Photos here: http://lari.pp.fi/lionair/
04 March 2006
Jakarta Soekarno Hatta (CGK/WIII) – Surabaya Juanda (SUB/WRSJ)
Wings Air IW/WON 8978
McDonnell Douglas MD-82
PK-LMW (Del. 07/1986, ex-PSA, USAir, US Airways)
Economy Class, Seat 23A
Photo © M Radzi Desa
Photo © Dinosat
Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.
Photo © Roozbeh M. Davoodi
I planned to leave the JW Marriott at 0930, but the staff told me to take a taxi at 0900 at the latest. A 30-minute Silverbird ride later, I arrived at Soekarno Hatta’s terminal 1A, and made my way inside after a quick ticket check. The handwritten ticket was barely readable, but of course no questions asked anyway. For the record, I didn’t show my ID to JT even once. Lion check-in area was rather huge, and I figured I should go to the “Java” counter although the flight would continue to Denpasar.
The agent was very friendly, and told me he assigned me an exit row seat for some extra legroom. Security check upstairs was quick and painless, with the officer behind the screen basically staring at the roof instead of the monitor. I also spotted a Lion Air Simba Lounge – a friend of mine used to say that if an airline has a lounge, it’s safe enough. He’ll probably re-consider... The boarding areas are terribly boring, and at least the gates in wing A had poor views of any action outside.
My boarding pass stated boarding gate A2, yet the monitors showed A4. Yes, the monitors actually worked, instead of remaining switched off like last time I flew with Mandala. Lion staff insisted that A2 is indeed for Surabaya and Denpasar, ripped my boarding pass and told me to wait for boarding. A boarding announcement was made in Bahasa Indonesia only, and an agent checked my boarding pass again and wished me a pleasant flight.
PK-LMO was waiting at the gate, in Lion Airlines livery. As I had made it to around row 10, the purser made an announcement “Welcome onboard this Wings Air MD80 bound for Jogyakarta”. Asked the F/A there “this isn’t Surabaya then?” A simple answer “no” and she greeted the next passenger. Appalling service, alas I had no choice but try to get out of the plane with a full load trying to board. My boarding pass was checked twice for christ’s sake – and I ended on the CGK-JOG plane. I wonder if JT passenger manifests are even remotely correct…
Back at the gate, the agent who had checked my boarding pass told me “of course that wasn’t Surabaya, sit down and wait”. Fine. Five minutes later, the door was opened again and this time he assured I would get on the right plane. After a long walk (I suspect the a/c was at gate A4 as the monitors showed), I made it down the stairs and onto the tarmac. PK-LMW, also in Lion colours was waiting, and I boarded through the tailcone exit after following the locals and walking under the wing – something I haven’t done before. The rear of the plane looked rather beat up, and so did the stairs and exit area itself.
I’m sure the check-in agent really thought he had put me in the exit row, but my seat was actually one row ahead of it. Legroom was absolutely terrible, perhaps 29”, and the seats were old Continental seats as far as I could tell. I guess JT got a bunch of them with the planes. The overhead bin doors were almost all broken, so that they wouldn’t stay open. Try holding the thing open and stowing a 15-kg roller bag… Alas, the F/A standing across the aisle made no effort to help. Oxygen bottle was missing although the holder in the o/h bin stated “emergency oxygen”. APU was probably broken as there was no air conditioning while on the ground. A prayer card was in the seat pocket on top of the usual safety card. No offense to anybody, but some of the wording suggests that planes are flown with the help from above, not with flying skills. Reading that on IW/JT...hmmm.
The windows were very dirty, making any picture taking nearly impossible. I would have really liked a good shot of the dirtiest and most beat up looking wing I have ever seen. I guess keeping planes clean and maintenance isn’t of the highest importance to JT. We pushed back a bit late, a brief safety demo was given with a broken oxygen mask (just the yellow cup), and takeoff was a few minutes later. Noticed pretty much all of the Phuket Air 737/747 fleet parked at the maintenance ramp.
Once airborne, the pilot made a long and detailed announcement about our route and hoped we’d enjoy the service. Well, I still don’t know what service he was referring to – a cup of water was all that was offered. All of the F/As, while young and attractive, seemed to have a “couldn’t care less” attitude. It was cloudy all the way, so not much could be seen enroute.
Landing at Juanda airport was a few minutes late as well, and after a tailcone exit, a bus took us to the old terminal. With hand luggage only, 5 minutes later I was sitting in a coupon taxi to the JW Marriott. Suite upgrade at the JW again, and fantastic service. Really a top notch property.
The next morning, I noticed PK-LMW on the front page of the local newspaper – it had overrun the runway at SUB on its return flight DPS-SUB-CGK. Last time, it took Mandala about two weeks to crash a 737 after my flight; JT seems to do things much faster. Not sure if I should try Adam, Merpati or Sriwijaya 737-200 next time… Apparently ‘MW was supposed to be written off but JT changed their mind. A discussion about this can be found in the Civil Aviation forum.
05 March 2006
Surabaya Juanda (SUB/WRSJ) – Jakarta Soekarno Hatta (CGK/WIII)
Lion Airlines JT/LNI 577
McDonnell Douglas MD-82
PK-LMS (Del. 12/1982, ex-Frontier, Continental)
Economy Class, Seat 25A (Exit Row)
Photo © Bailey - AirTeamImages
Photo © Aric Thalman
Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.
Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.
I made it to the airport at about 0930 in the morning, and was quickly checked in at the Lion counters although the sign was still for the earlier JT 575. This time I asked for an exit row, and was assigned 25A by the rather friendly agent. The Surabaya departure lounge is a boring place as well – but at least it has a good view of the many classics often parked outside.
I took a seat by the Adam gate, and snapped some pictures while reading a Finnish newspaper I had nicked from the TG lounge in BKK before flying to Jakarta. One of “Adam’s Angels” came to tell me Lion flights leave from gate 1 – nice of her. JT announced a 2-hour delay of JT 577, and I commented to her that I should probably have chosen your airline instead! Looking to the far right, I could see PK-LMW sitting in the mud with Lion titles painted off.
Boarding finally started at 1300 – this was actually when JT thought the flight would leave. Alas, I know better than that when it comes to delayed flights, and thought 1330 would be reasonable. LMS is in Wings colours, and I decided to walk under the wing again and use the tail exit. This aircraft had better, extended overhead bins and new Continental seats. However, it was very easy to spot that the bins had been of the very old DC-9 variety, meaning LMS should be a rather old bird. I checked later, and indeed it was delivered in 1982 to Frontier. The exit row had ample legroom, but the windows were still dirty and the wing looked terrible just like on LMW. We were pushed back at 1320, and took off a few minutes later.
The flight was staffed by Wings crew, so I actually never got a Lion crew with much nicer looking uniforms from what I saw at the airport. Wings has copied Air Asia’s red cabin crew uniforms. An uneventful flight and a water cup later, we landed at Soekarno Hatta and parked next to the www.lionair.co.id MD80 at terminal 1A. Upon exiting the aircraft, I noticed the forward lavatory was nicely leaking stuff onto the cabin floor…Speaking of lavatories, skip the pics of the rear lav if you happen to be eating something. It was second to only that of Mandala’s PK-RIN.
I thought of taking a taxi to T2, but then remembered HB-IWC mentioning to me a free shuttle bus – I missed the first one but caught the next only about 10 mins later. The cab drivers are pretty good self-marketers – one told me I would have to wait 2 hours for the bus and that his 70K is a good price. A huge thunderstorm started as I made it to T2 – at this point I was thinking it was a good thing we landed when we did so I didn’t have to open the exit door next to me some 40 metres off the landing runway.
JT/IW was a rather bad experience – the Mad Dogs have seen better days, the staff couldn’t care less apart from the ticketing guy and check-in agents, legroom is horrible, basically no service is provided, even the 11am flight was already 2 hours late etc.