Let’s face it, by choice none of us would take a flight at 3.40am, but that’s what we’d signed up to. Delhi is an airport that never sleeps and it was in full swing when we arrived at 1am. We only had a short wait without needing to pre-screen our luggage and were checked in and handed an invitation to the ITC Green Room on the first floor.
Oh dear! A pretty shabby affair used by a wide range of airlines, judging by the magazines that were scattered around. There was a dismal offering of spirits, beer and cold drinks and the bar and food area was a bit of a mess. There were pots of soup, noodles and open salads, none of which looked like a wise choice. I settled for a couple of bottles of tonic water and some “International Cream Cheese and Onion” crisps, then nipped down stairs to buy some chocolate to snack on.
I’m sure we walked at least three miles to get to the gate, where boarding was already in progress. The fast track lane was working well and we were swiftly on board. Curiously the security process was limited compared to our earlier domestic flight. We were welcomed at the door, and made our way to the Upper Deck where again we were welcomed cheerily. Drinks and amenity kits were handed out, but no hot towels. In fact I don’t think any were distributed on this flight at any time. There was a succession of rambling PA announcements about stowing hand luggage, which became somewhat tedious.
Considerably cleaner this time, the unpleasant stickiness limited to only the dividing screen which we kept down throughout the flight.
Surprisingly there seemed to be quite an elaborate menu for what was badged as a "light meal", but I decided sleep was the priority while Mrs Hermes snaffled some cheesecake before it was time for shut-eye. Whereas the seat had seemed very comfortable for an extended nap on the outbound flight, I found it harder to sleep than I had anticipated, possibly a combination of the hour, and also the temperature – it was pretty toasty throughout most of the flight. My pillow was also fairly battered and I was more conscious than usual of all the ridges in the seat. Breakfast was served about an hour before landing. Warm pastries, fresh fruit salad and a cheese omelette were all fine if not particularly exciting and there were several tea runs which for me is the most important thing. Our already fairly long flying time was extended by a 15 minute hold and then a go-around on short finals due to the plane ahead being slow to leave the runway.
For once the Immigration Hall was more or less deserted. A fair bit of non-priority luggage appeared on the belt before ours appeared, but all in all it was a pretty swift exit from the airport
It was fine as far as it went. But on neither of our flights did CW have a particularly premium feel. It just feels a bit ordinary and lacking in sparkle, and the crews while friendly enough don’t really give it a premium feel either – folksy but with not much polish on either occasion. Perhaps when the new CW product is finally introduced things will change, but in its current form CW now seems somewhat time-expired.