Review of Indonesia AirAsia flight Penang Medan in Economy

Airline Indonesia AirAsia
Flight QZ107
Class Economy
Seat 20D
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:00
Take-off 21 Aug 18, 12:45
Arrival at 21 Aug 18, 12:45
QZ   #88 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 34 reviews
anaknegeri
Published on 15th November 2018
Hello friends! Welcome to one of my reports.

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 (click here)
August 21st, 2018: Kuala Lumpur to Penang overland
August 21st, 2018: Penang (PEN) to Medan (KNO) by Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320 (you are here)
August 24th, 2018: Medan (KNO) to Jakarta (CGK) by Batik Air Airbus A320 (click here)

AUGUST 21st, 2018

After about 6 hours bus trip from Kuala Lumpur, I arrived at Butterworth, an industrial town located in mainland Asia (Malay Peninsula) facing the Penang Island. Here I hop the ferry crossing the strait to Penang Island, or more exactly Georgetown area, Penang's administrative and business center.



Sights from the ferry, including Penang Bridge, one of Penang's icons, connecting Penang Island and the mainland.

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Having breakfast at a local restaurant serving "Nasi Kandar", one of Penang's must-try food which is the Indian-style rice dish mainly sold by "Mamak" or Muslim Indians.

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After breakfast, I walked to the nearby Chowrasta Market. Daily items, foods, clothes, and others are sold here.

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Komtar, one of Penang's landmark. It had been Malaysia's tallest building before the arrival of taller buildings in KL, especially Petronas Twin Towers.

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Komtar's ground level contains Rapid Penang bus station, from where I would leave for the airport. The Rapid Penang bus is the cheapest, but also the most time-consuming, transport option to Penang International Airport. It costs MYR 2.70 to reach the airport. Very cheap, compared to the KLIA - Kuala Lumpur buses which cost MYR 11.00-12.00. You must pay the exact fare, no changes are given. As a city bus, it will stop at all bus stops along the route.



Arriving at the airport after 40 minutes bus journey.

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I had been not in Penang International Airport since 2011, when me and my family had a short vacation from Medan to Penang. The airport is probably one of main air gateways to Malaysia. Recently Qatar Airways operated routes from/to Doha, making access from Europe and Middle East to this airport easier.

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Flight schedule.

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Check-in counters.

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As an LCC, AirAsia only provided self-check-in computers. No staffs at check-in counters, but helpers were still available to help people working with the computers.

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My boarding pass.

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Time to enter the airside, and I was surprised by the long queue for immigration checks.

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I spent probably 30 minutes in the immigration queue. Luckily there was still an hour before scheduled departure. I tried to explore the airport, but the airport's layout made me unable to take photos of sights outside the window.

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Cathay Dragon preparing for departure back to Hong Kong.

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Indonesia AirAsia (QZ), with registration code PK-AXV, painted in special livery, would bring me to Medan.

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Boarding started.

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Cathay Dragon seen from the aerobridge.

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Entering the plane, greeted by young cabin crews.

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LCC typical, ads dominating the cabin.

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As I sat on the aisle side, I couldn't take pictures of window sights, especially while take-off. But as about 50% of the seats were vacant, I moved to an empty window-side seat after take-off.

We departed at 12.45 p.m. (UTC+8) The take-off process was smooth, and the sky was very clear. No turbulences happened.

After seat-belt lamp was turned off, I checked the lavatory as usual.

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Also items inside the seatpocket.

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"Santan" (Malay / Indonesian: "coconut milk) inflight meals menu. "Pak Naser's Nasi Lemak" and "Uncle Chin's Chicken Rice" have been AirAsia's signature dishes for long time.

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"Travel 360" magazine, Indonesian version (in Indonesian language).

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"Travel 360" magazine, Malaysian version (in English).

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I also tried the "Rokki", an IFE system accessed through Wi-fi. "PK-AXV" was the 1st (and only???) QZ's aircraft installed with "Rokki", while the system had been available in all Malaysian AirAsia (AK) fleet.



If an announcement was made, the web browser turned like this.

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The flight was short. Only 45 minutes in the air, we had been called to prepare for landing.

Entering Sumatra Island.

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Touching Kuala Namu International Airport, Medan, at 12.45 p.m. (UTC+7).



Parked beside a 737-900ER of Lion Air.

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Time to leave the plane.

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Final shots of the plane's exterior. What a beautiful livery.

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The immigration queue here was very short and the process was quick.

Baggage carousel.

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Arrival area.



Train station, from where you can take trains to Medan city center. But the price was too expensive for me (IDR 90,000-100,000).

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Express buses are far cheaper (IDR 20,000-30,000) than the train, so this was the way I reach my destination.

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Finally, click the spoiler below to see my activities in North Sumatra:
Bonus : Click here display
See more

Verdict

Indonesia AirAsia

5.6/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering5.0

Penang - PEN

6.9/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.5
Services6.0
Cleanliness7.0

Medan - KNO

7.6/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

I was so lucky to board Indonesia AirAsia (QZ)'s latest fleet, the PK-AXV, painted in special livery showcasing Indonesian culture, also the first fleet of QZ equipped with Wi-fi and the "Rokki" IFE portal accessed through it. The plane still looked fresh and well-maintained. Cabin crews were nice and friendly, though not the friendliest I've ever met. The "Rokki" portal contained good collection of movies, but I had only short time to explore it because the flight took less than an hour. As an LCC, meals could only be bought and pre-ordered.

Penang's Airport was good and clean with some facilities like free charging stations provided. But I was quite disappointed with the long queue for immigration check. It was located quite distant from Penang's city center (Georgetown), but having good transport options like Rapid Penang buses and taxis. The airport served frequent international flights to Medan and Singapore, and also to Doha by Qatar Airways.

Medan's Kuala Namu Airport was good, far better than Soekarno-Hatta Airport. I just hope that they can improve their service and cleanliness, also more international routes provided. Recently Cathay Dragon operated the Medan-Hong Kong v.v. flights, offering a great option to depart to or arrive from East Asia, Europe, and America.

Thanks for reading!

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2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 475910 by
    marathon GOLD 10195 Comments
    I took a domestic flight out of PEN back in 2014 and had noted in my flight report that the terminal was very plane spotter friendly - I could take pictures from jsut behind the windows. Maybe the arrangement of the international section is different; sorry for you.
    Thanks for the story of this flight, and for the bonus on Medan / Lake Toba which have been on my looong to visit list for many years !

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