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EINDHOVEN - When I was in Indonesia for the second time, I also knew thet I was sure to go the third time as well. Back them I already got the chance to look for nice tickets. That does not only means cheap, because cheap is not always good. At that time I was looking for good and familiair names in the business.
In December already I was looking on the internet, just for comparing prices. I remarked that those tickets were not that much more expensive than last year, in fact, at some airliners, prices were actually lower, for as I can remember right now. Though, at that time I was fearing that some of the cheapest were already sold out.
I didn't know whether I should feer the sell in the cheapest airliners. Personally I don't really like Jordanian Airlines, just because they have a nights stay in the Middle East. I also heard storieds ( yes, multiple ) that the people didn't speak English and that women had to wear sweaty headscarves. *Yuk* not my style of holiday, though I'm not a woman.


Discovering that the most cheap airlines were already sold out early this year, leaves me with the more comfortable and better airliners. The ones I like because of their nice price, and also their good name of course. In my case, money is not the most importsant issue. I have been working for the money, so I won't bother a dollar more or less.
Just realizing not only the cheapest, but also the cheaper and moderate-priced tickets were already gone for 99 per cent forced me to but the airline I always wanted to fly, but which I didn't allow myself to fly with because it was that expensife. Right now I had arranged a pre-booking order for three days, and I had until the next Saturday to confirm or drop the order. For dropping the order, nothing had to be done.
After two days, my girlfriend and I considdered this was the best sollution for me. Since my girlfriend decided to stay home this year, I could afford a little more than I was already adapting for. We both decided that I should take the airliner of my choice, at the dates of my choice, and to pay it the way I wanted..
I booked my flight for this years holiday at Cathay Pacific. In the hope I will get good value for my money, big money indeed, I confirmed my ticket and paid a few hours later. Happy that I was, at least I got a ticket to Indonesia, and no one would steal that from me from this moment on. If anyone would steal it, they are not able to use it of course, but it was not meant that way actually.
On the other hand, why was I talking about an expensife ticket? Nevertheless, Indonesia remains one of the most cheap countries in the world, and over the last few weeks the currency inflated more rapidly, and remained around the level of 10.000 against the US Dolar. A nice level for tourists, but as was figured out before, a disaster to scores of other Indonesian industries.
Okay, I'll give you some prices, for as long as you remember the 10,000-for-a-dollar-level. One beer in Kuta of Legian will probably cost you between 5,000 and 20,000, but in Jakarta you will pay between 2,000 and 15,000. A normal Coca Cola bottle varies between Rp 2,000 and 2,500, while a 'Teh Botol' is Rp 1,000 to 1,500 very locally. Fuel is likely to hover between the Rp 1,400 and 1,800 a litre, and a one litre bottel of water will cost you about the same. Long live Indonesia.


A crowded sky is a dream of airliners, and also for me, but only when I hear that most flights to Indonesia are fully booked until late August. That means that there are actually scored of people who are willing to visit Indonesia. For me it doesn't matter where thay go. Most lilely they mostly go to Bali, so we won't ever meet.. hehe.. I'm okay with that, for as long as I'm on holiday I'm not dying to speak Dutch to be very honest.
It was yesterday that I was watching television when I heard about the Dutch far-destinations top five. The real number one actually was Indonesia, and that's mainly because it's such a big country, and it's easy to avoid dangerous area's. That did actually encourage me. And it also gave me good hope that the near future will bring actually more tourists to the country, they can really need it.
What does this all mean? Crowded planes at least. Fully booked flights and hours of waiting before check-in when you want to go there. In Europe, the organisation is pretty tight, but crowded. On the other hand I seemed the only foreigner to leave from Jakarta's international airport last year. A quiet place, in some ways totally not prepared for much more tourists.
All times I was booking my flight, one problem appeared over and over again. Travelling to Indonesia was very well possible, but the last connection, from Singapore to Jakarta, from Bangkok to Jakarta and now from Hong Kong to Jakarta was the bottle-neck. Is it because there aren't enough planes? No, it's because Jakarta's international airport is small, it only has one strip to land for flights abroad! Of course that will cause delays. Probably the Indonesian 'jam karet' ( living slowly i.e. see what will come first ) is not a good help either.
So you can also ask me what is meant with crowded places. For example I know myself that Bali's beaches of Kuta and Legian are very crowded, and especially when the weather id good and there are a lot of people having holidays. Australians like to go there for a week or so. Personally I don't like that, but since scores of people have their stay on the island which is about the same size as the province I live in, I agree with that, counting on it that much less to virtually zero others will actually show up in downtown Jakarta or somewhere else.
The few times I got the chance to meet a Dutchmen was on Bali ( my first holiday ) and in a downtown Jakarta family park named 'Taman Ria Senayan'. There I met the owner of a Dutch cafe. Rather cool, but preferable I stay out of the way of people with the same smkin color for several weeks. I prefer to be on my own, on my own in the meaning of not among others 'traveling with me in a big group which 'have to' a lot and are not allowed to 'want to' at all'.


Now four days ago, after arriving from school, I discovered that my tickets were mailed to me. Then, my first challenge started. I was watching the ticket instantly, was happy and showed it to everyone. I was satisfied, I worked for it, so I certainly deserved it in my opinion. The only thing was a little strange to me was that the status bar wasn't showing all 'OK's.. I would ask for that next week, when I had enough time for asking.
That next week came earlier as I went to the travel agency the next Saturday. I told the woman about my complaint, and she had a look. For your information, the woman who helped me knew me already, since I had been there many times before. But in fact that doesn't matter right now. She did understand what the problem was, and she didn't surprise me by telling that she had never seen it before. She checked my data in the files, but wasn't able to find anything strange.
After that she called the airlines service of the company. There was another chance to get my strange tickes explained. After waiting and telling the story again, they could only tell me that they would check it inmediately, so they could probably straighten it out right now. That would be the most plausible sollution for both parties.
What the actual problem was is that I had booked my flight with Cathay Pacific, but since it was so crowded I had to take a more expensife class.. I agreed with that, and I paid because everything was booked ( called "def.res." ). That meant I was on the plane for sure. But on the other side of the planet someone at Cathay saw that there still was a cheaper place available for me, and they started to transfer me into that class. And there it went wrong. Probably someone else took my spot about the same second.
Maybe it's hard to understand, but you have to see the reservational system as a big database with planes and numbers where many people can book their flights, all over the world, and for every airliner in the world. That also means that changes take place every second ( or less ), and that booking needs to be done fast, but probably it was not done fast enough, or someone was waiting for it to happen.. *hehe*
So, at the end my ticket is not okayed yet, it is still the most strange thing that could possibly happen with a ticket. Though, the people ensured me I can go to Indonesia on the same date with the same carrier, but maybe one flight later, but that was far from sure. I didn't have to worry, in about a week or two they will contact me again, and then I will know more myself. For now, that's my first piece about my holiday. You will hear more about this and others in the near future.

Jeroen van der Linde

Posted in Travel @ 27 March 2001 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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