Report #63: QG1994 - A flight down Jakartans' favourite weekend getaway route
This will be my report on flying on Citilink Indonesia economy class from Jakarta HLP to Bandung BDO, an ultra short-haul intercity flight within Java island, on board its ATR 72-600. This flight was concurrently reviewed with Rahmat Dhani (YouTube: rhmtdhani / Instagram: rahmatdhani), one of Indonesia's well-known aviation vloggers. You may watch his video here:
Here are the 2 parts of the trip:
HLP - BDO on Citilink Indonesia ATR 72-600 economy classYou are here
BDO - HLP on Citilink Indonesia ATR 72-600 economy classComing soon
Since I have now relocated back to Jakarta, I decided to try QG's flight on AT7, which had been reviewed by another vlogger on another route. It was only from around February that QG started operating some of ex-GA's AT7, which despite technically being second-hand happened to be some of GA's newest (that is, PK-GAR turning into PK-GJR and PK-GAS turning into PK-GJS). Strangely enough, despite the HLP-BDO starting to operate on 2 March, when I flew the flight I saw that they had still not loaded the schedule for 18 March - UFN so I accidentally thought the route was about to close and made me decide to quickly book the ticket.
I bought the ticket 2 hours before departure, which in total costed me Rp328.735 (~US$23) after 21% base fare discount for GarudaMiles members when booked on QG's members-only portal. In return, I received 260 GarudaMiles award miles (60 miles distance x (75% fare earning + 25% status bonus) + 200 miles new route bonus).
Departure to HLP and check-in
I went to the airport using motorcycle taxi, which from Senopati area costed me Rp13.000 (~US$0.9).
Those who read my reviews know almost all of my reviews to/from Jakarta are referring to CGK, but this time it's different.
I needed to walk from the church right outside the airport to the departure area since motorcycle taxis couldn't get in.
Since it took a while to confirm my ticket, I went to QG's customer service counter near the arrival area, only to find out that my flight was already confirmed when the agent checked.
Being a small airport in Jakarta means a crowded terminal.
Self check-in machines were provided for QG/ID/IW.
The machine, though, was barely useful - not only that it wouldn't allow me to select my seat, but also slow and not touch responsive.
I then simply went to the check-in area where I had preliminary ticket and security check, which I cleared in 3 minutes.
HLP has a small check-in hall, though the queues were fortunately short.
I checked in at QG's desk where I also inputted my GarudaMiles number and selected my seats (seat selection is provided free of charge on all QG flights operated by AT7 for all seats)
My boarding pass for the late afternoon flight.
After my lounge visit I went to clear the proper security check, which I cleared in 2 minutes.
Lounge test #1: Saphire Premiair Executive Lounge
Saphire Premiair Executive Lounge is the only non-airline lounge in HLP, mainly catering for private aviation. However, this was also the sole Priority Pass lounge and also offered access through a number of ways, including partnership with banks. I received access by redeeming 500 myIndiHome points from my family's internet/cable TV subscription, which I valued at Rp25.000 (~US$1.75).
The Saphire Premiair Executive Lounge is located on the left side of the check-in hall. After I showed my boarding pass the reception staff assisted me in using myIndiHome point for lounge access and was then let in.
The lounge provided additional services for commercial passengers in form of straignt-to-plane service with dedicated security and car ride, though I didn't partake on it this time.
Seating in the lounge excludively consisted of sofas.
Some of them were reserved for private jet users, though at the current crowd level there was still a lot of space in the rest of the lounge.
Wi-Fi access was provided upon request.
During this visit, though, it was so slow and even barely usable, so I didn't get to do much work while inside.
Lukewarm hot meal items consisted of boiled egg with chili sauce, rice cake, and Bandung-style fishcake with condiments.
Hot meal items consisted of rice, vegetables in coconut milk soup, and some fried items. This turned to be quite disappointing since the fried items were already left there for a while and dried up.
Toast with jam and butter was also an option for a lighter fare, which I didn't partake on.
Some traditional snacks on offer.
I had some of the cold drinks, which were pretty watery and especially the orange drink didn't seem to be orange juice.
Liquid dessert consisted of condensed milk and syrup drink with nata de coco among others.
Other amenities in the lounge include an indoor smoking room and prayer room.
The lavatories were clean, although the finishes looked a bit dated and even perhaps cheap.
Further inside the corridor was the dedicated security screening for private aviation users as well as paying customers, though I didn't use it.
Lounge test verdict, HLP transit area, and departure
At the value I got my lounge access, the lounge represented quite a good value. The food options offered weren't the best and the interior felt a bit dated, but for a small airport and considering the rather crap common waiting area inside it wasn't an overly shabby place to wait for flight.
Right after security are ID and QG's lounges - ID's is only accessible for business class passengers while QG's is accessible for those purchasing the preferred seats as well as pay-per-entry visits (interestingly enough, when I checked with GA's check-in counter GarudaMiles Gold/Platinum members flying on GA from HLP didn't receive complimentary lounge access, not even this one). None of them are accessible through non-airline partnerships, though - that's where Saphire Premiair Executive Lounge came in handy.
HLP had two waiting areas, one mainly for QG/SI and the other mainly for ID.
For the earlier one, I needed to walk down and up the staircase to bypass the access road.
The waiting area was quite crowded and simply consisted of rows of seats with shops around it. Though still better than TJQ, this was downright unacceptable considering the traffic it handled. While waiting I received a tip-off from one of my friends that Rahmat was about to fly on the same flight, so I decided to meet and talk to him for a while.
FIDS of the late afternoon, showing the multiple flights in such a short period despite the small number of gates.
HLP's small waiting area could barely cope with two flights on 320 boarding together, which looked almost like chaos.
As our flight was delayed, we ended up having our gate changed to gate 7, which was only communicated during boarding.
Unlike on QG's flights with 320, boarding was done without priority for this flight.
Since our plane was parked to the right we walked along the tarmac instead of being bussed, though that definitely means viewing some more planes along the way.
ID and QG's 320 - with QG operating an almost all 320 fleet and ID mostly 320, it become the most frequently seen commercial plane in HLP.
The plane for this flight was PK-GJS, a 6 months old AT7 which was GA/QG's latest AT7.
It was finally time to board the plane through the on board stair.
As I boarded I was greeted by Ms. Ratih, the purser for this flight.
Boarding had just begun and there was no priority enforced so right after the person in front of me settled in ….
I immediately went to my seat after Ms. Michelle also greeted me.
The seat for this late afternoon flight.
Legroom wasn't that bad for an 1 hour flight.
Time for a seat tour: the seat belt was nothing out of ordinary.
The seatback consisted of a literature pocket, a tray table, and a seat pocket.
While the tray table was quite small, it's still sufficient for a snack box.
Contents in the literature pocket consisted of a shady-looking safety card and QG's inflight magazine.
The seat pocket, on the other hand, only had an unbranded airsickness bag.
Though the seat was the slimline kind, it was still bearable. Note that apart from the slightly different branding this was basically the same as GA's AT7.
The view from the window consisted of QG's 320.
Me on the seat: while the seat was on the shorter side, it also helped me to get clearer photos of the cabin.
Ms. Michelle briefed those seated in the emergency exit row seats about the emergency procedures.
During pushback she also solely conducted the safety demonstration.
We pushed back together with ID's 320.
However, we needed to wait for a while since we needed to cross the runway as part of the taxi, which was still in use at this time.
Who's the weird kid in the block?
None other than PK-GAO as one of GA's AT7, serving flights between HLP and TSY/PLM. Interestingly, both GA and QG started operating their AT7 through HLP on 2 March, just 2 weeks before this flight.
Only after ID's 320 leaving the runway that we actually started taxiing.
The cabin light was not dimmed before takeoff since it was still on daytime.
HLP served as the private aviation hub in Jakarta, evident from the sheer number of parked private jets on the other apron.
We followed ID's 320 in passing the hold short line.
Instead of following ID's 320 to turn around the runway, we simply proceeded to make a powerful take-off towards the west.
The nice weather allowed me to clearly see Jakarta's skyscrapers as we took off
Even on weekend the JORR expressway towards Taman Mini was still crowded - one can only dream of not so crowded main roads in Jakarta.
Passing through the Cinere - Jagorawi expressway intersection.
Skipping through traffic we were already over eastern Depok in only less than 2 minutes from when we flow above Pasar Rebo.
If anything, taking the joyride to BDO in a good weather could be really useful for soaking in beautiful views of the mountainous terrain over sunset.
After the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off Ms. Michelle started the snack service from the front while Ms. Ratih assisted starting from behind.
Being seated in one of the rear rows I received the snack from Ms. Ratih.
The snack box when opened.
Unlike GA which used Dua Kelinci brand mixed nuts (if I recall correctly), QG used Mister Pi brand mixed nuts.
The snack service for the flight consisted of: Bread: Banana muffin Nuts: Mixed nuts Drink: Mineral water
On this flight the muffin happened to be on the drier side, which didn't help with identifying the flavour (I only had the realization after trying the same muffin on the flight back). The mixed nuts were nothing out of ordinary despite some minor differences from GA's normal mixed nuts (for example, the reduced flour coating on the green peas). On overall, this was an acceptable snack service considering the very short distance (even shorter than DPS-LOP, which was served by GA).
Typical on AT7 only one small lavatory existed on the plane.
Only 1 other person went to the lavatory throughout this flight, so as expected it was spot clean.
All QG/GA's flights on AT7 only had one snack service, so to have space for 4 trolleys seemed a bit wasteful if anything (except perhaps when loading 3 sets of snacks for rural flights). From this point Ms. Ratih then talked to me by name, which was all the more surprising considering the very short flight (who would want to try noticing me when even snack service took a good portion of the time without the fasten seatbelt sign switched off?).
As we started our descent Ms. Michelle read the usual pre-landing announcement over the PA.
Saguling dam could be seen as we started approaching BDO.
Cimahi as seen from above - we would end up flying right above BDO as part of the approach.
On our approach we passed over and away from Bandung since it wasn't that plausible to land from the west so ….
We needed to turn around towards BDO, and in doing so the views remained being mountains for a while, especially since Bandung is surrounded with mountains.
Our final approach started right after we have finished turning towards BDO.
We flew quite low over downtown Bandung during the final approach with Braga/Dago in sight.
As we further neared BDO the buildings became lower.
Landing was a tad bumpy, though most importantly we still made it in one piece.
BDO is also home to Indonesia's only aircraft manufacturing plant.
After we turned around the runway we could see JT's 738 and XN's 733.
While during my previous visit to BDO more than 10 years before there was only one airport terminal now an extension was made, which in turn became the de facto terminal for domestic flights.
JT's 738 accompanied us in the parking area. Due to space constraints, we taxied from the taxiway which line was right behind JT's 738.
After the delay it was sort of expected to have the passengers queuing up to disembark, nonetheless I opted to be among the last to deplane.
The almost empty cabin, save for Rahmat taking wefie with Ms. Michelle.
After I bid farewell to Ms. Ratih I went down only to see the bags already being unloaded.
IW's AT7 taking off from BDO.
See you (real) soon?
I then walked to the new terminal, with XN's stewardesses also doing the same.
Most, if not all passengers to/from BDO needed to endure the unsheltered walk to the terminal building since no aerobridge was installed.
The walk through the glass door beought me to the next phase of the flight.
Arrival at BDO and post-arrival trip
BDO's arrival area is rather compact with a short walkway leading to the luggage claim hall. At this time I also bid farewell to Rahmat.
The luggage claim area was quite crowded, but it's definitely not for me because ….
I couldn't even go to the kerbside to technically end this flight due to tight timeline, so I passed through the transit desk into the check-in desk where I would continue with the next flight.
Jakarta - HLP
Bandung-Java Island - BDO
Though starting from Jakarta, this flight offered some beautiful views along the way as well as an efficient way to skip Jakarta's traffic for a weekend getaway to Bandung. Despite the short stage length, the services offered were one of the better ones, especially on an LCC, with friendly crews and a complimentary snack service. In terms of the airports, HLP was pretty ill-equipped to handle even the current traffic and badly in need of expansion while BDO was quite efficient to walk through and still felt quite new.
On overall, I would be more than happy to take the flight again as one of the best ways to go to Bandung or back.
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