Lombok to Surabaya on Garuda
After intending to fly out of Lombok yesterday, it was second time lucky. Left Kuta for the Airport, arriving without a flight again. After getting through security into departures, sat on the few uncomfortable seats at the back and looked at what flights were available today. I had mentally shortlisted a number of flights and destinations. A ‘direct’ but not non-stop flight to Batam via Bandung, the original plan of heading to Sulawesi, direct flights to KL or Singapore, everything was on the table. I ended up deciding on going to Surabaya as the safe option. Lion Air and Citilink had flights but like last time Garuda worked out to be only slightly more. Another regional flight but this time would on a Bombardier CRJ1000 aircraft. Yet again problems with buying last minute tickets in Indonesia would arise. Your best hope is buying through an online travel agent and cross fingers. The airlines do not accept last minute credit card bookings through their websites. The major travel agents: ticket, via, ticket2 etc. all have their quirks and caveats but they do work. So there I was, sitting in airport departures, having finally booked a flight.
An email arrived, the flight had been ticketed immediately. A 20 metre walk to the empty Garuda check-in desks and I had my boarding pass in hand. Checking in overly early I was offered an exit row.
Proceeding through to airside I spent most of the time waiting in the Sheraton Airport Lounge. As we had stayed in the Sheraton Senggigi and were SPG Platinum and had stayed in a suite we had complementary access. From the lounge the aircraft could be seen once it arrived at its gate.
There are only a few gates at Lombok airport, half of airside is for international departures and past passport control. On the domestic two gates shared a departure lounge which was a few metres from the Sheraton lounge. Public information displays weren’t totally accurate so I left late but five minutes early as they had began calling the flight.
After a bit more waiting and everyone deciding to start queuing for nothing, they decided to simultaneously board two Garuda regional flights only to realise they had the same gate for both. So in a brief moment the Surabaya flight had a gate change to the other gate a few seconds away, only to have to cross paths with pax from the other flight after clearing the boarding gate. All a bit disorganised and although they had several staff preventing it, I was surprised nobody boarded the wrong plane.
Boarding a CRJ a lot of passengers had their carry on cases checked into the hold, it was a good day to have a backpack. Garuda operate 3 rows of business class on this aircraft. The seating remains 2×2, it is just a soft product difference. The legroom particularly on the bulkhead seats looked ample.
I meanwhile was seated two thirds the way back, towards the rear mounted engines. Noise cancelling headphones as always charged and ready. Like many regional planes, the seat pitch looked comfortable. Of course exit rows of course had plenty of legroom.
I had checked the seat map before boarding and I was the only pax seated in an exit row. Not that I expected it to stay that way of course, but fortunately with 2×2 seating you are less likely to someone invade the seat adjacent to you. Moments after the above photo two passengers jumped into each starboard side exit row and proceeded to take selfies for 10+ minutes, seconds until take off…
The flight was mostly unremarkable, there was too much cloud to see much. Onboard catering was provided similar to the prior Garuda flight.
Arrival was on time which is better than can be said for many flights in Indonesia. I booked a hotel while briefly waiting for my bag at the carousel before grabbing a taxi into town.