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Merpati MZ 8480: 09/2012: DIL-DPS: Y Cabin  
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5074 posts, RR: 55
Posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 13461 times:

Feedback always appreciated.



I > Background:
I have always wanted been fascinated to go off the beaten path, and a self-made promise to visit all 200 odd countries before turning 40 meant that Timor-Leste has been high on the list. While several cornerstone projects had kept me busy for the better part of 2012, it also meant that I’d get a nice 2 month break to catch up on my traveling.

In September, I decided to make several trips, and the first of that was to Timor-Leste, Asia’s newest nation state. Now, Timor-Leste is an awfully long place from Caracas and unsurprisingly, no airline had filed a O&D fare. Booking thus took form in 3 tickets; CCS/LAX; LAX/DPS; and DPS/DIL.

I believe there has been a report to Dili on Batavia Air before. This will be the first on Merpati Nausantara and cover the inbound DIL-DPS segment.

From now on, I will give readers an outline of the trip, thanks to GC Map:


II > Pre-Flight:

a) Before Airport:
Merpati Nusantara is one of Indonesia’s oldest airlines based out of Jakarta. It offers scheduled service to more than 25 destinations in Indonesia, along with international service to Timor-Leste and Malaysia.

Booking was done by an Indonesian friend of mine through a local travel agent as Merpati’s website at http://www.merpati.co.id/ provided no way of doing so with an international credit card. I am always surprised that in 2012 an airline would not offer a seamless online channel given it has the lowest distribution cost. Of course, there was no ability to choose a seat or view the reservation online. That would be revolutionary …



b) At Airport:
After an absolutely incredible time in Timor-Leste – seriously, one of the most fascinating places in the world, and one of my new favorite place, it was time to head back. Dili Airport is a small place, and follows the design of many other Indonesian airports in the “Nusantara”. When I arrived, security was high, and since I was in a rush, got checked in by a super nice lady and went straight to immigration and security.

Upon reaching the gate area, boarding was done 20 minutes prior to departure, and I knew at that time that the flight would push back behind schedule. Of course, none of this was mentioned at any point, nor any apologies given when the flight subsequently took off over 45 minutes behind STD.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the aircraft were the pretty crew members who welcomed me warmly, and the sense of “old-school” on the 734. One of the rarer versions of the classic 737 aircraft, this one looked like it has seen better days.

Airport - External:

(Dili Airport)


Check-in:



Airport - Internal:

(Pre-Security @ DIL)
NONE

(FIDS)
NONE

(Post-Security @ DIL)
(What airline is this?)

*

*


Scenes of the tarmac:



Lounge

NONE



Boarding & Gate Area:


*

*
(Classic “ILBST” boarding)


III> In-Flight:

a) Service Schedule + Impressions:
On the ground:

+ No service

In the air:

+ Meal service

b) Aircraft + Seats:
Merpati’s classic 734 looks even more retro in the old styled blue livery that it has donned for a while. Inside, there are plenty of cues that show the aircraft’s age including the TV monitors, the lavatory, and especially the overhead controls. The faux leather seats are comfortable enough, but the recline in the non-exit row is surprisingly tight. This is strange as older generation aircraft, especially those in Asia, are known to have decent legroom. Moreover, seat recline was also much below industry norms.

Aircraft:
(@DIL)


Views from Aircraft:

(DIL)

*

*

*
(Farewell DIL)


General Seat Views + Seat Legroom



(Legroom – Regular Seat)


(Legroom – Exit Seat – I later moved on)


(Around Seat)
NONE

(Controls)
NONE

(Blanket +)
NONE



Seat Recline + Angle View:

(Barely any recline)


(Angle view)


Cabin:


*

*


(Bathroom)


c) Meal + Beverage:
The ubiquitous snack box that had become the norm in most parts of Latin America seems to have started finding its way in Asia. The hot food service that I had taken for granted in an Asian full service carrier had been replaced. In Merpati’s version, we were given some cold soggy fries, cold chicken with some nasty sauce, cold vegetables, a piece of bread and the nastiest most artificially colored dessert I had seen in a while. Thankfully, the “beng beng” snack bar saved the entire meal from being an utter disaster. Seriously though, this was one of the worst meals I had ever been presented with in any class of service.


*


d) Inflight Entertainment:
Merpati’s 734 came equipped with old fashioned TV’s. They were not programmed to show anything besides the air show. However, the in-flight magazine was nice, and gave a good sense of Indonesia and the airline. It always fascinates me looking at the route map of an Indonesian airline and being reminded how big the world is, and how many towns I will probably never have a chance to visit.

(MZ’s IFE – had the air show on)


(Magazines + Newspapers)
NONE

(“In-flight magazines”, Boarding Passes, etc.)


e) Crew:
In the greater Asian region, I have a soft spot for crewmembers from Japan, India, and Indonesia. This Merpati crew was no different. They were unfailingly polite and always smiled at any request. I did not have much interaction with them during most of the flight, but the 2 “tests” I did with the call button were answered within a matter of minutes. These crew should be sent to Air France / Iberia to train!

IV> Post-Flight:
We never quite made up the time and landed in DPS 45 minutes behind schedule. Touch down was smooth and after a rather long immigration process, I was landside with my friend waiting. I should have remembered that Bali’s Denpasar Airport used is not the quiet place it was when I first visited in 1999. Moreover, I should have taken cue from the flight attendant who told me to rush as I disembarked as “Transaero flight awaits” and “you know how aggressive those Russians can be.” She was right.

After that, it was a week of Indonesian hospitality – I absolutely adore the country and her people!

(Runway @ DPS – weird as I type as I just see the Lion Air playing not quite making it)


(Transaero plane – unimaginable a few years back)

*


(Um)


(Heated Indonesian competition)


(Bali’s distinctive airport)


V> Impressions + Scores:
In Indonesia’s ever-changing aviation landscape, Merpati has been there for a while. While it does fly to some remote areas, it has not been as dynamic or ambitious as some of the countries other carriers making me wonder if it has the right strategy in place. The service itself was decent enough – the soft product was very good. In-flight and on-ground crew always smiled. But the again, it is Indonesia. On board, the service needed a major overhaul and showed its age … oh, and the food just sucked. Please don’t serve cold chicken!

Merpati is a decent airline. However, in Indonesia’s crowded airline space, it takes more than “average” to stand out. As the recent Lion Air crash confirms, the country needs the airlines to maintain great safety while trying to differentiate from each other. I would of course fly Merpati. But, it would be driven by price and schedule. No thump up or down.



So how did MZ stack up with the rest of the competition?



VI> Other Trip Reports:

PREMIUM:
9.27: JET AIRWAYS **FIRST** (110): LHR-BOM: 10/2010
9.27: THAI AIRWAYS **FIRST** (108): BKK-LHR: 07/2010
9.00: All Nippon: ANA (133): NRT-FUK-BOM: 12/2011

8.66: Brussels Airlines (93): FIH-BRU: 01/2010
8.64: Turkish Airlines (59): JFK-IST: 11/2008
8.63: Jet Airways (88): JFK-BRU: 10/2009
8.61: Air Canada (49): YYZ-SCL: 06/2008
8.60: SWISS **FIRST** (142): ZRH-YUL: 07/2012
8.54: Turkish Airlines (77): GRU-DKR-IST: 04/2009
8.36: Kingfisher (98): BOM-HKG: 01/2010
8.30: Jet Airways (74): KWI-BOM: 04/2009
8.23: United Airlines (72): SFO-SYD: 03/2009
8.11: Aeroflot (33): MOW-DEL: 09/2007
8.05: Air India (80): CCU-JFK: 06/2009
8.04: Korean Air (40): NRT-ICN: 10/2007
8.02: Delta Airlines (24): JFK-CDG: 08/2007
7.91: KOREAN AIR **FIRST** (143): ICN-YVR: 02/2013
7.82: UNITED AIRLINES **FIRST** (110): SFO-ICN: 10/2010
7.82: Singapore Airlines (06): EWR-SIN: 09/2006
7.66: Sri Lankan (104): DEL-CMB: 07/2010
7.64: Royal Jordanian (91): AMM-YUL: 12/2009
7.61: China Southern (103): LOS-DXB: 04/2010
7.57: Pakistan Airlines (102): ORD-BCN: 06/2010
7.55: Air Canada (132): YEG-LHR: 06/2011
7.52: LUFTHANSA **FIRST** (141): BLR-FRA: 05/2012
7.46: LAN (55): YYZ-JFK: 09/2008
7.38: AMERICAN AIRLINES **FIRST** (112): LHR-JFK: 10/2010
7.38: CATHAY PACIFIC **FIRST** (109): HKG-LHR: 10/2010
7.36: Turkish Airlines (134): IST-LAX: 10/2011
7.25: Iran Air (88): BOM-IKA: 12/2009
7.23: Air Pacific (120): NAN-APW-HNL: 01/2011
7.23: Virgin Atlantic (81): BOS-LHR: 07/2009
7.14: Swiss (52): SCL-GRU: 06/2008
7.11: Aer Lingus (105): MAD-IAD: 05/2010
7.11: Austrian (79): VIE-JFK: 06/2009
7.07: Privatair (84): BOM-FRA: 08/2009
7.02: Qatar (68): DOH-JFK: 01/2009
6.96: Etihad (61): JFK-AUH: 12/2008
6.93: South African (140): JNB-PER: 02/2012
6.93: Lufthansa (139): ASM-JED-FRA: 02/2012
6.93: Delta Airlines (18): SEA-JFK: 11/2006
6.88: Egypt Air (123): LHR-CAI: 03/2011
6.84: ConViasa (65): CCS-DAM: 01/2009
6.82: Air Burkina (106): BKO-OUA: 06/2010
6.81: Air Canada (17): ICN-YYZ: 10/2006
6.75: Afriqiyah + Libyan (113): CAI-TIP: 11/2010
6.70: KLM (32): EBB-AMS: 08/2007
6.52: Emirates (99): LHR-DXB: 02/2010
6.39: South African (97): EZE-JNB: 01/2010
6.36: Privatair (60): MUC-BOS: 12/2008
6.29: TAM Brasil (96): POA-EZE: 02/2010
6.25: Korean Air (45): NAN-ICN: 10/2007
6.21: Iberia (87): BOS-MAD: 10/2009
6.11: A SKY (107): OUA-COO: 06/2010
6.11: TAP Portugal (53): GRU-OPO: 06/2008
6.00: Gulf Air (75): BOM-BAH: 04/2009
5.88: African Express (89): DXB-NBO: 11/2009
5.75: Singapore Airlines (16): CCU-SIN: 10/2006
5.64: SATA Azores (101): BOS-PDL: 04/2010
5.64: NorthWest (46): ICN-NRT-SEA: 10/2007
5.54: Ethiopian Airlines (95): ADD-BOM: 01/2010
5.46: Icelandair (83): KEF-BOS: 08/2009
5.39: LOT (54): WAW-JFK: 06/2008
5.21: Egypt Air (73): CAI-IST: 02/2009
5.11: Tunisair (115): TUN-ORY: 12/2010
5.07: TACA (66): JFK-SAP: 01/2009
4.89: TAAG Angola (117): TMS-LAD: 12/2010
4.42: Air France: CDG-JNB (25): 08/2007

ECONOMY: Long + Medium:
9.26: Air India (48): JFK-DEL: 02/2008
9.04: First Air (129): YEG-YFB: 06/2011
8.74: Japan Air Lines (130): NRT-BOS: 04/2012 – INAUGURAL
7.99: WestJet (131): YYZ-YYC: 06/2011
7.38: Avianca (01): BOG-LIM: 07/2006
7.07: Sri Lankan (62): KWI-CMB: 12/2008
7.00: LAN (94): IPC-SCL: 01/2010
6.81: STP Airways/Euro Atlantic (116): LIS-TMS: 12/2010
6.74: Air Asia (136): VTE-KUL: 12/2011
6.67: Air Malta (124): MLA-FRA: 04/2011
6.63: Vladavia (126): KHV-PEK: 06/2011
6.41: Air North (127): YEV-YEG: 06/2011
6.41: Avianca (78): JFK-BOG: 05/2009
6.41: American Airlines (58): LHR-BOS: 11/2008
6.39: Condor (85): SEZ-FRA: 09/2009
6.26: Jet Blue (21): CUN-JFK: 02/2007
6.11: Caribbean Airlines (119): POS-FLL: 01/2011
6.06: Air Canada (04): YYZ-YVR: 09/2006
5.89: USA 3000 (19): PUJ-BDL: 01/2007
5.85: Spanair (69): MAD-LPA: 02/2009
5.80: Canadian North (128): YEV-YVQ-YZF-YEG: 06/2011
5.79: Air New Zealand (42): RAR-NAN: 10/2007
5.52: Aerolineas (86): USH-AEP: 10/2009
5.46: TAP Air Portugal (23): OSL-LIS: 05/2007
5.19: Air Europa (70): LPA-MAD: 02/2009
5.16: Iberia (71): MAD-BOS: 02/2009
5.11: Air China (82): FRA-PEK: 08/2009
4.59: IR Aero (125): IKT-VVO: 06/2011

ECONOMY: Short
8.56: Paramount Airways (38): BLR-MAA: 09/2007
8.56: Kingfisher (64): HYD-CCU: 12/2008
8.24: Kingfisher (14): IXA-GAU: 10/2006
7.87: Indian (34): BOM-MAA: 09/2007
7.72: Alliance Air (13): CCU-IXA: 10/2006
7.57: Indian Airlines (10): DEL-CCU: 09/2006
7.23: West Jet (03): YYC-YVR: 09/2006
7.15: JetLite (37): BOM-GOI: 09/2007
6.98: Air Koryo (100): PEK-FNJ: 04/2010
6.96: Maldivian (137): MLE-TRV: 12/2011
6.96: Lao Airlines (135): VTE-KUL: 12/2011
6.70: Spice Jet (09): CCU-DEL: 09/2006
6.63: Air Fiji (44): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.63: Jazeera (67): DAM-KWI: 01/2009
6.58: Air Tran (02): EWR-MDW: 08/2006
6.54: Buffalo (138): YZF-YXY: 10/2007
6.48: Air India Express (63): CMB-MAA: 12/2008
6.44: CO Micronesia (39): ROR-YAP: 10/2007
6.41: Pacific Sun (43): NAN-SUV: 10/2007
6.37: Skybus (47): SWF-CMH: 02/2008
6.33: Kenya Airways (29): NBO-BJM: 08/2007
6.33: Sky Europe (56): LTN-BTS: 10/2008
6.31: Indigo (15): GAU-CCU: 10/2006
6.31: easyJet (57): BUD-LTN: 11/2008
6.22: Air Link Swazi (28): MTS-JNB: 08/2007
6.22: Air India (36): HYD-BOM: 09/2007
6.13: Adam Air (07): SIN-CGK: 09/2006
6.13: Air Rarotonga (41): RAR-AIT: 10/2007
6.04: Suriname Airways (118): PBM-POS: 01/2011
6.00: Transairways (27): INH-MPM: 08/2007
5.98: Merpati (144): 09/2012
5.95: Air Canada (05): ALB-YYZ: 09/2006
5.85: SAS Norge (22): OSL-AES: 05/2007
5.81: LAM Mozambique (26): JNB-MPM: 08/2007
5.69: Air Deccan (12): IXZ-CCU: 10/2006
5.67: Rwanda Air Exp (30): KGL-NBO: 08/2007
5.52: Sevenair (114): TOE-TUN: 11/2010
5.37: Felix Airways (92): SCT-SAH: 12/2009
5.11: Aero Republica (76): BOG-CCS: 04/2009
5.07: Go Air (35): MAA-HYD: 09/2007
5.04: Biman (121): DAC-CGP: 01/2011
5.00: Sky Airline (51): IQQ-SCL: 06/2008
4.96: United Bangla (122): CGP-DAC: 01/2011
4.96: Valuair (08): CGK-SIN: 09/2006
4.78: Air Comet Chile (50): SCL-IQQ: 06/2008
4.74: Fly 540 (31): MYD-LAU: 08/2007
4.33: Viva Aerobus (20): ELP-MTY: 02/2007
4.11: Air Sahara (11): CCU-BOM: 09/2006

(Note on Codes: Y – Economy, J – Business, F – First :: I/D – International/Domestic :: SR/MR/LR – Short/Medium/Long Haul)
(Note on Date: Dates are modified to be +/- 3 days from actual flight date to not reveal actual flight pattern)

VII> Other Pictures:

(Nice “refuse” bag)


(Some pictures of the stunning country of Timor-Leste)

(Dili – the nice remains)

*

(Lot still being reconstructed)

(National Highway)

(Stunning towns)

(And, some of the nicest beaches in all of the world)

*

* Unbiased view on how an actual traveler may view the flight
* Not a professional photographer (so please keep in mind)
* Commitment that I won’t identify myself to the airline as “reviewing them”



Live, and let live.
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2269 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 13371 times:

Great report again Alex,

Merpati isn't something great according to your experience... Indonesian airlines have to do more to improve how foreigners view them. A few countries have this stigma, and Indonesia is one of them... Although Garuda seems good from what I've recently read.

Timor-Leste... Interesting place, tell us more about it when you have the time  

How many more countries do you have to go to in order to reach your goal?

Great report, and thanks for sharing,

Alex

PS: Are you sure it was a 734? From your pictures I'd say it is a 733.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2399 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 13113 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(What airline is this?)

This airline was the previous flag carrier of East Timor, now renamed: www.air-timor.com

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
One of the rarer versions of the classic 737 aircraft, this one looked like it has seen better days.

Yes, I have done also a flight with Merparti - and I have never ever seen a B737 Classic in such bad condition! BUT...

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The first thing I noticed upon entering the aircraft were the pretty crew members who welcomed me warmly

...the crew was outstanding. They seemed to be very senior (read old), but very experienced. Despite the very dingy a/c I felt more safe than Lion Air (with a brand new B739!) or Batavia Air.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The ubiquitous snack box that had become the norm in most parts of Latin America seems to have started finding its way in Asia.

Veto! The snack box is a common sight in Indonesia for years - just have a look in this old school TR: Intra Indonesia Jakarta With Sriwijaya (Photos) (by 9MMAR Feb 24 2007 in Trip Reports)

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Booking was done by an Indonesian friend of mine through a local travel agent as Merpati’s website at http://www.merpati.co.id/ provided no way of doing so with an international credit card.

I can recommend www.ticketindonesia.info


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 12949 times:

Hi Alex,

very interesting report about your Merpati experience. I'm not sure whether I'd fly on that carrier due to safety concerns, though. I tried Lion Air once, but I guess I wouldn't do that again.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The first thing I noticed upon entering the aircraft were the pretty crew members who welcomed me warmly, and the sense of “old-school” on the 734. One of the rarer versions of the classic 737 aircraft, this one looked like it has seen better days.

You flew on PK-MDK, a veteran 737-300 built in 1988 (and once operated by US Air and Macedonian Airlines). It wears Aoba special colors, btw.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
In Merpati’s version, we were given some cold soggy fries, cold chicken with some nasty sauce, cold vegetables, a piece of bread and the nastiest most artificially colored dessert I had seen in a while. Thankfully, the “beng beng” snack bar saved the entire meal from being an utter disaster. Seriously though, this was one of the worst meals I had ever been presented with in any class of service.

Wow, that's indeed bad!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Heated Indonesian competition

Yeah, with the one on the right already gone bust.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineTheAviator380 From UK - England, joined Feb 2013, 386 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 12723 times:

Expressions on that women's face are priceless ! The picture where it says cabin    May be she seems unhappy when she realized her picture being taken !!

TR is kool as always...very nice and unique.


User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 742 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 12346 times:

As usual your reports are always interesting to discover.
Although not being a professional, that's the first time i see some overhead TVs in a 737 other than the usual -700, -800, -900 series.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Booking thus took form in 3 tickets; CCS/LAX; LAX/DPS; and DPS/DIL.

Are you kidding?    or a mileage run? anyway congratulation for this long trip.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
These crew should be sent to Air France / Iberia to train!

+1, and (even with a different class of travelling) they are still better than AF...LOL
Maybe you should book a ticket with them, since your last experience was while ago and the new Transform 2015 program might change your perceptions now   .


The bonus is really nice too, never thought it would look like that...

Many thanks for sharing Alex

regards
Leonard



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 12022 times:

Hi Alex

Glad to read your latest addition! Always nice to see something exotic.
Interesting too see a real meal on these short flights in Asia. Something rare if you are used to flying most EURO/ASIAN carriers.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 11915 times:

Hi Alex,

Always a pleasure to see a report of yours. I love your dedication to destinations that are off the beaten path and for small or otherwise unknown carriers.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I have always wanted been fascinated to go off the beaten path, and a self-made promise to visit all 200 odd countries before turning 40 meant that Timor-Leste has been high on the list.

So how many do you left at this point? What would happen after you've visited them all? Have you thought of a new "task"?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
These crew should be sent to Air France / Iberia to train!

You may say that again! I would put TK there too.


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Transaero plane – unimaginable a few years back)

This reminds me of the time I saw a Transaero widebody (a B777 perhaps) in San Antonio 3 or 4 years ago. It was kind of surreal.

Thanks for the lovely photos! The colors in that part of the world are truly amazing,

Widebodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6496 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 10898 times:

Hi Alex !

Thanks for another amazing report with very nice pictures !

Great to see you travel to another country! East Timor certainly is exotic! Looks very nice from what the pictures show.

Merpati seems okay but meal wasn't too good.

I'm still looking forward to flying Garuda Indonesia in September this year. I'm not sure yet if I'll go from CGK or DPS to NRT, we'll see.

Take Care

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5074 posts, RR: 55
Reply 9, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10316 times:

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 1):
Great report again Alex,

Merpati isn't something great according to your experience... Indonesian airlines have to do more to improve how foreigners view them. A few countries have this stigma, and Indonesia is one of them... Although Garuda seems good from what I've recently read.

Timor-Leste... Interesting place, tell us more about it when you have the time  

How many more countries do you have to go to in order to reach your goal?

Great report, and thanks for sharing,

Alex

PS: Are you sure it was a 734? From your pictures I'd say it is a 733.

= Thanks for stopping by. You're right about the aircraft picture of course. I am at 147 and have 7 years to go. I think that service levels in Indonesia have been good - now, they have to improve on their safety record.

What's next for you?

Quoting debonair (Reply 2):
This airline was the previous flag carrier of East Timor, now renamed: www.air-timor.com

= Ok. But, Air Timor just uses their code on their agreement with MI's flight to SIN right?

Quoting debonair (Reply 2):
Yes, I have done also a flight with Merparti - and I have never ever seen a B737 Classic in such bad condition! BUT...

= I was surprised as well. I have flown a lot of 732's, and they all are in rather good condition.

Quoting debonair (Reply 2):
...the crew was outstanding. They seemed to be very senior (read old), but very experienced. Despite the very dingy a/c I felt more safe than Lion Air (with a brand new B739!) or Batavia Air.

= Ya - ironic because when I was writing this, the Lion Air plane missed landing at DPS.

Quoting debonair (Reply 2):
I can recommend www.ticketindonesia.info

= Thanks for this. It is bookmarked on my global air purchase ticket site!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
very interesting report about your Merpati experience. I'm not sure whether I'd fly on that carrier due to safety concerns, though. I tried Lion Air once, but I guess I wouldn't do that again.

= Haha. PH, at this rate, you won't have many airlines left. I find myself as safe on Merpati as I do on Air France   ...

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
You flew on PK-MDK, a veteran 737-300 built in 1988 (and once operated by US Air and Macedonian Airlines). It wears Aoba special colors, btw.

= Thanks.

Quoting TheAviator380 (Reply 4):
Expressions on that women's face are priceless ! The picture where it says cabin    May be she seems unhappy when she realized her picture being taken !!

= Yup.

Quoting TheAviator380 (Reply 4):
TR is kool as always...very nice and unique.

= Glad you enjoyed.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 5):
Although not being a professional, that's the first time i see some overhead TVs in a 737 other than the usual -700, -800, -900 series.

= I have seen it on a few airlines.

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 5):
Are you kidding?    or a mileage run? anyway congratulation for this long trip.

= LOL. I don't think I quite ever need a mileage run   ...

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 5):
+1, and (even with a different class of travelling) they are still better than AF...LOL
Maybe you should book a ticket with them, since your last experience was while ago and the new Transform 2015 program might change your perceptions now  

= Hahaha. Ya, I don't think Transform 2015 will change many things without a huge change in attitude ... let's see. I have an AF flight coming up though  . And, it will be NOT for work. So, ...

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 6):
Hi Alex

Glad to read your latest addition! Always nice to see something exotic.
Interesting too see a real meal on these short flights in Asia. Something rare if you are used to flying most EURO/ASIAN carriers.

Greetings
Marc

= Thanks Marc.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
Always a pleasure to see a report of yours. I love your dedication to destinations that are off the beaten path and for small or otherwise unknown carriers.

= For me, it is so much more cool.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
So how many do you left at this point? What would happen after you've visited them all? Have you thought of a new "task"?

= 147. And, one step at a time   ...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
These crew should be sent to Air France / Iberia to train!

You may say that again! I would put TK there too.

= TK is usually a hit or miss. I have had some remarkably good TK experiences, and then some downright shoddy crew.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 7):
This reminds me of the time I saw a Transaero widebody (a B777 perhaps) in San Antonio 3 or 4 years ago. It was kind of surreal.

= What was it doing there?

Quoting The777Man (Reply 8):
Great to see you travel to another country! East Timor certainly is exotic! Looks very nice from what the pictures show.

= It is one of my favourite countries now.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 8):
I'm still looking forward to flying Garuda Indonesia in September this year. I'm not sure yet if I'll go from CGK or DPS to NRT, we'll see.

= That would be cool! I have never flown them and they seemed to be getting a lot of positive reviews. I also like the idea of doing immigration on the plane. This is one of the routes where they do that right?

Thanks all for stopping by.

Saludos,
Alex



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineknightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1750 posts, RR: 18
Reply 10, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 10303 times:

Hi Alex

Well you certainly visit some interesting places on some interesting airlines. So thanks again for an entertaining ans insightful report with good pictures. I think my favourite is the one you took of the emergency exit row. I mean, the guy on the aisle seat with the T-shirt: what a poser!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
and a self-made promise to visit all 200 odd countries before turning 40 meant that Timor-Leste has been high on the list.

So how many countries have you got left to go?

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
the nastiest most artificially colored dessert I had seen in a while.

Well at least it came shaped like a flower. Usually the creamy desserts they serve on planes tend to look like something the cat just spat out on the carpet and taste accordingly...

Cheers,
William


User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6496 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 10113 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 9):
This is one of the routes where they do that right?

I had no idea they do that. That sounds interesting.

I had heard a lot of good things about Garuda too so looking forward to flying them. Perhaps we can coordinate a flight on Garuda together ?

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8496 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 9843 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Alex,

Nice read and pictures as usual, thanks for posting this trip on a pretty rare, by A.NET standards, airline.


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
The hot food service that I had taken for granted in an Asian full service carrier had been replaced. In Merpati’s version, we were given some cold soggy fries, cold chicken with some nasty sauce, cold vegetables, a piece of bread and the nastiest most artificially colored dessert I had seen in a while. Thankfully, the “beng beng” snack bar saved the entire meal from being an utter disaster. Seriously though, this was one of the worst meals I had ever been presented with in any class of service.

- That actually looks quite revoltoing, who on earth serves cold chips?? - ok, Merpati, seriously - plus desert, OMG!

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
In Indonesia’s ever-changing aviation landscape, Merpati has been there for a while. While it does fly to some remote areas, it has not been as dynamic or ambitious as some of the countries other carriers making me wonder if it has the right strategy in place.

- You have a good point, Lion seem to have come from nowhere and now look at them, by contrast Merpati seem to have got smaller.

Cheers

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5074 posts, RR: 55
Reply 13, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 9709 times:

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 10):
Well you certainly visit some interesting places on some interesting airlines. So thanks again for an entertaining ans insightful report with good pictures. I think my favourite is the one you took of the emergency exit row. I mean, the guy on the aisle seat with the T-shirt: what a poser!

= Haha. Why is he a poser?

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 10):
So how many countries have you got left to go?

= 53 countries left. 7 years to get there.

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 10):
Well at least it came shaped like a flower. Usually the creamy desserts they serve on planes tend to look like something the cat just spat out on the carpet and taste accordingly...

Cheers,
William

= William, I think your standards are falling  .

Quoting The777Man (Reply 11):
I had no idea they do that. That sounds interesting.

= Yup. I believe they do it on their HKG flights as well?

Quoting The777Man (Reply 11):
I had heard a lot of good things about Garuda too so looking forward to flying them. Perhaps we can coordinate a flight on Garuda together ?

= Might be. I am still looking forward to Turkmenistan, now that my big project has been announced ... think of a recent airline purchase  .

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 12):
ice read and pictures as usual, thanks for posting this trip on a pretty rare, by A.NET standards, airline.

= Thanks  .

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 12):
- That actually looks quite revoltoing, who on earth serves cold chips?? - ok, Merpati, seriously - plus desert, OMG!

= Mark, it is no BA - F for sure  .

Saludos,
Alex



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6496 posts, RR: 55
Reply 14, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 9611 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 13):
Quoting The777Man (Reply 11):
I had heard a lot of good things about Garuda too so looking forward to flying them. Perhaps we can coordinate a flight on Garuda together ?

= Might be. I am still looking forward to Turkmenistan, now that my big project has been announced ... think of a recent airline purchase  .

Yes, Turkmenistan would be really great. Any idea when they will get their first passenger 77L ? Any news on routes for it ?

Good to know about your project... 

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2438 posts, RR: 53
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 8924 times:

Hi Alex,

How nice to see you flying Merpati! After having a great experience with the airline whilst flying from Bandung to Semarang, I am curious about your opinion!  


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
a self-made promise to visit all 200 odd countries before turning 40 meant that Timor-Leste has been high on the list.

What a noble ambition.  


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
This will be the first on Merpati Nausantara and cover the inbound DIL-DPS segment.

Correct! The outbound segment can be found here: A Little Unusual: Timor-Leste On Merpati From DPS (by henkybaby Oct 9 2010 in Trip Reports)


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Booking was done by an Indonesian friend of mine through a local travel agent as Merpati’s website at http://www.merpati.co.id/ provided no way of doing so with an international credit card. I am always surprised that in 2012 an airline would not offer a seamless online channel given it has the lowest distribution cost. Of course, there was no ability to choose a seat or view the reservation online. That would be revolutionary …

Merpati’s website should accept international credit card by now. I am sure that more improvements have been made to the website.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(Dili Airport)

The authority must have enlisted the same architect. The tower somehow resembles the one of DPS.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Cabin:

Judging on the load, this route must be profitable.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Seriously though, this was one of the worst meals I had ever been presented with in any class of service.

Shame!  


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
These crew should be sent to Air France / Iberia to train!

While the airlines may help Merpati improve its onboard catering!   


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
After that, it was a week of Indonesian hospitality – I absolutely adore the country and her people!

That makes me proud of being born Indonesian!   


Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
(And, some of the nicest beaches in all of the world)

Stunning!   


Thanks a lot for sharing.  


Best wishes,
Suryo  



Friends forever
User currently offlinestipica From Croatia, joined Feb 2011, 426 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 8740 times:

Hi Alex ! ... you are fine as seems ... must admit that this destination is a nice surprise ...

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
I have always wanted been fascinated to go off the beaten path, and a self-made promise to visit all 200 odd countries before turning 40 meant that Timor-Leste has been high on the list.

I already got the answers in previous comments ... so you are counting ... did you count only country if you stay more days or landing on the airport for few hours still counts

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
one of the most fascinating places in the world, and one of my new favorite place,

.... because ? ... I can imagine natural beauty and originality without unhealthy "food chains" and touristic "devastation factories"

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
the nastiest most artificially colored dessert I had seen in a while

hehehhehe but they did their best ... pink rose ... ah you are so accustomed to "red rose" approach heheheh

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):
Transaero plane %u2013 unimaginable a few years back

... because ? ... Transaero is company orientated on touristic destinations or you mean 777 ?
Indonesian trip reports and aviation is always good read ...thanks stipica  



Open your eyes and think
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5074 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 8228 times:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 14):
Yes, Turkmenistan would be really great. Any idea when they will get their first passenger 77L ? Any news on routes for it ?

= A source tells me that there is talk of the 77L being just for VIP configured flights.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 15):
How nice to see you flying Merpati! After having a great experience with the airline whilst flying from Bandung to Semarang, I am curious about your opinion!  

= How is Bandung? I have always wanted to go there.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 15):
Merpati’s website should accept international credit card by now. I am sure that more improvements have been made to the website.

= Thanks. I also like the Indonesian comparison website.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 15):

That makes me proud of being born Indonesian!   

= I'd love to go back again. Sort of like India, it is one of those places I keep going back to. BTW, what is the most remote place with the nicest beach you can recommend? I don't need fancy accommodations.

Quoting stipica (Reply 16):
Hi Alex ! ... you are fine as seems ... must admit that this destination is a nice surprise ...

= Thought you'd like that ... and you were getting bored of the F class reports.

Quoting stipica (Reply 16):
already got the answers in previous comments ... so you are counting ... did you count only country if you stay more days or landing on the airport for few hours still counts

= I must enter the country.

Quoting stipica (Reply 16):
... because ? ... Transaero is company orientated on touristic destinations or you mean 777 ?
Indonesian trip reports and aviation is always good read ...thanks stipica  

= I guess places where I see a UN plane I avoid  .

Saludos,
Alex



Live, and let live.
User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1221 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8098 times:

Hi Alex

Sorry it's taken an age for me to respond. I really enjoyed yet another rare report from you. Good to read about your flight to DPS from Dili. Loved the take off pics from Dili. Interesting pics of East Timor as well. Loved those beaches!

Great to see another 733 flight covered too - they are now becoming increasingly rare in Europe these days.

Looking forward to the next adventure.... any more travels in Russia or Canada coming up???

Cheers Palmjet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6496 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 7974 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
A source tells me that there is talk of the 77L being just for VIP configured flights.

That sounds strange; they already have one 77L for VIP flights, why would they need TWO more?

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2438 posts, RR: 53
Reply 20, posted (1 year 2 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7356 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
How is Bandung? I have always wanted to go there.

Bandung is great for shopping. Furthermore, the Tangkuban Prahu volcano crater to the north and the Kawah Putih volcano lake are surely worth a visit.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
I also like the Indonesian comparison website.

Do you mean this website? http://ticketindonesia.info/en/index.php


Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
Sort of like India, it is one of those places I keep going back to.

Incredible India! I'd love to go back again!

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 17):
BTW, what is the most remote place with the nicest beach you can recommend? I don't need fancy accommodations.

I'd say Karimunjawa Islands, in the north of my birthplace Semarang. Otherwise, you can visit Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua. I have never been there though!



Friends forever
User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 742 posts, RR: 12
Reply 21, posted (1 year 2 months 23 hours ago) and read 6991 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 9):
= LOL. I don't think I quite ever need a mileage run   ...

So Sorry, i was not sure   .

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 9):
= Hahaha. Ya, I don't think Transform 2015 will change many things without a huge change in attitude ... let's see. I have an AF flight coming up though  . And, it will be NOT for work. So, ...

Please, that would be really useful for them and for a.net audience.  
Have you ever been in any French overseas departments/territories?



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1327 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6617 times:

Great report Alex,

when being in Bali 4 years or so ago I was contemplating going to Timor-Leste, but due to time constraints, and very hefty flight prices, I abanoned this idea.

Quoting abrelosojos (Thread starter):

Booking was done by an Indonesian friend of mine through a local travel agent as Merpati’s website at http://www.merpati.co.id/ provided no way of doing so with an international credit card. I am always surprised that in 2012 an airline would not offer a seamless online channel given it has the lowest distribution cost. Of course, there was no ability to choose a seat or view the reservation online. That would be revolutionary …

That was the case with most Indonesian carriers, at least a few years ago. With exception of Lion Air and Garuda, no chance to purchase anyhting online. I tried to get on a MZ DPS-CGK flight as I thought this would be exotic, but I couldn't pay for it, so I drove to the airport and the office was closed, so in the end I booked a Mandala flight, which was nice, but not as exotic... Anyway, booking tickets in Indonesia is still a pain...


User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5074 posts, RR: 55
Reply 23, posted (1 year 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4934 times:

Quoting palmjet (Reply 18):
Hi Alex

Sorry it's taken an age for me to respond. I really enjoyed yet another rare report from you. Good to read about your flight to DPS from Dili. Loved the take off pics from Dili. Interesting pics of East Timor as well. Loved those beaches!

Great to see another 733 flight covered too - they are now becoming increasingly rare in Europe these days.

Looking forward to the next adventure.... any more travels in Russia or Canada coming up???

Cheers Palmjet

= I actually just went to Canada to see my friend off who was working for WestJet and helped launch their Encore product. I was on the inaugural flight and a TR on that will be coming soon. Moreover, I then went to the North and have an incredible report to write  .

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Bandung is great for shopping. Furthermore, the Tangkuban Prahu volcano crater to the north and the Kawah Putih volcano lake are surely worth a visit.

= I LOVE Bandung as well.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Do you mean this website? http://ticketindonesia.info/en/index.php

= Yes.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
I'd say Karimunjawa Islands, in the north of my birthplace Semarang. Otherwise, you can visit Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua. I have never been there though!

= You have inspired me to go to West Papua. Raja Ampat is really expensive to get to! See what you have created?!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 21):
Please, that would be really useful for them and for a.net audience.  
Have you ever been in any French overseas departments/territories?

= I am headed to Martinique soon.

Quoting reifel (Reply 22):
when being in Bali 4 years or so ago I was contemplating going to Timor-Leste, but due to time constraints, and very hefty flight prices, I abanoned this idea.

= Go before the tourists come!

Thanks all for stopping by.

Cheers,
Alex



Live, and let live.
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