Report #18: 3K206 - Did I just wrongly pick my travel time back?
This will be my report on flying on Jetstar Asia economy class from Jakarta to Singapore, a short-haul international flight within SE Asia. This report will be lighter than usual as I was pretty tired and I had reviewed both Jakarta CGK terminal 2 and Jetstar Asia economy class on the opposite route only 2 months ago, but in line with my other recent reports this will also offer something new: the cheapest way to go from downtown Jakarta to Jakarta CGK.
As I had some things to do in Jakarta, I decided to proceed and buy a pair of tickets from Singapore to Jakarta and back. Based on my wrong belief that uberPOOL's S$10 (US$7.5) fare cap from the airport to anywhere still existed and in the spirit of flying together with my friend, I decided to pick this flight.
Unlike AirAsia group, Jetstar Asia's add-ons are quite expensive (think of 2 - 3x as much as AirAsia Indonesia), so I decided to stick with their bare fare, which costed me Rp348.500 (US$26).
Trip to Jakarta CGK and check-in
After meeting another friend during the day, I went to Kota Kasablanka mall to get Indonesian-style garlic chili sauce. I also bought a 100ml multiple use container to move the chili as it's ~130g and I didn't buy any checked luggage allowance.
I then proceeded to a coffee shop to get some coffee and work on my previous trip report, followed by a ride by car to Lotte Shopping Avenue / Ciputra World 1 and brisk walking to the Mega Kuningan lobby behind the mall to proceed to the airport. Thinking that the bus must be very punctual as it is an airport bus after all, I ran and even slipped along the way. After the conductor told me of the delay due to the driver still doing his Maghrib prayer (one of the 5 mandatory prayers for Muslims), I decided to wait outside for a while.
Airport buses to/from greater Jakarta have been traditionally dominated by Damri and Sinar Jaya such as the highly popular route to Gambir Stn. However, one of the units under Indonesia's Ministry of Transport decided to disrupt the market by moving all of them under JAConnexion brand and run additional bus services to various other destinations, and despite operating under one brand the bus services are operated by multiple operators such as Perum PPD and Big Bird (member of Blue Bird Group) with their own bus fleets. This time I am trying the bus operated by Perum PPD, as the point of departure suits me better.
The bus is basically the same as the one seen on some corridors and feeder routes of Jakarta's BRT (branded as TransJakarta) such as corridor 6.
Route: Ciputra World Kuningan - Airport (Jakarta CGK) via Tanah Abang Operator: Perum PPD dba JAConnexion Bus type: Default TransJakarta bus (airport bus configuration) STD/ATD: 18.00/18.10 STA/ATA: N/A/19.00 (Jakarta's traffic varies heavily so there is no STA available) Load factor: 3% (1/32) Seat type: Standard
I reentered the bus again and decided to take some photos. Despite using the same rolling stock as the BRT, the interior have been reconfigured with luggage racks and leather reclining seats, instead of fabric/plastic fixed seats found on the BRT.
The legroom was decent.
Most seats (except side-facing seats and those at the very last row) are reclinable, and the maximum recline is admittedly quite deep.
The bus' schedule. When I asked the conductor if I could take a photo of the schedule, he even encouraged me to share with my other friends who may be traveling on the same route.
Like other PPD buses, prayer booklets were also provided.
After the driver finished his prayer, since the bus service runs on schedule we soon departed despite no additional passenger boarding the bus and the conductor charged my fare for the trip, which at promotional fare was Rp25.000 (US$1.9) instead of Rp35.000 (US$2.6). This is by far the cheapest ride to the airport, far below the Rp40.000 (US$3) charged for trips on Damri buses such as to//from Gambir Stn and can barely cover the toll fare for car, let alone for bus.
Due to rain, we encountered some traffic jams. Fortunately, despite the via Tanah Abang designation the bus just proceeded directly to the airport using the Jakarta Inner Ring Road and Prof. Dr. Sedyatmo expressways/toll roads.
During the trip, I chatted a bit with the conductor, who mentioned that the bus sometimes depart with no passenger at all, and he would consider peak period for the route as > 12 passengers (a load factor of mere 38%). That, however, was quite understandable as the route had only started less than 3 weeks before.
Nearing the airport the traffic fortunately improved.
We soon reached the airport complex. As it was technically a private bus the conductor asked me where I would prefer to be dropped off, to which I responded terminal 2.
Some murky views of the apron.
I then took my belonging, wished farewell, and left the bus.
The drop-off area looked very dated, as usual.
Jakarta CGK terminal 2 automated people mover station, which unfortunately was located quite far from the terminal curbside downstairs.
Jakarta CGK terminal 2 public area, which seemed a bit crowded.
At the eastern end of the terminal is Sriwijaya's flight dispatch room among others.
There are very few charging ports available, and the seats available also looked quite uncomfortable.
There is no free shower available, so people wishing to take a shower need to pay a staggering sum of Rp325.000 (US$24) just to take a shower + 1 hour stay at the airport hotel. At that price, I would even prefer paying for lounge access at the airside if they have shower as well.
A staple at Jakarta CGK: A&W restaurant offering fast food products.
The crowd earlier on was nothing compared to this, where people about to go for Umrah just basically gathered together making it difficult to even get past them.
Instead, I went for another fast-food chain offering Japanese-style bento. Here is the menu:
The food items itself mostly consisted of fried items.
Dinner of the day, which costed me around Rp60.000 (US$4.5).
As it was almost time for me to meet my friend, I then proceeded past the initial security to go to the check-in area.
Several airlines' check-in counters.
At first I thought I would use the counters for the previous Jetstar flight, but I was redirected further.
FIDS of the day.
The general check-in queue was crowded, compared with the virtually empty web check-in queue.
As I preferred to breeze through, I checked in online while waiting in the general queue and then proceeded to the web check-in counter to get my boarding pass reprinted, which saved me a good 10 minutes. While I was standing a bit away from the counter, I told the staff that I had checked in online and showed my boarding pass, and after I gave my passport to him he would then reprint my boarding pass. Talk about free priority check-in?
The boarding pass is typical of counter-printed boarding passes and fortunately was quite thick.
After both me and my friend had completed the check-in, we proceeded straight to immigration.
Since she holds the new Indonesian passport, I asked her to try the automated immigration, which was a first for her. Typical of my trips to/from Jakarta CGK, I also used it and was let through in a few minutes as there was a small queue. For reference, only the last two bulky gates were used, and those with tinted glass barriers are unused - perhaps the space can be used for more working automated immigration gates?
Jakarta CGK transit area and departure
Walkway to gates E1 to E7 - I wonder why I have never flown from E gates, but my past flight with AirAsia was parked on one of the E gates.
FIDS of the evening.
A view of the outside of the duty free store - Lotte had gave up opening their duty-free store so they only run pick-up collection area inside the store.
I then took the trolley and started walking to the D gates.
After waiting for my friend to buy some snacks, we then proceeded to Starbucks where I read some reports (and tried working on mine also).
My parents had flown to Turkey before with Turkish, but I unfortunately haven't so naturally I got a bit envious and therefore took a photo of it.
As the boarding time is quite near, we walked to the gate.
Self prepaid phone card top-up machine - an interesting concept, but then a lot of us can top-up using applications such as Kudo or Traveloka, often with discounts.
Security was fine, except that I forgot to take off my lanyard with metal keys, which raised an alarm and therefore called for a further search.
The moving walkway leading to gate D4, the furthest gate at the terminal.
As both of us had empty bottles, we filled them using the free dispenser which unfortunately only provided lukewarm water.
Jakarta CGK also have quite a lot of sleeping chairs (as many as or even more than in Singapore SIN terminal 4), although they are mostly useless since the airport won't allow very early check-in
There were few shops, although they doesn't seem to be well thought.
Upon entering the gate, my boarding pass was checked and we were directed to the right side of the waiting room, which was very crowded.
We then moved to the left side, not only because they are quieter, but also because they have universal charging ports as I reviewed two months ago.
The boarding had already started, but I figured out I would need the battery capacity to do a review of the flight and the arrival so I stayed for a little bit more.
A few minutes later I boarded the flight.
Way to the arrival area.
A view before entering the aerobridge.
Plane of the day: 9V-JSJ.
A queue had formed towards the plane - hopefully the last one for this year.
I was welcomed by the flight attendant as I entered the plane. Unlike other carriers, Jetstar's first row has almost infinite legroom thanks to the lack of the partition with the door.
As I was unwilling to cough up for the additional fare I proceeded further back.
The legroom was abysmal, mainly because the seats are well-padded.
Further unlike others, the recline button quite much looked like a switch.
As usual, the safety card was present.
The inflight magazine and buy-on-board menu are also available
Instead of one promotional brochure, there were 3 of them, which is a lot, to say the least.
We then pushed back and the flight attendants started the safety briefing.
As I was seated in the aisle seat and my seatmates were awake, I could not take any photo during take-off, but nonetheless it was uneventful.
After take-off, the flight attendants started offering meal services starting from the back (photo taken after they are already several rows ahead). I first asked if they would accept Indonesian Rupiah on board, but they said no (I only had S$2 cash with me that time; later on when I read the menu they said they can accept it, though). Afterwards, I tried paying on my debit card, but was unfortunately unsuccessful (I had the embossed one which should work, but I stored it on my backpack) so I decided to cancel my drink purchase. While the inability to process electronic use only cards is not their fault, the fact that they said they didn't accept foreign currencies even when the menu said so was quite unprofessional.
I decided to talk a bit with my seatmates before I went for my lavatory visit.
The lavatory was mostly acceptable, except for the tissue remains on the wash basin.
Airsickness bag (or arrivals documents bag, as how I use them - I used one to contain customs form, boarding pass, and passport before leaving the airport) are available in the lavatory, although it was unfortunately plain.
The plane soon started its descent towards Singapore SIN. A view of the cabin during descent.
Some views during the descent - two of the few remotely decent photos I could take of the outside for the flight.
The cabin was later on dimmed for landing.
Landing was quite uneventful, and we started taxiing to the gate.
Deboarding was a bit slow, typical of high-density planes, so I waited for a few more moments before I bid farewell and exited the plane.
Back to Singapore SIN's aerobridge.
One last view of 9V-JSJ.
We then walked along the corridor towards the transit area.
Thai's 777 bound for Bangkok.
The waiting area for the plane was quite empty.
Arrival at Singapore SIN and post-arrival trip
Typical of Jetstar flights, I needed to walk quite far to proceed to the main area.
Singapore SIN transfer lounge D
My friend messaged me and said she would be waiting at the duty-free store at the arrivals area, so I simply walked through instead of wandering around.
Much to my dismay, the immigration area was quite packed - is it because it's Sunday night? The queue took me 6 - 7 minutes, although even such that long queue (compared with my other encounters) would be unthinkable except on the land borders.
After passing through immigration, I went to the arrivals area to find my friend (I had no baggage to collect, so ….)
The duty-free store was also very crowded.
After I met her, we simply exited through the arrivals area. I was thinking of taking Uber's S$10 (US$7.5) carpooling offer, however that is now gone and instead traveling from the airport to my campus, a 40 km ride, would cost me around S$50 instead due to peak surcharge and long distance.
For the rest it wasn't getting any easier as well - since the bus and electric train services have ended, a snaking queue had formed for the metered taxis.
After much discussion with my friend and considering my 8.30 class, we decided to take carpooling service to her house and I would crash there for the night.
We proceeded to the pick-up area.
I wonder how long the pick-up area is going to be used - it's been a whole year since I first went there.
One last view of the airport for the year: Singapore SIN terminal 1 extension.
Jetstar Asia Airways
Jakarta - CGK
Singapore - SIN
Even though I barely have any choice for this trip (talk about saving money?) and the trip being mostly uneventful, the trip felt quite subpar. From the long queue, extremely tight seat, all the way to the flight attendant not knowing that we can pay with foreign currencies, it was not the most pleasant experience around.
Jakarta CGK had shown some improvements in terms of low-cost connectivity, however the rest still remained same like before and left a slightly negative impression on me. The more surprising one for me is Singapore SIN, which despite the terminal 4 opening that moved AirAsia group, Cathay, and Spring away from terminal 1, still managed to get uncomfortably crowded. As much as I love even more flight choices, airports must be able to cope well with such increases even on peak periods like that.
Some thing done well for the trip: + Reasonable price (Rp348.500 (US$26)) + More low-cost, low load factor bus services to Jakarta CGK + Lack of immigration queue at Jakarta CGK + Lack of security queue at Jakarta CGK + Reasonably efficient immigration at Singapore SIN
Things that can be improved: - Crowd at Jakarta CGK terminal 2 public area - Long queue for general check-in (so long I preferred to do online check-in while queuing) - Check-in counter opening times and queue length at Jakarta CGK - Jakarta CGK international departure layout - Amenities at Jakarta CGK international departure gates - Normal seats' seat pitch - High load factor - On board meal portion size - Singapore SIN gate usage - Significant crowd at Singapore SIN terminal 1 - Lack of affordable late-night transport option from Singapore SIN
Next report (if all goes well): MH A350 short-haul business class on window + aisle suite first class seat - can't get more excited for the trip ahead.
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