Save for promotions, GA’s flexible economy class tickets (which earn 3 segments 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, and 9 GarudaMiles segments (plus, 3 snack boxes in 4 hours). The fare could be even lower from cashbacks by one of the Indonesian state banks, but I wasn't a customer of that bank yet and worse, had my credit card application for that bank rejected.
After the short walk along the kerbside I reached the entrance to the check-in area. Being a very small airport there was not even a security check before entering the check-in area.
The check-in hall consisted of an unused desk and only 4 check-in counters, two of which were used by GA.
I didn't need to check-in again so I went to the security, which was fast. All in all, I spent ~2 - 3 minutes from the entrance to the transit area.
SWQ transit area and departure
The transit area corridor mainly consisted of a lavatory, some nondescript rooms, and the sole exit through the luggage claim area, not unlike the one in PGK. There was also no lounge provided for GA's elite members here.
As usual on GA flights, newspapers were provided, however unlike the normal practice of putting them at the aerobridge or even inside the plane they put it at the entrance to the waiting room since there was no other flight departing around that time.
Situation at the waiting room was quiet at first.
The waiting room also had a couple of aviatio-related magazines.
Naturally, one of the articles were self-praising the terminal, claiming it as "wide" (at least it's still less cramped than TJQ) and "made passengers comfortable" (they only settled with metal seats and wooden benches)
Despite its size, the terminal had already featured a mini-playground.
A banner for an event on the island.
As boarding time was approaching the gate became more crowded, mostly with locals since this was their main connection to the province capital. Boarding was fast, although there was no priority being enforced.
A front view of the plane for the late afternoon.
The plane was still the same PK-GAL, the 3 1/2 years old AT7 that brought me from LOP an hour ago.
I boarded through the rear staircase.
One last view of the terminal before perhaps returning in a few more months.
Bonus: a preview of the airport from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Indonesian Ministry of Transport.
After I was welcomed by the same set of flight attendant as before (and yes, they asked why did I return to LOP - it's for the segments) I proceeded to my seat.
As I reached my seat the boarding process was still underway.
Legroom wasn't spacious, but was still bearable for the 80 miles hop.
Typical on an AT7, there was a seatback pocket, a foldable table, and a literature pocket.
Despite being a rather new airplane, there were already some damage to the table.
Contents inside the literature pocket.
The window seat afforded a view of the small apron.
It was time for departure and we simply turned around the apron (there was no pushback truck, for what it's worth). During the taxi a safety demonstration was manually done.
We turned around the runway before taking off to the northwest.
Some of the beautiful views as we left Sumbawa island.
One of the uninhabited islands near Sumbawa island.
After the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off it was yet another snack time on board the flight.
Since the snack was catered from SWQ instead of carrying snacks on both LOP-SWQ and SWQ-LOP flights from LOP, the offer for this flight was different.
Contents inside both snacks.
The snack service consisted of: Savoury snack: Rissole with potato and carrot filling Sweet bread: Bread with fruit jam Drink: Mineral water
The snacks were, as expected on GA, pretty filling yet otherwise low quality. The bread with fruit jam was edible with the jam not spread wide enough, but the rissole was so bad I would choose GA's mixed nuts anytime over it. On overall, though, this was more than enough given the very short flight
An afternoon snack with a view?
It was time for lavatory visit. The lavatory was clean, as expected (or does it have more to do with barely anybody able to use it since the flight was so short?)
The cabin seen from behind, with the flight attendant clearing the boxes.
We started to descend above Lombok island.
The descent afforded a view of downtown Mataram city, the capital city of the West Nusa Tenggara province, as well as AMI, its previous airport.
At this point the cabin light was switched off.
As we started the final approach we passed by the road to LOP.
Not unlike SWQ, the landscape became drier as we were nearing the destination.
Landing was rather fast and we reached the apron in no time.
Since I was already among the last to deplane and I had a connecting flight ahead I didn't take my time and proceeded to deplane as soon as it was my turn.
I deplaned through the rear stairs.
The plane for the next flight to DPS was parked right beside our AT7 - I wish I could just hop on through the aerobridge stairs instead of going through security again.
Last view of -GAL as she was being unloaded.
Which airport did I arrive at?
I walked to the domestic arrival area.
Arrival at LOP and post-arrival trip
The ground floor entrance to the domestic arrival area immediately led me to the luggage claim.
I had nothing to claim, so it was time to get through the glass door again for the next flight.
Sumbawa Besar - SWQ
Lombok - LOP
Save for the good views along the way and the slightly damaged seat, the flight was a rather uneventful intra-province commuter flight, which meant that it had done the job well. In terms of the airports, SWQ's new terminal though basic was still fresh (it was only less than 2 months old) and exceptionally easy to get through, while LOP has started showing its age.
On overall, though, this flight still offered an unique opportunity to quickly upgrade my status with GA on a budget, and therefore I would fly with GA on this route again if I ever need to top up my segments.
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