Saturday, 9 July 2016

Kolkata to Agartala in an ATR

"Oh God! You booked your ticket in an ATR aircraft!" He uttered these words with a horrifying look, like I made a fatal mistake! It was bizzar. What's wrong with an ATR? The job of an Aircraft is to ferry me from Kolkata to Agartala, if it does it's job, Why the hell should I be worried!

To convince me that I made a mistake he started to elaborate his and his acquaintance experience in ATR flight. According to him, the ATR aircraft travels at 26,000 feet where as Airbus travels at 40,000 feet. As a result, the turbulent weather an Airbus can easily avoid, ATR has no option but to go through it. The weather today is not good, A cyclone is hovering over Bangladesh. I must go through some really terrible time today, he opined confidently. ATR even takes more time to travel the same distance, he said. And service of Air India, it's better not to mention..

Hearing all these crap, I was not actually very much confident while boarding the flight. I was worried as my father who is recently been operated is traveling with me. The first sight of the flight was like "Oh shit!" The flight was tiny compared to the other aircrafts on runway. There was even no need of stairs to climb on the flight, the door of the aircraft served as makeshift stair. It was a tiny flight with just 48 seats.

Representational image borrowed from google. Note the make shift stairs.

Up to this point I was thoroughly upset, but things changed dramatically as we entered into the Cabin. An Air India Air hostess welcomed us and handed over the daily newspaper. The over head luggage space was small, but enough to store small hand luggage I was carrying. I settled down on my seat and relaxed. The Aircraft was soon ready to fly. As the blades started to spin, I realized, the sound in cabin was a bit more compared to airbus.

The take off was smooth. After say 10 minutes as the flight settled mid air, we were handed over our FREE evening snacks packs (Air India Rocks!). Snack pack contained a cheese sandwich, pine apple jam sandwich, 2 sweet and 2 salted biscuit packs and one small soft drink. The pack was good enough to keep hunger centre quiet for next couple of hours.

The sky was cloudy and the clouds formed many interesting patterns. My time passed smoothly watching all those beautiful patterns. As we neared Agartala I was amused to note that Agartala is much greener compared to Kolkata, though it lacks the multi story building the mega city boasts off. The landing was smooth. The scheduled landing time was 6:15pm, but when I switched on my mobile phone post landing, It was just 6pm! Thanks Air India, Thanks ATR! This was my second best travel experience. Some day I shall write about the best experience, when I got upgraded to business class on Jet Airways flight.

PS: What is an ATR Aircraft? Wikipedia says, ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de transport régional; Regional Air Transport in English) is a French-Italian aircraft manufacturer headquartered on the grounds of Toulouse Blagnac International Airport in Blagnac, France.[1] It was formed in 1981 by Aérospatiale of France (now Airbus Group) and Aeritalia (now Alenia Aermacchi) of Italy.[2] Its primary products are the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft.

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