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Long delays for Lion Air flights from Singapore LIPPO CIKARANG - It was a normal Wednesday last week and still it seemed that something was completely wrong with Lion Air. After they had received a stern warning from the Department of Transport, the came with so-called 'own' improvements, but the airline does not seem capable of letting their many flights depart on schedule.

Although recent publications in several newspapers about complaints about Lion Air were overdone - half of all complaints concerned Lion Air, while the total complains received was only 18 and Lion Air happens to be the biggest airline for domestic flights as well - things do not run as smooth as they should be.

I had to be in Singapore for visa formalities. Unfortunately you do not really have a choice than go to Singapore. I left that Wednesday before six o'clock from my hotel on Batam - directly south of Singapore - in the direction of the ferry-terminal HarbourBay to catch an early ferry to Singapore. That went fine, as expected. Picking up the visa was also no problem at all. Of course through an agent, as I did not want to undergo the hassle at the embassy myself.

I decided that the route back to Jakarta - under pressure from the people waiting at home - could best be organised from Singapore with a direct flight to Jakarta in the evening. Something I didn't like, I would rather spend a night in Singapore, take a rest and do some shopping instead of hurrying myself to the airport for the first flight available. But sometimes you just don't have the choice.

Via the internet I booked a ticket for the 19:35 flight - JT-151. This at least gave me some space to pick up the carry-on luggate I brought with me, but I left in the transit hotel. After picking up my passport with new visa, I dropped by the hotel to check out before I hopped onto the SMRT, fast, cool and directly at my final destination inside the terminal building of Changi airport.

When I arrived there at about six o'clock in the evening I thought I did a good job and entered the long queue for check-in. Mostly Indonesians were in line. What I immediately noticed was that Indonesians are able to queue properly, as long as they are told to do so and are reminded every once in a while that they are not in their own country.

The long queue was not for flight JT-151 but for JT-161 I found out when I checked my ticket again. That flight had just started checking in as they had a delay of one and a half hour. My flight, that was supposed to leave ten minutes before the previous one, was not even to be found on the information screens. At that time I knew I was delayed as well. I waited in queue, knowing that I would be checked in anyway.

When checking in I received a voucher for a diner from the groundstaff, which was not Lion Air ground staff.

I was checked in indeed and was also handed out a voucher together with my boarding pass for a free dinner in a restaurant of choice (several restaurants could be picked at least). My flight was delayed as well. I saw that one coming, so no big problem here. The new depature time was 21:05 so I had more than enough time to have my dinner at the cost of Lion Air. I also had some time left to spend some 'left-over' Singapore dollars on a bottle of liquor.

Flight JT-161, that should depart before JT-151, had not departed yet at nine o'clock in the evening. I wasn't able to follow this drama for the passengers any longer as my flight started boarding 'already'. Eventually it took another half an hour for me to be able to find my seat in the plane. And after that it took more time for the plane to finally take off from Singapore on the way to Jakarta.

At half past eleven we arrived in Jakarta. And there it also didn't go as it should be, but that had a more comical impact for me than that it was serious. That was a good thing, because it was almosrt midnight, so I had been awake about 18 hours. I helped two German tourists with tipping them that they should contact Lion Air staff for their missed transit flight to Denpasar of several hours ago. They have most likely arrived on their final destination as well, but you can never be sure when flying Lion Air.

To be honest I have to add that some other flights earlier this month with Sriwijaya Air and Batavia Air also did not depart at scheduled. Batavia Air managed to depart with a delay of two hours as well just several days before. Many other flights on that afternoon had already sustained delays of several hours while I was at the airport. It is easy to blame the big one, but other airlines are just as good, or just as bad in this case.

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Related blog entries (category 'Travel') Tags: Lion Air, delays, management, problem

Posted in Travel @ 31 July 2011 06:15 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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