Well I know I can’t put everything on an Airline since I was warned by people about their functioning and still we decided to go ahead with all the good hopes and buffer time between our flights.
We boarded OD206 from DEL to KUL on 4th August eve and while everything was fine (had to ask for water thrice and got it after waiting for close to an hour still I feel it’s majorly the staff and not the airline at fault) the things went bad once we landed at KUL airport for our connecting OD306 to Bali.
OD306 with scheduled departure of 9:20 reaching DPS 12:20 will give us ample time to have our Visa on arrival, collect luggage and then board our next 1620 connect to Surabaya. Some of the reviews for Malindo Air gave me an idea that airline tend to get late and its advisable to have buffer time in hand and I thought 4 hrs is a good enough gap.
We reached KUL at 6:00hrs and the boards showed our next flight timings as 11:20hrs; well not bad we are still safe and with lil running around we can still catch our connect from DPS. As we wait for it to stuck 11:20 we realized we don’t have many options to do at the airport since food counters only accepts RM and we are carrying USD. To save on to the hassle of carrying currency we picked few 100$ currency thinking it’s widely acceptable and now there’s no point converting them to RM and then to IDR (Indonesian Rupeya) once we reach Indonesia. So waiting in the bone chilling terminal is the only thing we could do.
11:00 and the lady at the counter collects our boarding passes meanwhile the TV screens also starts to show that the boarding has started which went on till 12:00 only to be advised by one of the staff that the crew and captain are not available right now. Well wow how can one fix that? I’ve a connecting flight and preparing myself to run at the next airport and now the captain is missing. More passengers join in and we get to hear that flight is delayed meanwhile the TV screens still show boarding started and that the flight leaving at 11:20. All this goes on till 12:30 when the lady quietly informs few passengers about the flight being cancelled and that this is the only information available to her. On demanding for a manager she goes blank and the manager is nowhere in sight till about 1330 hrs; we now know that the connect is missed and there’s not much I can do much except that I need to reach Surabaya by the end of the day so I can board the cab which will come to the airport by 17:30 to pick us for our Bromo tour. Meanwhile the oldies and kids are crying out of cold and hunger but since its Malindo they didn’t take much time in declining blanket or food coupon requests. So far the reason for delay/ cancellation has changed from late staff to an earthquake in Indonesia. How on earth they expect us to believe an earthquake when there’s nothing on google even after 5 hrs of it taking place. Meanwhile the Airasia flights are leaving for Denpasar.
Lady at the counter comes with assurance that Lion Air (Parent company for Malindo) flies to Jakarta from where they will arrange another flight to Surabaya which means we will be in Surabaya by 20:30 instead of our 17:30 plan. Seems Sorted?
Yeah we were relaxed but furious since there’s no boarding pass provided for the promised flights and the flight is about to leave in next 15 mins. So the lady at the counter asks us to reach Jakarta and meanwhile the team here will arrange for tickets at the counter. All we need to do is give our names at Lion Air counter at the Jakarta Airport. Wow this seems sorted but how will they know of it and what proof we are carrying for this commitment? Well we were promised an email confirming the same but don’t know when. We didn’t have much choice since Jakarta to Surabaya looked easier (more flights) than doing it from KUL.
We stayed in the craft (yeah this too got delayed by an hr) but assured that we won’t miss other connect since its same airline and many passengers will be boarding the connecting flight. Yeah all things falling in place and we confirmed our cabbie to be at the Surabaya airport post 2000 hrs till we reach.
We reached Jakarta by late eve and were the first passengers to rush to Visa and luggage so we don’t miss out on our connect from Lion Air. Rushed to Lion Air’s counter on terminal 1 literally breathless only to find there’s no news to them on our arrival or arranging tickets. Rather all flights are now sold out and the next flight’s in morning for which we would have to pay thrice the amount of what a regular ticket would have costed. So Malindo has done it again leaving us at a new airport with absolutely no information and an expense to reach out to a safe place for spending night and then reach to a destination we should have reached out by now.
We picked Indonesia as destination for it offering us a mix of Mountains and Beaches but here we are left with nothing except paying for someone else’s fault. Mount Bromo was something we planned for months and now we are left with no option but to skip it in order to manage and catch up with rest of the itinerary. Not to forget the operator who relied on our word and booked the whole tour for us and poor cab driver who’s at the airport waiting to pick us, the hotel room we were to check in and the Jeep safari guy who’s kept on hold for us. Wonder if airline or the managers even gave it a thought. Not just Mount Bromo & Ijen tours but Malindo has made the whole experience sour for us. We spent months deciding on the places to eat to the shots we will capture while on tour and now losing everything just because someone at Malindo didn’t do his job well. Warm clothes, trekking shoes and tripod are of no use since we won’t see the sunrise we dreamt of.
Since we were on a budgeted tour we now had no option but to spend the night at the terminal and spend whatever buffer money we have got to book our tickets to Surabaya. Sadly the trip’s gone sour and everything looked waste but we are hopeful to go back someday to live those moments and this time I won’t let Malindo spoil it.