Thursday 30 June 2016

#TICVacations - Learning to Fly

Welcome readers, #TICVacations is a special blogging series of I will be on a epic solo journey to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. It is my sincere initiative to showcase the best of local industry, culture and food. This article is about my very first flight experience.

It was always on my mind. I always wanted my first ever flight experience to be for blogging purposes. I am invited as a business blogger by VV Mineral, India's largest mining, exporter and manufacturer of Garnet and Illeminet ( rare metals ). I flew to Toothukudi, famously known as Tuticorin from Mumbai via connecting flights. My first flight was Indigo 6E Mumbai - Chennai. Since, it was my first ever flight I reached 2 hours early at the Terminal 1B to be on safer side. There was huge queue for initial checks. Luckily, the indigo baggage counters were close by. Clicked a few selfies, uploaded tons of images and filled my facebook, twitter and instagram with check-ins. In middle class India, flights are still considered as prestigious. There is a reason why Mumbai's airport ranks second in Facebook check-ins after Changi, Singapore.

I had to find my way through and after a lot of enquiry, I finally got my boarding pass. Mumbai monsoon was playing its role by delaying my flight by 20 minutes. Soon, gate number 15 opened and I went inside the low-floor bus which reminded me of Mumbai's starbus. The bus reached our flight and within minutes. After clicking a few selfies I was inside the airplane. The first impression was similar to a Volvo bus although the cooling was kinda awesome! Some pretty ladies with tons of makeup were giving instructions which I chose to ignore as I had a window seat and I was pretty excited. The airplane started moving....

Minutes later, we were was on the runway. It gained speed very rapidly. I thought this plane would easily beat bugatti veyron ( that's a lie, btw ). It took us less than 60 seconds to cover 3.8 km runway. Luckily, With takeoff, I could see the vastness of the megacity Mumbai. My eyes could see as far as Dadar. The Bandra Worli Sea Link looked magnificent from the bird eye view. Few moments later, I could see Girgaum and Queen's neckless through the clouds. As the clouds got thicker, we were in turbulence. Clouds and vast blue sky as far as eyes could see. I could feel the pressure in my ears but I was on cloud 9.

About 100 minutes later, we were in Chennai and about to land. Soon I could see the port, national highway and even the newly constructed metro.

The landing noise of tyres hitting the tarmac was damn scary. After the flight came to a hault, we were in a hurry as the layover for Chennai - Thootukudi flight was just 1 hour. After wasting my precious time at baggage claim, I rushed to Spicejet boarding counters and went near to gates.

The gates were already open. The bus took us to our flight. Chennai - Tuticorin flight was the most adventurous part of the journey. Spicejet still uses Bombardier Q400 for smaller routes.

Bombardier Q400 has the technology of 1980s. Q400 are known for fuel efficiency and low maintenance thus used by many Indian airlines for smaller airports. We took off at super speed but it really was a rough ride. The airplane didn't seem to have been maintained well by Spicejet. It felt like travelling by State transport AC bus. Tuticorin has 3 small islands near its sea coast. I got to see the port, salt pans and thermal power plant from my window. The landing of Bombardier Q400 was harsh and it made a lot a noise ( meri toh fat gayi ). Exit procedure took less than a minute. Tuticorin airport terminal is smaller than most Konkan railway stations...frankly. Our chaffuer was waiting at terminal dropped us at GRT Regency hotel.

My first ever flight experience.. enchanting, wonderful and scary.

Tomorrow, I will be visiting VV Mineral factory. I sincerely thank the sponsors for sponsoring my stay and flight tickets. More tomorrow. #TICVacations #TICgoesSouth.
Do check out all the pictures on my insta page -

- Chaitanya Kulkarni.
#TICVacations #GoingSolo

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