Report #58: GA451 - When the flight was even shorter than the (already short) connection time
This will be my report on flying on Garuda Indonesia economy class from Lombok LOP to Denpasar DPS, an ultra short-haul flight within Indonesia (and by that, only 76 miles short), on board its Boeing 737-800.
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.
Trip to LOP and check-in
The previous flight from SWQ was how I managed to arrive at LOP, so I would only give a few snapshot related to this flight from the past review and then continue to the re:
The plane for this flight was parked right beside the AT7 I rode on from SWQ - If only I could just hop on through the aerobridge stairs instead of going through all the process again. The plane was PK-GNM, a 4 years old 738.
After arriving at the luggage claim area I proceeded to the check-in area through the glass door, but I already had my boarding passes in hand so ….
Time to get to the proper review: I went straight to the departure floor using the escalator.
Security was rather screwed up since it took me 5 minutes to clear - not that it's even considered as excellent in many overseas airports.
LOP transit area and departure
After security one of the first sights was the row of shops.
FIDS for the afternoon.
I returned to the lounge, which I got access to thanks to my GarudaMiles Gold (SkyTeam Elite-equivalent) status.
I won't make a review of the lounge since I only went for a light lunch (after 2 snack boxes earlier on - the snacks got boring really fast), but still even on this short connection that's quite an achievement. Read here for a more detailed review of the lounge.
IN's 735 and GA's CRK as seen from near the escalator to the departure floor.
Situation at the gate.
Boarding was almost completed so I went through in no time.
I proceeded through the corridor to the aerobridge, and no, I wasn't asked to get down the stairs this time.
Another IN's 735 with JT's 739 in the background.
The walk through the aerobridge was painless and fast.
Thank you for your (airport) visit in LOP (?) Also seen is the maitre d'cabin (the flight attendant with purple uniform), a rare sight on GA's 738, let alone on this ultra short-haul flight.
Newspapers were available - the availability of local options are always appreciated.
After I was greeted by the flight attendants I first passed what would be a rather full business class cabin.
Why bother with fully paid business class when flying behind offered almost the same amenities, save for slighty tighter seat, 1 piece of GA's bread, and 1 less segment?
I returned to the usual seat - my bad for taking a photo of it too high, but it was still in the usual 31K seat (i.e. second emergency exit row window seat).
Legroom was as usual excellent.
The seatback as usual consisted of a seat pocket, a disabled table, and an IFE screen.
Reading materials from the seat pocket.
Also found is an airsickness bag and a broken headphone.
In fact, when I first asked to get it replaced I still got another broken one so it was only upon the second time that I got a decent-shaped headphone.
With boarding completed a flight attendant briefed those seated in the exit rows.
This is rather hit and miss, but this time candies were distributed prior to pushback.
View from the window was on GA's -GAL which I rode to SWQ and back again to LOP earlier and wouldn't fly until in the late afternoon to BMU.
We soon pushed back for departure.
A safety video was played during pushback and taxi.
After the short taxi we took off, which was ordinary.
We then cruised at a cruising altitude of 8000 feet.
Snack time again: after the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off the flight attendants rushed to hand out snacks.
A snack box was again handed out.
The contents happened to be exactly the same as the one I had on the SWQ-bound flight earlier.
Just like the previous flight, there were very few meat on the bread.
The snack service for the afternoon consisted of: Bread: Bread with minced chicken Nuts: Mixed nuts Drink: Mineral water
As far as a snack for a 20 minutes flight go there shouldn't be a complaint at all, but needless to say the bread was rather disappointing with so little meat in it, while the nuts and water were rather ordinary. On overall, the snack was filling enough but quality-wise like most ultra short-haul snacks on GA they were rather bad.
After I finished the snack there was no more time for even the usual ritual of lavatory visit and cabin shot.
It's almost like a habit for GA to put two consecutive ultra short-haul flights as one on the moving map (e.g. CGK-TKG-CGK/DPS-LOP-DPS).
We were already on our final approach 15 minutes after taking off.
I decided to have a look at their classical music offerings, which were rather basic.
We landed just 20 minutes after we took off. Since we were landing from the east, we were offered with some views of the planes parked at DPS.
D7's 333 could be seen in the background being pushed back for her return to KUL.
We were finally parked beside, again, IN's 735.
Business class passengers were able to disembark first so those in the economy class cabin needed to wait for a while.
5 minutes later I was able to get off the plane.
Despite being a so-called major airport DPS still used a lot of remote stands for domestic flights so I disembarked using the stairs.
As usual, buses were provided.
While waiting for the bus, I decided to take one last photo of -GNM.
The row of tails at DPS domestic terminal.
Following a bus trip was an unsheltered walk to the terminal building.
Arrival at DPS and post-arrival trip
DPS' terminal layout means that unlike on CGK as a bussed passenger I was dropped quite close to the carousels.
As expected after a GA flight, many people were waiting for their luggage to arrive.
I happened not to be among them (I needed to pack light after all), so I proceeded to the rather quiet public area kerbside.
Since I had a bit of affairs to do outside the airport I went to the pick-up area and even further to get out using motorcycle taxi (and of course avoid the parking fee).
Lombok - LOP
Denpasar - DPS
When it comes to ultra short-haul flights, GA offered one of the most amenities on board with spacious seats, working IFE and even snack services, which was commendable despite the price tag. The lounge access benefit I received was also beneficial, even when the lounge was rather basic. In terms of the airports, LOP was rather dated and its security not among the fastest, although on the other hand DPS' domestic terminal still looked fresh and wasn't that bad to walk on.
On overall, I would fly on this route given the opportunity (and need to fill my segments on GA).
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