A lazy Sunday at Versova. Sharing an experience we had during departure from Bangalore on this Mumbai trip.
The experience turned out to be one filled with adventure, some heated arguments with airline staff, negotiations and more. All good fun. A good word to the Indigo staff who handled the entire incident with grace and equanimity. Special mention must be made of Vinayak who finally put us on the bus to the plane waiting on the tarmac which turned out into one unintentional wild ride.
We left home in Bangalore around 12 noon to take a 2:50 pm flight to Mumbai for a series of meetings. What ensued at the airport turned into a big adventure, heated discussions with the hotel staff, the good old ‘good cop – bad cop’ routine, and total madness.
We first went to the check-in automator machine on arrival at the airport, gave our PNR number and checked in. We were assigned an aisle and middle seat. A seat change was requested for, since Rekha always prefers a window seat.
So we proceeded to the check-in counter to deposit our bags and trying out good old social engineering, requested the agent at the counter to give us a change with a window seat. It worked, and we were assigned a window seat in the last row, 31. Since this was a reclining seat, we took it.
And this change of window seats set off a chain of events for the next couple of hours. Flying by the seat of the pants fun. and chaos.
Then proceeded to the domestic lounge which has been remodelled but still did not get a table on the first try. Waited for about 10 minutes, ran into an old friend from the Praxair days, chatted with him for a few minutes and finally got a table.
Lunch done, the lounge display said our flight was boarding. We proceeded to the gate 2/17/18. I can assure you there is no gate with that identification at Bangalore airport, just that there were 3 gate changes from inception to execution. from pre lunch to lunch. so it was.
We walked into gate 18, gave our boarding pass. Other people were being on-boarded. At our turn, the agent says with the same professional smile ‘sir can you please wait for a few minutes, please take a seat’
so we wait. six of us. as we we were to later learn, all six of us were allotted row 31, A through F, the last row on the plane.
Waited for a while and we were called to the counter and told there was a ‘technical problem’ and that we would be accommodated on a later flight leaving Bangalore at 5 pm.
What immediately ensured was heated discussions with the airline staff, with one of us saying we needed to be in Mumbai by 5 pm, etc. I took a stance that we needed to be patient and try to understand the exact meaning of ‘technical problem’ This approach helped, I found out that the plane on the tarmac did NOT have a row 31!! This was owing to a change of plane. The plane on the tarmac was a 180 seater as opposed to the 186 that was originally planned. This change was due to the plane going to Delhi for some routine maintenance.
More discussions followed, and about 30 minutes later, we were finally enroute with the change of plane with our row 31 in it.
I was to later learn that while we were at the gate seated, the others were not so lucky, some of them were told to wait in the bus that was to take them to the plane. and then all passengers were offloaded from the plane and asked to board another one. So were the passenger bags, in instalments.
But the fun did not end there. The driver who was to take us from the terminal to the plane did not know which plane he was to take us to. We merrily drove all over the airport trying to locate our Indigo plane from the 10 or more planes waiting there to onboard their respective passengers. After a few minutes of driving, trial and error, finally Rekha identified our two bags lying near one of the planes as ours and immediately shouted out to the driver, and there we went. We were finally onboard, rightfully occupying our row 31, took the ubiquitous selfie and about 90 minutes later, said good evening to familiarly humid Mumbai. We said goodbyes to the recently made friends from Goa, Mumbai, Vapi – all from the notorious Row-31 and the strangers vanished into the Mumbai night. There were a few more adventures, thats a story for another day.
Have a nice weekend, all
With Best Regards