ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 375 posts, RR: 0 Posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 6782 times:
Recently, I had the chance to fly to an "exotic" destination for a working trip, Solo City in Indonesia. According to Wikitravel, "Solo lies some 100 km south of Semarang and some 60 kilometers east of Yogyakarta. As the 'twin' sister of Yogyakarta, this city looks much like the later. But because Solo is not a provincial capital, this city has preserved much of its Javanese character. This also means that Solo is less touristy than Yogyakarta. Today's Solo is a bustling economic centre of some 800,000 (with the suburbs). It is in close proximity to the temples of Prambanan. The town is a centre of art and education, offers some good shopping and has some range of tourist facilities." This is a city which not many people have heard of, even in neighbouring Singapore. Tourists are far and few between, with most tourists heading to Yogjakarta directly from Solo. In fact, Solo still retains much of the original Javanese charm, with its tagline being Solo-The Spirit of Java. Thus, it was a unique opportunity for me to visit this quaint little "city".
For such a small city, there is actually an international airport serving it, Adisumarmo International Airport, mainly with domestic flights to Jakarta (an hour hop away). The only international flights at the airport are Silkair's 3x weekly flights from/to Singapore. AirAsia used to operate daily flights to KUL but it was cancelled from 2nd Sep this year. Guess due to the low number of tourists visiting Solo, AirAsia could not sustain flights as most tourists would fly direct to Yogyakarta. Even Silkair's flights are sustained mainly by connecting traffic from SQ.
11 September 2012
Singapore (SIN) - Solo City (SOC)
The departure flight is scheduled early in the morning at 0755hrs, which must be the earliest morning flight I had ever flown from Changi. However Changi was already bustling with the early morning departures to regional destinations. Surprisingly, the flight up to Solo was totally full! It appeared that almost the entire flight were french tourists connecting from Paris. Guess they must be visiting the UNESCO sites in nearby Yogyakarta. Fortunately, I could choose the emergency seat row during online check-in for free!
Baby airbus A319 9V-SBD would be operating the flight from Gate E10.
Boarding has commenced when I reached the gate and it was very efficient even with the full load. Welcomed by the friendly Silkair girls (whom I find are generally more relaxed than their SQ sisters) and directed to my seat. There were 5 cabin crew on this flight, 2 in Business and 3 in Economy. Very generous crewing by Silkair for 128 pax. The plane has been retrofitted with the new slimline seats in economy, which I personally feel is less comfortable than the older well-padded seats. Business class cabin is also retrofitted with new leather-clad seats. Blankets and pillows were available in the overhead compartments.
At the gate.
Lots of legroom!
Crew came down the aisle with selection of newspapers and soon doors were closed. Flight time was announced as 1hr45m. Safety video was shown on drop-down LCD screens and we were pushed back. No delays in Changi so early in the morning!
Only a short taxi to Rwy20C.
And off we go!
Rotate and passing Tiger Land (aka Budget Terminal), which would be closed on 25th Sep.
Scene of morning Singapore.
Climbing to cruising altitude of 37,000ft.
After seatbelt signs were switched off, crew first came through with arrival immigration forms and then went back to the galley to prepare for meal service. Inflight entertainment was silent shows played on the drop-down screens. Breakfast was served about 30min after takeoff, with all 3 crew members using 2 carts to deliver meals. I was one of the first to be served by the 2 crew manning the second cart.
Choices for breakfast were Fish with Noodles or Scrambled eggs with Chicken Sausage. Accompanying the main course was a warm bun, coffee/tea and drinking water. No fruits, no yoghurt. I also had an orange juice to go along. Silkair has also introduced new serviceware, with the previous ceramic casseroles replaced with lighter plastic ones (similar to SQ), albeit in a nicer design. However, metal utensils were still used with the exception of the teaspoon which is plastic.
I chose the Fish with noodles, which consisted of fishcake, fried fish in sweet and sour sauce, ee-fu noodles and green vegetables. It was a delicious and filling meal!
The other choice of Scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, potatoes, mushrooms and broccoli. Did not look too appealing. My seatmate left the eggs untouched. Lesson: Always stick to the Asian breakfast choice.
I wiped out my noodles. However I wished that Silkair could at least have some breakfast fruits with the meal. But overall still a satisfying meal. A second round of drinks were offered during tray collection.
Cabin view. It was a really full flight!
Soon we started our descent into Solo. Volcanoes in view!
Not sure which is Gunung Merapi though.
Overflying the city of Solo before making our approach to the runway.
Final approach into Adisumarmo Rwy26.
Spoilers up but no thrust reversers were used as we rolled towards the end of the runway, where the terminal building is located.
Reaching the terminal. There were only 2 aerobridges at the terminal, 1 each for international and domestic.
Parked at the gate. Welcome to Solo, The Spirit of Java.
It was a pleasant flight on Silkair. Even with the full load, service by the crew were generally warm, friendly and efficient, and I would say more so than SQ girls. Having the emergency seat row also enhanced the comfort level on this sector. Silkair is definitely an acceptable choice for short regional flights, such as this 2hrs sector.
[Edited 2012-09-16 07:16:37]
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4125 posts, RR: 51 Reply 5, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 6233 times:
really good to see this Silkair journey to Solo. You know, I'm flying to JOG real soon, didn't consider Solo since I've to be in Jogyakarta itself, but at least I'm in that area this time. Looking forward to it, good to get the introduction with your pictures
I agree so much on your statement "always stick to the Asian breakfast option"; mainly because I just love Asian cuisine. But indeed, many Western people don't like the idea of having noodle or rice for breakfast since it's so uncommon overhere, but hey... this is Asia (my thought). So much healthier and tasty then our bland omelette, mushrooms etc.
Nice pics, Silkair seat and legroom look comfortable for sure. Is this really big legroom (how many inches?) or you are just not so tall as I am
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
infinit From Singapore, joined Jul 2008, 398 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 5967 times:
I always wanted to go for a short holiday somewhere in the region. Definitely didn't want a market centre like KUL or BKK and the usual "resort" states like Bali and Phuket are overly commercialised. After reading your report, I decided I'm heading to Solo! This is exactly what I want, a laid back small town.
ycp81 From Singapore, joined Jun 2006, 375 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5579 times:
Now for the return flight back. The airport is about 15km or 30min drive from the city in normal traffic.
Reaching Adi Soemarmo International Airport.
Departure FIDS. With the exception of my flight to Singapore, the rest are flights to Jakarta only!
In the terminal. 15 September 2012
Solo City (SOC) - Singapore (SIN)
Visit to the Bengawan Executive Lounge, which is also used by Silkair Business Class passengers. Quite a small lounge situated just before immigration/security and the sole international boarding gate.
Food spread in the lounge. Just some snacks and drinks.
Boarding pass with 100,000 Rupiahs airport tax receipt.
Silkair's newest A319 (2.5yrs old) 9V-SBH would be flying me back to Singapore.
Boarding was announced shortly after and we left the lounge, clear immigration and security and proceeded onboard. Was warmly welcomed by name at the door after the crew glanced at my boarding pass! Proceeded to my seat, which was initially at 12A. A Sriwijaya Air B734 was parked beside, preparing for the return flight to Jakarta.
However, as the flight was so empty, with only less than 40 pax in economy, I moved further back to 17A and got the whole row to myself.
Yes, the rear economy cabin remained this empty for the entire flight!
Just waiting for the last couple of passengers. Crew also offered newspapers at this time.
Across the aisle. I also helped myself to 2 pillows from the overhead bins.
Seat pitch, at 31", is acceptable for the short flight, which was announced at 1h50m.
Leaving the Java coast. We would be cruising at 35,000ft.
Screens were dropped down and silent shows started playing. How I wish Silkair would have proper entertainment...
Not long after, lunch was served. Due to the very light load, only one cart, manned by two crew, was used to deliver meals. A third crew was standing by to prepare any ad-hoc drink orders. Again, this set of crew was warm, relaxed and friendly. Great job by the Silkair gals!
On offer today was either Seafood Beehoon or Chicken with pasta. I chose the asian choice of Seafood Beehoon. On the tray was some fruits (the standard Silkair appetizer/dessert) and drinking water. No breadrolls were offered for lunch. Also had a Coke Light (which I was given the whole can) and an orange juice. All were delivered with great smiles.
Uncovering the foil, the beehoon was served with fresh prawns, two "ngor hiang" seafood rolls and vegetables. It was a tasty and a very Singaporean dish!!
The quantity was definitely generous and sufficient. The casserole was filled to the brim with food! Quality was excellent too! Did not have a picture of the other option this time round.
Standard Silkair dessert of watermelon slices and pineapple cubes.
Coffee/tea amd a second round of drinks were offered during tray collection.
Feeling bored, I wandered around the empty cabin. Empty rows towards the rear.
Lavatory with not many amenities other than the necessary.
View of the cabin from rear.
Got free playing cards from the crew. New addition to my collection!
Soon, we were starting our descend. Due to the light load, crew only came round to secure the cabin 15min prior to landing. Approach was a bit bumpy as weather was not too good.
We approached from the north-east, overflying Malaysia.
Star Alliance 9V-SRI also just docked at the gate.
Parked at F30, beside 9V-SRL.
Certainly another pleasant and comfortable flight on Silkair. Hopefully with their new orders of B737s, Silkair would equip their new planes with better amenities and IFE in the near future. Thanks for reading and your comments are most welcomed.
My upcoming confirmed trips would be a trip to Beijing soon and another trip to Oz in Nov. Look out for the reports on the flights!
Jetstar A332 SIN-PEK Business Class vs
Singapore Airlines B773ER PEK-SIN Business Class