Aviation, Travel

Flight Experience – GA 400

The last trip I took to Bali was seemingly becoming a  celebration of the ‘freedom’ that I finally got after being hectic for nearly a year before.

The trip which had been postponed for nearly a week finally had been a blast. We actually aimed to visit my Brother who is currently studying at Bali International Flying Academy (BIFA) in Buleleng, Northern Bali and we were just curious to see the city as my Brother said as a small, dull but peaceful. On top of that, I had been dying to see his pilot school, having fun with the Cessnas, and his friends as well.

Tuesday evening my Mother reconfirmed that we needed to pack small since we would have gone only for 3 nights, so no need to bring everything. I just nodded, I did not need to argue with her, since I had argued on our departure date. I didn’t sound a little bit pushy though, but I just begged her to understand that I needed a holiday. Ho-lley-day. She let me to choose the flight time, and I would say “catch the first flight, shall we?” she agreed as we still must drive up north to Buleleng for 4 hours. “Okay means, no stay up late tonight, we are off at 4 am in the morning”. Then I would be smiling for the rest of the night, since my trip was confirmed and nothing to expect, I’d just let Buleleng wrap my day on the following day. I only packed light then, just brought my trustworthy Pierre Balmain folding suit luggage that had attracted many people attention during my travel. She’s like the best friend to me, a luggage that was given by my Dad, and looking at its age, I’m sure this one is the old one. I like packed light and using this folding suit – which actually made to carry shirts or suits, but I think we can also use to carry T-shirts and pants, even more convenient than carrying a trolley suitcase. You would state to everyone that you just look damn sophisticated.

One night before departing, I always had this pre-flight syndrome. I am not sure until now why this must attack me prior flight, but one thing for sure I’m not scared of flying nor worried of anything. I think I am just too excited. Airport somehow is one of the most favorite place on earth I would visit. And an airplane? I think it’s a destination on how I see my future workplace. (Amen for that). Anyways, I only slept like 4 hours that night, I woke up earlier than my mother and I assured that I had everything packed. Then my mom woke up, and we had light breakfast, and off we go to the airport.

Once we hit the airport, I was shocked that the airport traffic had been packed like crazy. Literally madness, cars honking, stuck upon the departure terminal fly over, passengers running to catch their flights – not a good way to have a perfect morning. I have seen the reason why the Government is urgently need to expand this airport, passengers have increased significantly, a circumstance that we call ‘over capacity’, and sooner or later the system would not be able to overcome the surge. I looked at the time, and I was stunned on the earlier you get, the more troubles you’ll get here. Long line up in security area, Long line up in General Check-in desks. You just need more patience.

We checked in on-time, well 15 minutes prior boarding and I guess, we were just nearly closing time. Since we were flying standby for the open ticket, we proceed to the wait list passenger counter. Didn’t take too long to wait and we received our boarding passes. My mom was totally anxious about the situation then, and she directed me to run to gate F4.

“The guy told us to hurry to the boarding room, the boarding will be started soon.” she said. I only bit my lips and just nodded. The line was not finished until general check – in. But the long queue was also facing us at the Boarding Gate security area. We took double lines, I was on the left, and my Mom was on the right. When we’re about to reach the X-ray, my Mom was suddenly reminded towards her coffee.

“Danang,” she said bitterly.

“What?” I looked suspicious – thinking it might be either she still carried her nail clippers or paper knife.

What about this?” she handed my Sigma Thermos that she filled in with the coffee earlier.

“Oh goodness, we must empty the coffee!” I said as I directed her back to the aft line, and sitting near the travelator. There’s no way we found any dispenser or trash bin where we could litter the coffee. And guess what my Mom had in the Thermos, a super black – Java Coffee that I had ever seen in my life

The only way to empty this Thermos is by drinking the coffee,” she suggested. I would have no choice, I hate coffee so much, especially Java, and I had to drink them. The coffee was very strong, and I guess I would not be able to sleep afterward.

We reached the gate on time as they were calling us for boarding. As far as I could see the blue refreshing tail of Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800 NG had been waiting for us at the avirobridge. The plane was operating to Hong Kong from Denpasar, and we hopped on its domestic sector (Jakarta – Denpasar) . I was absolutely looking forward to board the plane. I handed my Nikon, for a couple shot during boarding. When I was about to capture the third shot, suddenly the battery ran out to one bar immediately,and I noticed that my camera definitely needed a battery change. I shoved the spare battery or the charger in my suitcase, and guess what, they were not there. “Sweet.. I forgot my charger and battery” I murmured and I was sure that my holiday would not complete without my camera.

The senior flight purser in her beautiful blue kebaya greeted me warmly. Selamat Pagi, Purser she smiled, and let me in, Selamat Pagi Mas, Apa kabar? I was just smiling Good!. We walked to our seat number 3 A and 3 B, the last row in Business Class. My mom wondered what happened to my face, I said I left the battery spare and the charger and then there was only one bar left. She was also pity about that. The boarding ran smooth, and it’s nearly door closed time, and the flight attendants began offered us with welcome drink and newspaper.

It’s an awkward moment knowing that the flight attendants actually knew that we were a part of Garuda family since it would be easily traced at the passenger manifest. Prior door closed I made my walk to the lavatory, to freshen up a bit, and once I walked out from the lavatory, the flight purser asked me “Mas Danang, are you from Garuda as well?”

I was smiling and nodded “Well, I can’t deny about my ticket status you must look at the passenger manifest, but no, I’m not working for Garuda, but my Dad,” I said. The senior purser, her name is Effy, was then attempting to figure out who was my father,

“Are you a Captain’s son?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh okay, I have thought about it. But Wait, your face looks like Capt.,… ”

I mentioned my Dad’s name and she then understood.

I returned to my seat, and the cabin crews were busy preparing for take – off. The plane then pushed back, and took off on-time. Watching the sunrise from the air is one of my favorite thing in the world. There is no way we can’t deny that sunrise is actually more beautiful than a sunset. I prefer flying in the morning for domestic flight rather than in the night, except for long haul flight, yes. I always anticipated for sunrise, especially when the sun begins to breaking the dawn. I just found that the color combination between yellow, blue, white, and gray are just refreshing. Don’t you think?

The flight was very enjoyable, especially the breakfast I must say. The senior flight attendant asked me and my Mom to choose between Omelette and a fried rice.

“What would you like to eat Mas Danang?” she said in a warm smile.

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) Please,” My mom and I said at the same time. She then gave us a little laugh, “Like mother, like son” – My mom was laughing too.

I have noticed that Garuda Indonesia has been quiet improving these days. Well it’s not that this is my first time flying with the new planes, but  I just could not stop praising their efforts to return their well reputation. The AVOD and new in-flight entertainment are equipped even only for a narrow body plane like Boeing 737-800NG is just brilliant. It is no doubt that passengers demands their own entertainment although for an hour flight and as a good carrier, they must fulfill that demand. But guess what, IFE will never work on me. I still need to walk my feet, therefore, I went to the galley and decided to have a chat with the flight attendants. They were asking on what occasion that brought us to Bali, and we just said that we were going to visit my Brother in BIFA. Apparently, my senior purser thought I was the one who went to BIFA, and said No. And then the conversation continued until we were talking about career as a pilot.

“Why don’t you want to go to pilot school as well?” a senior flight attendant asked me.

“Oh well, maybe it’s not my time yet. Talking about do I want it or not, ofcourse everybody does want to be a pilot, I’m just waiting that right moment,” I said.

“Have you tried to apply for other positions in Airlines? I think every children whose family work for airlines, must be dying to work for the same industry?” Purser Effy said.

“Yes, I think that’s true, I’m bidding for a position too in here, but not sure how it will be, I tried the steward recruitment earlier this year, but I failed,” I said.

“Oh really? How come?”

I guessed the conversation had become more interesting than ever. We chatted for a long time, since there were only two of us sitting at the business class, and my Mom went asleep. Suddenly, she was awake, and she called me back to seat, and I came to her, my Mom was laughing and kindly asking, “Could you ask them if I could buy an In-flight shopping,I want this watch,” she said as pointing at the Tommy Hilfiger ladies watch. It’s for her boss actually. I was like, “Mom you treated me like a flight steward, I don’t know whether I must be happy or what, but I’ll take it as a compliment,” Then I went to the Galley and told the senior flight attendants that my Mom wanted to buy something. The purser later called the junior flight stewardess in the aft cabin, to bring the trolley of In-flight shopping goods to her.

I was going to walk back to my seat, and at the same time, the junior flight attendants came with their trolley to my Mom. I couldn’t go anywhere, thus I just stood there at across row. Suddenly, while my Mom was browsing at the goods offered, a flight attendant turned up to me like, “Mas, you seem good enough to make it as a flight steward,” she suddenly said without any opening chat. I immediately laughed, and so did my Mom who heard that. She knew that it must be deep enough to rejuvenate my disappointment since I did try for a steward recruitment for Garuda and I failed during the appearance test.

“Oh well, thank you. I’ll take it as a compliment, I did try from the last steward recruitment, but I failed,”

“Sorry to hear about that, maybe you can try it next time?” she asked.

“Well, maybe, I can’t guarantee.” I said wisely.

My Mom finished with her purchase, and before they finally returned to the back galley, I asked them to capture a picture with me, and my Mom was begging too. “Don’t forget mine too, I haven’t had any picture with the new uniform,” she said.

The plane has finally descended, and we were soon to land at Ngurah Rai Airport. According to Captain’s report earlier, the weather was clear and sunny, and I heard the temperature was warm enough. I was thinking we must get the smooth landing, and thanked god it was not raining! Not just that I worried about hard landing on wet runway, but Bali is not good with rain. We landed from the runway 09 direction and as I expected the plane landed smoothly, then the announcement was made, and the plane was taxiing until completely stopped at the domestic terminal.

Before disembarking, I said Thank you to Purser Effy and the senior flight attendant that I couldn’t recall her name. She was even jokingly asking me to hop on next flight to Hong Kong. “Let’s come with us to Hong Kong!” I merely smiled and said “Wait until I’m wearing the uniform!”, everybody laughed.

You know it’s always nice to meet different people during flight. I feel like why many people are aiming for this job, is that you can get a freedom, to where you want to go, you want to do. I am always interested to talk with flight crews whenever I get the chance, and I must learn something new from my experience. I last remember when someone said this to me: “Every flight must different but I’m always sure that every flight must be a great flight,”.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this would be entertaining your Friday night.

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