Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Budget Flights

I flew down to Hyderabad for the weekend taking advantage of the rise of low cost airlines in India. Like the UK, India has seen large growth in this area. It makes sense, there are large distances to be covered and the alternatives are slow. In my case the distance to be covered was 325 miles as the plane flies. The plane, an ATR 72-500, covers the distance in an hour and a half; whereas a train would take about twelve hours. India's trains are well worth the experience but are not so good for a flying visit. As with the UK the train doesn't always win on price - the first class air conditioned carriages in particular.

As the picture above suggests I flew with Air Deccan. They were one of the first low cost carriers in India, and happily my flight went better than this one of theirs from a few years ago! Many more carriers have sprung up: Spice Jet, Go and Kingfisher to name a few. Yes, the beer company now have an airline.

We were delayed an hour on outward journey. Pune airport is a military base with a civilian airport stuck on and the air force were playing with their toys. This was unfortunate as the delay meant Roshni woke up from her sleep and could see the planes through the glass wall of the departure lounge. The planes drove her to a high level of excitement and she kept trying to make a run for it past security and on to the tarmac. She nearly made it a couple of times. The return journey was on time and still during daylight hours. There's not a great deal to see between Hyderabad and Pune, but on landing I did see the Su30s responsible for the outward delay lined up and ready for action.

Hyderabad itself was fun. We went out to a restaurant for a meal followed by a quick drink at a neighbouring pub. It was more of a night club, but the addition of TVs showing the cricket and hookahs added some Indian flavour. We were staying with San's parents and it was my neice's birthday so Biryani was on the menu. San's parents have a mango tree in their garden, and as they are currently in season we got to eat some of the fruit. Much nicer than any mangos I've eaten in the UK. Waiting outside the domestic departures entrance to Hyderabad airport was a cow - very Indian.


Blogger Will Hardwick said...

Good to hear you are still enjoying yourself. For some moments before reading all I thought you were involved in an horrific incident at an airport somewhere.

5:14 PM

Blogger JamesW said...

Our flights were fine. Some of the locals were a bit suspicious of Air Deccan citing lateness and rude staff. Admittedly one flight was delayed due to military maneuvers but the rest were on time. The ground staff and stewardesses were fine as well. The price is right and I won't mind flying with them again.

The flaming engine picture was of the inaugural flight from Hyderabad to Vizagapatnam a few years ago. A bit embarrassing for them as it was full of bigwigs to mark the occasion but no-one was hurt.

11:51 AM


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