Report #43: JT31 - Where the queen met two flight reviewers at once
This will be my report on flying on Lion Air economy/business class from Denpasar DPS to Jakarta CGK, a short-haul flight within Indonesia, on board their Boeing 747-400.
The on board part of the review after take-off was jointly conducted with Ikhwan Hidayat (YouTube: ikhwanhidayat / Instagram: ihikhi), one of Indonesia's most prominent aviation vlogger. His video review can be found here:
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: Read 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: You are here SUB - CGK on Garuda Indonesia 737 MAX 8 business class: Read here CGK - SIN on Lion Air 737-900ER economy class: Read here
Those who have read my reports know: - Good things can come and go quickly, and therefore, - My trips are often planned at a very last minute.
As my friend notified me of JT's 744, the last 744 in Indonesia, mainly flying between CGK and DPS for the exodus season, I decided that I may as well make an extension to the Indonesia aviation trip. I booked the flight 11 1/2 hours before the ETD, which costed me Rp569.200 (US$41). The reason the flight was so cheap was because the plane had carried a full load on her way to DPS (note the exodus season, which meant that ex-CGK flights are often expensive yet the CGK-bound ones crazily cheap at times).
To reposition to DPS I opted to fly on a JQ flight earlier in the morning, which I will cover in another installment of the series.
Trip to DPS and check-in
After a very unfortunate delay on my earlier flight to DPS, I went on a very mad rush to DPS domestic terminal, while trying to squeeze in some photos for the review.
After I had cleared customs I proceeded to the walkway towards the domestic terminal.
From there I traveled through the series of corridors.
You know you had reached the domestic terminal when you got to see the laid back-looking terminal, but there's still some more walk involved to the check-in area.
I then proceeded to the initial ticket and security check, a norm on Indonesian airports.
Afterwards I went to the check-in counter where I got to skip a bit of the queue since one of the staffs had already asked whether there are still CGK-bound passengers on JT31.
My cut boarding pass for the day.
I then took an escalator ride up to the departure floor.
It was time for the proper ticket and security check, which took me a staggering 13 minutes.
DPS transit area and departure
Upon clearing the security, this was the first item to greet outbound passengers.
Looked like a simple man? No - he's Indonesia's president.
I walked through some stores and eateries.
FIDS of the morning
After reaching the common waiting room area I turned left to my gate. Gate 1A is located at the very far end, so it's even more arduous walk. Talk about the entire airport experience as the second exercise for the day?
Yes, it's that long.
GA's domestic lounge.
The object of interest for the day: PK-LHG, a 28 years old 744.
Situation at the waiting room.
I checked the load for the day, and soon afterwards it was time for boarding.
First it was a short walk down the corridor.
The plane was loaded from both door L1 and L2, but most of us ended up boarding from L2 anyway. Not that there was no sign whatsoever to indicate which aerobridge to take.
There was fortunately still barely anyone at the aerobridge.
Either they were too tired after handling the massive load from CGK, but the flight attendant didn't direct me to my aisle.
A view of the economy class cabin.
I went further back, only to be told that due to load and balance issue they decided to make it free seating on the middle rows.
An example of the normal economy class seat.
It was not until a few minutes later that free seating became a complete mess.
The seat was well-padded.
Seat tour: the seat belt was a standard one.
The legroom was a bit on the tighter side, but was otherwise survivable.
An unused IFE screen was installed.
The tray table doesn't extend by much, but still usable (not that there was any meal service either).
Contents include only a safety card and a prayer card, but at least the safety card was still pristine (I ended up collecting quite a few of them).
On the armrest is an ashtray, a recline button, and an IFE remote control.
The inside of the remote control was simply covered by a sticker.
The outside side reminded me of some of the older IFEs.
Me on the seat.
The headrest can be adjusted as well, though not by much.
There were also lamps, though they were unusable.
There are way more holes in the window compared with the ones on newer planes.
Note how the free seating turned to a mess. Afterwards a few more rows of seats behind were opened, but they were very strict about the seating rows.
The opened seats were then so full the part of the cabin ended up being warm.
The ownership plate at door L1.
The view from the window was of QR's 788.
I then went to the J cabin at the front and told Ikhwan that I would be joining him after take-off.
QR's 788 being pushed back. On a side note, 744's wing was indeed huge.
After a while safety demonstration was conducted, which you can watch below:
We then taxied for departure.
The cabin was dimmed for take-off.
Was it time for take-off?
The take-off was pretty powerful as DPS only has a 3000m runway, which you can watch below.
Afterwards we climbed off from Bali island.
Messing around the 747
From this part onwards this will be done jointly with Ikhwan on a tit-for-tat basis (i.e. I took photos of him when needed and vice versa).
Upper deck economy class
JT's upper deck cabin solely consisted of economy class seats on 3-3 arrangement. Due to the low load, this cabin was unused and therefore used for some of the crews.
The seats are mostly the same as in economy class.
As usual, emergency exit row seats receive extra legroom.
One important feature of the upper deck is the small storage by the cabin wall. While small, it's still better than no storage as the overhead bin is quite small.
If there's one thing that I hate, though, it's that the seats have footrests. Not only are they bad for stretching ….
When I tried to use it I felt like squatting.
At least the view wasn't too bad, plus the exclusivity.
The upper deck galley.
There are two jumpseats facing each other on the right side, with the left side being used for the staircase. However, those seats were small and the curvature of the fuselage made it feel cramped.
One simply doesn't just skip the staircase, or else, does he?
Business class cabin
The business class cabin consist of 22 recliner seats.
Those seats are numbered from row 1 to 5 and as JT may use them for economy class, get it while stock lasts.
Seatbelt was like in economy class.
3-plugs headphone plug was provided to accommodate the noise-cancelling ones.
An IFE screen can be found from inside the armrest.
The IFE remote control looked better and less cramped than the one in economy class.
The seat mechanism is electronically controlled, however on some seats they were completely not working and in the others may have some of its functions not working.
A foldable table was also available.
Ashtrays are still available, a remnant from the (not so good) era back then.
The headrest is also adjustable, and better at that than in the economy class.
Me at the bulkhead seat.
The bulkhead seats offer a lot of legroom.
By a lot, I mean really a lot, so much they can even consider making lie-flat beds with the pitch alone.
Compare it with the legroom on the non-bulkhead seats.
This is the recline on non-bulkhead seats.
For bulkhead seats, expect way more than that, so much I should either call it cradle recliner or think it's unfair.
There's no denying that I was happy with the recline.
But what's better than that? An entire business class cabin shared with only two flight reviewers and nobody else.
I almost forgot to mention it, but as the middle seats are only available at row 5, a mini-table is located in front of it.
After me and Ikhwan talked a bit with the flight attendants about among them the flight and -LHG's future deployment it's time for shots with some of the flight attendants.
I then did a quick walkthrough to the middle economy class cabin, which was very packed.
That was despite between door L4/R4 and L5/R5 the economy class cabin was completely empty.
The lavatory was pretty messed up considering the stage length of the flight.
On board - continued
The views during cruise was quite good as the weather was clear, but why bother when you're on a 744?
As she descended and I had no special access to fixed J seat assignment like Ikhwan I returned to the main economy class cabin.
However, I opted to seat just behind the last occupied row as my seat row had seen people swapping seats, in addition to the crew's insistence on everybody sitting at the middle.
The economy class cabin remained solemn as ever.
747 on approach with its flap partially extended.
Watch the landing video below:
We soon reached CGK and taxied to the stand.
We were parked beside FedEx's 757.
JT's buses preparing to carry the passengers back to the terminal.
The worst of both worlds: I had my bag at the business class cabin, while at the same time I needed to also join the long queue to deplane.
I bid farewell and then deplaned from door L2.
Some last views of -LHG. On a side note: deplaning 204 passengers with only one stair?
The bus bringing me back to the terminal proper.
The interior of the bus bringing us to the arrival area.
Arrival at CGK and post-arrival trip
After a few minutes in the bus I arrived at the arrival area at terminal 1B.
First it involved a walk down the traditional-looking walkway.
After we reached the main "spine" of the building we walked further.
There is a slight downward slope to the arrival floor.
The luggage claim area. Since I had no time to recompile my bag to actually have something to check (I crammed everything in one laptop backpack), I skipped that.
I then went to the arrival public area, which wasn't that crowded.
Since I was about to go around Jakarta for the day I decided to take the airport bus to Gambir Stn.
A ticket only cost Rp40.000 (US$2.9), which wasn't that bad.
Lion Mentari Airlines
Denpasar - DPS
Jakarta - CGK
It was a rare yet very interesting experience to be able to explore what the 744 had to explore, even more so when after being stored for almost 2 years she went back to operation. Therefore, based on that this represented a great value for money for the 744 alone (note how I had missed the 744 on my TG flight to BKK).
Some thing done well for the trip (airports): + Modern airport terminal at DPS + Fast arrival process at CGK + Affordable public transport option at CGK
Some thing done well for the trip (on board): + Reasonable price (Rp569.200 (US$41)) + Opportunity to go around the cabin + Friendly cabin crew
Things that can be improved (airports): - Excruciatingly long international to domestic transfer at DPS - Slow check-in at DPS - Slow security at DPS - Gate usage at DPS - Gate usage at CGK
Things that can be improved (on board): - Unused original seating assignment - Outdated cabin - IFE not activated or loaded - Broken seat functions - Dirty lavatory
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