Big Durian Pt I: Braving Lion Air

Big Durian Excursion [12 – 14 Dec 2010]
Pt I: Braving Lion Air
Pt II: It’s a Rich Man’s World
Pt III: Macet
Pt IV: Congkak & Pins
Pt V: Shitty Business
Pt VI: The Ride Home

Having to wake at 7am to catch a plane is almost never pleasant.

Staying up till 3.30am to catch my team’s insipid defeat to a supposed inferior team on TV certainly wasn’t the most ideal preparation for the early morning call.

Luckily the airport was close enough to my place; two short public bus rides and around 30 minutes later I arrived at Terminal 1 with plenty of time for check-in and then breakfast.

However one member of the traveling party had other ideas.

He, whom I shall name as Mr Sloppy, decided to time his arrival 45 minutes after our scheduled rendezvous time of 8am after finding out from the printed itinerary that the plane was scheduled to depart only at 9.45am.

The rest of us went to have our breakfast at Burger King while waiting rather nervously for the arrival of Mr Sloppy.

8.45am came and went and there were still no signs of Mr Sloppy.

A SMS did come later and promised that he could reach by 9.10am.

Which happened to be the closing time of the check-in counters.

We queued up for check-in and hoped that we would be able to hold it open for Mr Sloppy if he was late.

And fortunately we didn’t have to.

Five minutes past nine Mr Sloppy strolled nonchalantly into T1 and attempted to locate the counter.

Apparently he had underestimated the traveling time from his place but didn’t seem too bothered at all.

On our way to the gate he asked what would happen if he arrived after 9.10am.

“They will still let me board even if I come after 9.10 right?” -.-

I don’t know and I prefer not to find out.

The immigration was painless since Singaporeans could use the automatic gates.

The security clearly wanted to prevent a repeat of such incident and checked the passports twice (once before and once after the automatic gates) to make sure that they match the travelers.

Gate was closing by the time we reached Gate D32.

Our ride was already waiting for us.

Refueling was being done.

We were assigned seats in row 5 which was the second row in the Economy section.

To be honest I thought that we were given these front seats because we were the last passengers to check in.

At least something positive came out of it since we would be amongst the first to disembark on arrival.

Route: SIN – CGK
Flight no.: JT 153
STD: 09:45 (ATD: 10:15)
STA: 10:25 (ATA:10:45)
Time taken: 1h30m
Distance traveled: 551 miles / 891 km
Aircraft: Boeing 737-900ER
Cost: 76 SGD

The business class seats looked comfy but I didn’t have enough time to snap a picture.

The regular ones looked decidedly less comfy and I didn’t like the dirty blue color.

I didn’t like the leg space either.

The red headrest cover did its patriotic duty of reminding Indonesians to use local products.

Rummaging through the seat pocket revealed interesting content:

Barf bag

Safety Card

“Invocation Card”

It contains prayers of six different religions.

Somehow this didn’t boast my confidence in Lion Air.

There was also an in-flight magazine which wasn’t available in my seat pocket.

Cathay B-HNN was parked beside us.

Our plane pushed back 20 minutes passed the scheduled departure

Bye Bye Singapore.

An SQ bird

There was quite a queue for take-off and MU506 for Shanghai was ahead of us.

EK433 to Dubai was after us.


The seat belt sign was switched off once the plane reached cruising altitude.

The crew went around to distribute Indonesian Arrival/Departure cards.

I always wonder what the immigration officials do with these cards.

The crew also did a round of on-board sales of drinks and snacks.

I didn’t buy anything but one of my friend bought a bottle of fruit juice for 10,000 IDR.

The stewardess couldn’t accept our old 10,000 IDR note and advised us to change them at banks when we arrived.

Meanwhile it was cloudy outside the window.

With no in-flight entertainment we just chatted among ourselves for most parts of the flight.

About an hour into the flight, the pilot made an announcement about preparing for landing in CGK.

However it took a while before Java appeared outside the window.

The countryside got built up as we descended.

Touching down…

… and finally!

The tight seat pitch was getting to us despite the short flight time.

I shuddered to think about my Air Asia X’s flight to Paris next year.

The cabin prior to disembarking.

As mentioned earlier we were amongst the first few to disembark and there wasn’t any queue at the immigration.

Somehow I was the only lucky person in my travel party to be asked to produce the return ticket by the immigration official.

Despite the immigration and the toilets none of the checked in luggage had appeared on the belt.

Our three checked bags did arrive intact in CGK and due to the 30 minute flight delay our Indonesian friends were already waiting for us at the arrivals.

We could say that we survived Lion Air…

…until the return flight in two days’ time.

Thoughts on Lion Air will be shared after the return flight.


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