Report #65: QG133 - Trying out yet another new airport
This will be my report on flying on Citilink economy class from Yogyakarta YIA to Jakarta HLP, an ultra short-haul domestic flight within Indonesia, on board their Airbus A320. The review was done together with Ikhwan Hidayat and Riazy Harahap, two of Indonesia's most prominent vloggers. You may watch the review video from Ikhwan here:
In the past few years, Indonesia has seen quite a number of airport developments, from Jakarta CGK terminal 3, Semarang SRG new terminal, Sumbawa Besar SWQ new terminal, all the way to brand new airport like Majalengka KJT. Though most of the new stuffs were already done by 2018 (since Indonesia's election was held in 2019), there was still one left: Yogyakarta YIA. After a battery of delays it finally received the first commercial flight on 6 May 2019, though until the time I flew this route was still only served by 1 daily flight to Jakarta HLP.
I booked the flight using 30% OTA discount, which costed me Rp552.936 (~US$39). In return, I'll receive around 650 GarudaMiles award miles (around 250 award miles from the flight + 400 new route award miles bonus), which represented a decent return.
A note beforehand: this part may get a bit heavy since I was also covering the airport train + shuttle combination to YIA.
This is an aviation tour after all, so after my breakfast (with nothing less than gudeg since it's Yogyakarta after all) I went to Maguwo station, adjacent to JOG, by bus.
From the airport bus stop I took a short walk to the train station.
JOG is the only airport in Indonesia with a mainline rail connection, though the station itself only offered commuter train services.
The one I was about to take was the 1x daily interairport train service. Though still not a true interairport service since I would need to connect to a bus to the airport, it's as good as it could be for an airport with only 1x daily flight.
I bought the ticket from the ticketing office, which was unfortunately cash only. Another alternative is to use the railway company's app, though even that I could only pay with the rather unpopular state-owned e-wallet.
Although the ticket was printed in the common stock paper, layout-wise it's quite different from the boarding pass for the intercity train services. For an undetermined period, the train service to Wojo station would cost Rp15.000 (~US$1.05) instead of Rp30.000 (~US$2.1). This, though, was still pretty much a steal, considering that taking a ridesharing service to the airport would cost around Rp200.000 (~US$13).
The train arrived 17 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. Unlike CGK and KNO's dedicated airport train service, this train service shares the same rolling stock as PDG's and (in the near future) SOC's airport train.
The train has 4 cars, though it wouldn't be packed at all throughout the trip.
Amenities on this train include luggage racks, lavatories, and seats in 2-2 configuration.
Seats were arranged either facing to each other or facing the aisle, which means that the seats weren't reclineable. Apart from that, though, it's quite akin to the newer third class intercity train services with separate seats, armrests, and even power plugs, something missing on CGK and KNO's airport trains.
Legroom was of course quite good, not the least because I had the seat in front of me empty.
We departed exactly on time
Despite ticket checks being done at each departure station, an officer still came to check the tickets, as it is common for multiple stop train services.
The bulk of the journey consisted of Yogyakarta to Wates segment, which offered some beautiful views.
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The train unfortunately arrived 8 minutes after schedule at Wojo station. This train station is already in Central Java, so technically I went from Yogyakarta province to Central Java province only to return minutes later to Yogyakarta province.
Wojo station was a small station, not the least because this was only used for the daily airport train service. This was not a purpose-built airport train station as well, but rather a previously inactive station being renovated in preparation for the airport.
The 8 minutes delay was not an issue as well because the bus was stationed there waiting to bring people into YIA.
A few other vehicles had been prepared for the hop, though only the bus would end up being used.
I then boarded the bus, where I picked the rear rows.
Legroom was exceptionally tight - it's bearable for a 10 minutes hop, but if this would be the kind of bus serving YIA from downtown I'd rather take the train
The bus ended up packed, and after we departed from the station a staff collected our ticket.
The 15 minutes bus ride costed me Rp10.000 (~US$0.7), and after I paid I received a blank ticket.
A few minutes later I reached the airport complex. Unlike almost any other Indonesian airport, though, the airport name was in English instead of Indonesian, which caused some contention.
Many works were still being done on the accessway.
In fact, even the terminal was barely completed.
The airport was supposed to have arrival and departure access on separate floors, and even that was also under construction.
After the long detour from the intercity road we finally reached the temporary terminal building.
The temporary drop-off area was quite basic, which was just enough to open the airport.
The airport's opening was so rushed even the intended check-in area was not yet built.
An unused tourist information centre had already opened.
Only 2 public area stores were open: an unknown minimarket (wich was not even a familiar minimarket chain store) and a small cafe.
The arrival FIDS for the next few days were nothing but QG's daily flight to HLP.
I made my way through check-in. Strangely enough, I was let in without any ticket or even bag check despite an X-ray machine being just behind the glass door.
As I stepped in the new airport feel was quite apparent.
As much as I appreciate having a self check-in option, the machines were inoperable for the day. If you had noticed it from my previous reviews, this was also the same common self check-in machines used by a number of Indonesian airports.
Check-in was instead solely done using the two counters, which was fast. I also checked the load for the day, which was so ow even after discounts and bonus miles offer.
Where QG's perforated stock boarding pass (like from HLP) wasn't available, QG used the receipt-like boarding pass format.
After I checked in, I made my way to the security check, passing by the shared ticketing office.
How YIA was supposed to look like after its completion, including its own airport rail link and 12 aerobridges. At this stage, only the yellow part of the terminal building was opened.
It was time to go through the ticket and security check, which took me a couple of minutes to clear.
After I cleared security I was directed to go up to the departure floor (which when the airport was done would be used as the arrival floor).
There were already a handful of stores operating at the airport, all of them were quiet since this was during the fasting period for Muslims.
Strangely enough, there was an airport lounge available. If this floor was really supposed to become the arrival floor when completed, this could probably become the first arrivals lounge among Indonesian airports.
Hidden behind is the deserted play area.
As far as seats go, there were more than enough of them for passengers on this flight. If you notice, there is only one moving walkway instead of the usual 2 bi-directional ones in departure floor, which showed signs of this floor's fate.
A cozy reading corner was placed near gate 1, featuring a decent selection of reading materials (not unlike XSP).
At the end of the terminal wa sa gallery showcasing the local products of the province.
There was only one lavatory available in the temporary departure floor, which was spotless.
If there's one thing Indonesians will especially appreciate about the lavatory, it's the provision of not only one, but two bidets in each stall.
Where other decent airports provide water fountain, YIA provided a water dispenser, complete with nothing to hold the drink.
Each gate area has two aerobridges and two gates. Unlike at CGK terminal 3 which used A and B suffix (e.g. 13A/13B), each gate was separately numbered here.
Time to look at the apron: the terminal has an apron so wide it can easily accommodate multiple wide-body jets without fear of overcrowding.
The sole plane landing at YIA for the day arrived 50 minutes before STD.
After a short taxi, she finally made her way to the parking stand for gate 3.
The plane was none other than PK-GQM, a 3 years old 320.
Since the original arrival floor ended up being used as temporary departure floor, the arriving passengers were made to walk along the apron to the arrival area.
The three of us ended up being among the first to clear the boarding gate.
From there it was a walk along the corridor to the aerobridge, which looked rather messy to me.
Even at this time quite a number of the ground staffs were still lingering at the aerobridge.
Like the rest of the airport, the corridor at the background was still under construction.
On the other hand, I especially liked the aerobridge's design, a far cry from CGK terminal 1/2's drab aerobridge.
Soon enough I reached the plane.
Load factor: 26% Y (46/180)
Seat type: Standard economy class (window seat)
I was welcomed by the purser before I went into the cabin.
I opted to sit at the 18F seat, a window seat. I had the middle seat and later on the whole row empty, which showed just how low the load was for this flight.
Legroom was tight as expected, but the seat width and the empty middle seat made it more comfortable.
Contents inside the literature pocket.
View from the window, thanks to the clean window. YIA's concrete apron was so new it even shined the cabin.
Boarding was still underway, but it was a short one.
There were nobody seated at the emergency exit rows so one of the flight attendants offered some people to sit there before conducting the briefing.
We started our pushback 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
In the meanwhile, a safety demonstration was manually done.
The view after we pushed back, showing the Indian ocean on the background.
YIA and the construction project could be seen as we taxied.
Before takeoff we turned around to depart from runway 11.
You can watch the video of the take-off here:
Soon after we took off the plane turned towards the south, offering a view of the southern Java beach.
As we further climbed away from the airport, the view changed into the sea as well as the airport's surroundings.
One can't help but to admire the terrain.
After the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off a snack sales service commenced. Instead of partaking on something to nibble, I decided to take some short naps.
The view as we cruised at 26000 feet.
It was time for lavatory inspection. While basic, the lavatory was still quite clean.
I took turns with Ikhwan to take a shot of the cabin from behind.
As we descended into HLP, the flight attendant made an announcement for the distribution of an online travel agent's gift voucher. While this has been done for quite a while, the offer was only available for certain planes fitted with the OTA's ads.
Each passenger received one of these, which featured a scratch code.
With the view of Java sea slowly vanishing, it was time to prepare for arrival into HLP.
After the safety check following the fasten seatbelt sign, the cabin was dimmed in preparation for arrival.
As we went further into the greater Jakarta region, the smog became all more present.
We landed at HLP 20 minutes agead of the scheduled time of arrival.
Following a short taxi, the plane was parked on the second farthest stand, thus necessitated a bus ride.
This time the deplaning process was done only by the front stairs, so it took us a while.
After me, Riazy, and Ikhwan took photos of us togeter with some of the cabin crews we left the plane.
The plane would take a short break before continuing again on HLP-SOC-HLP route later in the late afternoon.
The three of us deplaned so late that we basically had the bus for ourselves to the arrival hall.
The signage welcomed us into the arrival hall.
This was a half-day trip after all so I skipped the luggage claim part of the trip and then went out to take a motorcycle taxi to my residence.
As much as I liked YIA for still looking quite fresh and being quite efficient, there are still a number of small details that made them quite far away from other recent developments like SIN terminal 4. such as the lack of decent retail options, some poorly thought designs like the escalator on the gate corridor or lack of facilities to drink, and as with other Indonesian new airports cheap-looking finishing. In terms of getting in and out of the airport, while the facilities were adequate it was still quite a hassle to do so for families, and worse, taking ridesharing services to the airport would cost really a lot. The flight itself was nothing especially unique apart from the views, though it was still quite fun thanks to the cabin crews.
On overall, I would recommend flying to/from YIA only if you are traveling light and/or can benefit from the significant fare discount.