Firstly, as usual, please apologize for my bad English, and also bad photo quality as I took all shots by my cellphone.
The main purpose of this Bali trip was to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday. What a long life for her. In this special occasion, our family decided to arrange a special family tour to Bali. But we had realized previously that the date was coincidence with one of Indonesian national holiday, the Eid Al-Adha, one of important Islamic celebrations. That's why we had preserved the tickets about 4 months before the journey, and even at that time the ticket price had hiked higher than normal.
My uncle (my mom's 2nd brother), an owner of a well-known advertisement company in Jakarta, has a private villa located in Seminyak, not so far from Kuta. That's why Bali is suitable for us to celebrate this special occasion. As you know, Bali is the most popular tourist area in Indonesia. Some people outside Indonesia even know about Bali but not Indonesia, not knowing that Bali is part of Indonesia. What a very popular island. Popularly called "Pulau Seribu Pura" (island of thousand temples), it's the only region in Indonesia where significant majority of its people adhere Hinduism, while majority of Indonesians are Muslim. Apart from temples, Bali is well-known for its beaches (Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Sanur, etc). It has been popular for Australians to spend their weekend.
This time I chose GA 412, scheduled to leave Jakarta at 8.00 p.m. Honestly, that was also because my auntie (my mom's youngest sister) and her family had chosen this flight. If I go alone, I'm not sure to choose this flight with the usual expensive price of Garuda, as this flight costed IDR 950,000 (about USD 71.50). Luckily for me that all tickets would be paid by my uncle (my mom's 2nd brother).
The flight would be my first time in Garuda's wide-body jet, and also my first domestic flight in wide-body jet. Interesting, right?
OK, let's jump to the main story.
August 30th, 2017. From our residence in southeastern Jakarta, I and my youngest sister hop a car through Go-car app to Soekarno-Hatta Airport. It costed IDR 125,000. Inside the car I had a long chit-chat with the driver. He told me that a nephew of him was a pilot in Kalstar, a small-scale airlines in Indonesia, and recently he operated its newest Embraer fleet. He also told me about his experience transporting people to the airport.
About 2 hours before scheduled departure of GA 412, we arrived at the Terminal 3 of Soekarno-Hatta Airport. Before July 2017, Garuda was the sole airline operating in this terminal, but recently Korean Air, China Airlines, and Saudia moved here. I heard that all Skyteam members will move here in 2018, while other Skyteam members (Vietnam Airlines, China Southern, Xiamen Air, and my favorite European carrier KLM) are currently still in Terminal 2.
Here we met our auntie and her family (her husband and cute twin children) who had arrived here earlier. Then we proceed to check-in counter. As we had done the online check-in, we just needed to drop our luggages and print the boarding passes.
There was still an hour before scheduled boarding time. We decided to eat Malay-style "roti kaya", added with 2 boiled eggs, and drink a cup of tea here.
Then we proceed to the boarding gate after an usual security check.
All gates shared the same waiting room. I like this arrangement, as we can still move freely before boarding, unlike in the terminal 1 or 2.
Need water? You can drink or fill your bottles here.
The boarding gate.
While waiting, an announcement was made, informing the people that our flight (GA 412) was delayed and the boarding was scheduled at 8.30 p.m. As the compensation, in line with Indonesian regulation, airline crews distributed a box of snacks, containing a bread, a choco bar, and a cup of mineral water.
To spend my times before boarding, I recharged my cellphone at a box containing 10 socket plugs. It really helps you lot. Free Wi-fi was also provided.
Reaching the plane. Its reg code was PK-GIH. delivered in June 2015. Some days before our flight, it was used for Hajj flights, transporting Hajj pilgrims from Jakarta and Medan.
Entering the cabin.
My seat (39K) at the window side.
While waiting for the boarding completed, we had been allowed to explore the IFE. You can navigate the IFE through either the controller stick or the touchscreen LCD. It had nice collection of movies, especially Indonesian and American movies. But if I can compare with other airlines, personally I think Malaysia Airlines and KLM have better collection.
Boarding process completed. I don't know the exact number of passengers, but I guess the flight was fully occupied, and half of the passengers came from outside Indonesia. I saw many "western" people, holding Australian, American, British, French, and even Lithuanian passports. This was my 1st time seeing people from Lithuania, a country that was not too popular for Indonesian. "Garuda" and "Bali" were perfect combination for foreigners in Indonesia, making the flight chosen by many international tourists.
After boarding completed, the pilot made an announcement apologizing the flight delay, as there were problems on the previously-designated fleet and they decided to choose other plane.
Then the safety instruction video was played on the IFE. The video was in English and Indonesian, also containing sign-language for passengers with hearing disabilities. Honestly, the video was less "creative" compared to videos of KLM and Air France.
Outside the window, China Airlines and Korean Air were seen. They moved recently to the new Terminal 3.
Some minutes before take-off, cabin light was dimmed. This Indonesian music album from Sammy Simorangkir, ex-vocalist of "Kerispatih" band, accompanied me during take-off.
The plane started to fly at 9.50 p.m. (UTC+7). Lamps from houses in Jakarta were seen.
Some minutes after departure, the seat-belt sign was switched off. Then the IFE showed a Skyteam advertisement.
As usual in every my flight, I checked all stuffs inside the seat pocket.
Another edition of "Colours", special for Hajj and Umra flights, containing articles about Islam, Mecca, and Middle East.
"Stars" IFE catalogue.
Souvenirs catalogue, also special for flights to Saudi Arabia.
During the flight, we faced bad weather for 3 times. That's why the meals came a little bit late to our seat, as the cabin crews had to pause serving meals during medium-scale shakes. There were 2 options of meals: chicken or fish. I said "fish" and the cabin crew gave me a food set containing fish fillet with sauce, rice, vegetables, and a cup of fruit jelly. I also asked for a cup of guava juice. The fish fillet had a bit spicy flavor, and the taste was average. Good enough to fill your stomach after 1.5 hours delay.
After finishing my dinner, I continued exploring the IFE.
Here you also can buy your desired items on the shopping catalogue. Wanna buy the bracelet?
Live TV channels were also available. You could watch the latest news happened, including the storm in Louisiana.
I also checked the plane's Wi-fi. Internet service was also available with hour-based rates. Very useful if you want to watch Youtube videos.
Don't forget the other important thing: the lavatory.
I spent times before landing listening musics on the IFE. My sister, a fan of Korean idol groups, enjoyed listening K-Pop albums on the IFE.
Then the arrival announcement was made. We prepared for landing, fastening the seat-belt and adjusting the seat. Unfortunately I could not take photos during landing, as it was really dark outside the window.
Our plane touched down at Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali, at 00.20 (UTC+8, an hour ahead of Jakarta).
Here I saw international carriers preparing for departure, including Qatar Airways, Korean Air, and China Eastern.
(I wish I can take better pictures, but I'm a bit traumatic to use pocket cameras. I had 2 cameras before, and the LCDs of both were broken easily.)
The plane reached the boarding gate some minutes later. Time to leave the plane.
Final pics of our plane.
Way to the baggage claim zone.
At the 1st row is Balinese script, written as "Om Swastyastu", a traditional Balinese Hindu greeting.
We then left the airport by a car ordered through "Grab" apps to my uncle's villa in Seminyak. I spent 4 days in Bali before returning to Jakarta in September 3rd. You can read the report here.
BONUS: some pics of Bali.
Pura Tirta Empul, a Hindu temple with large water pool.
Mount Batur, Kintamani.
Blanco Museum, housing paints of the late Don Antonio Blanco, a Filipino painter with Spanish and American ancestry, who spent majority of his life in Ubud, Bali, until his death, and his corpse was cremated through Balinese Hindu ritual called "Ngaben".
Kuta Beach, probably Bali's most popular beach.
Seminyak Beach, close to my uncle's villa, seems more "peaceful" than Kuta.
Finally my most favorite Balinese dish: "Babi Guling" (suckled pig).
Jakarta - CGK
Denpasar - DPS
Once again, this was my 1st experience with Garuda's wide-body jet, and also my 1st domestic flight with a wide-body jet, especially my favorite plane type, Boeing 777-300ER.
Of course, I was quite disappointed with the flight delay, but I appreciated Garuda's effort to give the compensation to me and other passengers.
The cabin was clean and well-maintained. Delivered in mid-2016, it was frequently used for trans-continental flight to Amsterdam and London, and also Hajj flights. Cabin crews were nice, good-looking, and helpful, but I hope that they can improve their English. The meal quality was average, good enough to fill your stomach. I'm sure they can provide more interesting dishes. The IFE system was interesting, but I also hope that they can add more music and movie collections. The great innovation was the live TV. Not many carriers provide this facility.
Then the airports. Soekarno-Hatta Airport's Terminal 3 was the newest terminal, with clean condition and average service quality. Some of my friends have criticized its low quality of architecture and lack of planning. There were even many errors and breakdowns during the initial months of its operations, but I'm sure that it has improved their quality. I hope they can do better service, especially to welcome other international carriers and also our guests for 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang.
Ngurah Rai International Airport's new terminal building was opened in 2014. It was still clean and well-maintained, with good service from its crews. Personally, the airport terminal is far better than Soekarno-Hatta. But it needs to anticipate growing numbers of passengers. There is a plan to build a new international airport in the northern side of Bali, as any expansion project of the airport is almost impossible due to its location on a narrow isthmus surrounded by sea. Even the runway is located on a reclaimed area. More international carriers are operating in this airport than in Soekarno-Hatta, especially chartered flights transporting tourist. Notable carriers are Emirates, Qatar Airways, KLM, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and of course our own flag-carrier, Garuda Indonesia.
OK, that's my report. Any feedback and suggestion are appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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