Firstly, as usual, sorry for my bad English, and also bad quality of the photos as I took all of them by my cellphone.
Here are parts of the journey: August 20th, 2018: Jakarta (CGK) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) by KLM Boeing 777-300ER (you are here) August 21st, 2018: Kuala Lumpur to Penang overland August 21st, 2018: Penang (PEN) to Medan (KNO) by Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320 (click here) August 24th, 2018: Medan (KNO) to Jakarta (CGK) by Batik Air Airbus A320 (click here)
IMPORTANT NOTE The abbreviation of KL here always refers to Kuala Lumpur, not KLM's IATA code. Please not to be confused.
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North Sumatra Province is land of my ancestors. Here both my dad and mom were born and raised, but after their marriage, they moved to Jakarta and our family live in Indonesian capital until today. But as we still have our relatives in our nativeland, we visit it frequently on many occasions.
My grandma, my mom's mother, celebrated her birthday at August 28th. My mom's family had planned to celebrate it in our native hometown. Then they bought flight tickets from Jakarta to Silangit, a new airport close to the birthplace of my late grandpa. After the celebration, our family's journey would continue until Medan city, the capital of North Sumatra, from where they would return to Jakarta.
But as I had more free time, I chose to start my North Sumatran journey from Medan, where I would meet my friends. It was almost a year after my trip to KL and Medan, and I had really missed them so much. From Medan, I would have an overland trip for about 300 km to Balige, my late grandpa's birthplace. That's why I didn't go together with my whole family.
Then I don't know why KLM called me once again to be onboard with it after my previous trip to KL, Kuching, and Pontianak. This was quite crazy idea: going to Medan through Malaysia. But if we see the map, Medan is located above Kuala Lumpur, so going from Jakarta to Medan through Kuala Lumpur is actually not that crazy thing.
As usual, KLM offers cheapest fare for Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur v.v flights at least 21 days before departure. So I quickly grabbed it and paid almost IDR 600,000 (about USD 40.00).
The next problem was how to reach Medan from Kuala Lumpur. I was shocked that the ticket prices for KL-Medan had risen to more than IDR 700,000 while usually the price was about IDR 300,000-400,000. Then I realized that August 22nd was coincident with Islamic celebration "Eid Al-Adha", also a public holiday in both Indonesia and Malaysia.
There was also another crazy idea coming to my mind: taking a cross-strait ferry from Malaysia to Dumai (Riau), from where I had to reach Medan by bus. But the public holiday would make getting tickets for both ferry and bus more difficult than usual.
Finally, I decided to take my flight to Medan from Penang, a popular city on northern side of Malaysia, where frequent flights to Medan are available. I got quite cheap price on this route for about IDR 400,000, served by Indonesia AirAsia (QZ). To reach Penang from KL, I chose to buy an express bus ticket for about IDR 200,000. Not much cheaper than direct KL-Medan flight, but I'm also a lover of buses and sleeping in bus is much better for me than in the airport. I also didn't need to be afraid for not getting tickets to Medan, as I could buy all of them in advance. I would also be able to explore Penang city, my version of Malaysia's best city, for a while.
I would spent a night in Medan before heading to Balige, where I would meet my family and celebrate my grandma's birthday.
But how would I return to Jakarta?
Just like the departure, I had to go back from Medan to Jakarta alone. Why? I'm a fan of TWICE, a popular Korean girl-group with 9 members, and they would perform at a solo concert in Jakarta. The concert was scheduled on August 25th. My family had planned to stay in Medan until August 26th, and the concert made me can't stay longer with them. I had to take Medan-Jakarta flight on August 24th, and the most reasonable (but not cheapest) price was offered by Batik Air for about IDR 850,000. (about USD 57.00). Actually, Sriwijaya Air offered the cheapest price for IDR 770,000, but it departed very lately at 10.30 p.m. and if you read my previous trip, I had been very skeptical that Sriwijaya's evening flights always departed later than schedule. I couldn't imagine what time I would reach home. So Batik Air was an ideal option for me, scheduled to depart at 8.00 p.m, and I quickly reserved my seat.
All tickets had been bought. I just had to wait patiently for my trip started at August 20th.
AUGUST 20th, 2018
In the morning, I checked the plane's position through FR24.
After college activities, I took an express bus from Gambir Railway Station to the airport. I reached the Terminal 3 of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 5.15 p.m., 90 minutes before scheduled departure.
The newest terminal is used mainly by Garuda Indonesia. All Skyteam members and international LCCs have moved here, together with some other foreign carriers.
I had done the online check-in, but I still needed to print it, so I came to the check-in counter without long queue.
My pass. I wonder if the empty white can be used for anything.
Then I quickly left for the airside, through immigration & security checks as usual, to see my KLM arriving from Kuala Lumpur.
Waiting hall, shared by all boarding gates. I really love this layout. I'm still able to go freely in the airside before boarding.
The KLM was coming. It was Boeing 777-300ER, with registration code PH-BVO and nosename "Kaziranga National Park", named after a national park in Assam, India.
Parked close to it was an A330 of Thai Airways, waiting for return to Bangkok.
Still 45 minutes before departure, but passengers had made a long queue to board the plane.
Reaching the plane through aerobridge.
"Nationaal Park Kaziranga" (in Dutch).
We were greeted warmly by the senior cabin crews, then they assigned me to my seat.
Passing through business class firstly as usual. Look at the welcome drink, only in business class.
And this is my class.
I don't know the exact number of passengers, but I guess about 75% of the seats were occupied.
Outside the window.
While waiting for take-off, the IFE had been able to be explored. The personal LCDs were equipped with headphone and USB slots.
Lots of movies from various countries available.
But I always prefer listening to musics, especially K-pop, though the K-pop albums had been quite outdated.
You can also attach your own USB drives, but only images, audios, and documents can be read.
Shopping catalogue was also available.
Boarding completed, and the plane slowly moved. Safety video was played on the IFE, with the unique concept made from tiles. Both the audio and subtitle were in English.
The plane would fly from the southern runway. Quite a long way from the Terminal 3 located on the north side.
Take-off at 7.10 p.m. (UTC+7). Very smooth.
About 10 minutes after that, seat-belt sign was switched off, and I checked the lavatory.
Back to the IFE, interactive flight info was available.
Information about Kuala Lumpur, our destination.
Also checked all items inside the seat pocket as usual.
"Holland Herald" magazine, with nice articles and also information about KLM's fleet and routes.
"Sky High" shopping catalogue.
Cabin crews also distributed headset for all passengers. But honestly I don't like this kind. I still prefer the previous headset, though also with so-so quality. Using your own headset is much better.
Then the meal service began. An usual set for this route: vegetarian pie aloo ghobi and drinks.
Still about an hour before touching down in KL. I spent my time listening to music and playing some games on the IFE.
The weather was nice. We didn't experience any turbulence.
Entering Malaysia. Lights from the land started to be seen.
Landed safely at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The time was 9.50 p.m. (UTC+8).
Time to leave the plane. All passengers, including those who would continue their journey to Amsterdam, had to disembark.
Final shots of the cabin.
Entering the KLIA terminal building.
Amsterdam-bound passengers entered the boarding gate with security check.
Usually when I arrived here, I spent more times to explore this terminal and parked planes. But this time I had to leave quickly because an overland trip to Penang was waiting for me.
Here was the satellite terminal, and we had to go to the main terminal by "Aero Train" people mover.
Immigration check was in the main terminal. Luckily the queues were very short. After that, I headed to baggage carousels.
The public area upon arrival.
Then I walked to KLIA's bus station, located 2 levels below the arrival area, where I would hop a bus to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, English: Southern Integrated Terminal), KL's main intercity bus terminal.
This bus would take me to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan), from where I would left for Penang. The bus journey from KLIA to TBS took about an hour.
Some photos of the large bus terminal.
The bus taking me to Penang.
Jakarta - CGK
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Still no difference with my previous experiences with KLM, but having a Boeing 777-300ER for a short flight, with a cheap ticket price, itself is a good experience which always invites me to board the plane again.
Thanks for reading!
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