experience in the Altitude Lounge at Mumbai, it was time to board my first Air India domestic flight in months. I’d picked to fly an Airbus 321, because these are the newer planes for Air India on the domestic segments, and I guess they use these on the regional segments as well. I’d pre-blocked my seats for months, as the Air India web-booking system allows you to do so. I suspect this would change after the unbundling guidelines coming into effect, and…

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How will unbundling work out for India?

I’m pretty sure the low-fare airlines in India are already set with product propositions as to how they will charge for the various propositions such as checked bags and sale of food in-flight. Like I wrote on Monday, the Indian aviation regulator did permit unbundling of fares, which included preferential seating, checked bags and other services, a full list available here. On a closer inspection, it does look like this stuff is at least a couple of months away, even if airlines start implementing systematic changes now. I would imagine a whole lot of this strategy will want to leverage on the internet to build in the services into the ticket, i.e., you buy it online to ensure that you…

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India, welcome to unbundled fares!

The Indian Civil Aviation market is up for a change, since after years of disallowing unbundling of fares, the aviation regulator & minister have finally come around to allow this move, in line with global practices. As per the new regulations, notified earlier this evening, the aviation regulator has allowed the following services to be charged for separately: Preferential seating Meal/snack/drink charges (except drinking water) Charge for using Airlines’ lounges Check in baggage charges Sports equipment carriage Musical instrument carriage Fee for special declaration of valuable baggage The regulator expects that base prices of tickets will go down when various services will be unbundled, however, I do not expect this to be the case because airlines in India would rather…

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