Monday, July 31, 2006

Heathrow and Jet Airways

I was away to UK/ USA as part of my Honeywell Meeting. Some information on that. I flew via London Heathrow to Manchester, Spent a day and then proceeded to Chicago and was back home after a week stay.

Did you know that London Heathrow airport in the only international airport which has separate immigration counter for transit passengers even for Domestic travel within UK and you don't have to clear customs physically. In my case when I landed in Heathrow, I was asked to move to the terminal to which the connecting flight was proceeding, got my boarding pass for my Manchester flight from British midland flight counter and then went thro immigration. Thus I avoided 100s of Indians / passengers who otherwise would have gone thro immigration.(we were just two of us) This saved lot of time. The baggage arrived at Manchester. The only condition is that your baggage should be thro checked to your final destination.
Not even US ports offer this facility, you need to clear customs and put the baggage in to the domestic flight conveyor. This was great saved lot of time and hassle with immigration.
UK Immigration has also introduced IRIS scan for frequent travelers to UK, just register yourself, after registering just get your IRIS scanned and it is stored in data base. When you visit UK, just walk thro camera and a comparison is made and the gates open to let you out. This is available only at present in Heathrow and Manchester.

JET Airways:-
I am amazed at the service provided by Jet Airways, I flew Jet Airways Bombay-Heathrow- Bombay. The service is world class, so is the new Airbus A-340-400-E with the state of the art digitization. Being a day flight to Heathrow, I flew economy the food and services were outstanding. 3 times they serve lunch and snacks as well as always on call. The alchol flowed like River Ganges, on demand, knowing our guys. There was not a single sullen face in the crew.(Jet guys never do I can vouch after clocking 300,000 Miles with them over time) The inflight movies and sound systems are world class. Moreover, the seating is 2-4-2 so that no person is more than one seat from aisle. This was in sharp contrast to the US carrier I flew Manchester- Chicago and back. Service below average as well as delays.
While returning Heathrow- Bombay, I used my upgrade voucher for Business class (3 vouchers)as the flight leaves Heathrow at 2130 Hrs. The seating and 180 Deg flat bed is state of the art, you sleep like a baby. Besides the seat have massage provisions to relax your back. The cuisine was delecious were world class and stewards no more than a minute away to your requirement. The toilet kit is collectors item, you dont feel like using it. Coincidentally the stewards were the same crew who flew a week back so had a lot of catchup on things happening. Jet will definitely will give every other airline a run for the money soon. This was service to customer at its best and outstanding. The baggage were out in a flash in BBY and British airways which arrived 30 minutes early in to Bombay, BA passengers were looking at us with envy as we moved out thro customs in Bombay. The only place where they can improve is at the transfer / transit check in counter at Heathrow,(I flew in to Heathrow from Manchester) the United Airlines staff help them and they struggle a lot with Indian names, passport details, admin procedures etc. I am sure Jet will maintain and may even improve as they go forward.
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