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Thread: Indonesian air travel: Have a nice fright, Sir

  1. #1
    Member Member bmolsson's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    Jakarta, Indonesia

    Default Indonesian air travel: Have a nice fright, Sir

    Found this on Indonesian Air Travel...

    Indonesian air travel: Have a nice fright, Sir

    This is a high-octane complaint about airports and airlines. Just fasten your seat-belt and place the tray table uptight -- sorry, upright. And don't bother corresponding with the airlines -- did you think the lost property office was for baggage?

    Better rant at the cardboard cutouts of smiling staff that clutter the check-in aisles. Now, that could be really effective therapy.

    Top of my list is the bouncy Mbak Mandala, who sold me a ticket to Manado, gave me the receipt and then said the flight had been canceled. The obvious question was: "Why did you just issue the ticket?" Lots of laughter.

    The joke was like the flight: I didn't get either.

    Actually, she failed Airline Standard UP/U, which requires passengers to be given notice of cancellations after they have arrived at the airport. Well-qualified staff (Star Air used to be tops) put your baggage on the conveyor belt and wait until it has vanished behind the frilly plastic curtain before announcing there's no plane.

    It's useless asking: "Why didn't you call me before I checked out of the hotel and took a two-hour cab drive through the Valley of Death? You've got my cellular number." At this point, the giggle-meter goes off the scale.

    Stupid questions come from a stupid questioner.

    They're right -- the problem is the passenger. The sacred airline credo reads in letters of burnished aluminum: "The customer is an idiot." Staff recite this awesome oath daily to keep their jobs.

    Like most consumers of nasi plastik, at 30,000 feet I like a little assurance that everything is in order. It seems logical that if the ground staff haven't got their act together, maybe the cabin crew are equally sloppy. Did the refuelers really top-up the tanks with the right stuff? Did the pilot kick all the landing wheels himself?

    So here's my wish list: * Precise details on the boarding pass, please -- no blanks. If I wanted to be in a guessing game, I'd enter Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, not an airport, and face an intimidating Tantowi Yahya: "Before boarding Doom Airlines Flight Z999, will you use: 1) A departure lounge? 2) A toilet? 3) An emergency exit? 4) A lawyer?" * Can the departure monitors function and have accurate, timely information? Yesterday's flight schedules may give historians hot flushes, but today's are more useful for travellers. Staff telling passengers headed to Surabaya to board through Departure Lounge 6 where the flashing sign says Jakarta, when their boarding passes stipulate Gate 10, builds confidence in the future like a politician's pledge to eliminate poverty. * Public Address systems are fine if they work (amplifiers built since Marconi are on the market) and the broadcaster articulates the words clearly. That means employing someone with a good voice. Airline policy currently prohibits using anyone other than Miss Communication, but surely she's overdue for a transfer? Even Miss Direction would be an improvement. * Could staff insist passengers follow the published rules or abandon them? (The regulations, not the passengers -- we're lost already.) For example, by not serving fat and aggressive late arrivals who barge to the front when other potential passengers have been queuing patiently for 30 minutes. Latecomers can't all be wives and mistresses of the airline's directors.

    Are those warnings about not using mobile phones serious? I quit complaining on a Lion Air flight when the attendant ignored three users (including a bule, or foreigner) sitting close by her safety feature presentation: "Use of mobile phones and other electronic devices is strictly prohibited." That's what she probably said. Who knows? Her voice was drowned out by ring tones -- Greensleeves, the 1812 Overture and a few bars of Air Supply.

    Maybe, such instructions are just to pass the time while they look for a pilot who remembers how the thing works, because the right captain is still sitting in the wrong departure lounge.

    How can little Nokias upset the navigation systems of big Boeings? The idea is ridiculous. Who cares whether the cockpit instruments say we're descending into Soekarno-Hatta when we're really circling Mt. Bromo? Stop worrying. No one has ever gotten out of this life alive.

    Lest you think these are the ravings of a bule who has lived too long in Indonesia (or maybe not long enough), let me tell you about my last trip south.

    The plane arrived late into Perth and the doors of the airbridge were closed. More than 160 Australians, rugged individualists all, independent custodians of a great birthright of robust anti-authority sentiments, stood for 10 minutes in a sealed steel tube, waiting for someone to do something.

    Just like sheep -- except that sheep bleat.

    Immigration sneered that it had nothing to do with them. Airport management said it was the responsibility of Air Paradise. The airline blamed the airport; no one else had whinged -- so what was the problem?

    As I said -- maybe it's the fault of those naive passengers who really believe the captain when he says, "Thank you for choosing to fly with us," when he knows seat price, not brand loyalty, is the key factor in choosing a carrier.

    But Australian airline staff still have much to learn from their Indonesian counterparts in dealing with aggrieved customers. For starters, the Aussies don't laugh.

    Well, not in your face, anyway.

  2. #2
    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
    Sydney, Australia

    Default Re: Indonesian air travel: Have a nice fright, Sir

    Tell me when you get to Sydney.

    I have flown Garuda internal in Indonesia and twin props to mine sites in Sumatra... when the pilot goes white as a sheet and walks off the plane with wobbly knees you know you had a good flight.
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  3. #3
    Member Member bmolsson's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
    Jakarta, Indonesia

    Default Re: Indonesian air travel: Have a nice fright, Sir

    Might be in a month or two. I am just in the process buying a company group with a subsidiary in Australia.....


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