We flew from London Heathrow to New Delhi on Christmas Day and after quickly checking in, made our way to the South Lounge: the north was closed, presumably due to lower passenger numbers. Having checked there were no availability at the Elemis Spa (are there ever?), we settled down with G&T, turkey and cranberry sandwiches and the Telegraph Christmas crossword in the lounge.
6pm was obviously the witching hour when sandwiches were cast aside and cold cuts, quiche and salads were brought out along with hot dishes like chilli con carne, baked potato and spaghetti with meat and vegetarian sauces. But we were saving ourselves for our pre-booked meal.
Although the departure board gave the status as boarding, on arrival, we found chaos as staff started to take larger pieces of hand luggage from passengers to put in the hold despite protestations that they were within the size regulations. The reason? A small plane. But it wasn’t clear why this hadn’t been addressed at check in.
Our paid for, pre-booked, Club World seats were in a small section of business class with only 14 passengers. We enjoyed pre-take off fizz and another glass before dinner: it was Christmas after all.
The two-female cabin crew were very attentive. Dinner was excellent with two different starters of Scottish smoked salmon with pickled cucumber, radish and dill cream cheese and the Indian option of aloo chaat with a spicy lime pickle. Disappointed that our national carrier was not providing a traditional roast turkey Christmas dinner, we’d chosen the British option of pressed shoulder of lamb with tarragon and mushroom sauce, sweet potato and broccoli, whilst I started as I meant to go on, with chicken curry, cumin rice and tadka dal. With a few glasses of New Zealand Chardonnay and a salted caramel slice with burnt honeycomb cream we were soon snoozing on our flat beds. Fortunately, neither of us snored unlike a man on the opposite side who was churning them out. One of the cabin crew had tried to wake him, without success. She suggested using the ear plugs from my amenity bag full of Elemis bits and bobs.
We both declined breakfast as, because the flight was only seven and a half hours, it didn’t seem long since we’d had dinner. We landed early in what we would call mist but the Indians call fog.
The return journey in February, was on a BA strike day but we’d been reassured a few days before that they’d made contingency plans and that long-haul flights would be guaranteed. The service was similarly good and the only difference was that due to an Indian regulation, alcohol could not be served until we’d taken off. So, it was either water or orange juice . . . . not quite the same as fizz.