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A Review of Vistara 787-900 Economy BOM – LHR

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At the end of their on board safety video, Vistara announces itself as “India’s Beat Airline”. Having flown with Indigo a few times, Spice Jet and Air India, we were really intrigued to see how they would live up to that moniker. Is Vistara really India’s best airline? Read on for our review of Vistara 787-900 economy as we travel from Mumbai to London.

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Why Vistara?

We were meant to fly home from Mumbai with Virgin Atlantic, but we’re enjoying our time at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel so very much, that we decided to change our flight and go later with Vistara. I guess you can say we just wanted our fill of Tata (that own both the hotel and Vistara). Vistara has the latest flight from Mumbai to London (around 14:55 on the day we flew), arriving back in the UK around 20:00.

The Airport Experience

Our check in was quick and easy. We dropped our bags as we had wine to bring back to the UK. We wouldn’t normally check in bags but with Vistara’s 7kg hand luggage allowance, plus the boozy souvenir, we decided it would be best. Vistara had about 10 desks at Mumbai which is pretty good to say they only have one flight.

We made our way through security and passport control before making our way to McDonalds. Yes, we just had to grab a Maharaja Mac to see if it was as good as we remember from 2009…turns out, it was.

The boarding gates at BOM are big, open seating areas with some lovely lamps and big sections of green plants which make it quite a pleasant space. They also have huge windows out onto the ramp and runway so we found a nice spot for trying to plane spot as we waited for the plane to board.

Economy was split into two queues, one for the back section and one for the front. It worked reasonably well but as the queues were formed outside of the tensa barriers, the usual slight scrum occurred.

Vistara’s 787 Interior

Let’s do a review of Vistara inside. I love the Boeing 787 and I love that Vistara uses the unique features offered on this plane to full effect. (Almost, the sliding recline on the ANA 787 still wins).

The lighting on the 787 is nicely adjustable. On boarding, they were a pinky purple (not as purple as Virgin’s lighting but very reminiscent.

The windows on the 787 are lovely and large with dimmer switches on the bottom. This is fun but it was a little annoying that they were all dimmed quite early in the flight. The lights were brought down and the message was clear, its sleepy time. When the lights were bought up for the second meal service, they left the windows dark so it still felt like it was nighttime. I tried to brighten mine but I guess they had master control. It would have been to see the sun to help adjust to U.K. time.

After meal two the windows remained dim and the lights were shut off again for another post dinner nap. It felt so odd to wake up the plane for that snack and then try to get them back to sleep.

Our Economy Seats

Seats are in a 3-3-3 configuration in economy, decreasing to 2-3-2 in premium. The seat covers are navy and made of a thick woven material, topped with a head cover with the Vistara logo.

In economy, the seats have a … inch pitch and … inch recline. It feels fine when you are sat but getting in and out is a real squeeze. Luckily, we managed to snag three seats between us so I wasn’t clambering over a stranger but it would be…intimate.

The headrest was very adjustable and was almost low enough at its lowest point for me to use the flippy bits. This is unheard of!

Under the TV, in the seat back is the reading material shelf. This contained the inflight magazine, the safety card and a sick bag.

Below this was the tray table. This had a very neat clip rather than the more common spinning lock. It felt quite snazzy. The tray folded down and then out, sliding towards the seat (but with no room to do so after dinner).

The Storage

Technically, Vistara only allows 7kg in hand luggage but there were clearly a fair few people flouting those rules. Several large bags were slotted into the overhead lockers around us, which the bins took well.

Vistara’s Entertainment

Being an Indian carrier, the entertainment system, Vistara World, was a mix of Indian and American options. There was an abundance of HBO programming and several films starring the same actors. (A few Cate Blanchett, several Ryan Goslings and a couple Leo DiCaprios). They also had music and games but I never got around to those.

I started the flight enjoying the Bernie Madoff film, “The Wizard of Lies”, and then settled in for a rewatch of “White Lotus”. An excellent show as it is, the heightened viewing experience of planes really sucked me in.

Mr Fluskey managed to finish “Crazy, Stupid Love” which he started on the Virgin Atlantic flight on the way over. Don’t you love it when things work out. He moved onto Bullet Train, featuring the new James Bond.

He also found the live channels which were all showing the news. What a happy bunny he could have been with nine hours of BBC World News on one screen and the world map on the other.

The best thing about having three seats is having that middle seat set to the map the whole way. I especially loved spotting some cool mountains from the window and checking out where we were flying over.

Vistara offers paid internet access. Personally, I didn’t need to be online so I didn’t use it but it was good to see the options. Combined with the plugs offered in economy, you could definitely be doing some work on a laptop or just scrolling on your phone if you like to stay connected.

The Amenities

For our review of Vistara amenities, lets start with what is on the seat. There is a pillow, blanket and headphones and all were surprisingly good for economy. I liked the blankets smooth feel but it wasn’t super warm.

The plugs in the TV (a USB and a sound connection) was actually a dual prong. I was worried that this would result in the horrible twiddling that you have to do to use a normal 3.5mm jack but it worked perfectly with just one. Happy days.

The bathrooms were fine. By midway through the flight, they ended up pretty messy and didn’t seem to improve. I would definitely say this was user misuse rather than bad cleaning by the airline. I don’t know if the cabin crew are meant to spot clean them.

Each toilet had the normal foamy hand wash in, some antibacterial gel and curiously, some mouth wash. This was an interesting addition as it requires the user to squirt it right into their mouth and it doesn’t seem like many people would use it?

Vistara’s Economy Food & Drink Service

Round One

Our first meal was served about an hour and a half into the flight. There was an option of chicken or veg and we both opted for chicken. The trolley had a decent selection of drinks including spirits, wine and beer. It is worth noting that although there was Diet Coke, the sugary version was Pepsi. This doesn’t bother me but I am aware there are people that might consider this a deal breaker.

For the review of Vistara’s main meal I had a chicken curry with cumin rice. The curry suffered from being a little two salty but the chicken was really tender and wasn’t dry, a serious accomplishment for an economy meal. The cumin rice was full of flavour and quite fluffy, I was impressed. The bread roll was pretty dry however, but a liberal slather of the good, salted butter solved that.

The little salad on the side had cucumber, tomato and cumin. With the squeeze of lemon it was very refreshing and still crunchy. I would say it’s the best airline side salad I’ve had.

For afters we had a gooey chocolate cake dessert which was yummy scrummy and it was demolished at speed! Finslly, there was a packet which at I first I thought was sugar. Turns out it was a sachet of the minty, herby nibbly stuff often seen at the end of Indian meals.

There was only one drink offered with dinner, with tea and coffee afterwards.

Round Two

At around 2.5 hours to landing, the lights were brought up and the trolley rolled through a second time. Again we were offered the choice of chicken or veg and we both chose chicken. It was another almost full tray with a hot chicken wrap. The wrap was whole meal and slightly chapati-esque and the filling was soft pulled chicken packed with spice. The potatoes were spicy but not really flavourful.

The dessert was a soaked sponge with a crumble topping and sweetened creamy custard. It was another total winner.

On the tray we got another tiny water and a masala lemon water which was fun. It’s nice to have so much water but one bigger bottle would probably be better as they must produce an awful lot of plastic waste with all these cute little ones. They have paper cups and bamboo cutlery so they are obviously making strides in the right direction.

For some reason, our crew member didn’t offer drinks from the trolley whilst the others were pouring away. We caught her on the way back and grabbed a couple of Cokes. We were offered tea or coffee after the meal again but we both declined.

Honestly, I think this is one of the best economy services we have had in terms of food. The quality and quantity were both better than expected. We have often had one good meal followed by a terrible snack, but both meals were tasty. The only things I would change are the cutlery (we had to use the same spork for our savoury food as our dessert) and the plastic bottles.

The Views

Final Thoughts of our Review of Vistara 787-900 Economy

I was pleasantly surprised with Vistara and their service. The food was genuinely tasty, the entertainment selection pretty decent and the seats comfortable enough for a long haul flight. The crew were super friendly and very professional. I didn’t enjoy the lighting settings being dark for so long on a day flight.

Rosie xx

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