If you have read the review of the outbound sector, which can be found in this link: I was on a short weekend trip to Singapore. I wanted to attend the biennial Singapore Airshow on Saturday so after an afternoon stroll around Singapore and good night's sleep, the next morning would be a good time to return to Bandung as Mondays will be Mondays anyway. So from my accomodation in Little India, I hailed a cab via a 3rd-party application and decided to part the fare with my friend as it would be much more convenient.
What a nice way to start the day!
The first moment I stepped into the building, I realized how good the airport is, architecturally. It has the familiar feeling in relation to the other, earlier terminals in Changi but this one has a fresh look to it. Looks like a refreshed T1/T2. The departure area and drop-off zone also resembles so much the ones at the earlier terminals.
Giant FIDS greeting the ones who've recently arrived at T4
General check-in area at Changi T4. I like how AirAsia only provides the self check-in machines with no manned check-in counter. Personally for me, it enhances the overall experience. Because you get to be involved in a lot of process that is essential to the check-in procedure. For an Indonesian like me, interacting with these "new" (yes, automated check-in is virtually nonexistent in our country because if there is even one, the vast majority would neglect it and opt for the old-school check-in instead, due to the lack of knowledge and English proficiency) is very interesting.
So at this machine, you will scan your passport flat-out and scan your boarding pass if you have printed it beforehand, or simply print it there if you haven't. As for me, I've made the booking for this flight via the AirAsia mobile app on my Android smartphone and have made the extra 20 kg of baggage add-on into my flight. So when I scanned my e-ticket, the system immediately recognizes my booking and there is an additional menu to print the baggage tags.
Personally, this is my first-ever time doing a check-in process via automated machines and tagging your own baggage has its own sensation to it! Even for a first-timer I think this process overall is very convenient because as long as you have a good level of English comprehension and don't panic or hype up stuff you'll be completely fine.
After finishing the initial validation, if you have no tagged baggage then you can proceed directly to the immigration area. If you are carrying a tagged baggage you can proceed to these machines where there will be another verification process. It's almost the same process all over again the only difference is there will be some kind of photo-based verification. The program will only allow the baggage to be loaded to the conveyor belt if you've finished this final part. It's a bit tricky because you have to stand still and stand in front of the camera and you also have to get the good ratio between your face and the surroundings until the shutter will trigger.
There are some conventional manned immigration gates as well but I'd try these new automated ones instead
When I arrived 2 days earlier, I entered through the usual manned immigration gates but there is something peculiar and is quite uncommon for the usual immigration process, which is fingerprint data acquisition. But turns out that is simply to register yourself as a visitor in Singapore and thanks to that, I can use the automated immigration gates seamlessly.
The automated immigration gates are drenched in white and very recogniseable from the distance. Two-step verification, slide your passports flat in, the first barrier opens. Then, simply place your thumbs to the reader, the second barrier opens.
If the old-school way is to your liking, then the conventional ones would suit you perfectly. Some of us really just value that stamp on your passport, right?
Having cleared the immigration process, you will be directly greeted by an array of duty-free shops. They are placed in a winding manner so the main walkway sorts of winds through them, like a meander of a river. Very interesting
The giant FIDS looming after we've exited the first array of duty-free shops. This is the main concourse of the T4 building. You can see how AirAsia group really owns this place.
Signages are nowhere to be any different from the ones in the older terminals at SIN. Information in English and the symbol are the largest and the brightest while on the right, depicted with smaller letters are the 3 other official languages of Singapore (Chinese/Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay).
Personally, I really like the overall design of the main concourse. A blend of the modern architecture and some key natural decorations like real trees really suits my liking well. It's the smallest out of the 4 terminals in SIN but it's quickly earned the favourite spot for me. You can see on the 2nd pic, on the top right corner there is some kind of a food court which is open around the clock, so me and my friend decided to spend my ample time remaining by grabbing something to eat there, as my QZ flight does not include any add-on meals.
Here's a glimpse downstairs once you've got to the 2nd level.
The 2nd level is significantly emptier than the first level.
Me and my friend decided to test out this interactive airport directory out here. It's really neat and is very intuitive, so anyone wouldn't have any issues using it.
All you have to do is scan your boarding pass on the reader, and the algorithm will process your input
The output you'll get is an interactive map of the airport, as well as the shortest route from the current location to your gate, including the distance and estimated walking time!
You'll get this as a print-out version of your personalized guide.
Me and my friend decided to take a post-brunch walk around the empty 2nd level. I really like the illuminated signages indicating the toilets, I think they look perfect and suits the atmosphere of the airport so well
Apart from decorating the interior with natural elements such as real trees, looks like the airport management has decided to put their plastic counterparts as well..
Drinking fountains are a must, especially for big international hub airports like SIN, even nowadays some Indonesian airports have them. But a water dispenser, to replenish your water free-fill and with adjustable temperature as well is really, really special. This is my first time seeing such a feature. I am really fond the airport management who made additional features like this available for free.
Decided to go town and explored some more of the first level
Some more of the shopping options after the main concourse, still placed in a winding manner. The options available here are definitely less than what the older terminals have to offer, especially with the high-end designer brands
Decided to take a short visit to the toilets (because I also really needed to go to one)
The design gives a really exclusive and luxurious feel. The scent is also really nice!
Each and every private toilet cubicles are also equipped with smart toilets. The lid opens automatically as you open the door and all functions are controlled by a remote attached to the wall.
The floating mirrors and the way each basin is placed has a really nice look to it
Realizing that the boarding time is getting closer, I decided to head straight to gate G2 where my flight is assigned to.
Gates G4, G3, G2, and so on are located on the southwestern end of the T4 building, very close to runway 02C/20C.
You can see that a lot of people are already gathering waiting for the boarding call
Another small detail that adds up to the things I like about this new terminal, a universal power outlet to re-charge your devise as you wait. Waiting for boarding time wouldn't be such a nuisance now, right?
The path to the airbridges goes that way down
As usual, an AirAsia typical boarding process commences boarding for passengers with hot seats or other priority boarding-enabled qualifications first, then followed by the rest.
Making my way down to the airbridge..
A bit of queueing on the verge of entering
Seated in 15F for today's flight!
The view from my window. Several gates next to where my aircraft is parking are empty, and the nearest aircraft to park is a Spring Airlines (china-sss.com) A320. As I don't have the registration number I have no idea where it comes from. Well, T4 is currently still undergoing the earliest phases of its operation as is still quite underutilised.
Flight today was quite full, I guess somewhere between 80-90% mark of occupancy rate
Legroom is adequate for someone of my height (169 cm or 5"6.5) but the seat pitch is just average (somewhere between 29-30")
Pushback was really quick owing the swift and efficient boarding process, and the Spring Airlines A320 is pushing back as well
A glimpse of the still mostly empty T4. Gates G1, G2, G3, and so on are quite small in size and if you take a good look at it through satellite imagery, then you can see that the southeast-facing gates of T4 are most likely reserved for narrow-body aircrafts only.
Like I've mentioned in the earlier parts of this review, T4, especially my gates are located very close to runways 02C/20C so taxiing is a breeze. What even makes it better is that the traffic this morning is quite light and my aircraft shows no signs of queueing before being cleared to enter the runway
The empty gates of T4 as viewed from a nearby taxiing aircraft's perspective
Clearance for take-off is granted
And we're airborne!
These 3 images I took are quite unique because if you're keen enough, you can spot Changi Exhibition Centre, which happens to be the venue of the biennial Singapore Airshow, which I happen to be visiting the previous day. In fact, at the time the picture was taken the event was still underway for its 2nd public day! If it's not for the neat and tidy work from the organising committee to provide adequate number of taxicabs coming in and the free shuttle to CG2 Expo Station, getting there would be a torture because it's very remote (it's located on a patch of reclamated land just northeast of the existing parts of Changi Airport), maybe a 10-15 kilometre ride with a car from Changi area. Going there makes Singapore not seem to be a small country at all because the surroundings to look around are just empty, huge acres of land.
As we leave Singapore's main island, directly north of it is Tekong Island, which is notorious for where the SAF (Singapore Armed Forces) trains 18-year old Singaporean boys for their BMT (Basic Military Training), to give them the necessary skills and mentality for their 24-month-long NSmen (National Servicemen) compulsory military enlistment.
If I'm not mistaken, based on my approximations regarding the flight path and the satellite imagery, this is an oil refinery complex undergoing construction which is located in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia
Making some final sharp banks before we enter the initial heading course for BDO
Seatbelt sign has been switched off
This is pretty much the typical scenery I and a few hundred others get to see throughout most of the flight. The sky is so blue yet cloud cover is extensive.
Sale of various light snacks, hot meals, and beverages have commenced and as this is a QZ-operated flight, regardless of what currency you use to pay your purchased items, the change will solely by in Indonesian Rupiahs (IDR). The typical AirAsia crew, very warm and casual.
Smoothly sailing at 35,000 feet above the Strait of Karimata
The last shot before descending starts. Bandung is some 140 kilometres southeast of Jakarta, so flight times differ slightly as well. Jakarta is less than 900 kilometres from Singapore whereas Bandung is just a bit over 1000 kilometres. While SIN-CGK flights average 1h 15min or so, SIN-BDO flights averages about 15 minutes longer. What also extends the flying time is that even though the airport in Bandung is located in the western part of the city, no approach is made from the west, meaning flights from the west (like this one) must do a loop-shaped detour to some 15-20 kilometres east of the airport, before making a sharp bank to make the final approach from the east. These measures are taken because if you draw a line of the same distance to the west of the airport, it is impossible to create a descent path there because the aircraft would end up crashing into the mountains in the process.
Descending layer by layer of cloud cover
The first glimpse of land visible upon descent, possibly this is the "Great Lakes" west of Bandung, which are the lakes Saguling, Cirata, and Jangari.
It is currently a bit past midday in Bandung. Weather in Bandung is reportedly to be sunny with a bit of cloud cover, with air temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius.
Hovering low above Bandung City. If you look directly right of the wing, there is an oval-shaped park. It is a monument dedicated to commemorate the Bandung Lautan Api (Bandung, Sea of Fire) event back in 1946 where the joint taskforce between the allies and the Dutch have reached Southern Bandung and gave an ultimatum to the local residents there and the insurgents to give up. Refusing to surrender to the advancing Dutch forces, the locals made a resistance movement by burning down their houses while they fled to the tropical rainforests further south. So by the time the Dutch entered the vicinity of Southern Bandung, they realised no one where still there and their houses were already exterminated.
Southeastern Greater Bandung Basin
Making the sharp bank into the final approach for BDO
Over Eastern Bandung
I swear, this is the closest I've got to a mountain when flying on an airplane
You can see the stadium, that's the part of the integrated sports complex owned by the Provincial Government of West Java, it's called the GOR (Gelanggang Olah Raga) Arcamanik, which is named after the vicinity that the sports complex is located in. There's also a big golf course next to it.
As we head further west, as I'm a person who lives in Bandung it's really fun to get this low to the city because you get to see the city from an unmatchable perspective.
Above Dipatiukur Rd., and the monument to the West Javan People's Resistance Movement
I knew right from the start that the approach would be passing the area which is very near from my campus. Personally, I can spot and recognise so many buildings here in this picture. Some of the taller buildings in my campus are also "hiding" in this picture. The weather today is also quite sunny which gives a good look of Mt. Tangkuban Perahu, the volcano which has become the icon of Bandung itself.
The last seconds of being airborne
Nice and smooth landing at BDO!
Paying a brief visit to the military zone, the airbase part of BDO
The ground staff are already right on the apron waiting for the aircraft to be tucked safely to the parking bay
Doors to disarm and cross-check
As usual, AirAsia reminds the passengers to cooperate and make the disembarking process as efficient as possible as they maintain a high pace of aircraft rotation and that keeps the layover time in each airport very minimal
As usual, I don't wanna rush anything so I stayed until the last of the passengers disembarked
The empty cabin right before I left it
Thank you, Alpha-Zulu-India!
The aircraft is parked right next to Xpressair's 26-year old Boeing 737-500 PK-TZD, which has just arrived from Sultan Mahmud Badarudddin II Intl. Airport (WIPP/PLM) in Palembang, South Sumatera Province as XN741. In an hour it'll be departing as XN739 to Minangkabau Intl. Airport (WIDD/PDG) in Padang, West Sumatera Province.
Midday activity at BDO
I'm pretty sure my luggage is somewhere inside
Quite a long queue at the immigration. If the same queue with the same amount of people happened in a bigger airport it wouldn't seem to be too cramped like this.
Baggage claim area is also very compact and is designed in a manner to occupy the smallest of room
And that's what makes it feel so cramped as well….
A warning to not bring any sort of organisms that act as a medium for diseases and biohazards that contaminate the environment and the existing living species
The pick-up area just where I started a few days ago.
This is a notice for travellers going to BDO. As BDO is basically an airbase where the commercial and civil section of the airbase is operated by Angkasa Pura II (Indonesian state-owned enterprise which runs civilian airports), the army has made a regulation which makes it virtually impossible to catch taxis that aren't operated by the Indonesian Army business unit. I think this is a stupid and childish policy and makes travelling from the airport to the city for travellers quite frustrating. The fares offered by these taxis are subject to zones and, anyway, if you are a foreigner, they will most possibly trick you into paying 2 or 3 times the reasonable fare anyways. If you decide to use the army-run taxis anyway, it should be better if you're travelling in a group of 4 so you can part the fare with your partners.
Singapore - SIN
Bandung-Java Island - BDO
T4 is definitely the new face of Changi Airport the management would like the international world to see in the upcoming years of development. As the smallest terminal among the 4, I find it very nice to be in and the only thing it lacks is the integration between the other terminals as the only connection available is the free shuttle buses, instead of the Skytrain service that is already very convenient in the older 3 terminals. But I guess, it's just a matter of time before it's fully integrated. AirAsia also as usual, offering low fares, good value for money, and excellent punctuality. BDO airport management needs to step up for the sake of its visitors and really needs to resolve this "taxi scandal" if you want to keep travellers coming, it's really annoying and I hate it.
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