Jet Airways pulled out all the stops last week to celebrate the imminent arrival of their first flight from Bombay to New York on August 5th, coming via Brussels and arriving at Newark Liberty Airport (which I find more manageable than JFK, thought Jet apparently has its eye on JFK too, further down the line).
In October service from San Francisco to Bombay is due to start (flying via Shanghai), and flights to Toronto are slated for launch on September 5th.
At a luncheon held at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria on July 11th, over 150 people from a variety of press outlets – including travel, hospitality, business, consumer and South Asian – supped on paneer tikka appetizers with carmelized endive (nice Belgian touch, that), then stuffed chicken breast with basmati rice and vegetable jalfrezi, finished off with a mango mousse and fresh seasonal fruit.
Jet Airways CEO Naresh Goyal revealed that their economy passengers will have a lounge at Brussels airport, a first, according to him. He was joined by Dr. Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice President for Sales at Boeing, who enthused over the Boeing aircraft that Jet will use for its BOM-BRU-EWR flights, a special 777-300ER that was “the talk of the Paris air show this year because of the way that each class has been defined.” Finally, a representative from General Electric Aviation took to the stage, commenting on the fact that ”we’ve had a relationship with Jet Airways since 1993,” and adding that the engines on this 777 are the most powerful today. Moreover, he asserted that two engines can do the work of four, highlighting the positive impact that has on hydrocarbon and fuel usage, and, by extension, the environment.
The team of flight attendants present sported the airline’s new uniforms, designed by Roberto Capucci.
Up on stage, there were a few rows of the specially designed Boeing economy class seats (swirling dry ice not included at 35,000 feet),
a sample of the business class seat/pod with its accompanying equipment,
and topped off by the now-famous first class “suite”, containing an extra wide seat that flattens out to a bed, and surrounded by its own walls (one containing a flat panel TV screen) and sliding doors that the occupant can close for privacy, creating a small room.
(The crowd at this event were far too classy to ask any, ahem, indelicate questions, but come on, am I the only one to look at the photos of these cosy little rooms and think “What’s Hindi for ‘Mile High Club’?”)
And look, you even get your own doorbell:
What some follks may not know is that Jet Airways has a filmi connection: their Board of Directors includes Yash Chopra, Javed Akhtar and Shah Rukh Khan among its members.