Introduction: Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Economy Class Showdown
Review: Zurich Airport Observation Deck
Review: Emirates A380 And 777-300ER Economy Class Zurich To Dubai To Delhi
The Delhi Airport Ground Experience
Review: Air India 747-400 First Class Delhi To Chennai
Review: Jet Airways 737-800 Economy Class Chennai To Mumbai
Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER Economy Class Mumbai To Doha To Beirut
Transiting Beirut Airport On Separate Tickets
Review: Etihad Airways 787-9 And A320 Economy Class Beirut To Abu Dhabi To Muscat
Review: Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport
Emirates Vs. Etihad Vs. Qatar – Who Has The Best Economy Class?
Delhi to Chennai
Air India 42
Delhi (DEL) – Chennai (MAA)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 1K (First Class)
This flight was meant to be on a Boeing 777-300ER with Air India’s latest first class product. When I arrived at the gate, I was shocked to see a trusty old 747 sitting there instead. I felt like a child on Christmas! Walking down the jetway I still couldn’t believe I was on one of the few 747s flying for the airline, in first class no less.
The last flight my aircraft operated was three days earlier to Jeddah, so these beauties definitely aren’t used regularly. Once onboard, I was greeted by an enthusiastic cabin crew who led me to my seat.
The first class cabin is located in the nose of the 747, with a total of 12 seats in a spacious layout.
It’s weird to think that many airlines squeeze in nine lie-flat seats in the same space. The compromise on quality for a few extra seats is insane, though I’m sure this product was top-notch 30 years ago.
The flight attendant serving first class introduced himself and offered me something to drink. I went for lemon water, which was served in a real glass.
Soon enough, boarding was completed, with one other passenger traveling in first. Impressively, business and economy were almost entirely sold out.
Given the state of the aircraft, I wasn’t surprised our push-back was delayed by 30 minutes, which was followed by another 30-minute taxi to the runway. Sitting in 1K right above the center wheel was extra cool since I could hear the gear creaking when we turned.
Our takeoff was smooth and offered great views of Delhi Airport.
Once the seat belt sign was turned off, I went to check out the lavatory, which was pretty standard.
The flight attendant, named Deepak, was waiting at my seat with my meal when I returned. He offered to take pictures of me and insisted I pose with my teacup while taking “a deep breath in.”
Unfortunately, the vegetarian meal was inedible – among the worst airplane food I’ve had. The main course tasted like stale bread, while the finger sandwiches were moist and each contained a leaf of lettuce. The corn salad was also disappointing. The little black dessert was delicious, though.
After the meal, Deepak offered to take me on a tour of the aircraft. What a dream come true?! His enthusiasm made it even better!
First, we took a few more pictures in and of the first class cabin.
Then we headed upstairs, where he introduced me to his charming colleague who gave me a tour of the upstairs galley. Is it just me or does business class look better than first?
We then went downstairs and had a look around economy and the enormous galleys (which were insanely hot – probably above 30C).
I shook hands and greeted a few more of the crew members before heading back to my seat.
I love the Air India mascot on the doors!
The second half of the flight was surprisingly boring. There was no wifi, no working entertainment, and the outside was dark. My computer was dead, so I ended up just sitting there listening to music for an hour.
We began our descent into Chennai forty minutes behind schedule. At one point along the approach, a strong burning smell started spreading in the cabin. While we ultimately landed safely, I was debating whether or not I should notify the crew.
We touched down at 9 pm and taxied to our gate at the international terminal, where all Air India flights arrive and depart from.
This gave me 90 minutes to catch my separately booked Jet Airways flight. Stay tuned!
Overall, I had an unforgettable flight. I flew in the nose of an antique airplane, and enjoyed fantastic service from Deepak and the rest of the crew. The delay and meal were disappointing though. If you can fly Air India’s 747 before it is retired, give it a go! However, I’d avoid this aircraft on longer flights.