Jetstar Economy Class DPS-PER

Hahahaha! Jetstar!

Fuck the world.

So, my Garuda flight from Makassar to Bali was late to arrive. Then for some reason that is apparently only understandable to Indonesians, it took over an hour for our flight’s luggage to come out on the conveyor belt. Which meant that my connection, which was originally just under 2 hours, now gave me less than an hour. I had to run from domestic arrivals to international departures. Then there was a massive queue to get through terminal security. And it was nearing closing time for check-in. They were already in the process of closing the counter for the Perth flight when I got there. I was extremely lucky.

Got through to the departure tax desk, and the price has gone from 150000 Rupiah to 200000 Rupiah since last time I was in Bali. I did know this before I left, but still…Then got stuck in the immigration queue. Finally got through to departures and they’d finished boarding the flight and were basically just waiting on me and a couple of stragglers.

Yes, Indonesia. This is why you frustrate me. Nothing is ever on time. Which is fine, except when you’re working to strict deadlines. Like flight departures.

At any rate, I finally got on board. A group of very drunk and loud giggling girls sitting behind me who wouldn’t STFU. Yes, I’m aware that I’m a travel snob. I’m used to flying on full service airlines, a good part of the time in business class. So when I’m forced to fly a low cost carrier in economy class? I’m going to complain about it.

There’s no option to request a VGML on Jetstar, because they’re a low cost carrier and I hate them. I had to fly with Jetstar due to lack of other options with the flight schedules from Kendari. Except today, I kind of hate Garuda more – for the late flight, and for the clusterfuck at baggage reclaim in Denpasar.

Alas, as much as I hate Jetstar, at least I was well aware that I wasn’t going to be able to get any vegan and gluten free food on board. As such, I’d stocked up on food in Makassar airport before I left. Dried mango! They were selling Coke Zero on board though, which is a plus. Credit card only, they won’t take cash.

Eventually, I just stuck my headphones in and did some work. Ended up with a row to myself as well. Originally there was one other person in the row, but they moved before take-off, so that was nice. Got to spread my stuff out.

We even landed on time, which you know, miracle! Not the worst Jetstar flight by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m certainly not going to be flying them again by choice.

Thank-you for choosing to fly with Jetstar!

Yeah, no. I didn’t choose that. I would never choose that.

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class UPG-DPS

After a very long 5.5 hour layover in Makassar, it was time to make my way to Bali for my international connection back to Perth. I say “long 5.5 hour layover” because even with a Starbucks selling me all the caffeine, it’s still boring. Also, they had music playing over the loudspeakers. And it was like the same song on repeat for 5.5 hours. Belly dancing type music at that. After about half an hour I was well and truly over it and getting a headache. After much caffeine, I went looking for a powerpoint to plug in my laptop…Nada. Want to know how to frustrate a business traveller in an airport? No powerpoints. Just saying. Also, I discovered after listening to 11ty billion flight announcements, that there’s a flight to Jakarta seemingly leaving Makassar every 10 minutes. Next time, I will suck it up and fly via Jakarta. Domestic-International transfers (and vice versa) in Jakarta are excruciatingly painful. But I hate long layovers even more – unless it’s in Singapore. Plus, Jakarta means Garuda flights the whole way through, none of these Virgin and Jetstar shenanigans.

I had this lovely blog entry typed up, and my computer died, and it hadn’t been saved. Now I have to try and remember the awesomeness that was what I originally wrote…

Anyway, I spent most of the layover either in Starbucks or wandering around trying to find a decent wi-fi signal. Starbucks, predictably, doesn’t have anything in the way of vegan or gluten free food. They make pastries and cakes. They also make coffee. All the coffee! That being said, there’s a couple of small mini-marts inside the terminal, and they have a few vegan and gluten free options. I went for the fruit chips, which by all accounts basically seemed to be freeze dried tropical fruit. They weren’t bad.

IMG_0593Fruit chips to go with my caffeine!

This flight kind of stuffed me around a bit. More on that in the next post about the flight from Denpasar to Perth. Suffice to say, this flight was late, and chaos ensued.

So yes, this flight was late to depart. Got on board and everything was pretty uneventful. The snack cart came around and they had my requested VGML. There was a bread roll with tomato and cucumber, a banana (a little overripe), and a bottle of water. I also got a coffee. All the caffeine! I ate the banana, left the bread roll and fillings.

imageThe VGML snack box on the flight from Makassar to Bali.

Honestly, this flight was really uneventful. The chaos that came upon landing is another matter…

 

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class KDI-UPG

So, there’s creepy, and there’s creepy. The guy sitting next to me on this flight was travelling with his infant daughter. She was no more than 18 months at the most. General chit chat upon sitting down, the father predictably asking where I was from (I was literally the only white person on that plane). Mentioned I was from Australia…And he offers me his daughter – to adopt and take back to Australia with me. For all he knew, I could have been a serial killer! I kind of pretended I couldn’t understand him anymore after that. Was that rude of me? Yes, probably. But as much as I dislike children, that was just so many levels of wrong. I wanted nothing to do with it.

But back to the start…Kendari airport is your typical regional airport in Indonesia. Check-in was surprisingly quick and efficient (for those who don’t know, Indonesia is notoriously NOT quick and efficient). Upstairs after check-in are a bunch of shops, which in reality are more like market stalls. They sell bottled water, Coke, nuts, cookies, etc. I bypassed them all, as there wasn’t long until boarding, and the flight was only 40 minutes. I had a long layover to come in Makassar, and planned to eat lunch there. Starbucks!

After the shops is gate security. Let it be known that they will let you take bottled water through. At least I saw a number of people with it post-security, so it’s possible the people checking the scanners at gate security simply weren’t paying attention?

Anyway, got on board and creepy guy situation finally passes. Shortly after taking off, snacks were served. Same situation as on the way over, no VGML for such a short sector, and the water bottle was in the snack box on offer. I got one because I wanted the water. For the record, the snack box had a bread roll, and a muffin-like thing in it.

IMG_0589The clearly non-VGML and non-gluten free snack box…With the water.

Landed on time in Makassar for my 5.5 hour layover *yawn* Starbucks has caffeine!

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class UPG-KDI

This flight was just odd.

Before I get to that, Makassar airport is awesome! There’s a Starbucks! I did a little dance of joy over that. No, seriously. Sweet, sweet caffeine! There’s also a Dunkin’ Donuts. And so many food options it’s awesome! Additionally, a decent assortment of regular shops. I’ve already got a few things planned to buy there on the trip home.

On to the flight and food though…

The travel agent at work told me that the VGML meal request for this flight was denied due to the length of the flight. At just under an hour, all we were to get on board was a snack, and therefore you couldn’t make special meal requests.

When the regular snack service came around, I took the box. Because there was to be no drinks service – and the snack box had a bottle of water in it. I wanted the water!

IMG_0581Why did I get the clearly non-VGML snack box? Water bottle.

Seeing the guy sitting next to me eating the food, the bread roll looking thing was a cheese bread roll with some kind of cheesy filling, and the other thing was sponge cake with cream. Obviously not vegan. Obviously not gluten free. But I got my water bottle!

Uneventful flight and only landed in Kendari 10 minutes late.

Now, the odd things:

  1. There were 12 exit row seats on the flight. Somehow, 7 of them had young children seated in them. For very obvious reasons, children aren’t allowed to sit in exit rows. Yet somehow 7 of them managed exit row seats? I wonder how the hell this can happen to be honest? You have to give your date of birth when you book the tickets. Surely on the Garuda Indonesia computer system there has to be some kind of filter that says “if [passenger.AGE]<16 then DO NOT SEAT IN EXIT ROW”. There’s algorithms for this. Maybe I could understand 1 kid getting through the filter, but 7? Really? There was then a mad scramble to reseat several families elsewhere on the plane so that the kids wouldn’t be in the exit rows. Yes, this is why the flight was late.
  2. How is it, that out of the 3 flights it took me to get to Kendari (Perth-Bali, Bali-Makassar, Makassar-Kendari), that the shortest flight (Makassar-Kendari) was the only one that had in-flight entertainment? Seriously, it was a 40 minute flight, yet it was the only one that had seatback screens. Virgin Australia had nothing. The Garuda flight from Bali to Makassar had nothing. Weird.

Now – I need to sleep.

 

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class DPS-UPG

So the travel agent at work told me that the VGML meal request was approved for this flight sector…

I got it. I was stunned!

First things first though…The domestic terminal in Bali has been greatly improved since the last time I was there. Lots of food and shopping options. I managed to pick up a container of dried mango from one of the shops. It’s an obsession. I will buy it whenever I see it.

Got harassed a bit by airport security for no apparent reason. Could have been random, but got a lot of questions about where I was from, what I was doing in Indonesia, where I was going. At the domestic terminal. I understand getting questions like that at immigration when you land from overseas, but I was a bit surprised to get it during domestic security screening. Who knows?

Unsurprisingly the flight was late to depart, but it’s the usual 7am exodus out of Bali, so I expected it.

On board, they then did the snack service and drinks. My snack box had a bread roll with lettuce, tomato, and some mushroom…thing. I can’t quite describe the mushroom thing. It was some kind of gelatinous pattie made of mushroom. I could smell it, which is how I knew it was mushroom. But since I couldn’t tell what else was in it, I left it alone, along with the bread. I ate the lettuce and tomato. And the apple. Washed down with black coffee and water.

IMG_0579

My simple VGML on the flight from Bali to Makassar with Garuda Indonesia

Not a fantastic VGML, but for a 1 hour flight, even the apple would have sufficed to be honest. Landed in Makassar a bit late, but I had a 2 hour layover anyway, so it didn’t really matter.

Virgin Australia Economy Class PER-DPS

Because the world hates me, I was forced to Bali on Virgin Australia. I expect it to be worse on the way home – I have to fly Jetstar. You can probably hear my sobs of misery already.

I’m off to Kendari in SE Sulawesi for work. No diving or surfing on this trip, just work. Such is life. The flight schedule means that I have to transit in Bali and Makassar. First flight from Perth to Bali is on Virgin Australia.

I got our work travel agent to put in a VGML request for me, but to nobody’s surprise, Virgin Australia doesn’t offer that – even for an additional cost. There is no option for a special meal request on Virgin Australia at all apparently.

Guess why I have such complete and utter loathing for Virgin and Jetstar – and all other low cost carriers?

Anyway, at least I knew about it in advance, and prepared for the flight accordingly. Obviously I did a run to the grocery store before heading to the airport. Still frustrated about being forced to pay for a meal on Virgin that I can’t eat. Jetstar I get to a certain degree because you have to pay extra for the meal, it’s an optional extra. But when Virgin changed their business model to include food and still didn’t offer the option of a special meal? Not impressed. I know Virgin Australia is trying to re-brand itself as a full service airline, but it’s kind of not. Although marginally better, it’s still in the same basket as Jetstar, as much as they try to convince everyone otherwise.

I console myself with the fact that this is probably the last international work trip I’m going to be taking from Perth. I’m looking for positions back on the east coast and if all goes to plan, will be relocating in September. The pathetic state of the international flight options ex-Perth will no longer affect me. Huzzah!

The trip started as well as predicted. Being forced to fly economy with no status on Virgin meant lining up for check-in with everyone else. Not the first time and won’t be the last…That being said, the world hates me. I was lined up behind a large group of very, very drunk people. I was thinking “I’d be surprised if they even let them board the flight” for a while. Loud, obnoxious, rude, and for all intents and purposes, the reason I hate Bali so much. I know lots of people in Australia joke about Bali Bintang Bogans, but these people are honestly the reason Australians have such a horrific reputation in Bali. When I finally got to the check-in desk, the poor Virgin staff member was so rattled by the others that she was about to tear her hair out. I asked politely for a window seat, and she managed to get me as far forward as she could. She actually thanked me before me thanking her. I suspect she was just grateful for someone who wasn’t demanding the world when paying a pittance for their airfare. Also, I wasn’t drunk, loud, rude, or obnoxious. It’s sad that I get thanked for just acting like a decent human being.

Perth International Airport (T1) has undergone more renovations since my last trip a month ago. There’s now even less shops. Even less food options. There’s the always overcrowded Dome where you can’t get a table before immigration, and the always nasty Eagle Boys pizza after immigration. No other food options, they’ve all shut. This is where I reiterate – I’m glad this will probably be my last international flight out of Perth. It was already pretty bad, this just takes it to a whole new level of pathetic.

Boarding was a mess, as it always is in economy I suppose. No worse than any other economy boarding, except for the rude and obnoxious drunk people on their way to get even drunker in Bali. They were all making it abundantly clear that was their reason for going. To drink cheap booze. Why do people bother? I mean honestly, if all you’re going to do is travel somewhere to go to the bar and spend the rest of your time sleeping off a hangover, why leave home? You can do that just as well at home as you can in Bali, and save yourself the airfare – and spend it on more booze.

Got settled in my seat and lo and behold, I’m seated near the drunk people. Off to a fantastic start? I had my stash of food from the grocery store due to the lack of a VGML option on board, so I just plugged in my headphones and spent the rest of the flight ignoring everyone. At just over 3 hours, I figured it was the best option.

I got offered the option of lamb korma, or a vegetarian enchilada during the flight anyway. Turned both down for obvious reasons. Based on what I saw on my other people’s trays, it came with a bread roll, butter, and a tub of chocolate mousse. Got myself a Coke Zero and tucked into my stash of nuts from the grocery store. Boring, but edible.

My neighbour found it bizzare that I refused the meal, telling me “...but it’s free!” Well, yes. I also don’t want to die. I explained it after the meal was over since they asked. Turned into me explaining how serious allergies can be. He thought the worst that could happen was throwing up if you were allergic to something. A commonly held belief in my experience. At least he learned something new today I guess? I have no problems explaining myself to people who genuinely want to understand my dietary restrictions 🙂

Disappointing flight food wise, but it was expected.

In the interests of not being totally negative, there was one massive upside to the flight…One of the cabin crew was absolutely drop dead gorgeous! I’m not obnoxious enough to say anything out loud about it or hit on someone who’s just doing their job, but damn, eye candy!

Tomorrow morning I’m off to Sulawesi. Hopefully my VGML request on Garuda Indonesia will come to fruition…