Lombok was always touted as the next Bali and is compared to Bali as when 20 years ago. Therefore as a birthday getaway, I and redeemed about 12000+ Krisflyers miles for a return ticket to the Indonesian island of Lombok. Lombok was truely a paradise where life is still very laidback and it does not have the touristy feel and crowds of Bali, even though it is the peak season. Beaches are less crowded, seas clearer, definitely one of the most relaxing holidays I ever had!
02 August 2010 Silkair MI 128 Singapore (SIN) - Mataram Lombok (AMI) A319 9V-SBE Economy Class
We checked in at Terminal 2 about 2hrs before the flight and I was pleasantly surprised that my seat was upgraded to an emergency exit row with more legroom! After clearing the ever efficient immigration, we grabbed a quick lunch at T3 before proceeding over to T1 to check out the renovated departure hall and some plane spotting.
T1 duty free shopping
After exploring the new T1, we then proceeded back to T2 for our flight. Our baby airbus had just arrived earlier from Yangon and is currently being readied for our flight at Gate E2.
Our baby airbus A319 at the gate.
Boarding was called about half hr before STD and it seemed the flight was only about 60-70% full. Was greeted by a set of very cheerful Silkair crew when I entered the aircraft. The A319 of Silkair is staffed by 5 cabin crew, 2 working in Business class and 3 in Economy Class. Pillows and blankets were not available on each seat but some were available in the overhead compartments. One has to help themselves to the pillows during boarding or risk running out of pillows when the plane fills up.
My upgraded seat. Unlimited legroom!
Another view of seats. Legroom was quite generous for normal seat rows.
Boarding was completed very soon and we were welcomed aboard by the purser and the captain. Our flight time would be 2hrs20min at 37,000ft. The crew then came down the cabin and offered newspapers of either Today or Straits Times. Boarding music was also playing. Hmm, seems like some of SQ's cost-cutting measures have not filtered down to MI yet.
Time to check out the seat pockets. We had the Safety card, Inflight Mag and duty-free mag. Well, at least Silkair's inflight mags will still be around for quite some time.
At the gate waiting for pushback.
Boarding was completed and doors were closed slightly ahead of scheduled. Safety video was then shown via the overhead drop-down lcd screens. The Silkair safety video really needs to be updated! It still features the old economy class seat covers!
Taxied to Rwy 20C for departure.
Banking over Batam.
Climbing to 37000 feet
After seatbelt signs were switched off, the crew came down to distribute immigration forms, followed by a round of WBJ (water, beer, juice) on trays. Then they disappeared into the galleys to prepare the meals. The overhead screens also dropped down and started playing silent TV shows, consisting Just for Laughs and some circus act shows. This is the only form of inflight entertainment on Silkair other than newspapers and inflight magazines. I guess this is sufficient for regional flights of around 2hrs flight time but it is quite mediocre for longer flights such as the 4-5hrs flights to Kathmandu or Bangalore! 45min after takeoff, lunch service was started. 2 carts were used, 1 starting from the front of the cabin and the other from the rear. A friendly but seemed quite newbie crew tended the front meal cart.
Meal service in progress.
We had a choice of Spicy fish with rice or Tomato chicken with rice. Accompanying the meal were fruits and a tub of water. No starters or buns. I wonder is Silkair serves more substantial meals on longer flights..
I had Chicken with rice and a orange juice. It was simple but good.
My friend had the spicy fish with rice. He commented it was average.
After meal trays were cleared, there was nothing much else to do except reading the inflight magazines, newspapers or just staring out of the windows. It was quite cloudy most of the way so nothing much to view. Crew also came down with duty free sales but it seemed nothing was sold.
We started our descent about 30min our of Lombok with dusk catching up.
Halfway during the descent, the captain came on the informed that we would be flying pass some Bali volcanoes and to watch our for a magnificent sight on the right side of the plane. The view was indeed spectacular!!
Approaching Bali and the volcanic mountains.
Flying alongside Gunung Agung. Amazing!!
Had a straight in approach and landing into Lombok since there is hardly any traffic into the airport. In fact we were one of the only two international flights a day into Lombok! The rest were domestic arrivals.
The airport was really small, as you can see in the video. We turned off the taxiway and was almost immediately parked at the stand. No aerobridges either. There were only 2 other propeller planes at the airport, really quiet!
Disembarking by the traditional way.
Riau Airlines Fokker 50 beside us.
The small airport terminal.
Last glimpse of our plane with mountains in the background.
As I mentioned, there were only 1 or 2 international arrivals a day with the rest of the flights being domestic. However, there were seperated terminals for domestic and international flights. Only 1 Visa-on arrival counter for arriving passengers and with our flight bringing pax of mostly Western origin, the visa-on-arrival queue snaked from the terminal out onto the tarmac! Luckily being Singaporean, we were able to bypass the queue to the immigration counters but with only 2 counters available, it still took quite a wait to clear immigration and customs. Baggage belt was at most 10 meters long that airport staff had to remove luggage from the belt to prevent bags from chocking at the end of the belt. In fact, the arrival hall was so small that it felt more like a room! The whole terminal seemed overwhelmed by our A319 planeload! What an interesting experience! But I guess thinks are going to change for the better as Lombok's new international airport would be opening soon. On with my holiday in Lombok!
Singapore - SIN
Mataram-Lombok Island - AMI
Comfortable flight on Silkair but IFE needs to be updated.
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