Review of Citilink Indonesia flight Majalengka Surabaya in Economy

Airline Citilink Indonesia
Flight QG9821
Class Economy
Seat 1D
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 23 May 18, 07:25
Arrival at 23 May 18, 08:55
QG 16 reviews
Eric V P
By SILVER 701
Published on 16th June 2018
Report #39: QG9821 - A mad dash to return

This will be my report on flying on Citilink economy class from Majalengka KJT to Surabaya SUB, a short-haul intercity flight within Java island, on board their Airbus A320-200. For a preview of the arrival area at KJT as well as the arrival ceremony, read here. This is also the first scheduled commercial flight departing from KJT, so read on!

A fair warning: this report will be way shorter than usual as I was tired from waking up so early for the SUB-KJT flight and that the on board part of the review significantly overlap the SUB-KJT flight. Rest assured, however, that most other reports in the series will feature the usual level of detail expected.

Here are the 12 parts of the trip:
KUL - CGK on KLM 777-300ER business class: Read here
CGK - SUB on Garuda Indonesia 737 MAX 8 economy class: Read here
SUB - SRG on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here
SRG - SUB on Garuda Indonesia CRJ-1000ER economy class: Read here
SUB - KJT on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here (first commercial flight to KJT)
KJT - SUB on Citilink A320-200 economy class: You are here (first commercial flight from KJT)
SUB - DPS on Garuda Indonesia 737-800 economy class: Read here
DPS - SIN on KLM 777-300ER economy class: Read here
SIN - DPS on Jetstar Airways A320 economy class: Read here
DPS - CGK on Lion Air 747-400 economy/business class: Read here
SUB - CGK on Garuda Indonesia 737 MAX 8 business class: Read here
CGK - SIN on Lion Air 737-900ER economy class: Read here

Note that among the reviews series the KJT and 744 flights would be published soon, followed by the rest of the series.

Background


It's not an usual occasion to be among the first to fly on a brand new airport (it's one thing when a new terminal opens, but when it's a whole new airport opening, let alone a long-awaited one, that's on a completely different level), so when I heard of the airport's first flight being confirmed I decided to make a trip around the very joyous occasion. The first flights announced to operate was the daily QG flight from/to SUB, so I decided to hop on it.

The prorated fare after OTA discount came at Rp443.000 (US$32), which was still cheap as the airport was virtually in the middle of nowhere with no expressway or rail connection yet.
photo qg9820 qg9821 08062018 receipt

Confession time: I paid up for the 1D seat, the closest possible seat to the door 1L so I would be one of the first to arrive at the new airport as well as a chance to rub shoulders with the officials. As much as I don't fancy paying for bulkhead seats, this was indeed a historical moment.as I don't fancy paying for bulkhead seats, this was indeed a historical moment.

Trip to KJT and check-in


Technically my earlier flight from SUB to KJT is the trip to the airport, which you can read here.

After taking the elevator I proceeded to the drop-off point.
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The signage leading to the departure area.
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Afterwards it's a walk down the massive walkway to the security screening area.
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A view of the middle floor and the walkways to the security.
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Afterwards I went through the initial security, which was fast.
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There are self-service check-in counters available, which were still unused.
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The check-in counters for the flight. Due to time constraints I just used the return boarding pass printed at SUB earlier on.
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The ceiling of the check-in area. One prominent feature of it is the presence of a peafowl feather-shaped design.
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Afterwards it's a walk to the security.
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After I cleared security it was a downward escalator ride to the departure floor.
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The security officer asked me to delete the photo of the second security and ticket check area, so that's the best I could get.
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KJT transit area and departure


First I went through the rather wide yet empty corridor to reach the waiting area.
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The waiting area mostly consisted of rows of identical seats.
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A plane-themed playground could be seen as well.
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There were few passengers left in the airport.
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I then boarded the plane without queue at the gate. On a side note, the FIDS display at the gate looked particularly horrible - it's almost as if someone got paid peanuts to make one.
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I then passed trough some of the officials again, some of which gave the two goodie bags for me (review on the on board section).
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It was followed by a walk down the lane of children still dancing.
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I then walked down the aerobridge.
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-GQO seen from the aerobridge.
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As I was among the last to board there wasn't much queue.
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On board


Flight: QG9821
Plane: PK-GQO
STD/ATD: 07.25/
STA/ATA: 08.55/
Load factor: 91%Y (163/180)
Seat type: Standard economy class (bulkhead aisle seat)

After I was welcomed back I went to the cabin when the boarding was already well underway.
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There were quite a few members of the press covering the flight. Probably as the non-official sitting at the most forward seat I was also about to be interviewed by a news company, but rejected it as I preferred to keep it low profile.
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The usual goodies there, including the inflight magazine and shopping catalogue.
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I couldn't recall any single time when they prepared something in the oven on return flights (i.e. SUB-KJT and then KJT-SUB), so consider the hot meal sales a failure?
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The safety card had been replenished.
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A plastic airsickness bag could be seen as well.
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We soon pushed back from our gate.
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The ramp agents would then wave at us.
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After a short and queue-free taxi we then departed.
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The weather turned better for the climb.
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As I had paid for the seat for the return flight, the same snack service was provided again for me. The snack service consisted of:
Snack: multigrain bar
Drink: coconut water drink
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After the snack service I visited the lavatory, which was clean.
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View of the cabin from the front.
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The views during cruise mainly consisted of a handful of mountains.
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Goodie bag time: during boarding I received two goodie bags, one from QG and one from the airport authority. Let's have a look at the one from QG:
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The goodie bag from QG contained a QG pen and Majalengka-style peanut rempeyek.
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Next is the one from the airport authority, also packed in a similarly styled fabric bag.
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How much Majalengka-style peanut rempeyek can I eat? I thought I had too many of them to the point I gave one for my taxi driver.
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The other stuffs consist of fried oncom and sweet soya sauce, both of which were made in Majalengka.
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I discussed with the person beside me at seat 1C, who work for the transportation development division at the East Java branch of the Ministry of Transport (hence him being seated together with the head of the said branch), and without realizing we had landed to SUB.
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We then reached terminal 1.
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The head of the East Java branch of the Ministry of Transport together with someone from the transportation development division.
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We were parked at the furthermost gate, yet the next few gates happened to be empty.
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I bid farewell and proceeded to the aerobridge.
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A last view of -GQO.
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Arrival at SUB and post-arrival trip


As I arrived at the farthest gate, supposedly reserved for Umrah flights, I needed to go through the narrow, long corridor.
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As a dual-purpose terminal (i.e. both for scheduled domestic flights and Umrah flights, which are international by nature) the typical customs screening equipments were in place.
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I then went down to the arrival floor.
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The remnants of the terminal's past (i.e. as an international terminal) could be seen.
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I then went to the luggage claim area.
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As I had no luggage to claim I went to the public area.
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I then tried to book a taxi using a ride-sharing app, but as the taxis under the Navy's cooperative have a very strong stance against those ride-sharing vehicles I was forced to go down and after haggling with them got a fare slightly higher than had I used the original transport mode.
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Verdict

Citilink Indonesia

5.3/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Buy-on-board menu4.5

Majalengka - KJT

6.3/10
Efficiency8.0
Access3.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.0

Surabaya - SUB

4.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access2.0
Services3.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

Citilink again proved to be a decent way to travel short-haul within Indonesia with the trip being done without any problem and relatively comfortable given the low-cost nature (except the seat assignment fee, but that's another story). Apart from some issues surrounding a newly built airport (e.g. lack of transport access or shops), KJT seemed well-poised to take a significant portion of BDO's traffic and possibly tap into previously underserved markets. SUB, on the other hand, was already a bit of a mess with the dual-purpose terminal and the fact that passengers are often expected to pay more just for their outbound transport doesn't seem ideal for a major airport.

Some thing done well for the trip (airports):
+ Modern design at KJT
+ Acceptable security at KJT
+ Fast boarding at KJT

Some thing done well for the trip (on board):
+ Reasonable price (Rp443.000 (US$32))
+ Decent load factor
+ Decent bulkhead seat legroom
+ Free snack and beverage provision for paid seats
+ Friendly cabin crew
+ Clean lavatory

Things that can be improved (airports):
- No security photo policy at KJT
- Poor FIDS design at KJT gate
- Lack of Wi-Fi at KJT
- Uninspiring goodie bag offering
- Gate usage at SUB
- App-based transport prohibition at SUB

Things that can be improved (on board):
- Expensive seat assignment fee

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