CHECK-IN I arrived at 1230 for my 1345 departure on Jet Airways’ daily flight 9W0122 to London Heathrow. To gain access to the terminal at Delhi you need a paper ticket or an e-ticket, so don’t rely on just your passport to gain admittance. Check-in for Premiere (business class) passengers was extremely quick and efficient, as was immigration.
THE LOUNGE Jet’s Clipper lounge is up the stairs immediately after immigration and before security. If you are nervous about relaxing in the lounge when security remains between you and the gate, you can always leave early (this would be advisable if you want to shop for duty-free, since once through security you will not be allowed to return to the lounge). Flights are called in the lounge, and there is a choice of snacks and both alcoholic and soft drinks.
THE SEAT This was a three-class B777-300ER aircraft with eight first class seats (A-DG-K), 30 business seats in a 1-2-1 herringbone configuration (A-DG-K) and 274 seats in economy (3-3-3, ABC-DEF-HJK). As can be seen from the seatplan (right), the business class cabin starts with two centre seats in row eight (DG) and then carries on in a 1-2-1 layout from row nine. I was in seat 8G, which is the one to avoid. It faces the toilet, and you are often disturbed by people drawing the curtain to one side, impinging on your personal space; then, since the curtain never returns to fully closed, you get to watch the door of the toilet open and shut.
All of the business class seats have lumbar support and massage systems, and convert electronically to a 180-degree 73in/185cm flat bed with 35.5in/90cm shoulder room and 33in/84cm hip space. The seat also had a good-sized table (although this bounced when working on a laptop), a power point, a telephone and an on-demand in-flight entertainment system with a good choice of recent films, music and games. The controls were difficult to work as they operated with quite a delay, and then when they caught up they had often gone too far, so patience is necessary.
THE FLIGHT The food choice was excellent. To start there was a mesclun of seasonal greens with black olives, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and artichokes with balsamic dressing, or wild mushroom soup with cream. One of the main courses, according to the menu, was “dabba gosht, aloo methi ka tuk and kabuli channa pulao: tender morsels of mutton braised and seal cooked in a flavourful gravy of browned onion, roasted cashew nuts and fresh yoghurt; potatoes stir-fried with fresh fenugreek leaves; and spiced chick-pea pilaf rice”. I would have had this but the possibility that there was a second meat in the dish, namely seal, put me off. (It should have read “tender morsels of mutton braised and sealed, cooked in a flavourful gravy of browned onion”.) Instead I chose the aloo gobhi ki tehari and baghara baingan – cauliflower florets and potato quarters cooked in long-grain basmati rice and select spices, with eggplant in coconut and sesame-seed gravy – it was delicious.
Other choices were pan-seared chicken breast with new potatoes tossed in goat’s cheese, caramelised figs and honey-touched creamy veloute sauce, or tagliatelle with mushrooms tossed in a garlic-flavoured basil pesto sauce. Desserts included a chocolate and pear tart, ice cream, a fresh fruit platter and a selection of gourmet cheeses. The wines included a Montagny Premier Cru 2006, a Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet Blanc, a Château Puy St-Georges 2006 and a Bourgogne Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2007. Service was excellent, but I had a few niggles about the product – the salad was served with too much dressing, and most plates I saw were largely uneaten, I think for this reason. The napkin was too small for my lap, and there wasn’t a white wine choice to complement the Indian food. Note also that no amenity bag was offered on this daytime flight (on the night flight a Bulgari bag was given out, along with a sleep suit). An extra meal was served before landing.
ARRIVAL We arrived on time and were quickly off the aircraft. At the carousel an attendant lifted off all business and first class luggage and left it to one side, although I am not sure if this worked as the area was quickly blocked with trolleys.
VERDICT The Jet Airways seat is of a similarly excellent standard to those of Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand, and the service was friendly and helpful.
CONFIGURATION 1-2-1 in first and business class and 3-3-3 in economy
SEAT RECLINE 180 degrees, fully flat
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return business class flight from Heathrow to Delhi in July started from £2,982.