This is my story of an Indonesian domestic flight between Jakarta and Pekanbaru. Pekanbaru is capital city of Riau Province located on Sumatra Island. Geographically, it's closer to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore than to its national capital. The city isn't a main tourist destination but a growing industrial city. Petroleum wells and oil-palm plantations make the province one of the richest in Indonesia. I spent only a night at the city, before continuing my jouney to Medan, North Sumatera, overland. The city is served by Riau Province's main airport, Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport (named after Sultan Syarif Kasim II, a Malay sultan of Siak Sultanate and one of Indonesian national heroes). The airport is mainly serving domestic flights, but there are also international flights to Kuala Lumpur (AirAsia), Malacca (Malindo Air), and Singapore (SilkAir and Jetstar).
Well, the journey was also my first journey with Garuda Indonesia after 9 years. The last time I boarded our national flag carrier was at 2007, from Lombok's old Selaparang Airport to Jakarta. Since then, I'd never used the carrier again. Simple reason: expensive ticket prices. Hahaha.
August 18th 2016, I took a bus to Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Just a month before the journey, Garuda Indonesia moved its domestic flight operation, from Terminal 2F to the new Terminal 3 of the airport which was not 100% complete.
Our flight code was GA178, scheduled to depart at 16.05.
I proceed directly to check in counter. All counters were occupied by Garuda, since it was only carrier operating at this new terminal. Then I got my powerful card to fly.
These pictures are taken on my way to the boarding gate. Well, there have been so many dissatisfactions about the new terminal, but I'm still optimistic. Its status is still in trial and the grand opening will take place next year in 2017. There are still many developments to go.
An Airbus A330 of Garuda could be seen.
We would board through Gate 14. Then the public announcement explained that our flight was delayed for about 10 minutes. Alright.
I was a little bit shocked to know that we will board by bus, without using aerobridges.
This was the aircraft, with registration code PK-GMH, painted in Skyteam Livery. As an only airlines joining one of three big alliances, I always proud that our national flag carrier was a member of Skyteam.
I was greeted by Garuda cabin crews politely. Before reaching my seat, I had to pass business class cabin, and I was impressed.
Then the economy class.
The seat pitch was wide enough for my legs.
All passengers had embarked, and doors were closed. Cabin crews started to give us some candies. Oh, I miss this candies so much. Before my father's retirement from his job, he boarded Garuda frequently and gave me Garuda's candies.
The IFE started showing flight safety instructions. The video was bilingual in English and Indonesian, with Arabic subtitle.
As usual, while waiting to take off, I took Rosary prayer to make me feel safe. At 16.40, the aircraft flew the sky smoothly without any turbulences, after waiting for the queue before take off. Then I checked the lavatory.
These were safety card, "Stars" IFE directory, "Arcade" in-flight shopping catalogue, and "Colours" magazine. All of them were bilingual in English and bahasa Indonesia. I was so happy that the "Colours" magazine had an article about my hometown at the side of Lake Toba, North Sumatra.
It was time for cabin crews to serve foods and drinks. The food set contained a fried chicken kway teow (rice noodles) with vegetables, an orange jelly, and a guava juice. The kway teow was great, and I think it was better than the fried noodles served in KLM which I boarded to Kuala Lumpur at July 24th.
After enjoying my meals, I explored the IFE. There were great selections of Indonesian, American, and Asian movies. "Batman v Superman" was the headline. There were also music channels, flight routes, and others.
As usual, I was not too interested in movies. I decided to turn off the IFE and listening musics from my cellphone, while enjoying great views outside. Everytime I see clouds like this on board, I feel like seeing some "cotton candies" that makes me hungry. Hahahaha.
Finally at 18.15 our aircraft landed smoothly and safely at Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport, Pekanbaru, without any turbulences. Our aircraft parked at the right side of Lion Air.
And these were my final shot of the PK-GMH. The situation was not suitable to take pictures better than these.
Jakarta - CGK
Pekanbaru-Sumatra Island - PKU
I'm surprised with the improvement of Garuda Indonesia, our national flag carrier and a member of Skyteam. There has been so many changes after my last flight with it at 2007. Cabin crews were polite and friendly. The food, chicken fried kway teow, was great and delicious. IFE content had good selections, but it lacked USB connection and the screen was less sensitive.
Soekarno-Hatta Airport's Terminal 3 is still under development. Actually it was forced to be opened, since the infrastructures were not ready enough. I can't wait longer for its grand opening that is scheduled next year in 2017.
Pekanbaru Airport is good and clean enough, but my friends tell me that it has been overcrowded and needs to be expanded.
OK, that's my report for now. Once again, sorry for my bad English. Any suggestions and feedbacks are welcomed. Thanks for reading.
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