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A jolly-ride on board Air India Express
Published Date: 26 Mar, 2007 (6:45 PM)

By Agnel Pereira - Team Mangalorean

Mangalore, March 26: All the festivities in Doha and Bahrain might have delayed the maiden Doha-Bahrain-Mangalore flight, but the enthusiasm of the passengers showed no signs of any let down.

Your correspondent with Iqbal Manna - Team Mangalorean Doha

In a colourful ceremony at the Bahrain International Airport, put together by the wonderful efforts of Bahrain Civil Aviation Authorities and Air India office in Bahrain, the beautiful ladies and the energetic youngsters of Kannada Sangha Bahrain, clad in beautiful costumes, welcomed Captain Avinash Chikte and Co-pilot Ramesh Kumar with flowers and broad smiles that are so much affiliated to the friendly Mangalorean people. It was indeed a great feeling to be with two Yakshagaana artistes, one youngster clad in the Air India Maharaja costume and the Bharatha Natyam artistes all added colour to the historic moment.

 Captain Avinash in the cockpit

While all of what took place at the VIP Gate 11 of the Bahrain International Airport has already been reported on this website with all the wonderful unmatched picture coverage, what took place inside the aircraft was simply amazing. It's with great pleasure this correspondent brings to you the wonderful experience of flying Air India Express with a crew so wonderful. While the beautiful smiling faces of air-hostesses Nidhi, Meena, Manju and Simone took care of the few passengers who chose to fly this historic flight, their warm reception and prompt service pleased all the passengers. So what if this no-frills airline did not offer anything to eat, passengers were mighty pleased with this experience for the first time that was taking them to their hometown directly from their places of work in the Arabian desert. 

Simone, Nidhi, Meena and Manju

In a very few moments, the flight was converted into a jolly-riding place of Mangaloreans - who not only chose to speak their own languages, but also tried to teach their languages to the lovely north Indian hostesses on board the IX 243/814. Captain first flew us at 35,000 feet as usual, but seeing the unusual turbulence at that level, soon reduced the height to 31,000. When Co-pilot Ramesh Kumar came out, we duly complained for flying full flight in seatbelts, Captain Avinash had to announce that despite his wish to take the seatbelt sign off, turbulence returned to haunt the first time fliers.

All of the fun began when Captain Avinash Chikte welcomed the passengers in Konkani, a language he heard from fellow passengers at the VIP Gate 11, but a language that is not too far from this Pune born Captainís Marathi background. While this Correspondent wrote out the welcome announcements in 4 languages (Konkani, Tulu, Kannada and Beary all written in English script) for Nidhi to make, but Nidhi decided its too much for her to learn all these languages in one shot, so she invited your correspondent to make the announcements himself and duly took Captainís permission to do so! 

And there he was, your correspondent, holding the announcement phone, to the delight and surprise of all the Mangaloreans from Doha and Bahrain, making fluent announcements in Kannada and Tulu and then introducing the multi-lingual background and rich culture of the Mangaloreans to the Western and North Indian crew of Air India Express. Well, the airhostesses were truly amused by this proficiency in Mangalorean languages, they duly learnt the diversity of the location that they would soon be landing.

Then a half hearted attempt was made to play Antakshari by the passengers with the famous Yekka Sakka song, but it lost out of steam as the Gulfie Mangaloreans appeared to have gone a little blank with the hometown languages with all the glitz and glamour of flying this historic flight! Whenever someone tried singing Hindi songs were asked to shift to one of the Mangalorean languages.

It was also amazing that I met this man, Zubair after 32 years as fellow passenger on this historic flight. We needed this flight to take place to meet again. Joyce had sent placard with the right person with right spirit. Mrs Veni Maroly, resident of Marigudi Urwa, a leading lady in many associations in Doha (and previously in Dubai) was also there. It was also a moment to meet another childhood friend Salaam from Mannagudda area of Urwa locality. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet for Mangaloreans living in Doha and Bahrain through this flight. I am sure many more will meet after decades through this flight in the coming weeks and months

With all the fan fare on mid air, the delay at Doha and Bahrain due to multiple reasons, largely due to the festive arrangements at the Bahrain Airport VIP gate no. 11 and some runway work in progress in Bahrain, meant that many of the Mangaloreans were walking out of the Bajpe International Airport at midnight. While the people close to Bajpe were not really bothered, this Correspondent felt for all those who had to reach their homes at a distance Ė from Kundapur on one side and Manchi in Vittal taluk on the other. I have no idea of the people who had to travel down south to the northern districts of Kerala.

 Beautiful airhostesses Nidhi and Meena with Iqbal Manna and Co-captain Ramesh Kumar

At the end of all this, to be treated by your own people at Bajpe International Airport just goes to show the kindness of fellow Mangaloreans ready to assist any people, especially the visitors traveling across the seas. They are already struggling to put in order the limited resources at the existing airport building to handle the manifold of the international flights all landing one after the other at Bajpe International Airport. There were all officials from the airport, more specifically Mr Vasudeva the hard working and achievement oriented head of this tiny airport. Your correspondent did not miss the opportunity to thank him for all the hard work that he has put in that has helped many Mangaloreans in the Gulf to land in their hometowns with utmost ease.

It was also wonderful to see His Excellency, Mr Balakrishna Shetty, the Ambassador of India to Bahrain to be meeting the passengers flying in from Bahrain. His Excellency received Mr Rajkumar, the president of Kannada Sangha, plus a hug for your correspondent and a greeting for all the other passengers. His Excellency then boarded the flight on its return leg back to Bahrain.

With all this happening, who would feel not happy for such a wonderful opportunity provided by the Air India Express? What a historical flight that was, truly worth every Dinar paid for it. Everyone coming out of the airport was mighty pleased, no matter of their remaining journey to reach their remote homes.


To summarise, it was an unbelievable experience. Your correspondent is signing off at 2.30 am of 26 March 2007, sitting with all his near ones at home, completing this report for you all, dear readers. Donít miss any opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of a friendly crew and please donít crib for small troubles that you may face, the larger benefits are too much to be ignored.

Salaam from Qatar, holding a baby sized doll for his daughter on her birthday today.

Mr Zuber holding the "Proud to be Mangalorean" placard that was given to him by Joyce Alvares at Doha airport.

Rajkumar with the Mrs Asha Shetty (wife of Mr Shantaram Shetty, GM, Ramee Group, Bahrain) & family after alighting at Mangalore

Related articles on Doha - Bahrain - Mangalore flights:

Maiden Air India Express Flight To Mangalore Takes Off from Bahrain

Maiden Flight from Doha takes off to Mangalore

Its official: Captain Avinash Chikte will fly Air India Express to Mangalore!

Doha: Mangaloreans line up to book tickets on Inaugural Flight

Mangaloreans in Doha and Bahrain gear up to celebrate the Maiden flight

Qatar: Mangaloreans and Keralites lineup to fly on the Inaugural Flight

Air India Express Gets Landing Rights At Qatar - Stage Set For Inaugural Flight

Qatar: Mangaloreans overjoyed at the prospect of a direct flight

Bahrain: Mangaloreans overjoyed at the prospect of a direct flight

Bahrain - Doha - Mangalore Direct Flight: Air India Express acquires Landing Rights in Bahrain

Doha-Bahrain-Mangalore Direct Flight for Final Approval

Related news on Oman - Mangalore flights:

Celebrations on board AI830

Maiden Flight from Abu-Dhabi/Muscat lands at Mangalore

Muscat - Maiden Flight to Mangalore flagged off in style

Abu Dhabi: Historic Flight Takes Off

Welcome Aboard IX830: Captains speak

Sentiments From The Heart

Abu Dhabi Air India Office Announces Official Press Release

Landing Rights not yet ready for AI Express at Abu Dhabi Station

Air India Office Muscat Announces Official Press Release

Oman: DGCAM Oman and AI Express Manager Speak To Team Mangalorean

Flights to Mangalore from Muscat/Abu Dhabi on February 15th

Direct Flights from Muscat and Abu Dhabi -Online Booking Open in First Week of Feb

AI Express - Maiden Flight from Oman to Mangalore to take off on February 15, 2007

Air India Express Update: Mangalore flights from Muscat and Abu Dhabi

Muscat Ė Mangalore Direct Flight: Air India Express awaiting approval for Jan 18th 2007

OMAN: It's Mangalore, Mangalore, Mangalore all the way!!

High-level Indian Delegation Arrives In Oman (An Interview On Landing Rights And Mangalore Airport...)

NRI Forum In Oman Submit Memorandum For Muscat-Mangalore Direct Flight

Articles related to Kuwait - Mangalore Direct Flight Struggle:

Direct flights of Air India Express From Kuwait to Mangalore by June?

Mangalore: Oscar Fernandes assures Support For Kuwait/Jeddah Flight

Interview: Pascal Pinto Speaks On Mangalore-Kuwait Direct Flights

Kuwait: Karnataka NRIs Urge For Direct Flights To Mangalore

'I will personally oversee any hindrance for the Mangalore Intl airport': Veerappa Moily

Kuwait NRIs suggest airline routes from Bajpe

Start direct flights to the Gulf: Kuwait NRIs

Kuwait: UAKK to Intensify Struggle on Mangalore International Airport

Also read

Bajpe Airport Terminal: Work In Full Progress

First International Flight Lands At Bajpe

Dubai: Air India Express Takes Off To Mangalore

All Eyes On Mangalore Airport...

The Green Green Fields Of Home

Dubai: A tete-a-tete With Capt Rahul Sahani

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Jitesh, India Sep 17, 2011
Don't Travel by Airindia Express, pay little higher rate and have piece of mind
I booked the ticket from Mumbai to Kochi-Cochin for 22/10/2011 in the month of July dated 14 Jul, 2011
by at that time all tickets were available at cheapers rates.
I received an email for AirIndia Express on 14th Sep Mumbai - Cochin when rates are three times
that of July rates they are finding software errors that fuel surcharge was not included
I am not the only customer who is suffering , all the customers has to pay this amount.
As a customer I feel cheated, does it amount to fraud?

Copy of email "Dear Sir, Thank you very much for choosing Air India Express for your travel from Mumbai
to Kochi. May we bring to your kind attention that due to some software error while booking, you have not
been charged for Airline Fuel Surcharge (YQ) amounting to Rs.2200/- per passenger.

The error is sincerely regretted.
This is to request you to kindly contact nearest Air India office and pay Airline Fuel Surcharge (YQ) of
Rs.2200/- per passenger booked in your PNR for flight IX204/22OCT from Mumbai to Kochi failing which
it will be collected at the time of check in at Mumbai Airport.
For your kind information our Mumbai Office Phone No. is 022 22796330 or 022 22796455.
Inconvenience caused is deeply regretted. Regards, Customer Support Air India Express."
D.P.Kumar, India Mar 26, 2007
You made it Agnel. The wholesome smiles on every face is the wonder of that first flight and you have a soothing word too to Mangaloreans.

In days to come, I am sure, things will improve and timings may get adjusted to suit all Doha-Mangaloreans. Very great reporting.
Stany D'Souza, USA Mar 26, 2007
Agnel, you are a true's loyal team member. It is wonderful to see's insignia in and around that maiden flight. It seemed like, you were having a ball with the flight crew. It is wonderful to see gracefulness and simplicity of the crew. Nice improptu news item. Keep up your wonderful and creative reporting work.
Austin Prabhu, USA Mar 26, 2007
Excellent Report Agnel.

I hope you had a wonderful time with this Maiden flight to Mangalore!! Keep up your good spirit.
Riana Pinto, Qatar Mar 26, 2007
Kudos to Mangalorean.Com Team in Doha and Bahrain for bringing that wonderful coverage of the historic flight from Doha-Bahrain to Mangalore with those wonderful pictures.

Agnel you have really made all those passengers on flight IX814 a day to remember as they trully enjoyed your company and the fun on the flight. You really took them on a jolly good ride which made them forget the long hours of journey and their weariness as was reported by one of the co-passengers.
Hats Off to you. You are a perfect All-Rounder.
Rajanikanth Shenoy, India Mar 26, 2007
Good experience, Agnel. Good to go through your first hand experience aboard this maiden flight.

A milestone in history indeed!
Kudos Team Mangalorean!
Joyce Alvares, Qatar Mar 25, 2007
That was truly a delight to read. I just cant wait to travel on AI Express to Mangalore. Great efforts by M.Com to make this event a truly memorable one. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. So tell me, any idea of changing your profession? Now that you have impressed the captain and the hostesses with your announcements I am sure the job offer will not be far behind.

Enjoy your time in India.

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