Dear fellow A.netters,
After comfortable but exhausting flights from Düsseldorf with Lufthansa to Munich and continuing with Qatar Airways, my partner and I arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Our outward flight experiences have been captured in my trip report series Big Summer Holiday to Asia.
In case you have missed it, please free to click on the following:
Big Summer Holiday To Asia Part 1: DUS-MUC With LH (by akhmad Aug 21 2010 in Trip Reports)
Big Summer Holiday To Asia Part 2: MUC-DOH With QR (by akhmad Aug 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
Big Summer Holiday To Asia Part 3: DOH-KUL With QR (by akhmad Aug 28 2010 in Trip Reports)
Did I mention about the short message I got on my mobile from Airpearl upon our arrival? Well, I have to admit that I am somewhat addicted to A.net meetings.
After getting acquainted with Tim (Vandenheuvel), Eric (IberiaA319) and Amar in Madrid, Roger (Rogerbcn) in Barcelona, FlyingFinn76 in Paris and meeting up Tim again in London, I was eager for another similar occasion during our layover in Kuala Lumpur.
Despite our journey being conducted in August, I had already got in touch with fellow A.netter Airpearl back in January. When he told me that he would be joining the party if he was in town, I was excited.
Four days before our departure, I sent Airpearl a reminder and got an immediately reply that he was about doing the same the following day as he scribbled the date down on his calendar. He was so kind by proposing us a lift from KLIA to LCCT which we gladly accepted. We exchanged our mobile phone numbers and before I knew, another A.net meeting had been arranged.
We were flying Air Asia as it was the only airline to offer a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bandung, the present hometown of my mother, by the time we made our booking. In the fourth week of January, AK released the following announcement.
We proceeded to check out the applicable fares to BDO and found an attractive one way tariff at RM 124 (about EUR 26) per person. This flight would however be operated by the AK subsidiary, Indonesian Air Asia.
We realized that the legroom on board of AK’s regional aircrafts would not be that great. So we decided to book the QZ’s hot seats at RM 25 (about EUR 5) each extra. After adding the checked luggage allowance, we ended up paying a total of RM 378(about EUR 80). Our booking confirmation was delivered within seconds.
I must say that I am impressed by AK’s booking engine. Each country of destination has its own interface represented in local language or English. All of the interfaces are equally swift, well-designed, clear and user friendly. AK also allows bookings with credit cards issued from all over the world.
Their online member application is easy to conduct. Your booking will automatically be linked with your membership page upon confirmation. On consulting your booking details, you are entitled to use the online features like changing flights and seat arrangements, updating your passport details, enhancing your baggage allowance and making a meal selection. I just love this kind of experience!
Our departure time was previously scheduled at 13.55. Three days after our booking, QZ retimed it to 15.30 by which our layover was extended to nearly 7 hours. Airpearl advised us a minimum connecting time between terminal in KUL of 5 hours. He told us about the experience of his friend who did self-transferring between AK and KL and somehow managed to miss her connection despite budgeting 7 hours. Well, I did not expect that we would need that much transfer time to catch our QZ flight after our arrival with QR. But we got that time anyway, so there was no need to rush.
QZ did notify us about the schedule change a week later by both an e-mail and a short message on my mobile. I found it very thoughtful of them as they wanted to make sure that everyone got aware of it and were apologetic for the inconvenience it might cause.
In the last week of February, AK group has upgraded the website layout. The typical red bar has been maintained at the head, but the background is immersed in light grey with hints of white color. I must say you can feast your eyes on it. Well done AK group!
It was our fourth visit to Bandung. On the previous occasions we were staying at Patra Jasa, Sheraton and Novotel. Previously, we chose Grand Seriti Hotel Bandung for our accommodation. Its top-ten ranking on Trip Advisor and location within a walking distance to cafés, restaurants and my mother’s house convinced us to make the move. However, it turned out to be a bad move. Let me tell you more about it.
Grand Seriti’s online reservation facility was barely sophisticated as the Novotel one for instance. Nevertheless, I went through their packages offering and found an interesting deal of IDR 3,353,000 (about EUR 276) for two night stay in Grand Suite including breakfast. My partner and I decided to jump at it and proceeded to fill out the online booking form.
When I went on to the verification process of my credit card details, to my horror got an error massage without any booking confirmation being sent to our mailbox. I immediately contacted the customer service of my credit card company and explaining the situation. The lady I got on the phone told me that she did not encounter any suspicious transaction and advised to wait one or two days before calling back.
We were wondering whether the hotel might have received our details anyway despite the glitches, so I rang the hotel . I was pleased to hear from the front office guy that the online form had been submitted successfully. When I asked for a booking confirmation, he told me that he was not in charge of it. It could not even be arranged earlier than the following Monday as the reservation office is apparently closed at the weekends. However, the guy proactively asked whether we would need a pick-up service at the airport. I passed on our QZ flight details and thanked the guy for his help so far. Unfortunately, the promised confirmation never materialized the following Monday and the days after. We just waited and waited….
After a month of horrible stillness, I sent a reminder to the hotel and referring to my conversation with the front office guy. To our astonishment, the following day, we found a confirmation letter to be signed in our mailbox. I promptly returned it with a remark that I had passed on my credit details and requested a receipt confirmation. Well again, no answer came.
Two months later, another reminder went out. Well, what do you know? There was a reply from one Defvi the following day that our reservation still held. But in addition, she inquired us to fill out a credit card authorization form to guarantee our booking and having it submitted by e-mail. Darn, what was this all about? Lost in translation while I had always been corresponding in Indonesian?
After my failed attempts to ring Defvi twice, I e-mailed her that the hotel should have obtained my credit card details during the booking process earlier and no way I would convey those details by e-mail. Even then, Defvi or whoever in charge of the reservation did not get the sense of the necessity of replying my e-mail after my remarks. At a certain level, my partner and I got enough of such uncertainty and eventually cancelled the whole booking with Grand Seriti. A cancellation statement became our last inquiry to this hotel.
The statement did come with an apology from Defvi that due to some misunderstandings, our booking had not been followed up properly. She added a remark that in case we changed our mind, we could get in touch for a new reservation.
I have learnt my lesson. and therefore turned to another hotel from a more familiar chain, the Hilton Bandung.
On the contrary to Grand Seriti, the Hilton’s online booking was swift. What a relief being able to enroll online, proceed with your booking inquiry, arrange an airport pick-up service and getting your confirmation delivered in less than five minutes with the whole procedure being conducted in a secured environment. We were charged The Getaway Price of IDR 1,906,000 (about EUR 164) for two night stay at King Deluxe room including breakfast buffet. We were not staying in a suite anymore, but after all inconveniences with Grand Seriti, this room would do.
The airport pick-up service had to be arranged separately. It came at an additional cost of IDR 75,000 (about EUR 7) and we were required to submit our arrival details by e-mail which we happily did. A week before our arrival, a reconfirmation was delivered by Hilton. Nice gesture! Grand Seriti, do you read this? This is how matters should have to be!
QZ allows you to check in 48 hours before departure. Therefore I could check in both my partner and me when we were still in Netherlands.
In this thread you will find our adventure in KUL on both KLIA main terminal and LCCT with A.net meeting as the highlight, QZ flight to BDO and our accommodation.