Living The Air

No Matter What, I Keep Aboard

Though it has not reached three weeks completely running this short visit to home, my turn comes ceasing. I already booked my return ticket just few days later after departure reservation. Another airlines I choose for price excuse, so there came to fall into Lion Air for some two-hour long flight from Lombok to Jakarta. But considerably I'm still here in Sumbawa, necessarily I should board for inter-isle connection. 

Two days before the feast day celebration, fortunately my older sister start to converse in the night while family gathering comes on. She interprets the billboard in the sidewalk at heart of town revealing promotional poster of Merpati Nusantara to resume flight to Sumbawa from Lombok twice-weekly. Actually I already red the news of that interesting plan before going home, but I have no sufficient information when it comes precisely. I browsed Wikipedia but merely finding unspecified schedule. Immediately that cooling night conversation pushes me to look up the airlines website. The flight schedule impresses me as it flies on Friday, the day before my Saturday flight to Jakarta. Indeed it becomes more benevolent due to its very seducing fare, slightly little more than ones by minibus. I don't need to waste this chance I convince myself to book it as fast as possible.

Done! Merely IDR 120,000 my transfer succesfully submitted. It's not reluctant I considered to bring home my banking token, so anywhere as it's connected to internet I can make banking payment conveniently. Thank to Bank Mandiri for this very great banking product.

On the day of my departure, to leave home on a small plane, my family members help me to compile up my luggage. No matter what they put inside as long it does't exceed 20 kg. My older sister and other fellows made decision to have short trip to Lombok by motorcycle in the morning, meanwhile my flight will be this noon. So I'm the only one choosing air trip on the day after our plan to have meeting in the airport. I need to stay a night before another tomorrow early morning flight.

Brang Biji Airport, Sumbawa viewed from taxi way

I depart to Brang Biji Airport (now Sultan Muhammad Kaharudin Airport) a towny small airport with very so-so facilities. The noon is so sultry, just like usual Sumbawa is averagely hotter than other region in the country. I insert my luggage through X-Ray passage then grabbing it again toward check-in counter. I have to admit, this is my first time at very modest airport though I've traveled to other countries with very advance airport system, yet here is hometown. Improvement is allegedly needed soon to be conducted. "Go Sumbawa 2012" tourism program still remains pathetic for lack of air transportation facilities. I have to make check-in more than 15 minutes even though I'm the only passenger here at that time. They don't have sufficient well-working PC for database, the option is by using a laptop (I guess it's that of an officcer, no intention to underestimate) with plugged internet modem, not a synchronized system. I guess I can't stand any longer for this tiring check-in.

Eventually it's submitted and my luggage has been lifted up on mobile troley manually. I come toward the toilet and guess it, untreated. Well, I can't pee here. Hold on. Then I hurry into waiting room, I guess they must have built the appropriate ones inside there. Ops, I'm ceased, forget to pay airport tax. Sorry for this Sir, here is my duty as a good citizen. "How much does it cost?" a proposed question crosing over warming up head. Nah, it's written on stamped dowdy paper "Rp 10,000" (Ten thousand rupiah or equally to USD 1). 

It's such new experience yet curiously challenging. As far I only thought Angkasa Pura (Indonesian State Enterprise for Airport) applied 3 kinds of airport tax: IDR 150,000 for any international flight, IDR 40,000 for domestic airport under Angkasa Pura 2, and IDR 25,000 domestic airport under Angkasa Pura 1. FYI, Sumbawa airport is categorized under control of Angkasa Pura 1, so I guess I have to burden as much as ISR 25,000. Well, I have no idea about tax system, it may because of level of the airport itself by certain indicator of measurement. Obviously this airport is still far behind the standard of Lombok International Airport though both of them are under AP2. 

Waiting room of Brang Biji Airport

I'm in waiting room. Ok, where is the toilet? My eyes shouts over a small room at most left. I come in and surprisingly it paralyzes my desire. It's even worsening. Bad smell of urinating secretion without water around. It dries and flourishes the bad aroma wholly seizing the toilet. I go out then.

The plane has not arrived yet, the clock has surpassed the schedule. 15 minutes later a Xian MA60 fleet touches down the ashpalt from eastward. All passengers, part of them are foreign tourists disembark into arrival room situated just next to waiting room. Inside here, I can't wait any longer to try my first flight on the smallest fleet ever I flawn so far. 

Three guys and a girl next to my desk in the waiting room are from Spain as written on their passport. The girl flips Lonely Planet travel guide for Indonesia destination with piled of big size backpack next to the guys. Meanwhile me myself is too busy with my old National Geographic magazine issued in 1978, consciously it's about ballon flight expedition crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I guess the travel journalist in this well reputation mags had such historical record, in contrast of what I'm doing now waiting for the plane with a heart-wrecking little accident outside there. The right wing flashed a small fiery explosion which pays off our attention with mix of curiousity and anxiety. But flight must go on.

The announcement without loudspeaker sounded by an middle age officer as he opens the glass-made exit room. I don't miss the chance to take outside view of the airport before getting onto the plane using (apparently) fragile skinny ladder, yet it's strong though. My seat is as usual next to window as I request during check-in. Unfortunately, this time my view is blocked by the attached engine. I can'r complain about it since it's made by that design.

Bird view of Sumbawa town

Inflight menu for short haul flight

It's around half hour on the air at medium height. The seat composition is 2-2 meanwhile the middle path used by three beautiful stewardess to compense a piece of bread inside the plastic wrap and a cup of water. All stored in a box whose cover reveals the Golden 50th Anniversary of Merpati Nusantara. Happy Birthday anyway.

The plane touches down smooth ashpalt that of LOP then appearing the taxi way. All passengers disambark divided into 2 groups, connecting flight group and me in the final approach flight group. Randomly I count, there are merely 5 passengers who finish flight here. The others continue to Bali and Surabaya with other fleet of Merpati.

Picking up my luggage then going toward exit gate, my sister and fellows have been outside there. We then depart to my family house a 15 minute riding from the airport. I have to stay a night there before tomorrow morning flight.

Please watch with 480p resolution for the best view

Well, let me skip into the next day. At 4 am I and others are on the road toward the airport. Witout wasting my time, I immediately come into the airport check-in gate after security test. Though it's still dark outside, inside here morning flight passengers have flocked the base floor. I look for Lion Air check-in desk, at the left row next to Batvia Air, Wings Air and others except Garuda Indonesia. GIA is very special, all through the right row is for GIA passengers. So they don't need to waste time queueing among other passengers. But me here trapped in chaotic line-up where guys behind me overstep my turn. Patiently and fortunately another guy in front of me warns him to follow the queue rule. So it goes well for the moment, I don't know later.

Misty morning covers the ground after taking off

The announcement of departure for Lion Air flight to Jakarta has been informed. I hurry go upstair where waiting room located passing through closed stores. Show my boarding pass and one more again it's such inconvenient I'm among this worse queue again. The reason is passengers (most of them) are not enough patient to go toward the airplane. I don't see this is a queue but raid. And I'm trapped inside this (unimportantly) outstep. I can breathe well as passing through this mass.

I'm sitting here now on the Economy seat of Lion Air with short seat-pitch. I have no spacious movement. I can't complain, this is the design or redesigned. Next to us are Garuda Indonesia B737-800NG and Batavia Air B737-500. But our fleet today is little bigger, Boeing 737-900ER series, the same fleet size for my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur in the beginning of this year with my university fellows.

At 6 am the airplane is taking off. Chasing the morning sun in the opposite direction. Toward westernward for 2-hour long then arrive in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at Terminal 1A at 7 am. Lombok takes an hour ahead Jakarta. Here I arrive and ready going back to my university routine.

I hope once upon time I'll be back home, the airport in my town will have gone improved. My best wish upon you my dear :)

Please watch with 480p resolution for the best view

2 Response to Living The Air

September 27, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Travelling may have improved tremendously compared to, say, twenty five years ago, but it still seems not to be perfect. Better transport between the islands should be top priority.

I should add that - going by your pictures- Lombok airport is much, much more up to date compared to 2005 when we visited the island in '2005 :).

September 27, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Agree with you Colson, Lombok is now growing fast for tourism. Unfortunately Sumbawa is still far behind making a big lag. Even though slowly I can feel the the likely concern on it, Sumbawa attempts to chase even though it may take some years. But thanks for that, I have many chance to explore the potential by visiting very virgin spot in which is remarkable, I guess.

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