GA 133 Bandar Lampung Raden Inten TKG – Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK
31 May 2010
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 0745 – 0835
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 0757 – 0830
This is my first trip report that I have written, after having had the pleasure of reading so many trip reports in this forum. I thought I would contribute something special. I live in the southern tip of Sumatra Island in Indonesia, in province called Lampung and does go to Jakarta quite often for business/pleasure and my flights overseas. This is one of such flights that I undertake, because the alternative is a tiring 6 hour ride by car and ferry.
Due to the liberation of the air transport sector in Indonesia for the last few years, there have been numerous competitors to incumbent Garuda Indonesia. I know Sriwijaya Air and Batavia Air fly the route from Branti Raden Inten (TKG) to Soekarno Hatta (CGK). It was only until recently that Batam became the second destination where one could fly to out of TKG.
For those interested to know, Bandar Lampung is the biggest town in the province of Lampung whose main industry includes coffee, pepper, shrimp, pineapple and palm oil. It is also famous for being close to Krakatoa, the site of the largest volcanic eruption ever on Earth. Their main airport at Branti is in the northern part of town, with small motels/inns just located opposite the airport, though one can find better accomodations in town at the Sheraton and the recently opened Novotel.
Now back to the main trip report, the main check in hall of the airport is only accessible to ticket holders though its is not unknown for family members to try and sneak in. The ubiquitous X-ray machine greets travellers in the main entrance to the departure hall. Upon passing the security check, there are 3 main check in lines, namely for Sriwijaya Air on the left, Garuda Indonesia and Merpati in the middle and Batavia Air on the right. Off to the middle one to get our boarding pass. No online check in for Garuda, unfortunately and since this is a domestic flights, no passports needed. Technically speaking, check in counter staff are supposed to ask for some identification but I don’t think the check in agent did. Neither did she ask any form of seat preference. Though she did take note that I have already inputted my Garuda Frequent Flyer Number into the system. Not that it matters much since the bulk of my miles goes to Cathay.
After checking in, we head to the room on the right, but before we can proceed further, we have to queue to pay an airport tax plus a passenger service fee totalling Rp 15,000 or about US$ 1.60. With the dues paid, there was a second security screening, and don’t expect a priority queue here folks, since I might believe the whole airport only has 2 X-ray machines. Through the second security line, a central waiting hall and lone departure ‘gate’, ehmm maybe door. Before one gets to enjoy lounge facilities (yes, there’s lounge here, its not that backwards after all eh?) there is a registration of passengers who has checked in. For Sriwijaya flights, passengers are also given their ‘inflight’ snack box upon registration instead of stewardess serving it in the air. The executive lounge is just beside the table where registration of passengers is done. Though for better views and a more cheerful atmosphere head to the cafeteria at the opposite end of the holding hall where the glass windows shows diners airplanes arriving and departing. There is also a souvenir and snack shop beside the cafeteria. Lampung is well known for its banana chips.
The plane destined to take me to my destination has yet to arrive so I get to catch some shots of GA133 arriving. Best way to tell if your plane will be delayed is if your plane doesn’t arrive 15 minutes before scheduled departure time. Plane turnover is suprisingly quick for an airport that serves 10 flights a day! And I say that with some tongue in cheek.
Once the arriving passengers have disembarked, and the baggage has been offloaded, the gate is prepped for boarding. No aerobridges or buses here. Traditional walking to the plane. Neither does the gate agent make any priority boarding group and given the small holding area, once there was a sign of the gate agent starting to call for boarding, all the passengers start making multiple lines to rush to board. Since seats are pre-assigned, I don’t see the need for the rush. But as I wanted to take some photos of the airport and aircraft, I tried to queue at where the line was shortest. I think given the increasing number of flights, it is time for the departure hall to be enlarged to make it more comfortable.
It is a nice stroll under the warm morning sun, but I cant imagine what it would be like to walk under a hot noon sun or rain. But I have never encountered the latter problem since I think most flights are delayed in the event of rain. Raincheck for flights anyone? One interesting note was that your boarding pass is stamped rear or front upon check in. As I had a seat on the 19E and 19F, out of 21 rows, there was a stamp to indicate for me to take the rear stair access to the plane. Though the stamp is barely visible unless under close scrutiny. Stewardess gave out candies (Fox’s candies with Garuda Indonesia wrappers) before the flight and as we waited out in the tarmac as the airport is preparing to receive the second flight of the day which is a Sriwijaya flight from CGK. There was also an inflight safety video demonstration. I got a photo of the Sriwijaya flight parking next to ours. Plane started moving again around 7.55am after probably 10 minutes of waiting. The plane took a short turn left to prepare its run for take off. Take off was pretty good under clear weather and the crew immediately started to give out snack boxes after the seat belt sign has been switched off. Flight was occupied in all economy class seats, and the snack boxes contains a danish pastry, a pack of mixed nuts, a Kit Kat bar, a pack of Sosro Tea and a packet containing serviettes and a small spatula.
What I noticed was the cleanliness of the cabin and slightly roomier legroom at the Garuda flight compared to the Sriwijaya flight. This could be due to the Executive class making up the 1st 4 rows at the front, while the Sriwijaya is an all economy class cabin. Some inflight video entertainment is also shown on screens located on top of the aisle during the flight. Requests for water on top of the snack service was also nicely attended to. As far as I can tell, only me and my mother who is travelling with me requested for water service. Did not drink the tea as it was not cold and not really thirst-quenching. After all, I have a preference for Chinese teas.
During this short flight, I noticed the presence of an inflight shop catalogue, but I doubt there was time for the stewardess to collect orders. And after collecting the snack boxes, the stewardess was busy doing their stuff, it wasn’t long before the pilot called for the crew to prepare for landing. Landing was pretty straightforward and with it being a short domestic flight, there was no aerobridge on the arrival side, with an airport bus arriving to bring passengers to the terminal.
Garuda Indonesia domestic flights also drop off its passengers on the newer Terminal 2 which adjoins the international terminal. This makes it more convenient for passengers with onward international connections. Note that there is only a bus connection between the domestic-only Terminal 1 and international Terminal 2 in Soekarno-Hatta. Baggage claim was also pretty fast, as compared to the domestic terminal. Perhaps it was also due to the early morning flight, with GA133 being one of the first arrivals in Soekarno Hatta. Overall, the clean planes, and on-time schedule as well as the beautiful weather made the journey a very nice flight.