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AirAsia Indonesian style YOGYAKARTA - With a flight in the afternoon I departed from Yogyakarta to the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta. For the first time I was to fly this route with AirAsia. It is called AirAsia here, but in fact it's a separate company that listens to the name Indonesia AirAsia. This difference is subtle, but if you know that AirAsia uses airline code AK, and Indonesia AirAsia QZ, it all becomes clear.

AirAsia however did as much as possible to export the quality of the company outside the borders of Malaysia into Indonesia. Almost all services that are offered in the smaller neighboring country are also available inside Indonesia. Paying extra for luggage, possible meals and snacks and 'boarding-before-the-herd' Xpress Boarding. The good thing here is that you can arrange your own set of wishes via the internet. All items can be paid with credit card to finish it off.

A brand new plane for Indonesia AirAsia (PK-AXC) here from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, on it's way to the customer  with a temporary registration number. Photo by Olav Rhensius / Propfreak Collection
A brand new plane for Indonesia AirAsia (PK-AXC) here from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, on it's way to the customer with a temporary registration number. Photo by Olav Rhensius / Propfreak Collection

It is not only the ease which I could book my ticket with which made me decide to fly with AirAsia. Normally I just look for the cheapest ticket around and buy that one. Safety of the national airlines here in Indonesia is always a point of discussion, but when I fly by myself I don't have to discuss with myself whether to conclude the cheaper ticket is a perfect alternative for the ever expensive tickets from the national airline Garuda Indonesia. Expensive is not only the price, but mainly the lack of service and planes that are held together with bamboo and rattan.

I prefer to have another old airplane for a lower price. For 339.000 Rupiah I could take the afternoon flight with AirAsia from Yogya. For that money I didn't get a box with a dry thing that should be bread, no Kit Kat and a cup of water. I also didn't get a seat number and no 'your personal copy' of the Garuda Magazine that you are not supposed to bring with you after your flight. What I got was Xpress Boarding for a small extra fee - included in the 339.000 Rupiah total - which allowed me to board the plane as the first select group.

Because of this I soon sat down at seat number 1D of the old plane that has been used by several other airlines before for ages. Where AirAsia only flies with new Airbus planes, the sister companies in Thailand and Indonesia still have to do it with old planes, possibly taken over from the airline that used to fly with code QZ, the Indonesian Awair (Air Wagon International) that was bought by AirAsia for the token sum of one Ringgit after being defunct for several years before it was turned into Indonesia AirAsia officially.

The plane itself was not cleaned, not good enough at least, because it is normal that as little time as possible is spent on cleaning during flights to allow passengers enough time to get out and in the plane again. Normally you will need some pushing to get on or of board, but still departing on time is a dream of the future in many occasions. Fortune was by my side this time concerning this subject. Only about three dozen passengers had to be boarded and within the 25-minute time limit the old bird pulled its wheels from the strip headed for Jakarta.

It was several days later that the world was exactly turned around. Upon arrival at the airport near Jakarta the skies were blue, but when I had to check-in, dark clouds gathered over the airport at an alarming rate. Those dark clouds were real clouds however, no figure of speech. Around the time of departure the brand new plane was already at the gate. Boarding was not to happen any time soon because a violent thunderstorm erupted even before boarding procedures began. With several direct hits by lightning in the terminal building waiting was the only option.

That is what happened. While waiting, water all of a sudden emerged from the outside area, flowing into the waiting rooms. Cleaning and wiping airport staff tried with their best efforts to avoid the biggest airport in Indonesia, but failed to keep up appearances during a rainstorm like this. Eventually the water even ran down the stairs. Passengers did not have to go anywhere at this time. As soon as the rain slowed down, cleaning efforts were picked up once again and less than half an hour later we were able to board. My Xpress Boarding came in handy here, since most of the seats in the plane were eventually filled.

Again I crashed down at seat number 1D after I put my bag in the overhead compartment. Then I noticed that I had just boarded a brand new aircraft. I think it doesn't get much newer than this; even the buckle of safety belt was barely scratched. This plane also came with clear and complete stickers in English and Indonesians. All safety cards were still on board and the plane was still clean. Clean until now, because the few tourists, most passengers were Indonesians.


Tags: travel, airasia, indonesia, asia, air, safety, qz


Posted in Travel @ 29 November 2008 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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