Towards the end of July, I received a rather bad news that my girlfriend’s parents were going to be in town. Carrying heavy shopping bags while following my gf and her mom up and down Orchard Road was not my idea of a fun weekend, so I came up with a getaway plan to Jakarta. I hadn’t been back home for almost five months and I also needed to stock up on cheap DVDs. The only problem was to come up with a good excuse, but thankfully my gf bought it, although I couldn’t say it was easy.
In June, a couple of my friends from Jakarta flew LH
to Singapore for about USD 75+ return, so I checked the Lufthansa website if they offered similar deal out of SIN
. It turned out they did. Return ticket to CGK
was on sale for SGD
100 + taxes and fees, which is about as cheap as you can get. I normally fly SQ
and they charge upwards of SGD
300 for a return ticket, excluding taxes and fees. The best thing of all is that mileage accrual is allowed, although, as I later found out, it is only 50% of the actual mileage. Booking on lufthansa.com.sg was painless and within a few clicks my flight was confirmed, it came up to SGD
185 with taxes and fees.
The day of departure I woke up early to pack and had brunch with my gf and her parents. I returned home around 1330 to finish packing and tidied my place up a bit. I had checked the CAAS Automated Flight Info System earlier so I knew the incoming flight from FRA
was delayed by about 30 minutes or so, but the second leg to CGK
was still listed as on time. I was all set to go by 1445. It was a very hot afternoon and I wasn’t in the mood to haul my bags outside onto the street and stood under the unmerciful sun, so I called for a cab to pick me up. The cab arrived within 5 minutes and I was on my way at 1455.
05 August 2006
LH 778 SIN-CGK
B747-400 D-ABVH “Dusseldorf”
Scheduled: 1655 – 1735
Re-timed: 1735 – 1815
Actual: 1752 – 1831
Departure Gate: E22
Arrival Gate: D5
Within 15 minutes, the driver dropped me off at T2
and I proceeded to the LH
check-in counter at row 2. There were 4 counters, one each for First and Business and two for Economy. I was joining the queue at one of the Economy counters when one of the agents waved me over to use the First counter. She told me that the flight was delayed and retimed to 1735. My bag and I were promptly checked-in and I was given an Indonesian Customs card.
T2’s curbside looking unusually quiet
the future T3, just across from T2
LH counters are located at Row 2
check-in for LH 778 to CGK in full swing
T2’s recently renovated check-in hall
T2’s recently renovated check-in hall
With two hours to kill before my flight, I went to my favorite part of the airport, the Changi Airport MRT (subway) Station, which is located on the Northern end of T2
and is easily the most modern-looking part of the Airport. The station, designed by the American Architect Firm, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, features a very impressive glass and steel structure. It also has an underground bridge linking T2
and the future T3
Changi’s MRT Station
Changi’s MRT Station
Changi’s MRT Station
Approaching 1600 hours, I decided to go to the airside and my first destination was the Sunflower Garden to feed my habit. T2
was a rather boring sight that afternoon with only SQ
744s and 772s visible.
a rather quiet afternoon
Silkair’s A320 to HKT being pushed back for departure
As the airport is celebrating its 25th birthday, there were a few exhibits highlighting the history of the airport and a sure-win jackpot, inside the Departure/Transit Mall.
memories of changi photo exhibit
history of changi exhibit
skyplex entertainment lounge
At around 1635, I made my way to gate E22. The incoming flight from FRA
had not yet arrived and only when I cleared security, I saw the B744 landed on 20C at 1642.
LH 778 departing from gate E22
the incoming flight from FRA taxiing to the gate; the SQ A345 is also bound for CGK
As our retimed ETD of 1735 approaching, the gate hold room was completely packed, yet there was still no sign that we would be boarding soon. The door to the aerobridge was finally opened at 1740 and everybody rushed to board even before the boarding announcement was made. There was a massive jam at the aerobridge and I finally made it to my seat, 47K, just as it was announced that boarding was completed and doors were closed.
view outside my window
The flight was full to the brim, but the seat next to mine remained empty. The plane was reasonably clean considering it had spent a 12-hour overnight flight and it had the new Business Class cabin, which looked mighty impressive. The Economy cabin was very nice looking with LH
’s bright yellow headrest cover. Wireless Internet was also available. In the seat pocket there was the menu for the FRA
leg, which came in a neat little booklet.
We pushed back at 1752 and began a quick taxi to 20C. We waited for a SQ
772 to land before lining up and finally taking-off at 1805. The climb was very bumpy and the fasten seat belt sign was not turned off until well into the 1h20m flight.
taxiing out for departure
we waited for this SQ 772 to land before taking off
we were finally on our way
the eastern coast of Singapore; I could barely make out my apartment
The FAs came around with moist towelettes and then with the headsets. I was rather surprised that we were given a headset given the short duration of the flight. Nevertheless, it was very much welcome indeed and I listened to the LH
Radio’s Lounge and Clubmix channels for most of the flight. The main TV
screen showed a variety program “Magazin On Air”.
The FAs came around for the third time with the meal, which came in a nice rectangular box containing a cold chicken, cheese and lettuce sandwich (on a baguette), mango pudding with a slice of kiwi on top, Kit Kat, and a small bottle of Gerolsteiner mineral water. The baguette was rather chewy but overall it was actually quite good, while the mango pudding was tasteless. Full beverage service followed after the meal was distributed. The all-female FAs in Economy worked hard and were very friendly.
The rest of the flight passed by uneventfully and we started descent over the Java Sea around 1800 local time (1 hour behind SIN
). We flew past the airport and turned back to land on runway 07L at 1825 where it was already dark. After a quick taxi we docked at gate D5 at 1831.
sunset over Java Sea
sunset over Java Sea
Arriving into CGK
was as usual very chaotic, the immigration lines were all quite long due to the fact that a few flights arrived around the same time, but my line moved fairly quickly. Of course when I reached the baggage carousel my bag hadn’t yet appeared, and went it finally did it was already after 7.
the very chaotic baggage claim area at CGK
Done with the Customs, I had to navigate what seemingly to be hundreds of people in the arrival hall, many of whom were touts offering suspect taxi ride to the city. I had to go up to the Departure Level to meet my parents, but the two elevators were typically not working, so I had to haul my bags up a flight of stairs. Welcome to Jakarta indeed! Close to 1930, I met my parents and I was finally on our way home.
09 August 2006
LH 779 CGK-SIN
B747-400 D-ABVH “Dusseldorf”
Scheduled: 1850 – 2135
Actual: 1850 – 2144
Departure Gate: D5
Arrival Gate: E24
After 5 fun-filled days with family and friends, it was finally time to go back to Singapore. Having used LH
’s web check-in and checked that the flight from FRA
was on time, I left my parents’ house at 1620 for the 1850 departure. On a good day it takes about half an hour to cover the 30-odd kms to the airport. Today was not a good day. There was a massive jam on the airport toll-way that it took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there; amazingly about the same time it takes to fly to SIN
The incoming LH
flight had already arrived as we were driving to T2D. I got off the car at 1735 and was greeted by a very long line at the security checkpoint. It didn’t help that many people were constantly trying to jump queue and the security didn’t seem to do anything about it. It was 1750 when I finally cleared the security check and I was bracing for yet another long queue at the Economy check-in counters, when an old college friend called me. He was also flying LH
) and is a Star Gold. He asked me to join him in the First Class counter, I didn’t have to think twice before saying yes.
CGK’s T2 check-in hall
The agent at the first counter was very friendly but somewhat incompetent. She didn’t understand what I meant at first when I said I had checked-in online, and had to ask her supervisor. Finally done with check-in, I proceeded to the Departure Tax Exemption counter, which thankfully was deserted. The lines in the immigration were also not as bad as I had thought and I cleared it in about 5 minutes.
LH check-in counter
My Citibank Credit Card entitles me to enter the Pura Indah Lounge, which is also used by LH
. I had promised to meet my friend there, so I went inside even though I knew I didn’t have much time left. The lounge was a bit tired looking and the food and drink selection was minimal. The hot food section featured French Onion Soup with dinner rolls as well as linguini with meat sauce. Other food available included bite-sized sandwiches, traditional Indonesian pastry and cakes, and fruit. The lounge had a couple of TV
sets, three computer terminals, and a massage chair, which seemed to always have the ‘reserved’ sign displayed on it. There was also a separate First Class area and a smoking room.
entrance to the Pura Indah Lounge
Boarding was announced at 1822 and I slowly made my way to gate D5. There was a long line in front of the security check and the gate hold room was full to the brim, with many people standing as there weren’t enough seats. I found out that the flight was overbooked and loads of standby passengers were crowding the podium. Boarding for Economy had started by rows, but I didn’t have to wait courtesy of my friend’s Star Gold card.
The plane was D-ABVH, the same one that had flown me in a few days earlier. Boarding was very orderly even though we had a 100% load in all classes and was completed just after 1845. Doors were closed and we pushed back bang on time at 1850. As in the inbound flight, announcements were made in German, English, and heavily accented Indonesian. The captain also came over the PA to welcome us and explain the routing.
After a quick taxi, we roared down runway 07L and took off at 1905. Almost immediately we banked to the right to make a gradual 180 degrees turn towards SIN
. Those sitting on the right hand side were afforded a great view of CGK
, which was quite busy that night.
The climb was very smooth and within minutes the FAs came around with the meal. I had expected the same meal as the inbound flight, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was a different one. It came in the same, neat rectangular box and had beef, cheese and lettuce sandwich in a brown bread, a cup of vermicelli salad, and one tiny packaged muffin as well as a small bottle of Gerolsteiner mineral water. The sandwich was very hard and chewy but the vermicelli salad was quite good. After the meal was collected, moist towelettes were distributed. The crew was generally friendly, but the lack of service (no headsets, no full beverage service) was rather disappointing after the high standard set by the crew on the inbound flight.
The rest of the flight was quite boring and I dozed off for about 15 minutes before the captain came on around 2100 to announce that we had started our descent. SIN
must have been very busy that night, as we didn’t land until 2131, a total flight time of 1 hour 26 minutes, which must have been my longest CGK
leg. We landed on runway 20R and after a stop-and-go taxi, docked at Gate E24 at 2144.
Our flight was selected for extra security screening so at the end of the aerobridge, the passengers were directed towards the gate hold room to the x-ray machine and metal detector. This was very troublesome to say the least. It was smooth sailing after the extra security check and I found my bag was already waiting on the carousel after I cleared immigration and I was in the taxi home by 2220.
Overall, I was very pleased with LH
. To be honest, I didn’t expect much due to my so-so experience with them in the past, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. Other than the delayed inbound flight, everything was faultless and I feel that they offer much more than the (low) price that I had to pay. If they continue to offer such low fares on the SIN
route, I will surely fly LH
many more times in the future.
A big thank you for checking out my trip report! Comments, questions, criticisms are as always, very much appreciated.