An Unexpected Trip to India (LX J / LH F) - Lots of pictures...

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  1. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    An Unexpected Trip To India (LX J / LH F)

    **Disclaimer: my lens sometimes wasn’t good enough to take macro images in low light; therefore I used my iPhone’s camera to take some pictures. I apologize for some of the low quality images**

    I N T R O D U C T I O N

    It was just another average day. The constant hitting of snooze to get those extra precious 5 minutes of sleep, then forcing yourself to get out of bed, and 40 minutes later, hitting the rush hour traffic to get to your other home - ala office. After a normal day at work, it was time for a workout session at Crossfit and then heading on home. A fine evening, good dinner & some Top Gear on the television and soon it were time for bed. The normal routine had reached the circle until a dreaded phone call at 11:30 pm. It was from India. By the time I had gotten my hands on the phone, I missed the phone call. I went to the bathroom and when I came back, a couple missed calls from home along with text messages. I called home and heard the horrible news that my grandmother had passed. She was 85 years, lived a comfortable and a happy life. Had no ailments and yet, suffered a heart attack after she had showered. Immediately brought to tears, and trying to keep strength while talking to my dad, I was immediately on my laptop trying to find tickets for my parents.

    P L A N N I N G

    Being the only grandson, I told dad that I would be joining him. Meanwhile, my cousins in Columbus were also desperately trying to get tickets to India that was departing the next day. My parents got 2 tickets each on US Airways / Jet Airways for $2k each, and yes AA wanted to charge $4500 a ticket (under emergency quota) for Economy. By the time they decided to look for a ticket for me, prices for Y had shot up to $3500. I tried to search on my own, and wasn't successful. At that hour, no travel agency would be open (except for online travel agencies) so my other option was to look at United.com and see if any award travel was available. Much to my surprise, United wanted to charge 140k miles as a standard Y award travel on a non-stop flight to DEL froM EWR. I tried to expand my search options by being a little flexible on the return and voila, I found that there was a possible round trip available as a Business Saver award outbound on Swiss Airlines and Inbound on Lufthansa. Tried to book it and obviously .bomb failed on me. Giving me an error. I was quickly on the phone with United trying to book the ticket and I was informed that the reason it wasn't ticketing was that there were no seats available on the return segment from DEL-MUC. I had to change the date and book as 2 different one-ways (i know, it was dumb as I paid the $75 fee twice), but in the end at about 3:30 am, I was happy with what I received, which was:

    CMH-EWR (United First)
    EWR-ZRH (Swiss Business)
    ZRH-DEL (Swiss Business)

    DEL-MUC (Lufthansa Business)
    MUC-ORD (Lufthansa First)
    ORD-CMH (United Economy)

    This wasn't a time to fully enjoy my flights; however I still managed to capture some pictures, as this was my first time in long haul business class!


    F L I G H T I N F O R M A T I O N / T R A V E L

    So after sleeping at almost 4 am, my alarm went off at 8 am having made plans to call my work and letting them know that I would be missing the next week and a half as I would be in India. Finishing packing, I set off to drive from Youngstown, OH to Columbus, OH. This is almost a 2.5 hour drive, and once in Columbus, I wouldn't have much time to finish some last minute packing, drop my car off at my parents' house and then head to the airport. I got to Cbus, headed to my cousin's place, had some lunch and head to my parents' house. Pretty soon, we were off to the Columbus Airport. I wasn't too worried about checking-in on time as I only had a carry-on bag. This allowed me to get to the airport 45 minutes prior to departure, print out the boarding passes from the self-service kiosk and head straight to security.

    Flight 1:
    CMH - EWR
    United 5141
    Embraer 170
    Departure - 5:20 pm
    Arrival - 7:03 pm
    Seat: 1C


    At this hour, security wasn't too bad, but I still used the First Class lane and was airside in no time. I was really tired and I wanted to get some much needed rest. By the time I got to the gate area, boarding was about to start. Once boarding started, I was one of the first people on board and I took my seat 1C, which would be my home for the next hour or so. The FA seemed to be a cheerful guy and as soon as I sat down he asked if I would like to have something to drink. I felt that this was a much needed drink and I ordered a Gin / Tonic. I sipped on the G&T while I watched everyone else board.

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    My Seat

    Boarding was soon complete and the doors were shut and we were informed that today's flight would be a quick 54 minutes. We left the gate on time and started making our way towards the runway. I like how quickly the EMB 170s get to speed and take off. Almost like a twin turbo charged little car that explodes when you press on the accelerator ;) We were airborne and I tried to close my eyes to catch a quick nap. To my surprise, I was sort of woken up by the FA asking if I needed something else to drink. I obliged and ordered another G&T. Figuring out that getting a nap on this flight would be next to impossible, I sipped on the G&T while enjoying looking outside the window and chatting with the FA. He was quite the traveller himself and said he fully utilized the perks; although he complained that sometimes due to quick turn around times, he didn't quite get to enjoy the cities like he would want to.

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  2. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    The time 'flew by' (pun intended) and we soon began our descent into EWR area. This would be the first time I would be visiting this airport so I was semi-excited. I'm always keen to explore new airports; however today was a bit different. My aim was to go get my boarding passes for my next flights ASAP and then go sit in the lounge and relax.

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    E W R T R A N S I T / L O U N G E


    After landing, I quickly got out of the plane and made my way towards the Swiss check-in counters. I had the "United" versions of the BPs but I wanted to get the BPs with Swiss written on them. I got in the line and while attempting to head to the business class check-in counter, I was approached by an employee (don't remember if he was a Swiss employee or not) and automatically he told me that the economy counter was the other one, with a few people waiting in line for it. I said that I was flying Business Class and immediately he apologized and let me go through to the Business Class check-in counter, where there wasn't anyone. I asked if there was a window seat available; and was told that business class was completely sold and there wasn't an empty seat available. No worries, I grabbed my BPs and made my way to clear security again. The security lines at this time were quite large. There were even a few people in the Business / First security line and I had to wait a bit. I'm sure if I were in the other line, it would have taken me close to 30-45 minutes to clear security. In this line, however, it took about 10-15 minutes to clear security and as soon as cleared it, the entrance to the SAS Business Lounge was on the right side. I walked in and my first impression was that it felt dated and not really like a lounge. It felt more like a private waiting area. There were a lot of people in the lounge. The drink selection was decent, but I had a hard time finding an empty seat for about 10-15 minutes. Departure for a flight was announced and soon the lounge started to empty up a bit. I found a chair, sat and grabbed a snack with another G&T. Does Swiss have a Business Lounge at EWR? Or was there another lounge I could have used instead of the SAS lounge? I wouldn’t say it was bad, but my first impression wasn’t the best for this lounge.

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  3. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]

    It was soon time for me to leave the lounge and head to the gate where my flight was to begin boarding. By the time I got to the gate, boarding had already commenced and I headed straight to the Business Class line and was soon on-board an LX A343 to Zurich. This was my first flight with LX and my first time in long haul business class. I was excited because I was really feeling exhausted at this time and I just couldn’t wait to get some sleep. I didn’t even have any time to do some research on LX’s C product; however I did remember reading some of the TRs here on A.net and I knew that the seat would go flat.


    Flight 2:
    EWR - ZRH
    Swiss 19
    Airbus A340-300
    Departure - 10:05 pm
    Arrival - 11:35 am
    Seat: 8D


    I got on the plane and got to Seat 8D, which would be my luxurious home for the next 6-7 hours. I quickly settled in and took the Champagne as my starting drink. The other choices were water or OJ. I’m not a big fan of juice in general, therefore I settled for some bubbly.

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    The obligatory leg room shot with some dirty flip-flops

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    The seat fabric

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    The seat controls

    Once boarding was complete, the doors were shut, the empty bubbly glasses collected and we were departing the gate for take-off. We taxied for what felt like quite a while and then started accelerating for our take off. Is it just me or does the take-off roll for the A343 seem extremely slow and gradual? It felt like we used pretty much every inch of the runway beneath us and even after take-off, it took forever to climb. Once we leveled off a little bit, the seat belt signs were turned off and the FAs got to their jobs. Overall I felt that the FAs on this flight were nice & friendly; however I could have used a few smiles to make me feel welcome.

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    After take-off
     
  4. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    The Business Class seat

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    Distance to ZRH

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    The Business Class cabin after take-off

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    The FAs soon started the drink service, and then the table was set for dinner. White cloth was laid down and we were prepped for the dinner service.

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    Swiss Menu
     
  5. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    Dinner Options

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    The Wine List & The Beverage List

    For the main course, I selected the Dijon Chicken with mushroom sauce. The chicken was well done, not too rubbery and not too raw. I didn’t know what to expect from the mushroom sauce; however it was a nice complement to the chicken.

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    My Dinner

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    Dessert with Swiss Chocolate, some coffee & some bubbly

    After a nice meal, I reclined my seat, turned the massager on and went to sleep. I should say that the seat was a full lie-flat seat at an incline. Didn’t think it would be that comfy; however it was. Maybe it was the G&Ts, or the lack of sleep the night before or a combo of both, I was out cold. I woke up to the smell of fresh bakery (or I thought). The night before were asked to write down our breakfast choices. I had ticked the “fresh smoothie” option. So, once again, the table was prepped for breakfast and after some freshening up, I was ready to eat some more.

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    My breakfast with the smoothie and espresso
     
  6. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    By the time I was finishing up breakfast, we were already descending to land at ZRH. Not being at a window seat, I couldn’t take any pictures of our descent, but it was nice & sunny outside. We landed and soon I was off the plane. This was my 2nd time at ZRH (First time was a MR that I did with AC, Trip Report can be found here). I got off and immediately made my way to clear security again. As with ZRH the last time, security was a breeze and I was soon airside once again at the international terminal at ZRH (E Gates). I tried finding a lounge and just couldn’t. I think I found what they called Emirates Lounge on the 2nd floor (???). I remember climbing the stairs and going into a lounge and boy, it was SUPER packed. No seats, lines to get food & drinks and people practically stalking everyone and as soon as someone got up, those seats were taken up like a hungry pack of dogs. I find it hard to believe that Swiss doesn’t have its own lounge in that terminal, especially since majority of the Swiss long haul flights depart from this terminal. Maybe I missed it, but this lounge definitely didn’t feel like a lounge!

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    The packed lounge

    I managed to find a dirty table (was yet to be cleared / cleaned) to sit and got a beer & some Indian vegetable rice as a snack. I don’t know where these came from, but all I can say is good try. The rice was bland and not spicy at all. The rest of the food options, well, I couldn’t even check them out as there were so many people. Either ways, my connection was fairly short; therefore by the time I got done with my beer & rice, it was time for my next flight to board. I hit the rest-room, washed my face and then I head over to my next flight.

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    The beer & Rice

    Flight 3:
    ZRH - DEL
    Swiss 146
    Airbus A340-300
    Departure - 12:45 pm
    Arrival - 11:55 pm
    Seat: 4K

    Boarding had already started and since this flight was going to DEL, I could see a LONG snaking line form already BEFORE economy boarding was called. I showed my boarding pass and made my way to the jet bridge and into another LX Airbus, this time the A330. I find that A330 to be a very aesthetic plane and it just oozes class. (Don’t have anything against Boeing Jets, but this plane looks majestic). This time I had a window seat to myself in the little private Business Class Cabin. If you are flying C in LX, I would highly recommend getting a seat in this section of the Business Class Cabin. It is small & feels quite private. I settled into my seat, and was greeted by the Purser asking me about my drink. I obliged with requesting some more champagne. I took my camera out and asked if I could take pictures of the first class cabin. With a smile, I was told “Of Course. Take as many as you would like”.

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    My seat 4K

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    LX First Class Seat

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    The First Class Cabin
     
  7. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    The HUGE entertainment screen

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    View from my window

    So I settled in with some bubbly in my hand and got comfortable. The seats were identical to the one I had on the way to ZRH, but the overall feel was a bit more private. I was looking forward to the Indian food on this flight. Once again, after boarding, we were ready to go and the plane left the jet bridge to make its way down for take-off. The A330’s take off roll is definitely quicker than the A343’s. Maybe because I am a bit biased towards the A330. He he. We were soon airborne to a clear, sunny Switzerland sky!

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    After Take-Off

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    The Alps in the distance
     
  8. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    Some visible contrails

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    More Mountains
     
  9. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    Some snow in the summer

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    Anyone wanna guess which town this is?

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    Mountains again

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  10. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    The Alps again

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    A nice little river

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    Alps with the Winglet

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  11. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    Once we got to cruising altitude, it was time for the feast to commence. ;)

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    The Lunch Menu for today’s Flight

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    Light meal prior to landing

    The Wine List / Beverage List were identical to the previous flight so I didn’t take pictures of that. I elected to go with the Indian dishes / food throughout and wasn’t disappointed at all.

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    Starter

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    Main Course with Bubbly on the side

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    Fresh Fruit with Dessert
     
  12. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    After the meal, I again reclined my chair, turned the massager on and got some sleep again. I succeeded because when I woke up, we were on the descent again. I did manage to get some light snacks prior to landing but I forgot to snap a picture of them.

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    Delhi from a distance at night

    The plane landed, and I was one of the first to get off the plane. This would be my first time in the new International Terminal (T3) at DEL. I was amazed at this new piece of architecture, as the only terminal I remembered was the old & dingy T2 with only a select number of gates. I made my way to the baggage arrival hall where my parents were waiting for me. They had arrived about 30-40 minutes earlier on Jet Airways and all of us had to wait till about 6:00 am (approx. 6 hour wait) so we could take the metro and head to the New Delhi Railway Station. We would have to take the Shatabdi Express to go to the city of Ludhiana, where my grandmother lived (and also my home-town).

    Some first impressions of DEL’s T3

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    International Arrivals

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  13. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    It was really hard to kill some time at the terminal, especially since we knew that we would be greeted with a lot of grief & sorrow once we go to Ludhiana. Time seemed to crawl. I asked my dad to try and close his eyes to get some sleep, but he just couldn’t. Slowly after what felt like an eternity, we started to walk towards the metro station and we would take the first metro out of the airport to get to New Delhi Railway Station.

    I must say my first impressions of the Delhi Metro were amazing. I think for such a big city like New Delhi, having a dedicated Airport Express train is a blessing. Usually it would take (on car or bus) about 30-45 minutes to get to the Railway Station (that too depending on traffic). This metro takes 17 minutes to get to the railway station. Furthermore, it’s super clean. The announcements reminded me of the tube, except they were repeated in Hindi. Anyways, we got to the train station and made our way to the platform where our train would be departing from.


    Train 1:
    NDLS – LDH
    Shatabdi Express
    Departure – 7:05 am
    Arrival – 11:00 am

    Our train arrived on the platform and at this point, the jet-lag and mental exhaustion had kicked in. All I wanted to do was get in, and then sleep my way till Ludhiana. Little did I know that this train ride would also offer an opportunity to take a few more pictures. We boarded and settled in our seats and within minutes, the train was departing New Delhi Railway Station. A few minutes into the train ride, each passenger was provided with a 1L mineral water bottle along with local newspaper offerings. Soon after, we were given tea / coffee service. My dad was sort of tired, so he paid the person another Rs. 50 and asked for more tea.

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    View from my seat in the train

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    The Tea / Coffee Service

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    Coffee served with a couple of biscuits

    After the tea service, it was time for breakfast. There were three options. Veg. – which included a slice of bread, Amul butter, and two vegetable cutlets; South Indian Veg. – which included idli & sambhar; and non-veg. – which had a slice of bread as well as omelet. I went for the 1st option, mom going for the S. Indian Veg. option and dad going with the Non-Veg. option. The food was surprisingly good; however of the 3 choices, I thought the S. Indian Veg. option was the best. The Veg. cutlets were a bit too spicy for me and I’m just not a fan of omelets that are served in Planes / Trains.

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    Veg. Cutlet Option

    The rest of the way after breakfast, I slept and my parents woke me up when it was time to disembark in Ludhiana. A LONG journey came to an end; however it would be a long week ahead as I had the responsibilities to take care of for my Grandmother.

    The next few days were quite emotional for the family as me being the only grandson in the family had to take care of all the necessities / rituals for my grandmother. Part of that included going to Haridwar. In our culture, after cremating the body, the ashes (also called flowers in hindi) are to be deposited in the Ganges, which is considered to be the holiest of the rivers in our culture. Furthermore, the city of Haridwar is where this would take place. We set off on a road trip to Haridwar. I will exclude all the emotional details, but if anyone has any questions regarding this, please feel free to ask.

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    Early am departure for Haridwar
     
  14. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    The National Highway from Ludhiana to Ambala

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    After Ambala, this is the national highway one takes to go to Haridwar. Pretty much single lanes throughout

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    Amazing passing maneuver

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    This was awesome

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    Passing a city
     
  15. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    On the banks of the Ganges

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    The crowded market
     
  16. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    Lots of people taking a dip in the Ganges. I also did that. It was a nice reprieve from the scorching heat.

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  17. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    My father engaged in prayers

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    A Gurudwara

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    Heading back to Ludhiana
     
    MissBurrill and sobore like this.
  18. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    Near the Rakh Baag

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    Neighborhood where my grandmother lived

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    A richshaw in scorching heat
     
  19. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]

    After all the necessities were completed, I had just about 2-3 days to catch up with old friends and try to relax a bit. This was the first time since 1997 that I had visited India in the month of June, and boy, was it Hot. Everyday temperatures would reach a blistering 45 degrees C. It was almost like you couldn’t have enough fluids. This restricted my movement during the day. Because of the heat, it was almost impossible to go outside, especially since I had no vehicle to roam around in. I had to rely on my cousin to come to/from work so that he could take me places, or I had to rely on a rickshaw. If only there would be an Avis / Hertz so I could rent a car. I don’t think that has arrived in India yet; although I was told that you could rent cars that came with a chauffeur. I got to know about this information a bit too late, otherwise I would have hired one for the stay in India. Nonetheless, I had some things to buy, and I did just that. The evenings consisted of hanging out with my childhood friends, a couple of them who I met after 14 years. It was amazing that we still remembered old times and except for them getting married, none of them had actually changed. Friends being friends, they were after me to stay another week or two so that they could find a girl for me. Hehe. Maybe next time boys!!!

    Thanks to my friends, my last 2-3 evenings in Ludhiana were very relaxed. It was good to get away from the atmosphere at home and a welcome change. As much as I love India, the blistering heat, and boredom made me want to come back to the US. That departure time couldn’t come fast enough. I wanted to just get on a plane, head back. In all the midst of activities, I had forgotten to get a ticket booked back to New Delhi. I had a few options to get there.
    a) Try and get an overnight bus that would drop me off at the airport
    b) Try and get to Delhi a bit early; meet up with a friend for a little bit, who would then drop me off at the airport
    c) Try and get a ticket on Swarna Shatabdi, get to the airport by midnight and then head straight to the lounge
    Option C sounded quite viable as my friend wasn’t available that particular day. So my cousin tried to get me a ticket on Swarna Shatabdi. If you aren’t aware of the reservation system in India, you have quotas. Unfortunately, I had to get the ‘tatkal’ quota (which is almost equivalent of a walk-up fare) and that too I could only manage in Executive Class. Who am I to complain when my dad is arranging this for me? ;) Apparently the train route between Ludhiana & New Delhi is one of the busiest routes during the summer months and I was told that people actually get their reservations done months in advance.

    Train 2:
    LDH - NDLS
    Swarna Shatabdi
    Departure – 6:58 pm
    Arrival – 11:05 pm

    I had my e-ticket in hand and the next day, I was all packed & set to go to the Ludhiana train station. My parents had their flight 3-4 days later. They couldn’t get the same train, so they took the Shatabdi that goes via Rohtak. Similar class of service; however the train makes a couple more stops & takes longer to get to New Delhi. My cousin showed up on time to take me to the Railway Station. My mom & dad joined him. I said my goodbyes and we were off to Ludhiana Train Station. I was actually excited & sad about this trip. Excited because a) I was heading back home; b) I was going to experience my FIRST long-haul F product and that too on Lufthansa and c) I was leaving the scorching heat; however I was still sad that I was going away from all friends & family that I saw after such a long time. No matter what you say, India is still very much a part of me and it’s always a bit tough saying bye…

    The trains in India are quite punctual. This particular train only stays on the platform for about 4 minutes. So boarding has to be quite rapid. I being the dumbo that I am didn’t read my e-ticket correctly. I mixed up my seat number and the berth number. So I boarded the wrong berth. I got to my seat and there was someone sitting there. I whipped out my ticket and bam, my seat was in another berth. Fearing that I would miss my train, I had to move all of my stuff without leaving the train. My father was on board to see me off and he had to get off. The train started moving and I quickly said my byes to my cousin and my parents. I then started walking to my berth and finally got to my seat. The executive class was definitely a notch above the AC Chair Car I had traveled on the last train. It was spacious, and furthermore, the leg space was enormous. There was hardly a spare seat in the berth and I even spotted a few expats traveling to DEL from Amritsar.

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    Swarna Shatabdi Executive Class Cabin

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    The Leg Room Shot
     
  20. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    The train service was quite similar to the AC Chair Car; however there were a few more courses to be precise. I was given the 1L water bottle to start things. The next course was a piping hot tomato soup. I thought this wasn’t such a good idea since trains in India aren’t really the smoothest of the rides. Because of turbulence, I spilled some soup in the tray table and I literally had to hold my tray table with one hand so I could consume the soup. It wasn’t anything special. I didn’t finish my soup and then I turned to my entertainment system (iPad to watch a couple episodes of House).

    While watching some TV, the dinner service started. Again there were three options: Indian non-veg; Indian veg; and continental. I selected for the Indian non-veg and it came with butter chicken, rumali roti, rice and raajma (kidney bean curry). Needless to say, the dinner was quite delicious and I finished all of it except for the Yogurt (dahi). Dessert & coffee service was next. I opted for the dessert and was given some butterscotch flavored ice-cream. Quite delicious.

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    The Non-Veg Dinner Option

    While reviewing my documents, I asked my seat-mate which exit I should head to (Delhi Train Station has two different exits) so that I can take a pre-paid taxi to the airport. My seat-mate who was kind of looking at my ipad all the way, asked me where I was from and where I was going. So I said I was heading back to Columbus, OH and he started talking about how he has been to various cities in the US because of his work. It seemed like a pleasant conversation until he started talking about how he gets to travel business class & first class and his company pays for it. All I could say was, ‘that’s really good for you!’ and then he asked me why I was traveling on the 8:50 am flight. Literally he wanted an explanation as to why I couldn’t take the flight via FRA that would leave that same night. I told him that a seat wasn’t available. So he said that I could pay Rs. 300 and get into a ‘guest’ lounge at the airport where I could spend some time. I said I’m traveling business / first so I will have access to a lounge at the airport and I hope to spend my time there. He didn’t really communicate after that.

    The train arrived in NDLS on time and once I got out of the train, it was a mad-house. There are usually porters (coolies they are called) who will carry your luggage for you. I was approached by one, and after some touch negotiation, he started walking me to the taxi stand. On my way there, I was hoarded by a lot of taxi drivers asking me where I was going. I’m quite fluent in hindi/Punjabi so I let everyone of them know that someone was picking me up. That seemed to do the trick and my ‘coolie’ helped me out as anyone who approached, before they could ask, my ‘coolie’ would answer that someone’s picking him up. I was dropped off and then I had to walk a little bit to the pre-paid taxi stand. There was quite a big line for the pre-paid taxi stand. Guys, this is where your patience is tested. Even when you are standing for the pre-paid service, there will be a lot of ‘post-paid’ taxi drivers that will try and get your business. They will say that their car is A/C, and that there aren’t any pre-paid taxis available, etc. etc. but you have to keep cool and decline them. I chose to just ignore and give them a ‘huh?’ look. As if I had no idea what they were talking about. I finally got to the window and I was assigned a taxi. This is awesome. If anyone is traveling from NDLS to Airport, please select these taxis. They are tracked by the company. They have to log in any unauthorized stop; they wear proper uniforms and are metered. Probably the safest way to travel if you are a bit paranoid like I am.

    My taxi-driver was one of the nicest people I chatted with. He told me about the entire pre-pay taxi network and how it has made their jobs easier. He said that the other post-paid taxi drivers quote you a price, but in the middle of the trip, sometimes they will either hike the fair up or make stops to put in gas which you have to pay for. Since I haven’t experienced that, I won’t comment, but it seemed like this guy enjoyed his job. We made a stop for gas, and he had to call it in. He called and told that he was stopping at the gas station close to the airport. Once we filled up, he called again to let them know he was on his way. I was impressed! I was also in no rush whatsoever because my flight was the next day at 9 am. I had almost 8 hours to kill at the airport.

    I was dropped at the airport and when I tried to get in; I was told that they only allow people to come in within 3 hours of their flight time. I was asked to head to the guest lounge, where if you are a passenger, you get in for free. Otherwise you have to pay Rs. 30 to get in. There is also a security guard post inside this lounge so that people can directly enter the airport through the lounge. Trying my luck again, I tried to enter via that security guard. He told me the exact same thing and told me to sleep. He said he would even wake me up when it’s time to let me in. What a nice gesture! He he. I tried to argue to say that I can go sit in the lounge inside as I’m traveling business class. He said that I needed a lounge pass or invitation. I didn’t have either so I tried to go to the Lufthansa counter to see if they could get me one. To my surprise, I was told, “Sir, your flight doesn’t open till 5 am. We won’t be able to provide you with a lounge pass till that”. (This is while they were still checking in the last few passengers for the flight leaving to FRA). No problems, I picked a seat and took a nap.

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    Entrance to the lounge. You can see the airline counters beyond the sliding doors. I was already inside the lounge

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    This is the security guard area where you can directly go inside the terminal

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    More lounge

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    The relaxing chairs that one can sleep on
     
  21. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    A better view of the lounge

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    The lounge emptied as more and more flights departed

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    The busy FIDS at DEL (My flight finally listed as Open)

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    Check-In counters being prepped
     
  22. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    Inside the terminal
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    No lines at all at Lufthansa Check-In
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    Early AM Java
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    Economy check-in getting busy
     
  23. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    This was the first time I was visiting T3 at DEL. I was more than impressed by the sheer size & cleanliness of the terminal. The facilities were very clean, and the entire terminal was quite airy & modern. I really couldn’t believe this was a terminal in New Delhi, India. A much much improved & better terminal than the predecessor & dated T2.

    I finally decided it was time to go check-in. I walked to the First Class check-in Area and again was told that this wasn’t the economy class line. I smiled and said, “My flight from MUC-ORD is in F, and DEL-MUC is J, does that count?’. The gentleman laughed and said, ‘I’m sorry sir! Please continue on.” I got to the counter and the cheerful lady welcomed me, thanked me for flying Lufthansa and asked about my trip while she plugged away on her computer. I thought this was nice of her. After a few more strokes, she handed me my boarded passes, the lounge pass, and also informed me that there wouldn’t be anyone sitting next to me on this flight. I was more than happy. I headed towards the immigration control line. I had to fill out a departure card and there were pens / flat surface provided where people could fill them out. I filled one out, headed to immigration. I went to the premium class line which was empty and once again I was met by a person who’d rather be in bed than doing this job. There was no smile, no greeting, no questions asked. Some examination of the documents and a stamp saying I had departed India.

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    International Departures (You can see people filling out departure cards)

    Upon clearing the security, I was in the duty-free shop which led to the airport’s rotunda that’s filled with a lot of top name brands and a lot of food options on the 2nd floor. I made my way to the lounge and while waiting to enter there, there was a family with a friend who were trying to get into the lounge by paying their way. They were asked to wait (apparently one guy had status so his Mrs. & child could come in; but their friend wasn’t being allowed) and I presented my lounge pass. I was let in without any issues and I guess a few minutes later, I saw all of them in the lounge. They must have been allowed in.

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    After immigration / clearing security
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    It’s like a shopping mall. Quite impressive.
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  24. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]

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    Turkish A330 to IST

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    AI 332

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    More AI / IC jets

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    Heading to the lounge now
     
  25. ssedha

    ssedha Silver Member

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    [​IMG]
    The Lounge that Lufthansa uses at DEL

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    The clean bathrooms

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    Seating area

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    Pretty deserted at 6 am
     

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