Welcome to a series of flight reports around, you guessed it, the Asia Pacific. This series will contain reports on 6 segments and cover 2 airlines. The final leg on Delta PVG-LAX I will not report on.
The carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method were as follows:
My two previous transits at CGK involved tracking down an airline representative and surrendering my passport to them for 30 - 45 minutes. They would return with a boarding pass and escort me to an escalator that takes you up one floor to the departure level. This is what I was expecting on this transit however I arrived to a deserted transit area. No desks were staffed and none of the visa on arrival stations seemed to be open. Granted 0400 is an early arrival but it is a scheduled flight. I noticed that the escalator to the departures level was no roped off as it had been on previous visits so I just proceeded to walk (is was not operating) up to the departures level myself and look for a way to obtain a boarding pass. Security is done before each gate "cluster" at CGK so I was not moving between an un-sterile to sterile area. It did feel strange as a US based flyer I'm conditioned to a strict separation between international arriving passengers and departing passengers.
Now upstairs I walked from one end of the terminal to the other out of curiosity to see if I could find a transit or information desk. No such luck. I was confident I could get assistance at the lounge but I wanted to do a bit of walking before heading to a lounge anyhow. The terminal was surprisingly populated at this early hour. Most of the shops were open and doing business. After striking out on boarding passes and getting my fill of duty free browsing I presented myself at the Esplanade Lounge.
Makes you wonder what kind of deplorable passenger behavior prompted this sign.
I was greeted by a nice and eager young male contract employee. He had no idea how to procure a boarding pass for a Singapore Airlines customer. But he was going to find out. He asked a co-worker that was lingering by the lounge entrance, no help. He made a call on the phone and presumably some information was exchanged however in a language other than my own. Finally he asked be to go inside and make myself comfortable and he and his mates were going to figure this out. He asked if I was in J or F and when I replied F he directed me to the First Class section of the lounge.
The lounge is empty at this hour and I pick a seat at a table. I am approached and offered something to drink or eat but I decline at this time.
It's still dark outside and the window shades are closed.
The lounge is basic but comfortable. There is a small food spread/buffet.
There is also a separate bar area.
I chat with the very eager to serve and friendly lounge attendant for a while and he talks me into some noodle soup type thing. I don't remember the name but he went off to the buffet and prepared it for me and delivered the dish. It was a simple, tasty broth and noodle.
Eventually a positively adorable contract ticket agent for SQ arrived and asked me to join her for a trip to the land-side ticket counter. I asked about just taking my passport and returning with the boarding pass, as I have become accustomed to, but she said they needed to see my face. OK, I gathered my things and off we went, through the lounge across the hall and out backwards through the premium immigration lane and to the ticket counter.
My boarding pass for CGK-SIN and SIN-PVG were quickly issued and I was led back through the premium immigration lane again not stopping to enter/exit the country. I was escorted back to the lounge and wished a pleasant journey. Always an interesting transit experience here.
With about 90 minutes to boarding I just lounged and watched the final episode of series 1 of Grand Tour on my laptop. I tell you that to say that the wifi in the lounge was sufficient to stream at good resolution. Perhaps this was due to only 3 other guests.
As departure time approached I left the lounge and took a leisurely walk about the terminal and arrived at the gate. I find the design and architecture of this terminal to be very special. The Javanese touches and the "bungalow" style gate houses are very cool to me.
Security screening queue.
The walk out to D2. Love this part of the airport!
Tough to get a look at the big bird.
I waited a few minutes and then boarding commenced with the wheelchair brigade and then F.
The Steward manning the F (1L) door came half way up the jet bridge to welcome me by name and offer to take my bag. The graciousness and attention to detail never ceases to surprise and delight me. I am nobody to SQ but I still regularly encounter staff going above and beyond to make the travel special. What a fantastic culture of service they have been able to create.
It's a well worn cabin on the regional F airplanes. Still spacious and comfortable for a short flight.
I always marvel at the underutilized space in these cabins. I understand the evolution of why the space is there but still marvel.
Welcome refreshments flow.
Some seat details.
My goodness the Dom really goes right through you.
All buttoned up and ready to push. It was a long taxi over to 25R past the beautiful T3.
We were third in line for takeoff and up after a short hold for a landing aircraft.
I opted to partake in the meal service even though i was planning to have a proper meal in The Private Room upon arrival at SIN. The short flying time makes for a compressed meal experience but i was one of two F passengers and the other slept the entire time.
The table is laid and the DOM resumes.
I'm pretty sure I was shown a menu but alas, no pictures. I oped for the sambal prawns. I only managed a taste of everything but I must say i was impressed with the sambal. Strong spice and lovely shrimp/fish paste essence to it.
The rest of the way I did my best to finish the champagne, gaze at the beautiful cloud formations found at the equator, and enjoy the, albeit dated, moving map.
A direct approach, smooth landing, and parking spot next to a Star Alliance friend.
The Private Room at Silverkris Lounge T3
I am in transit as a First/Suites passenger so lounge access is afforded. Yes, it's a 23hour transit, but still…
I made my way over to T3 via the Skytrain.
Up the escalator.
The awkward escort past the J lounge, through the F lounge, and into The Private Room. Everyone has their opinion on this lounge but I always welcome an opportunity to visit and have consistently felt comfortable and well care for when I am fortunate enough to visit.
The lavatory is always impeccably laid out but the shower is quite cramped and underwhelming.
To the dining room. The menu has changed style since my last visit and makes much more sense. Instead of 4 different leather bound lists there is one "book" to review.
I order some sparkling water and a couple of dishes to try: The vegetable fritters and onion pakora as well as the Ee Fu. All of the items were freshly prepared and tasted well.
I retire to the lounge area to enjoy a cappuccino and awkwardly try to watch the action on the ramp. I advance to immigration and take a taxi to my hotel when I feel like I have a good chance of checking in, still early.
After a great nap I headed out to the 1 Michelin starred Tai Hwa Pork Noodle for a bowl of bak chor mee. The line wasn't that punitive and I thoroughly enjoed the noodles and minced pork bits.
I enjoy a city skyline at night so I made my way to the CBD. Why not stop for some satay.
Thanks for reading and see you for the next and last installment in this series. If you want to come along in "real time" you can follow me @theonlywaytofly.
Jakarta - CGK
Singapore - SIN
The Ground Service: Always an adventure to transit CGK. A lot of well intentioned people without clear processes and procedures. Love the spirit though.
The Lounge: The Esplanade lounge is comfortable and well air conditioned. It isn't on par with First Class lounges operated by airlines. It is the far and away nicest of the three lounges I have visited at CGK T1. The Private Room is a lovely treat and to get to "double dip" on one trip is a great perk.
The Cabin: I never had a chance to fly this configuration when it was the long haul F product. I find it incredibly spacious for a regional hop. I don't find the seat particularly comfortable for lounging.
The Crew: Wonderful, engaging, kind, and sincere. Of course i was the only one they were looking after.
The Food and Beverage: The 2006 Dom Perignon is delicious and the fiery and fishy sambal was fantastic.
Overall: I will take any amount of SQ F I can get.
Thank you for coming along and please check back for the final installment.
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