Jet Airways’ inaugural flight to Bangalore was a memorable experience for this writer, who enjoyed an eye-opening two days in the city.
1/31/2017 3:32:38 PM
|written By : Maya Tsering Bhalla|
Techies and Indophiles in Singapore have one more lifeline, er airline, that can connect them directly to the Silicon Valley of Asia – Bangalore (Bengaluru).
Jet Airways, India’s premium full service airline launched its Singapore-Bangalore route on December 14 ahead of the Christmas and New Year festive season. It is a move that will make the people-to-people links between Singapore and India even stronger said Jawed Ashraf, India’s High Commissioner to the city-state, at the launch. He added, “I hope to see new destinations, especially in the North-east of India. India’s engagement with this part of the world is growing very rapidly. More and more people are travelling from India to this part of the world for business, pleasure, education and tourism.”
As if in answer to this observation, the launch event at the SATS Premiere lounge was filled to capacity with representatives from Singapore’s leading travel agents and journalists who had a chance to sample the various local dishes on offer on the inaugural flight.
After the launch ceremony, I boarded the flight as a premier passenger in their Business Class section and felt like royalty immediately. Having flown Business Class only once before on a long-haul flight on British Airways as an 11-year-old with my mother, I felt that the service and food was a few notched higher.
Among the things I noticed was the natural poise and singularly clear diction of the flight attendants, which immediately set them apart from most others on these routes. I noticed an elderly Singaporean couple’s eyes light up when a smiling attendant approached them and they spoke to her in Mandarin as she looked Chinese. With great charm and deft diplomacy she apologised for her inability to speak Mandarin explaining painstakingly that she came from a state called Arunachal Pradesh in North-east India and belonged to the Apa-Tani tribe there. The couple were so entranced by her background that they wanted to know how to get there. Talk about being an ambassador of Indian tourism! That courteous stewardess was certainly going beyond the call of duty, and it wasn’t only because she kept plying us with Salmon Billecart Brut Champagne, a fancy cheese board, or made periodic but unobtrusive checks to see that I was enjoying the flight and had all that I needed.
As I reclined on my flatbed, lost in the latest rom-com on my personal screen, the four-hour-twenty-minute flight passed in a jiffy and we arrived 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.
Bangalore’s cool weather when we arrived late in the evening was a bracingly pleasant change from steamy Singapore. For once in over 20 years of visiting the Motherland, I was through customs and out of the airport within 10 minutes flat, thanks to the outstanding service of the Jet Airways ground staff who were at hand to ease formalities and whisk me into a waiting taxi.
The only downside as we drove for an interminable hour to our hotel was the distance between airport and city. But the “pampered VIP tourist” feeling was immediately restored the moment I stepped into the swanky six-star Ritz-Continental on Regency Road in central Bangalore. It is not for nothing that the word “ritzy” has entered the English lexicon as a substitute for the word luxury. The Bangalore Ritz-Carlton epitomizes everything that is remarkable in a luxury establishment.