Good morning / afternoon / evening depending on where you read this.
Ahoy! Here i am back (as i promise to you all) with the FR of GA inaugural direct flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam!
Holy moley, isn't this exciting? To be honest, i can't sleep well last night. I'm just filled to the brim with excitement! This is the first time i ever fly in such thing!
This direct flight is the first of it's kind for an Indonesian airline. GA used to serve JKT-AMS route with Airbus A330-300 with a stopover at Abu Dhabi. But effective May 30th 2014, the said service is changed slightly, and the JKT-AMS route is served directly by Boeing 777-300ER with a flight time of 13:45.
Without further ado, here goes my report!
I'm in luck. May 29th is a holiday here in Indo, and the traffic around the city is very, VERY friendly that night. But since there's no online check-in available, i'm heading to the airport with my Dad around 8PM, only to arrived there around 8:40. Mind you, that's hella fast. I lived at the edge of Jakarta, and the airport is on the other side of town. It usually took 1-1,5 hour to complete this journey.
GA flight (and other international airline) are served at Terminal 2.
There were lots of banner promoting the direct flight all over the place, i took a pic of it.
We went through the xray scanning smoothly, and here's something neat; my Dad is flying Business, i'm flying Economy. GA has dedicated counter for Business and First Class passenger. So my Father asked me to join him over there, and what are the odds? i checked in at the Business/First class counter without a queue and a private assistance to help the process :)).
inside the terminal 2
The Biz/First class check in counter
No, i did not sit here, honest :)))
Now, here comes something that is even sweeter. Well, for my father that is. Out of nowhere, a staff from the check-in counter came and greet my father by name
Good evening Mr. S****, we've been expecting you.
I was like, The hell? they never did this to a regular biz class passenger? what's this supposed to mean?
We're glad to inform you that your seat for tonight is 1K, you've been upgraded to join the ranks of several other people, including one the VP of GA
Mind you guys, my father is working for the Government, and really, this trip is just him on a business trip with me tagging along, paying my own Economy ticket. So i guess it's no wonder he got upgraded, GA is government owned company after all :)
My father was in shock. Full of excitement. I can see it in his eyes, he's trying hard to play it cool with the i don't like butler, they're a hassle really, i was like OH PLEASE, THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED EVERYDAY :)
So in the end, our bags got tagged. But no passport or BP. Why? Because the F butler will handle the rest. And thankfully, me included :)
We were ushered toward the special gate for Business and First class passenger, but too bad, me being an Economy, i can't enter the lounge. But my father did, and he got me some pics. Here goes:
It's nice to see the lounge is finally finished, and saw the Skyteam banner standing tall. My father did not eat any main course that night, he was already full, but told me the fruits were excellent.
So i got my passport and boarding pass, and i'm ready to find a place to crash.
Soekarno Hatta was bustlin' that night. It surprised me really to see a lot more flights depart late at night. It's a good sign really, that means more people are coming and going to Indonesia!
I finally chose Starbucks as the place to crash. On my way there, i went by several shops. CGK is getting better really. I've seen CGK at a lot worst condition few years back.
Now here's the one store that used to cause controversy for selling Shark's fin. But as you can see, the Shark's fin writing has been covered.
I took shelter in Starbucks for 2 reasons. (a) i wanted Green Tea Latte, (b) i liked the ambience better than the rest of the lounge here. CGK lounges (with the exception of GA lounge and several Banks priority lounge) is not exactly up to my standard. Considering the charges are not cheap, i'd rather wait at Starbucks. Boy oh boy, the internet here at Starbucks is fast. Is HELLA fast for a free service. It is 4 times faster than the ones i have at home.
The mandatory photo
In Indonesia, this is FAST :)
Clock finally shows 11:30 PM, and i wrap up all my stuff and went to the gate. Security check went smooth, and i proceed to gate E5. As i expected, there were large flower laden banner in front of the gate accompanied by the same banner promo like the ones i saw earlier.
A lot of tourist took a photo as memories, i only took the photo of the banner. Off i go to the walkway, and i saw a lot of people were inside already. While i queue to get my BP checked, saw a Segway. probably the first time i ever saw one in CGK :)
Oh yeah, i forgot to tell you, when i checked in together with my father, my boarding pass is already torn off. The part that usually got scanned before we went in, yep, that's gone already. Was pretty nervous whether it was going to be a problem or not, but told the staff i checked in together with my father who's sitting in 1K, and she let me pass. And i receive a commemorative gift! Here's a pic of it.
As you can see, the waiting room are very packed. And what's even amazing, more than half of the passenger weren't Indonesian. For me that means that a lot of Foreigner are more comfortable in traveling with GA, afterall, this is the ONLY direct flight to AMS from JKT at the moment. Congrats GA!
Took a look around, and saw a lot of GA staff preparing the stage for the inaugural ceremony. Not exactly interesting for me, so i went to see the lovely 777-300ER standing outside the window. Boy oh boy, that's a beauty
Right beside the window where i spot the plane, there were tables laden with free concession for us to indulge. There were 2 indonesian dish; Bakso (beef meatballs with rice noodles) and Somay (Indonesian version of Dimsum), and a plate of typical looking pastry. I skipped the food since it's already late, but took some water to avoid dehydration.
Then the MC started the event, and here comes the VIP; the CEO of GA, Mr. Emirsyah Satar, the Indonesian Ambassador for the Netherlands and the Netherlands ambassador for Indonesia himself.
Several prep talks, and the ceremony was finished with a cutting of flower laden ribbon as a symbol of the start of this new route. And then, it's boarding time!
The skybridge were divided into 2, the first one for the First and Business class passenger, the second one for the rear row Business class passenger as well as the Economy. I went pass the Business class seat and saw the Liverpool football club player who earlier that night just attend the launching ceremony for Liverpool FC new Training kit which bears GA logo on it. If were a big Liverpool fan, i'd probably crap my pants out of excitement on this :D
I'll try this seat someday. I Will!
My seat was 33C, aisle. I was opting to get the Window seat, but i reluctant to get one on fear of bothering my neighbor often whenever i wanna go to the lavatory (i went to the lavatory 4 times on this flight alone!). But as it turns out, this was a bad decision. Read on.
Seat pitch was very good for me, being only 5'5 (165 cm) tall. I was able to stow my backpack and camera bag underneath the front seat just fine with leg room to spare.
The magazine compartment was filled to the brim with IFE headset, 1 inflight entertainment mag, 1 GA inhouse mag, WiFi onboard card, and air sickness bag. There were pillow and blanket already laid out in the seat too. Oh, and the USB+Power outlet worked too! Nice touch!
Before taxiing, FA handed over a wet towel to freshen up, and a bottle of water. I wasn't sleepy at the time, so i took a liberty of photographing the fleet info of GA. P.S; i even included the seat chart for you all to indulge;
Also the IFE control;
Then the safety video starts. Nothing special. And here comes the fun part; the GPS show. Well, the flight is hella long. Before i can go through anything else, we were taking off.
After we reach the safe height, the IFE system is running. Here's how it looks like;
The movies were up to date (i managed to watch 3 movies on this flight), and the live TV is working perfectly. The touchscreen was also very responsive! Unlike the previous flight i took to Narita with the same plane (i have this FR too)
Then an FA handed me a pouch. That's weird, last time i checked, GA doesn't hand out pouches.
Oww, as it turns out, it's the eye cover, sock, and ear plugs. Nice touch with the small zipper bag, though it's obvious it looked rather cheap. Better than nothing i guess.
To my surprise, Supper menu was handed out. 2 options was offered, fried noodle or pasta. I opt for the Pasta, and it tasted pretty good. The FA then handed over the menu selection for Breakfast. I know exactly what i'm going to get ;)
A plane trip wouldn't be complete without a visit to the lavatory. It was clean, stocked with amenities. Overall, i gave this a thumb up.
Cabin lights then went off. Watched 2 movies and then it is sleepy time for me.
Around 4 hours before landing, breakfast service is starting. Remember when i told you i regretted on choosing Aisle seat? The Cpt. announced that at that time we were flying over Cairo, and we can clearly see the Pyramid. Me? I CAN'T SEE IT :(((
I was hungry as hell. And thank God, the Indonesian breakfast did not dissappoint. The beans were still firm, and the chicken was basically a satay without the skewer. But the Croissant was more like a Croissant shaped bread roll. Not good. Oh, and can you guess what's in that paper cup? Nope, it's not tea. It is a broth! It made the whole dish tasted even more tasty when you sip it!
The landing was smooth. SUPER SMOOTH in fact. You know that 'Thump' you usually hear whenever you land? there wasn't any! Mad props to the senior Pilot, Cpt. Maningka!
And since this is the inaugural flight, it wouldn't be complete without a water Salvo. And this flight got one. It sure was fun seeing the aircraft got drenched in water :))
We were greeted by a baloon gate and lovely lady handing out faux Tulips flower complete with a tag. Here's the pic:
And this is the commemorative gift i got earlier
================= BONUS SECTION =================
This is the image my father shared from the first class suite
My father with Indonesian Embassador for The Netherlands, Mrs. Retno, and CEO of GA, Mr. Emirsyah Satar
The firetruck that gave the water salvo
The police truck that escorted the plane upon landing
Jakarta - CGK
Amsterdam - AMS
GA has done it. Sure Economy will never feel as good as Business or even First. But with a service and facilities like this, who am i to complain? This is excellent!
I can safely say that i'm very happy with this flight overall. It beats the GA884 i took earlier this year for sure.
If you haven't tried GA, you should! :)
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