Review of Airnorth flight Darwin Dili in Economy

Airline Airnorth
Flight TL514
Class Economy
Seat 13F
Aircraft Embraer E-170
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 10 May 14, 09:45
Arrival at 10 May 14, 10:30
TL 2 reviews
Published on 26th July 2015
East Timor Trip (Timor Leste) Report Part 2
This is the second part of my journey to Dili. I apologise in advance for the lack of cabin shots but after being awake for the whole day before this flight, then taking the red eye at 1:45AM and transiting for 4 hours at Darwin airport, I think I have been awake for more than 24 hours so my mind was not working properly.

Darwin to Dili, East Timor
The second leg of the journey would be on Airnorth, a Darwin-based airline that services the top end of Australia.

I was booked on TL514 departing at 09:45AM, which arrives into Dili at 10:30AM.

Darwin has a very small airport, if Usain Bolt ran from start to finish, it would take him maybe 10 seconds to cover the length of the terminal.
So a 4 hour layover is not ideal since there is no lounge for international departures.
Also there are not enough seats because the airport was undergoing renovations, which means most of the shops are closed.
As a result, there were travellers sleeping at the baggage claim area, under small crane lifts, or anywhere else they can find a small piece of empty floor to sleep.
However, after the renovations are finished, there will be more shops and restaurants.

At the time of my visit, however I didn't have much choice. I was hungry and I went to a cafe near the baggage claim area and bought one egg and bacon muffin for $9.50.
photo darwin-airport-departure-gate-1photo darwin-airport-departure-gate-2

Air North's check in does not open until 2 hours prior to the flight departure, so I had to sit in baggage carousel area until 07:45AM.

Since the Dili flight is the first international flights that morning, customs and immigration would not open until 09:00AM - 45 minutes before departure.

I wait by the gate for the customs officers to arrive and open the doors. Shortly after they opened the passport and immigration control, I passed the security and walk straight into the duty free shop area, which also just opened.

I walk straight through the duty free shop, to the international departure terminal, which is separated from the domestic terminal by a glass wall.

The flight
Air North TL514 Darwin 09:45AM - 10:30AM Dili
Embraer E170
Seat 13F

The flight only had 20 passengers out of 76 seats, so it was a light load.
photo air-north-boarding-pass

Departure was on time!

The seat
The E170 jet is a single aisle plane and the seat is layout is 2x2. The seat pitch is approximately 31-33 inches. For a 70 minute flight, it was fine.
photo air-north-cabin-1photo air-north-cabin-2photo air-north-leg-room

The cabin service
There are two cabin crew members on this flight. Because it is a very short flight and only two dozen passengers or so, the service was very quick and the crew quickly disappeared into the galley. There was no entertainment, except the inflight magazine.
photo air-north-magazine-1photo air-north-magazine-2

The catering
The catering is basic, a 110ML juice box and two pastries, one with Danish peach and another filled with chocolate. There was a round of coffee and tea offered.
photo air-north-meal

Overall impression
The flight was uneventful, I was tired so I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. About 20 minutes before landing, I woke up to enjoy the view flying over the mountains and descending into Dili.
photo cloud-show-1

My favourite part about approaching Dili Nicolau Lobato Airport is the manoeuvres that the captain performs.

It is very cool. Because we were cruising at 40,000 feet, and East Timor is all mountain, the captain has to descend to almost sea level, so he descends in a swirl manoeuvre, flying past the city and continuing north, and then turns the plane on an angle and you can see the ocean if you are on the right side (which I wasn't), and it keeps going round and round. Then he lines up in preparation for landing.

Landing was smooth and quick, since the runway is very short and if you don't stop in time, you go into the ocean.

Arrivals terminal & hall
photo landing-in-dili-10

That concludes my journey to Dili, I will post my return flight in the near future.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.

I have also included some pictures of Dili.
Chaotic roads in capital city.

Unfortunately, accommodation in Dili is very expensive, with rooms around $280 USD a night if you want a good hotel. So it is not very inviting for tourists because they can go to Bali or Phuket for a lot less! I stayed at JL Villa which was nice and clean.

However Timor Leste is a beautiful place, and right now it is unspoilt. There are remote villages with colonial Portuguese architecture still standing.

There are some eco resorts, where you take a small boat to an island and accommodation, cost $40 USD a night. You are basically shut off from the rest of the world and just enjoy the environment. They also have scuba diving.

But if the beach is not your thing, they have beautiful mountains and forests and I think there are trekking tours. The best time of the year is during coffee harvesting season. I hope one day you can see for yourself, because it is hard to describe the beauty in words.

If you want to visit the mountains, its best to come during the dry season because during the raining season, all the roads are washed away and you will end up being stuck in the mountains and missing your flight back home. Otherwise plan to stay longer.
On this trip, I couldn't go to mountains because the roads were in bad shape, and there were reports of trucks and buses falling off the mountain cliff because the roads were collapsing, so it was unsafe to go.
See more



Cabin crew7.0

Darwin - DRW


Dili - DIL



Airnorth's short flight is hard to review because at around 1 hour or less, there is not much you can do, except go up, reach cruising altitude for a few minutes and begin descend again.

Feel free to ask me anything you want to know about Timor Leste.



If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 142603 by
    Chibcha SILVER 501 Comments

    It's something very funny when you're the one who practically opens the airport.

    The flight service seemed pretty spartan, but as you say is OK for a 70m flight. I really liked the views!

    Thanks for this very interesting report to a place it's not talked of often in my side of the world!

    • Comment 321999 by
      airtraveladdict AUTHOR 119 Comments

      Hello Chibcha, thank you for reading.
      It is amusing to think of it now that way, but when i was without sleeping for over 24 hours, I was very grumpy that customs and immigration didn't arrive until 9AM. lol
      The meal service is very very basic but the airfare is not cheap.
      For Airnorth flights, normally this 70 minute flight cost minimum $250 US Dollars.

      Yes you live in Bogota, that is one place I want to visit one day too!
      But Dili Timor Leste is not a country people hear about in Bogota :)

  • Comment 142632 by
    Travip 108 Comments

    Oh, the 2-2 seat config but I'm sure it's more comfortable than ATR72. The meal looked boring :D Hope you had good time in Timor Leste!

  • Comment 142677 by
    Mathieu 2078 Comments

    Hi :)
    Thanks for sharing this flight.
    You don't have to apologize, your report is perfect :)
    I'm suprised to read than Air North operates E170 in its fleet.

    Great bonus & awesome hotel :)

    See you,

    • Comment 321997 by
      airtraveladdict AUTHOR 119 Comments

      Hello and thank you Mathieu for reading and commenting.
      I only feel I let the flight reporting community because I didn't take enough cabin and seat pics!
      But this trip was taken last year when I was only a newbie trip reporter :)

      Yes Airnorth operates the E170 and E120, but I have only ever flown on E170.
      And I have also flown on E190 but with another airline.
      I have to admit that Embraer is really a fun jet experience.

      Yes the hotel was pretty good, but Timor needs to bring down their prices if they want to attract tourist, $US280 a night is more expensive than some hotels in New York.

  • Comment 142708 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6051 Comments

    Thanks for making the effort to do a report on this leg so we can discover this previously unreported airline! I would have been dead after coming off a short redeye--plus it's rough to go from Business class to economy. Luckily E-jets are comfortable in the 2-2 configuration and the seats are generally wider than normal narrowbody Y seats. The catering is kind of forgettable, but then again it's only a short 1 hr flight. Great bonus pics and info about Timor Leste.

    Thanks again for sharing this report on a new airline for the database to this exotic destination!

    • Comment 321996 by
      airtraveladdict AUTHOR 119 Comments

      Hello Kevin,
      Thank you, it is a very small airline company that flies mainly north of Australia routes to remote areas, so not many people would know about it.
      Yes the red-eye is annoying because it is only 4 hours, but you spend the whole day awake prior to the flight and you get on 1.45AM and arrive 5.45AM and have to sit on hard chairs at baggage claim because the international terminal isn't open yet.
      Hahaha yes from Business to Economy is a very big change. I don't like to say that, but its true.
      The Embraer jets are so cool! I love them. Obviously for a short flight :)
      I will post the return trip also, although the Airnorth flight is not different at all. But there are so cool cloud shows.
      And you get to see Virgin Australia's dinner service DRW-MEL.

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