Jet Airways Economy Review New Delhi (DEL) to Kathmandu (KTM) (and return) B737, ITC Lounge Review DEL, Executive Lounge Review KTM
The day before my outbound travel to Kathmandu, Jet Airways had just announced the possible shutdown of the airline if employees did not start taking concessions. However, operations seemingly weren’t affected (as far as I could tell).
Jet Airways operates from New Delhi’s Terminal 3, which is a new world of Indian aviation and looks more like Changi Airport in Singapore than the old (disgusting) Air India terminal. We did check in online but any international travel needs an airline-issued boarding pass (to get it stamped properly – I kid you not). There were just two open desks and it took a while for us to get a boarding pass printed.
Security was a mess, with two huge lines snaking through the whole area – it took a solid hour of waiting, so it was lucky we had arrived early enough at the airport.
There are a number of Priority Pass lounges at the airport and my favorite is the ITC Hotels Green Lounge, which provides decent food and drinks. I had scoped it out on my last trip with Qatar Airways from New Delhi to Doha in business class. Indeed, the lunch menu consisted of 5 different Indian curries and rice and naan. That wasn’t American Express Centurion quality but well above most Priority Pass lounges.
Jet Airways has a number of (aging) Boeing 737 in their fleet and ours would be at the very end of the terminal (easily a 20-minute walk). Once arrived at the gate, boarding was underway and it was surprisingly orderly.
Never have I been scolded for too much carry-on weight or the size of my bags in India or neighboring countries. Neither the check-in agent nor the gate agent batted an eyelid at my 7kg+ carry-on and small backpack. Other passengers carried similar items – something that is a nice touch as it reduced the whole boarding anxiety.
Once underway, the flight attendants served a kati roll and water – I wasn’t convinced it would be too good so I skipped the food.
Our plane showed a lot of wear and tear but was somewhat clean.
We got underway just a few minutes late and flew first southwest and then northeast to line up with the runway the right way. The monsoon in India was still going strong and the many clouds and thunderstorms gave us a decent shakedown.
Landing in Kathmandu can be rough if you have to land from the mountains but no such shenanigans for us – we simply approached from the Indian side, slow and steady into the low-lying rain clouds.
Immigration is somewhat easy in Kathmandu – you get a machine to type in your passport details and then proceed to pay $25 (in dollar notes!) using your receipt. Once done, you line up at the immigration office and they drop the visa into your passport. Qatar now has four (!) daily flights to Kathmandu, so you better pray you are not landing just after the 300-person A330 they have for one of their flights.
The return flight was similar but had an endless amount of lines for the security check (one just in front of the aircraft) and immigration for us. The Priority Pass Executive Lounge here is pretty miserable as well. It is an old airport terminal and there seem to be no plans to build a new one.
The return flight got even more turbulence but produced the exact same routine and the same food.
However, it had a number of rowdy passengers who got scolded by the flight attendants but who never really calmed down.
In conclusion, I thought Jet Airways was a decent airline. You get a bit of the full-service carrier treatment including a free bag and no gate police for carry-ons. The flights were as routine as it gets and Jet Airways seems to not use the planes for spares. The aircraft are aging but, well, so are Delta’s!
I would not seek out Jet Airways on another trip but I also would not mind it.