by John O'Ceallaigh, The Telegraph, April 10, 2017
Serving 65 destinations throughout India and worldwide, Jet Airways flies to London Heathrow from Delhi and its hub in Mumbai. This is a review of the experience aboard a daytime Premiere (or business-class) flight from Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport to London Heathrow aboard a Boeing 777-300ER.
Pre-departure: Jet Airways international flights from Delhi depart from Terminal 3 and all passengers should ensure they have a print-out of their ticket to hand in order to efficiently bypass security personnel at the building’s entrance and proceed to check-in. After gaining entry I was promptly attended to by staff at the dedicated Premiere counter, and cleared immigration via the fast-track channel reserved for business- and first-class passengers; the entire process took about 15 minutes.
Despite its stature as India’s second biggest airline, Jet Airways is surprisingly without its own lounge in Delhi. I was instead granted access to the Plaza Premium Lounge (also used by BA and Virgin Atlantic passengers, among others). It’s an indistinct but fully adequate space with ample seating, showering facilities, bar and a fair range of hot Indian and international dishes on offer.
The seat: Premiere passengers aboard Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330-200 aircraft are seated in a 1x2x1 herringbone layout – solo passengers should appreciate the sense of isolation this provides; couples can choose to sit facing each other from across the aisle or with one partner seated in front of the other.
The seat itself extends to a 180-degree, 73” flat bed, offers hip dimensions of 33.1” and includes a massage function. Passengers of unremarkable proportions should consider the space completely comfortable, though I found storage space didn’t meet my needs. Populated with my wash bag (Jet Airways doesn’t provide an amenity kit on daytime flights), stockpile of magazines and laptop, my surrounds felt somewhat cramped.
Entertainment: Displayed on a 15.4-inch touchscreen, the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system JetScreen offers a choice of approximately 180 on-demand films, 249 TV programmes and nearly 1,000 audio CDs.
That impressive breadth is skewed towards the airline’s primary market, however, with masses of Bollywood and Indian region features among the film selection but very few notable recent Hollywood, European or international releases apparent. Unable to catch up on some new blockbuster as I had hoped, I instead unearthed a vast catalogue of TED talks.
Passengers can also while away time by exploring a virtual library of audio books and e-books displayed on screen, or even attempt to learn a language with integrated Berlitz World Traveller software. Wi-Fi isn’t available on flights - as I’m too frequently online on the ground this is something I always appreciate personally - but text messages and emails can be sent from the air for an additional charge.
Food & drink: Premiere’s Dine Anytime menu invites passengers to eat as and when the wish, with options divided more or less evenly between Indian dishes (devised by Kensington’s Bombay Brasserie, which is part of India’s high-end Taj hotels group) and international cuisine (overseen by Michelin-starred Belgian chef Yves Mattagne).
Wine options are limited, with two European reds and whites apiece on offer during my flight, alongside Bollinger Special Cuvee champagne, which was served from a dainty 375ml bottle (some flights instead serve Billecart – Salmon Brut). Cocktails are available, however, and tea options are extensive, with a comprehensive Sky Chai menu offering a range of excellent international blends from a Kashmiri Kahwa to a Masala tea to a Japanese Sencha.
To eat, I chose a fair beetroot, orange and sesame seed salad to start and, as a mains, an enjoyable, flavoursome Murgh Biryani. A dish of pastry-encased marinated chicken with basmati rice, mint and yoghurt it came, like all Indian dishes served in Premiere, with spiced okra and black lentils. Far more popular than Western options includinga vegetable canneloni and a a roast corn-fed chicken with pumpkin-potato mash, an array of colourful, attractively presented Indian dishes were ordered by neighbouring passengers. My dessert, a white chocolate and raspberry cheese mousse, was an indistinct finale.
Prior to landing we were able to order from a ‘light menu’ offering either raj kachori – deep-fried flour shells stuffed with spiced potatoes and chickpeas – or a stolid chicken tikka burger with potato wedges. Cheese, Indian breads, popcorn and other snacks were also available during the flight.
Service: Staff were relaxed and friendly, though as I had noted on my earlier flight from London, sometimes forgetful and occasionally slow.
Post-departure: Premiere passengers are provided with fast-track forms for immigration. Getting through Heathrow at about 6.30pm on the weeknight of my arrival was entirely painless.
Price: Jet Airways flies daily from London Heathrow to Delhi and twice daily to Mumbai, and operates a large number of domestic routes throughout India. Return fares from London Heathrow to Delhi cost from £1,647 in Premiere business class or £510 in economy class. To book visit jetairways.com or call 0808 101 1199.