Welcome to the third series of the trip report!
First of all, apologies for taking quite some time to continue the third installment of my trip report. And if you would like to check part 1 & 2, here it is:
A Promise Kept (Part 1): RBA Carry You Home (by dirktraveller Sep 25 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Promise Kept (Part 2): On GA's Busiest Route (by dirktraveller Oct 2 2012 in Trip Reports)
After spending five days in Jakarta, it was time to move on to another stop of my trip, Singapore. However, due to time constraint, I will try something that I have never did on my previous trips to SIN, which is visiting the city-state in just 12 hours.
While looking for the ideal schedule to Singapore, some carriers like GA are actually offering some good promotions at that time, so does Valuair and AirAsia. I was initially interested for the GA offer, however their promotions only applies on the 4pm onwards flight, which is too late for my tight schedule in SIN. Therefore, I come to Valuair (VF) offer which departs early at 9.20am from CGK, arriving slightly late for lunch in Singapore at 12.35pm. As I asked assistance from someone to book the airfare, I will get a surprise later on.
Check-in & Lounge
As 29th of September was a Saturday, traffic from downtown Jakarta to the airport were relatively alright. It took roughly 50 minutes to reach CGK, which was considered good compared to the traffic jams that you could get during the peak hours. I reached Terminal 2D, where international flights depart at 7.25 am.
After passing security checks prior the check-in area, I found difficulty to find the Valuair desk. Furthermore, for some reason the flight schedule was not displayed at the FIDS! I went to the usual VF desks, but it was used by another carrier that day. After wasting 15 minutes to stroll from one end to the other of CGK check-in area, I finally found that VF desks was located quite remote, squeezed between carriers such as GA and CX, with only two desks available. But remarkably, with the two desks they had to serve the Singapore-bound VF flight, there is no long queue formed.
VF Check-in desks
After immigration - Terminal 2.
Check-in process was smooth and simple, and had my bags checked to SIN. Immigration queues at this time had considerably long queues (but still better than MEL in part 1, though), which I spent good 20 minutes queueing. With another one hour before scheduled boarding call time, I headed for the Emerald Sky lounge. It was the exact same lounge on my trip with GA last June. Lounge access could be gained by paying IDR 90,000 (USD 9.4). Inside, there were pretty decent option of food and beverage served for breakfast. Internet connection consists of wireless connection that worked fine, although it lacked free-access desktop computers as in other CGK lounges. The wireless was sufficient for me to surf the net and finished some work before boarding
Seating area at lounge
Buffet area, with some not really interesting options for me though.
Flight Number : VF 202
Aircraft type : A320-202
Registration : 9V-VLF (msn 2162, first flight 10/2/2004)
Seat number : 10D
ETD : 0950
ETA : 1240
Long walkway to the gate
Waiting area - Gate D2
While you can see aircraft at the other side of the gate, on the other side there is beautiful garden that you could enjoy.
Another flight going to SIN, Singapore Airlines 9V-SYF
Obstructed view of our aircraft to SIN today, 9V-VLF
Around 15 minutes before estimated boarding call I headed to gate D2. At the gate, I managed to catch an obstructed picture of our aircraft today, before the boarding call was made. The load at that day was pretty good, although it was not full house, with 75-80% seats filled. Most of the passengers headed for Singapore, while some continued for other destinations like HKG or TPE.
Jetstar magazine, safety card, duty-free, and buy-on board menu that the crew showed me.
While I told you that I was about to get a ‘surprise’, prior to pushback, one of the FAs come to my seat and showed me their buy-on board menu.
She asked me, “Good morning sir, what would you like to have today?”
I was surprised.
She then explained that on the booking that I booked an extra bundle which includes a meal and TWO drinks.
Well, because someone booked this leg for me I was not aware of this. Pleasant surprise for me because it is the first time I booked for a meal onboard an LCC flight.
I made my mind to pick for a chicken with rice meal, along with lemon tea and water for drink.
Shortly after every passenger boarded, doors were closed and we were on taxi to the runway for take-off. Our flight took off from CGK at around 10.05, 15 minutes behind schedule of 9.50.
My meal and two drink choices
My filling chicken rice meal
Shortly after the seat-belt sign was switched off, crew members prepared for meal /buy-on-board services.
The pre-ordered meal by passengers, including mine, was distributed ahead of the regular buy-on board services. The chicken meal tasted alright, and having the two drinks beside me my tray looked like I was having a feast.
Economy Class seats on Valuair :
I always wonder what is the control used for, since Valuair do not have IFE system, anyone?
While I was having my chicken meal, the crew again rolled their cart and distributed one bread and another glass of water, which comes complimentary for all Valuair passengers. Other meals, snacks, and beverage are available through the buy-on-board system. My tray table looked even fuller with food. I must admit that this is the first time I felt so full after leaving a low-cost flight.
Passport, Boarding pass, and Singapore landing card to fill
For the rest of the flight, the crew was usually stationed in the galley, although they do attend to passenger calls for assistance. Before descent, Singapore landing cards were distributed and the crew also did duty-free sales by rolling the cart after meal service.
Landing into Singapore
Reading this, 'How Singaporean are you?' while on approach.
At around 12.15pm, the captain, announced that we were on descent to Singapore Changi Airport. As instructed, cabin crew began preparations for landing. The approach took around 30 minutes, with slight turbulences, and we were on the ground at SIN.
Changi Airport Terminal 1 gate area. The design feels spacious.
Arrival at Changi Airport.
Changi Airport was excellent as usual. Immigrations were hassle-free, and within 15 minutes, I was already waiting for my baggage. Only to note, this time baggage claim took longer than usual. After collecting my baggage, I went straight ahead to the ‘Left luggage’ facility at Basement 2. This facility enabled me to keep my luggage throughout my transit, and I would collect it later that night for my next connecting flight at around 9.30pm. Terminal 1, with all that has been renovated, looks good. The 'Arrival' section was particularly impressive in my opinion.
Convenient 'Left baggage' service at Changi Airport Terminal 1
For the meantime, while I had 11 hours of transit, it is time for me to enjoy myself with some of my friends in Singapore, see you back in the next TR.
At the cost they are offering, Valuair has delivered outstanding product. Flights were relatively on schedule, seats were comfortable, and the advantage they had was they depart and arrive over other LCCs is in the two airports main terminal, which is CGK’s Terminal 2 and SIN Terminal 1. In my very first time having a meal in a low-cost carrier flight, it is an enjoyable experience and I would consider to choose for this bundle next time.
This extra bundle that comes with priority boarding and meal packages were good offer for passengers looking for extra services from the LCCs.
Thank you for reading and comments are welcomed!
See you on the next (last) part of this trip report series.