Here are some other observations about my trip to Bali. Nearly all relate to Perth International Airport and the flights on Garuda Indonesia.
Perth International Airport (PIA)
- The upgrade to this tired airport can’t come soon enough. On leaving, we had to climb several flights of stairs to get to the jetway, and on our return, we got dumped on the tarmac several hundred metres from the terminal, had to come down an ancient set of roll-up stairs and walk through the rain to the terminal, then up more stairs to immigration etc. I don’t know how those who were in wheelchairs or using walking sticks got on, or those with very young children. An INTERNATIONAL airport? I don’t think so…
- What is up with people???? If you are coughing, spluttering, and are obviously sick, for heavens sake put your hand over your mouth/nose at the very least!!! And use a tissue. SOOO many people were coughing and spluttering in the waiting area right next to the Qantas Lounge at PIA that I left and moved down towards the snack bars.
- TAKE A SHOWER before you come to the airport and get on a plane! Cramped conditions and long flights (EVERY flight from PIA is a long flight — some much longer than others) mean that your body odour is sickening to your nearby passengers. To the young girl who plopped herself down two seats away from me at the waiting area for Malaysian Airlines, thank goodness I wasn’t on your flight and sitting next to you. I would have been physically ill had I not been able to change seats — your BO was that strong and obnoxious.
- To the Velluto food people — PLEASE use some Tandoor ANYTHING in your Tandoori Chicken wraps. They had absolutely NO flavour and were like eating soggy cardboard. If the chicken had come anywhere near a Tandoor oven, I’d be very surprised. And I’d be surprised too if it had even been marinaded in a Tandoor sauce. Bland is too good a description for that waste of $9.50!
- If you set a gate, then stick to it. Getting people to switch gates some 20 minutes before the flight isn’t convenient. Fortunately PIA only has five gates, and the area is small.
- Be clear in your announcements. Garuda Flight 725 (to Jakarta) sounded very much like Garuda Flight 729 (to Denpasar), and quite a number of people ended up changing gates several times before realising that they were two different flights for the same airline leaving at approximately the same time.
- If you sit near the Qantas Lounge, you can hook up to their free WiFi 😉
- I quite like Garuda — their staff are delightful, and the food’s pretty good. But there’s no excuse for not having ANY English language immigration entry cards on one of the their twice-daily flights from Perth to Denpasar. I can only think someone forgot to pack the correct bundle. Fortunately, I’d noticed an English version in the back of the airline magazine, so was able to complete the immigration and customs declaration without needing to try to figure out what the Bahasa Indonesian version said.
- The flight left 45 minutes late, so was nearly an hour late into Denpasar. That was a long time for my 80+ year old parents and the driver to wait. Mum waited in an area full of mostly men in the middle of the night — while she was safe, it wouldn’t be something she would have enjoyed.
- Farts on a plane. I think Qantas seats must have activated charcoal impregnated cushions as I rarely smell farts on a plane even on the long haul from Australia to the US. But on this flight, phew! There were some ripe ones… And it wasn’t one person either, as the smells varied. I’ll say no more.
- The meal I had was a satay beef, which was nice, but needed some salt and/or pepper. None was provided in the cutlery pack, but the crew did bring them when asked.
- No water was provided at all, unless asked for.
- Flight was about half full, so the seat between me and the window seat passenger was empty. Bonus!
Denpasar airport (departure)
- You go through at least three security and name/boarding pass checks at this airport (it may have been five or more). And when you’re finally in the passenger-only duty free area after having gone through immigration etc. you think you can do what you can do at every other international airport I’ve been to in the past decade or so, and that’s buy a bottle of water as you emptied your previous bottle before going through the security checks. And then you find that there’s ANOTHER security check just before you get on the plane and you have to toss that water bottle in a bin.
- In this age of computers, why are people checking boarding passes BY HAND? I can’t recall that from last year, so maybe their computer checking systems were down. At least three of the checks were done by hand and marked off a printed list with pen.
- There are nowhere near enough seats at this airport to deal with the passengers on a single flight, let alone many flights. Hopefully the new airport (due to open in a week or two) will have far better waiting facilities. If they want us at the airport at least 2 hours before the flight, then we need somewhere to sit.
- As for the outbound flight, this one was about half full. I was seated in a row with two adults and three kids under six. The mother suggested I ask to be seated two rows further back in an empty row — I was happy to oblige! I even got to spread out and lay down. However, there were another two young children behind me in the new row, one of whom (at least) had an awful cold/cough and did NOT cover his/her mouth/nose each time they coughed/sneezed/spluttered. I won’t be happy if I catch something…
- Meal on the way home was a chicken curry, with a really HOT sambal in a packet (ABC brand, ‘Asli’?), which was excellent.
- No water provided.
- For an island dealing with rapid expansion of tourism and all the infrastructure changes and stresses that entails, I was surprised to see very few dual flush toilets. I didn’t expect them in older places, but I did expect them in the new resort I stayed at (the block I was in is less than two years’ old). I would have thought that water on Bali was a very precious commodity, and that installing dual flush toilets would be mandatory.
- Bali is one of the ‘spice islands’, so why did I only see ground white pepper? Not a crushed black peppercorn was sighted in any restaurant I visited.