Thursday, September 09, 2010

Trip to Madurai:

It’s been 2 years since Cogzidel was born. Hence, I planned a trip to my Madurai Branch for three days from 8th to 10th of September 2010. Since my JP miles were about to expire, I redeemed the available points for the airline tickets to and fro Madurai (but was charged the airport taxes).


Many interesting incidents / surprises / tensional stuff happened.

Normally, I don’t blog these kinds of experiences, mainly for lack of interest and time. But today something made to feel blogging my travel experience (may be, the impact of my good friend Anand Nataraj who is a regular blogger).

Please do not ask me whether my travel experience will be useful to you (I’m just sharing it as I thought of doing so). If you really think you learnt something from this, I would be happy.

Here it goes:

- Yesterday, I booked a car with Fastrack Call Taxi service for the airport drop (pick up time 5:15 am) today. To my surprise, Fastrack guy came an hour in advance, but irritated me saying he would switch on the Meter. After blasting and explaining him that it was he who came early and hence, charging me for the same is unfair, it was resolved.

- When I came down from my apartment, I noticed that they had sent me an Innova (instead of Indica I asked for). Also, was told that I’d be charged Innova rates only, while it was their mistake. They simply quote that they don’t have any other vehicle and hence had sent this vehicle. I appreciate that they have arranged some other vehicle, but insisting for Innova rates for a single-person-travel is a non-sense. Again shouted and got it resolved.

- Driver drove rashly and was about to hit a motor-cyclist, but escaped narrowly.

- Reached Airport about an hour before departure, but thrilled to see the passenger crowd there.

- Took 15 minutes for baggage screening, 15 minutes on the queue for Boarding pass

- Heard some Jet Airways Airport officer telling some passenger that the departure gate would be closed in a short while for Madurai passengers

- With a little tension, approached him and told that I’m a Jet Privilege Member and whether he can help to get the boarding pass quickly. He acted really fast, took me to a counter, insisted the counter staff to issue me a Boarding pass immediately

- Then came another shock, the queue for the Security Check was very long and thought that I would definitely be late as it was just 20 minutes before departure

- Airport personnel suggested me to have the security check done at the first floor (as there won’t be much crowd like Ground floor) and asked me to come down after the check

- I went and stood up in the queue in First Floor. Then realised that if there was a calling (by the airport managers who orally call the passengers for boarding) for the Madurai passengers to board the flight, I might miss it as I was in the first floor.

- Hence, came down and stood in the queue on Ground Floor

- Noticed that celebrities like GK Vasan, Karthik Chidambaram, T. Rajender and Vairamuthu were given permission for special entrance to Security Check as the flight was about to depart

- I insisted the security personnel that I should also be permitted as my flight was about to be take off

- Notably, the special permission queue is also long and it took about 10 minutes there.

- Finally, boarded the flight at about 5 minutes before the departure

- I don’t normally get tensed for these kinds of matters as I have travelled a lot and have faced many situations like this before. Since I wanted to stick to my travel plan, I was a little nervous.

Inside the aircraft:

Normally flight attendants used to check whether seat belts are fastened and seats are set straight by the passengers. Today, it didn’t happen. No idea, why.

No free meal on board, hence ordered a sandwich and bottle of water, the hostess charged me 170 bucks. Expensive. Hardly very few on the aircraft ordered something to eat.

All passengers were given a scratch card which contained an array of products like Music System, watch, camera, sunglass etc. with pricing. We were informed that we can scratch the card and claim the product mentioned in it for free. Only the handling charges of Rs. 599 would be collected. Since each product was rated above Rs. 2,000, passengers felt like it is a nice offer. Like many others, I scratched the card, and found that I was the lucky winner of Sunglasses.

After landing at Madurai Airport, went to the AVA counter and saw all products being displayed. Without showing him the scratch card, I pointed at the Sunglass and asked him how much that costs, he said “Just 600 rupees, Sir”. Then I realised that all the products listed over there cost 600 rupees each, but as a matter of marketing tactic, they made such trick of quoting the high price on the scratch card and offering it the passengers as free but collecting the sale money in the name of handling charges. Wah, what a brilliant idea ?

Behaviour of people inside the aircraft:

a) Mobile usage: People (especially businessmen) keep on talking over phone loudly (in spite of the fact that the hostess repeatedly requesting them to switch off their mobile)

b) Handling hand baggages: Many passengers (who want to keep their hand baggage in to the loft) handle the baggage already kept inside in a bad manner in order to create space for keeping their bags. I have seen many who keep their heavy bags over the laptop bags of other passengers, without knowing that it might cause damage.

c) Fastening the seat belt: Many people feel that fastening the seat belt is for a formality. They don’t understand the need. The moment flight lands in to the airport, we can hear the sounds of all people unfastening their seat belts.

d) Likewise, immediately after landing, you can see almost everyone switching on the mobile as if they can’t wait for few more minutes

e) Also, many have the habit of standing up immediately after the plane lands as if the doors will be opened specially for them. They all should understand that the crowd should move out in the same order of their row seating. This avoids dashing with each other indecently.

Madurai Airport:

Madurai Airport is a funny one. You won’t feel it like an Airport at all. Tiny and not crowded. You can see the aerodrome from the entry gate itself.

In about 10 minutes after we all landed, the airport was empty. When I was waiting for my colleague to pick me up, I noticed that after morning flight, the next flight is in the after noon. The Airport was completely empty except few staff who where chit-chatting and playing. A guy was switching off the fans and lights. The security person asked me when could I leave and when I asked why, said “We will have to lock the Airport till the noon, Sir” – first time for me to hear like that. But he was generous to let me wait till my colleague arrived.

Headed straight to my Madurai Branch and continued my usual swimming in the work pool.

1 comment:

Deena said...

Good one bala sir! I completely agree on the people behavior in air craft. It's usual Indian mentality, if you say don't do, we will do it :), very nice to read your travel experience, keep it up!