Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cinnamon Spice

Spicejet isn't bad at all. Whereas on Indigo one has to pay thirty bucks for a packet of cashews, here, sweet young things (the phrase is of Wodehousian provenance. And if it isn't, it ought to be.) hand out candy and cookies with a smile. Still no-frills by Indian standards, but hey. The check-in agent, obviously taking pity, gave me an extra-legroom emergency exit row seat. The cabin is pleasing, with plush grey leather seats, and decent seat pitch even in the non exit rows.

Flights were taking off and landing on Rwy 27 as we waited for the aircraft to come in from Bangalore, including a BA 747. It's always a treat to see one of these giants take to the air, or alight on the ground, seemingly as light as a feather. By the time we got onboard the 737-800 (endearingly named "Cinnamon"), the winds had changed, and takeoffs were to the southeast, on Rwy 14. Apparently the use of the alternate runway is now routine.

Most flight schedules show a flying time of Delhi of two hours. It's high time they just upped it to three. Air traffic delays on this heavy sector are routine. About 110 miles out, the Captain (who spoke with an American accent, which made me weirdly homesick. Expat pilots are everywhere in India.) announced an ATC mandated slow down, and then that we were twelfth for landing.

The approach was from the east (either to Rwy 27 or 28, I couldn't tell) with a spectacular view of the capital as we crossed the Yamuna. The dome of Humayun's tomb gleaming in the sunlight streaming through the clouds, with the railway tracks near Nizamuddin Station just next to it, and further to the north, the heart of Lutyen's New Delhi, the stretch from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan, with North and South Block clearly visible, then Safdarjung's tomb, as the aircraft passed over Safdarjung aerodrome.

I'm looking forward to exploring the capital a little on this visit.

Besides, I'm just really tired. A couple of days of sleep might not hurt at all.

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