I recently had the experience of flying Delhi Sharjah Delhi with Air Arabia. Air Arabia is a budget airline with A320 planes in their fleet.
They have three type of fares, basic, value and extra. The basic fare includes the ticket and 10 kg hand luggage allowance. The value fare includes 30 kg checked in baggage and a sandwich with water. The extra fare includes 40 kg checked in luggage, hot meal, any seat with flexibility for modification and cancellation. You can check out the destinations they fly to from this link, Sharjah is their hub.
I would suggest you check-in online for a smooth experience at the airport. The flights I took were nearly full, so the queue for normal check-in was long both at Delhi and Sharjah Airports. However, as I did online check-in, my lines were short. At Delhi there was no one in the online queue. In Sharjah there was a short queue at the online counter which moved quickly.
For airport security, do remember that at Sharjah they do the retina scanning as part of security procedure. At the moment Sharjah Airport doesn’t have free WiFi.
Both my flights landed before time which was a thing of joy! The seating is 3X3 and comfortable. I had window seats both the times. The in-flight entertainment on this leg is through common TVs. There was Mr. Bean, Just for Laugh Gags, Destination based documentaries and more. On the return I slept peacefully for one and a half hours. I woke up only when they announced the descent to Delhi!
A 320 is a popular aircraft and many budget airlines use it. However Air Arabia gives 32 inches of seat space instead of the standard 28. Many airlines operate the same aircraft with 180 seats whereas Air Arabia does it with 165 seats.
There is food for sale on board. You can pay both in Indian rupees and Dirhams. Water is paid too. My meals were booked online but I did buy tea on my return flight, it was 7 Dirhams. I had Masala Dosa while going and Veg Biryani while coming back.
While going there were two gentlemen next to me who did not speak English. They wanted water and Chicken Biryani. They thought the water was free. When they realized that it was paid they said they didn’t want it. The cabin crew serving at that moment didn’t speak Hindi. So, I was the unofficial interpreter. I told the cabin crew they don’t want the water. They said they have entered it in their system, they can’t change it now. So, I paid for the water and everyone went home happy!
I had comfortable flights with Air Arabia. Even though they sponsored my tickets, the ground and the cabin crew had no inkling of it, I was treated like any other normal passenger. And I was treated well. If you are looking for a value for money airline to fly to UAE and beyond, do consider Air Arabia.
My blogging journey started in 2005 with a trip to Leh. Leh thus has an immense sentimental value for me! I re-visited Leh in January 2016! The winter flight to Leh was operated by GoAir. The trip in 2005 was a road trip. So this was my first chance to click the glorious mountains while landing at Leh! Like any good traveler I did my research. I was told that on a Delhi-Leh flight I should choose the A side window seat and the reverse while coming back!
I opened the GoAir website punctually 24 hours before my flight so that I could choose a window seat at the web check-in. To my surprise even at that early hour all but one window seats were gone! But I got 30A the last available window seat, it would have to do!
As I was flying in January, the airport was on high alert. Till the Republic Day is over security at the Indian Airports remains high. I am only stating this as a fact, I would rather deal with high security than with a breach of security! We were traveling in a big group, we were on invitation from the Hotel Grand Dragon. It took us ages to clear the security!
Eventually I found my window seat in the plane. The plane was full of Ladakhi people going back home. There were only a few tourists going there in the bitterly cold weather. I initially thought the people sitting next to me were locals but I eventually realized that they were from Japan! I had a good flight, there was no turbulence. I bought a cup of tea in-flight and enjoyed it.
The plane soon started its descent to Leh. I was now glued to the window! It was a mesmerizing panorama unfolding below me! As there was no luggage space left on, the rack I had kept my camera bag in front of the seat! Everyone had heavy woolens in their hand luggage hence the overhead compartments became full! I put the opportunity to good use, I took out my DSLR to click the pictures at the landing! The Japanese couple sitting next to me passed their camera as well. I was happy to click for them, they like the pictures!
As we got out of the plane, a gust of icy wind greeted us. The temperature was -3 degree Celsius. I had a down jacket and an overcoat in my hand luggage. I was doing fine.
Even though Leh has become popular with the tourist, the airport is still basic. Even the doors were covered just with blankets! There was no real door. I wonder where all the tourism money is going!
On my return flight, the hotel did the check-in and I got a middle seat! I sulk like crazy when I don’t get a window seat but with some good pictures on the landing, I decided to be more gracious about the middle seat, I only sulked a little!
When it comes to aeroplanes I think the world can be divided into window lovers and aisle lovers. And no one loves the middle seats. If you wish to confirm this argument skip doing the web check in and see which seats you get on a full flight. All windows and aisles would be gone and all you will get is a middle seat! I am a firm window seat lover.
On a few occasions when I forgot to do the web-check in and got a middle or aisle seat, my misery knew no bounds! Middle seat is a bit more miserable than aisle seat for the obvious reasons. You have the freedom to move around if you wish when you get an aisle seat but to me that is a very poor consolation. You ask why? Well the pictures are my answer to you.
No aisle seat can offer me this view. I recently visited Goa and came back today. I was invited by the Goa Tourism Department to attend the Goa’s Coconut and Cashew Festival. I managed to get a window seat both the times. The views are the reason of my addiction to the window seat. The only person who manages to dislodge me from it is my daughter Chhavi.
I have been on aisle seats when the person occupying the window seat has been fast asleep through a blazing sunrise! Nothing can be more frustrating for a window lover! Thankfully my Goa trip doesn’t fall in that category. I could see the Zuari Bridge from air. The coastline looked so majestic from the air!
I find the best opportunity to click pictures is when the plane banks on your window side. It is an awesome feeling to see the sea and sky merge in the far distance. And when I think that someone else paid for ticket because I blog, I feel truly blessed.
I knew Maldives was beautiful but I didn’t know it was this beautiful. So, if you live in India haul yourself to Maldives at the first opportunity with your dear ones. You will find flights from Kochi cheaper. Even from Delhi as I booked in advance I got 17 thousand Indian rupees as the return fare. It was the same for Lakshadweep, Andaman and Male. Though I have not been to Lakshadweep I would recommend Maldives over Andaman any day. As for my costs, I visited a budget island, Maafushi and for two people it was almost as expensive as my going to Andaman alone. I am smitten by Maldives. After South Africa this is the second country where I thought of applying as a college professor. Let me send my kid to college! Sigh, which is such a long time away.
In Maldives one of the most expensive expenditures is the speed boat transfer. And even though local ferries are incredible fun, they are very few and far between. Also every one accepts the US Dollar as currency on the islands. My nephew had local currency which we used for ferry and having coffee at Male.
Now there are a lot of pending stories, while I am really looking forward to not traveling for next two weeks. I never thought I would ever say these words but I am also looking forward to not seeing the insides of a plane for the next two weeks. There I said it.
It has been three weeks of continuous travel, first to Finland then to Rajasthan and now Maldives. Even though I know I am incredibly lucky as the first two trips were invitations, it does take a toll. So while I try and recover a bit, you enjoy my video of flying over Maldives.