Hi everyone! Welcome back to my flight report. This report covers Garuda Indonesia flight GA7026. This flight originally flies from Denpasar (Bali) to Kupang via Labuan Bajo and Ende, however it at the end became Denpasar - Labuan Bajo - Kupang due to low visibility at Ende's Hasan Aroeboesman Airport. I will later add GA7027 which brought me to Ende. This flight costed me IDR 1.3 million (around USD 97.5), which was a bit funny because I would have had to pay IDR 1.5 million had I only flown to Labuan Bajo. Well…
I arrived at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International at 6.30 AM, one hour before the flight. It was actually an unusual thing for me not to arrive early at the airport, but I could not give up my sleep. Luckily since the flight was operated by an ATR 72-600, the check-in counter closed at 6.50 AM. I was among the last to check-in (I had done the web check-in though) so it was a quick one.
Boarding pass for GA7026
The flight would depart from Gate 1B, so it was a quite long walk from the security check area to the gate. I understand that Garuda most likely dominates Gate 1A-C and Gate 2 at the domestic terminal because they are next to the international terminal, making their widebody deployment easier (for instance if they fly an international DPS – NRT flight with a 77W which previously flies CGK – DPS, a domestic flight); however average travellers may compare the longer walking distance with other airlines.
FIDS for that day
When I was walking to the gate, I found something new at DPS domestic: a reading lounge! Sure it is not something most Indonesians will appreciate, but I will.
The reading lounge
Garuda Indonesia Flight GA7026 Origin : Denpasar Ngurah Rai International (DPS) Destination : Labuan Bajo Komodo (LBJ) Aircraft : Aerospatiale ATR 72-600 registered as PK-GAI Scheduled Departure : 07.30 AM Actual Departure : 07.36 AM Scheduled Arrival : 09.05 AM Actual Arrival : 08.54 AM
Wings Air which was also going to Labuan Bajo Komodo
Garuda PK-GFZ to Yogyakarta Adisutjipto
Citilink PK-GLH to Bandung Husein Sastranegara
Royal Brunei VB-BRU going back to Bandar Seri Begawan International
Boarding commenced a bit earlier at 07.05 AM. The flight's load factor was approximately half, with most people stopping in Labuan Bajo, and hence the boarding process was pretty fast. The aircraft pushed back at 07.23 AM, however several aircrafts were queueing for take-off as well, delaying the take-off to 07.36 AM. Still pretty good.
The (saturated) cabin
Since I have never taken Garuda’s ATR before (I just realised that I flew Malaysia Airlines’s ATR on Kuching (KCH) – Bintulu (BTU) – Kota Kinabalu (BKI) route 14 years ago), it was initially uneasy to feel Garuda without IFE on their seats. But other than that, it was okay. I could survive with their magazine, which… unfortunately was still the May edition on my seat. Seat pitch was fine though.
May magazine ugh
Before this flight, the easternmost place I have gone to was Bali (actually Tarakan in East Kalimantan, but far from the Sunda Islands), so this was my first time going to the Nusa Tenggara Islands and the view along the journey to Labuan Bajo was stunning. I saw Lombok Island with Mount Rinjani, followed by Sumbawa Island and islands around Komodo National Park.
Nusa Lembongan with Mount Agung far there
Mount Rinjani, my next mountain!
For Denpasar - Labuan Bajo, Garuda served a snack box consisting of bread, mixed nuts, and mineral water, with an additional drink. Nothing special with the meal, but nothing bad neither.
What were inside
The aircraft landed at 08.54, 6 minutes ahead of the schedule. The aircraft landed from the north, and unfortunately since I seated on A seat I could not see the islands near Labuan Bajo upon arrival. The landing was a bit hard, a bit unexpected though I would understand why later. Passengers continuing to Ende or Kupang were instructed to stay inside the aircraft (or at most be near the aircraft) and wait until the incoming passengers came in. I used the time to take pictures outside.
Landed in LBJ
Garuda Indonesia Flight GA7026 Origin : Labuan Bajo Komodo (LBJ) Destination : Ende H. Hasan Aroeboesman (ENE) Aircraft : Aerospatiale ATR 72-600 registered as PK-GAI Scheduled Departure : 09.35 AM Actual Departure : 09.35 AM Scheduled Arrival : 10.25 AM Actual Arrival : N/A
Boarding process finished with additional 13 pax (in total 25). Throughout the process, I saw hills south of the airport. True enough, the aircraft took off to the north as well. Maybe that explained why the landing was hard, since the aircraft was landing with the direction of the wind.
Since this leg took only 50 minutes, only another snack box was served. The bread this time was with sausage that was…. tiny. Like really, you could clearly see the hole.
Another snack box
Where was the sausage?
The weather started to be bad after the aircraft left Labuan Bajo, all the way until Ende. That gave an extra challenge to the already-challenging airport at Ende. For your information, both landing and take-off process must be done from/to the east at Ende airport, probably caused by the short distance between the runway and houses west of the runway. On the east there are no houses, however there is a mountain a few kilometres further, forcing pilots to make a sharp 90' turn during take-off/landing.
It was foggy during the approach. The aircraft made a landing attempt, but before touching the runway it sped up and went up again. Once the aircraft held its position, the pilot announced that the aircraft had to hold its position for 30 minutes due to poor visibility in Ende. After 30 minutes, the aircraft tried to land again with similar weather, and again failed. This time, the aircraft went up straightaway until it reached its cruising altitude and the pilot informed the passengers that the aircraft could not land in Ende and the flight would continue to Kupang instead.
The weather in Ende during the first and second landing attempt
Garuda Indonesia Flight GA7026 Origin : Ende H. Hasan Aroeboesman (ENE) Destination : Kupang El Tari International (KOE) Aircraft : Aerospatiale ATR 72-600 registered as PK-GAI Scheduled Departure : 10.25 AM Actual Departure : N/A Scheduled Arrival : 11.20 AM Actual Arrival : 11.55 AM
I felt somehow relieved that the aircraft continued to Kupang instead of forcing to land in Ende, because the landing process was nerving enough with that weather. My friends asked me to come to their seats (I was separated because I had done web check-in) and then asked me about what happened during the process. Then we talked a lot, also with another passenger who came from Ruteng and he wanted to go to Kupang. The cabin crew served us with drink, though I would have expected another snack box.
Long story short, the weather was good in Timor Island – only windy – so the aircraft successfully landed in Kupang. I unexpectedly add another island on my “visited” islands! Kupang was pretty hot, so I rushed to the terminal building. There, Garuda’s ground staffs were already there asking passengers whose actual destination was Ende to come and collect their new boarding pass, as the aircraft would reverse the rule KOE – ENE – LBJ – DPS as GA7027.
The city of Kupang
Welcome to El Tari Airport!
So I waited in the waiting room. Kupang’s Airport looks pretty old by its layout, however it is big enough and not overcrowded like other Indonesian “old airports” such as Yogyakarta Adisutjipto (JOG) or Semarang Ahmad Yani (SRG).
New boarding pass for GA7027
Garuda Indonesia Flight GA7027 Origin : Kupang El Tari International (KOE) Destination : Ende H. Hasan Aroeboesman (ENE) Aircraft : Aerospatiale ATR 72-600 registered as PK-GAI Scheduled Departure : 01.05 PM Actual Departure : 01.08 PM Scheduled Arrival : 02.10 PM Actual Arrival : 01.48 PM
I had been flying from 7 AM, so when I boarded the aircraft I already felt tired of flying (since I also did not expect the flight to be this long) and I did not take a lot of pictures. I was initially put at 36A, but for the sake of gravity I was moved by the ground staff to 23K. Wow, that maybe explained why airlines filled front and back seats first during the check-in #whatilearntoday.
For the third time, I was served a snack box, and this time it was a chocolate bread and a spring roll. They were decent.
Another snack box…
The aircraft finally approached Ende and the weather was much better! Since this time I seated on 23K (right window), I could clearly see the mountain during the landing approach including the 90° turn. Wow, a bit scary. But this time, the aircraft successfully landed.
The mountain during approach to Ende
When I exited the aircraft, I realized how small the airport is. The apron could only have two aircrafts at once. I also saw that the west end of the runway was not flat (not so sure about it though). And even with only 1 airplane arriving, the baggage collection took forever…
Ende's runway with the mountain as the background
Hasan Aroeboesman Airport
After done with baggage, I went out to find my driver. Out there, there were many aggressive drivers trying to pick you up. A bit annoying, but this is their main source of income, and sadly this province is the poorest province in Indonesia. I had already booked a driver though, and when I met him, I asked him about the cancellation of Garuda flights. He said that Garuda often cancels their flights if the weather is not good, while on the other hand Wings Air never cancels. I don’t know if this is a positive case for Garuda, but for me this shows Garuda’s take on safety.
And that’s it! I will soon post about my return flight to Jakarta from Labuan Bajo by Garuda’s CRJ-1000ER. Thank you for reading this post!
Denpasar - DPS
Ende-Flores Island - ENE
It was a... just okay flight with Garuda. It is true that I should not have expected much in terms of entertainment on this pioneer flight, but I would have gladly given a 7 on entertainment had Garuda not forgotten to replace the magazine on some seats with the latest edition. I was also pretty disappointed with the tiny sausage on LBJ - ENE. However, how they swiftly handled the passengers like me who had to fly 2 times more due to the landing attempt failure in Ende was still something to be appreciated. The cabin crews and the pilots also did not look worried at all.
Denpasar's Airport was good as usual - traffic was no problem in the morning, and I always liked its clean and spacious feel on both domestic and international terminal. Ende's Hasan Aroeboesman Airport, however, was poor. Baggage was slow, no FIDS, so-so building. But for an airport that only serves 4 flights a day, I cannot expect more.
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