With Diwali approaching, a customary time for people to return home, we made reservations with Air India for our journey. Air India offers a range of aircraft for the route between the national capital and the financial capital. After conducting thorough research to ensure we would be traveling on one of their wide-body planes, we settled on AI441, an evening flight from Delhi to Mumbai operated by the Boeing 777-300ER. As Diwali is a peak travel period, the hustle and bustle was apparent throughout our journey, from departing Delhi to arriving in Mumbai. Now, let’s delve into our remarkable experience with India’s oldest airline, Air India.
A Brief History
The Tata Group, with its roots dating back to 1868, has a rich history in India’s aviation sector. In 1932, J.R.D. Tata established Tata Airlines, which later evolved into Air India. However, owing to government ownership and various policy changes over the years, Tata relinquished control of the airline. In 2021, Tata Sons emerged as the successful bidder for Air India, finalizing the acquisition in January 2022. This merger marked a significant return, with Air India once again operating under the Tata umbrella. The airline was privatized with the aim of enhancing operational efficiency, upgrading the fleet, improving the customer experience, instilling investor confidence, and establishing a strong brand that represents India both domestically and internationally. Notably, the airline has placed a substantial order for 470 aircraft with Airbus and Boeing.
DigiYatra for Expedited Security Checks
The introduction of the DigiYatra program has revolutionized the airport security screening process. We had pre-registered for DigiYatra, which enabled us to breeze through security checks with minimal wait times. The use of biometrics for identification and security checks is a remarkable innovation that greatly enhances the airport experience, making it smoother and less stressful. It’s truly impressive to see how technology has been seamlessly integrated to elevate the overall travel experience. For more information, you can visit: https://www.newdelhiairport.in/digiyatra
Our journey commenced with a remarkably hassle-free check-in process at Terminal 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, where Air India manages its extensive network of 44 domestic and 37 international destinations. The convenience of Air India’s Check-In Express service enhanced our travel experience significantly. The dedicated counters for this service were efficiently organized, and the airline’s staff exhibited exceptional proficiency in handling the process, displaying a commendable commitment to prioritizing passengers with infants, special needs, and senior citizens. We swiftly obtained our boarding passes, and the affable staff addressed any queries we had, setting a positive tone for the remainder of our journey. Upon a special request, the check-in desk personnel also accommodated our need for an emergency exit seat, ensuring ample legroom. Our assigned seat was 27A, located right behind the wing, albeit without a window, which provided a unique perspective of the aircraft’s operations.
Did you know? Air India offers a generous 20kg luggage allowance for all passengers on its domestic flights, making it the highest allowance provided on an economy ticket in India
VT-ALU (MSN: 36319 and Line Number: 880), a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in service with Air India, India’s national carrier, is a relatively youthful bird at 13.4 years old, configured to accommodate 303 economy class, 35 business class, and 4 first class passengers (F4C35Y303) in a 3-3-3 seating configuration. The Boeing 777-300ER belongs to the wide-body twin-aisle family of aircraft, renowned for its long-range capabilities. VT-ALU is one of the many Boeing 777-300ERs in Air India’s fleet, playing a pivotal role in the airline’s international operations. It’s worth noting that this particular aircraft was named after the state of Orissa, situated on India’s east coast.
The ground handling services for Air India are managed by AI Airport Services Limited (AIASL). Our flight, AI441, was scheduled to depart from Gate 32 at Delhi Airport. The boarding process was notably seamless and well-coordinated. Passengers were efficiently guided onto the Boeing 777-300ER, VT-ALU, with minimal waiting times. The ground staff displayed remarkable support, assisting passengers as needed, and this contributed to a stress-free boarding experience. We were fortunate to benefit from priority boarding, allowing us to capture exclusive photographs for our audience. Since this flight was operated using a wide-body aircraft, boarding had to commence at least an hour prior to departure. With the holiday season, including Diwali, just around the corner, the flight was at full capacity, adding to the excitement and anticipation of the journey ahead.
Air India’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft have been in operation for a considerable period, serving both domestic and international routes. These aircraft feature a sophisticated 3-class cabin configuration, encompassing First Class, Business Class, and Economy Class sections. For passengers traveling in the Economy Class, Air India has arranged the cabin in a 3-4-3 seating configuration, which ensures a commendable level of legroom and comfort.
In addition to the spacious seating arrangement, Air India’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft offer a range of other notable features and amenities for passengers. These include, but are not limited to:
|Economy Class||– In-flight entertainment screens on seatbacks.|
|– Fold-down tray tables, reading lights, and adjustable headrests.|
|– Overhead storage compartments for carry-on luggage.|
|– Shared restrooms at the back of the cabin.|
|Business Class||– Lie-flat or angled lie-flat seats that can be converted into beds.|
|– Direct aisle access for each seat in a 2-3-2 configuration.|
|– Personal entertainment systems with a wide selection of movies, TV shows, and music.|
|– Gourmet dining options and an extensive selection of wines and beverages.|
|– Access to airport lounges and priority services.|
|First Class||– Fully flat-bed seats and a high degree of privacy.|
|– Exclusive cabin with limited seats, often arranged in a 1-2-1 or 1-1-1 configuration.|
|– Premium amenities and services, including gourmet meals and top-shelf beverages.|
|– Access to dedicated lounges and premium ground services.|
Warm and Inviting Cabin Crew
From the moment we stepped onto the aircraft, we were greeted with genuine warmth and hospitality by the cabin crew. Throughout the entirety of our flight, we were consistently impressed by the exceptional friendliness and unwavering professionalism exhibited by the crew. Their dedication to ensuring passenger comfort and safety was evident in every interaction. The crew’s cheerful smiles and their eagerness to assist passengers went a long way in enhancing the overall enjoyment of our journey.
Despite the flight being quite busy, the crew worked seamlessly as a team to attend to each and every passenger on board. It is the people representing an airline that leave a lasting impression on customers, and we were genuinely delighted by the unwavering commitment demonstrated by Air India’s crew. Their warm and attentive demeanor created an exceptionally pleasant atmosphere onboard, making us feel well taken care of throughout the flight. Even when the departure was slightly delayed due to a few passengers boarding late, the crew ensured that everyone’s needs were promptly attended to.
Given our seating in the emergency exit row, a safety demonstration was a necessary procedure. While Air India’s safety demonstration video had been in use for some time, we eagerly anticipate any potential updates or new videos the airline may introduce in the future. This attention to detail and commitment to passenger safety and satisfaction further solidified our positive impression of the airline and its exceptional crew.
The highlight of the journey was undeniably the fantastic vegetarian cuisine offered on this flight. The spread of meals served was not just delicious but also catered wonderfully to varying tastes. Air India’s commitment to providing exceptional food options was truly evident in every dish served.
Trust us, the in-flight meal served on Air India flights are the finest in the Indian skies. Since this was evening flight, there was an evening snack service followed by a tea/coffee. The airline offers a wide variety of meal options that can be pre-booked as per your dietary requirements. From vegetarian, fruit platter, child meal, jain meal, non-vegetarian meal, low calorie meal and much more, they have got it covered.
The vegetarian snack meal was pretty yum and filling and the dessert served was just iconic and signature. Air India has often received so much of appreciation for it’s meal over the last many years.
Arrival in Mumbai
At our destination, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, we were greeted with the same level of assistance and courtesy from Air India’s ground staff. They made sure that the disembarkation process was seamless, and we felt well taken care of from start to finish.
For all #AvGeeks: Since it’s the winter season, we landed on RW09 of Mumbai Airport. With this, our taxi time was significantly reduced and we quickly docked in to stand S1 (Remote bay) near Terminal 2.
Since we required assistance at arrival, the ground staff was already informed about us and we were glad that they had been waiting right near the aircraft exit as we got down of the mighty Boeing 777.
To sum up our trip report on Air India’s Boeing 777 experience on Air India’s flight AI441, it was nothing short of outstanding. From the efficient check-in process to the implementation of cutting-edge technology like DigiYatra for expedited security checks, every aspect of the journey was expertly managed and hassle-free. The crew’s friendly and welcoming demeanour, coupled with the delectable vegetarian cuisine served on board, added an extra layer of satisfaction to our trip. We were genuinely pleased with our decision to choose Air India, and we wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone seeking a memorable and enjoyable flying experience. This flight reinforced our confidence in Air India’s commitment to delivering a top-tier travel experience. It was an absolute pleasure, and we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to fly with them again in the future.