Save for promotions, GA’s flexible economy class tickets (which earn 3 segments per flight regardless of distance) within Indonesia have always been sold at the Indonesian government’s upper fare limit, which means that the best way to earn segments are through flying ultra short-haul like between LOP and SWQ/DPS or to a less extent between CGK and TKG.
During GA’s travel fair, which was held 2 weeks before the trip, after first getting people thinking of the weird itinerary I managed to get a decent deal when I booked the flight from LOP to DPS via SWQ and LOP as the ticketing staff working with me helped to price the entire itinerary as “roundtrip” and waived the airport fees for the SWQ-LOP-DPS flights by routing it as if I went to DPS via SWQ. All in all, I managed to get those three ultra short-haul flights for Rp1.195.000 (US$79). In return, I received 119 KrisFlyer miles from my credit card, 295 GarudaMiles award miles (236 miles distance x (100% fare earning + 25% status bonus)), and 9 GarudaMiles segments.
I first went to GA's check-in counter to reprint my boarding passes - while I didn't take any photo of it naturally it used the usual GA stock paper.
Before long I went up to the departure floor.
Ticket check and security check was done, which was fast.
LOP transit area
LOP's transit area mainly consist of stores on the rear and the gates nearer to the interstitial corridor.
Since the lounge was upstairs, I decided to go up and see what the lounge had to offer.
Lounge test #1: Concordia Lounge Lombok
As perk of my GarudaMiles Gold status (equivalent to SkyTeam Elite), I was able to enter most domestic lounges (excluding GA-operated business class lounges) when flying with GA.
I proceeded to the sole lounge in LOP, which was also contracted by GA. After I passed my boarding pass the reception staff let me in.
Few reading materials were provided near the reception.
Seats in the lounge are uniform and spread between the lounge corridor and the main seating area further in. There weren't many power plugs as well.
The lounge had three separate buffet areas, first behind the lounge reception.
Another buffet area is located inside the main seating area, offering a completely different set of items.
There is also a third one further behind, though it solely consisted of some snacks, tea, and coffee.
While the lounge had its own toilet, they didn't come with a shower.
Lounge test verdict and departure
While the lounge was clean enough, I found the food not to be good and the seating rather uncomfortable. The lack of power plugs were also a concern for extended stays, so like most domestic lounges within Indonesia, the lounge was functional and I would perhaps come back for some quick bites yet wasn't something I would go to the airport early for.
Situation at the waiting room where boarding had already started.
After I showed my mobile boarding pass I was let through to the interstitial corridor.
Typical on regional flights, I needed to get down to the apron to get to the plane.
QG's 320 about to be pushed back.
The plane for the late morning flight was PK-GAL, a 3 1/2 years old AT7.
Side view of the plane.
Naturally we boarded from the rear, and being a full flight meant that there were some queue at the stair.
After I was greeted by the flight attendants working for the flight I went into the cabin. I opted for one of the last rows.
Legroom was tight, but still bearable for the 80 miles flight.
Typical on AT7, there was a separate seatback pocket and literature pocket as well as foldable table.
Contents inside the literature pocket.
View from my window.
One of the flight attendants checking the passengers before departure.
Safety demonstration was then done manually as we taxied.
It was time to depart and we climbed from LOP in no time.
View as we climbed to a cruising altitude of 9000 feet.
It was time to leave Lombok island as the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off and the flight attendants rushing to serve the snacks.
Snack was provided even on this very short flight.
Contents inside the snack box.
The amount of meat provided was simply abysmal, as it has been the case for GA.
The snack service for the late morning consisted of: Bread: Bread with minced chicken Nuts: Mixed nuts Drink: Mineral water
In theory one shouldn't complain about the snack for an ultra short-haul flight, but needless to say the bread was rather disappointing, while the nuts and water were nothing to talk about. On overall, quantity-wise this would almost be overkill for the distance but quality-wise this was as bad as GA's ultra short-haul snacks go.
I checked on the lavatory, which was clean.
A view of the cabin from behind as usual.
The view soon after we reached Sumbawa island.
Further in the landscape looked much drier, for which my seatmate who was a local at the island said that Sumbawa is much drier compared to Lombok island nearby.
As we approached SWQ the dry landscape can be seen much clearer.
Landing was rather powerful, and we were soon reaching the terminal.
As usual, people were rushing to get their bags and deplane.
Since I was seated in one of the last rows I also got to disembark earlier.
We were parked beside a charter BE1.
SWQ's airport was indeed small, especially since it handled only 3 scheduled flights daily on AT7.
Another view of -GAL in front of the landscape.
Arrival at SWQ and post-arrival trip
I passed through the sole luggage claim carousel.
Being a very small airport, SWQ benefited from a lot of natural light that they didn't even need to turn on the lamp.
From the parking lot alone you can get an idea of just how compact the airport is as well.
I took a short walk through the kerbside to the check-in area for my return flight. This was hands down also my personal record on the fastest time from plane to kerbside at only 1 1/2 minutes, and that was after taking a couple of photos and without running.
Lombok - LOP
Sumbawa Besar - SWQ
As far as earning segments on GA go, this was one of the more interesting ways to do it with a shoestring budget. The flight was pleasant by turboprop standard, and there was even a snack service as well, which coupled with some nice views along the trip made it one of the better ultra short-haul flights in my book. Both airports were also a breeze to get through and even SWQ was so compact one could get out from the airport in minutes, though the lounge in LOP was rather disappointing.
On overall, I would fly on this route given the opportunity (and need to fill my segments on GA).
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