It’s been an interesting couple of weeks since I made it back from Bali safe and sound. I arrived back into Adelaide at about 6 am Saturday morning with a 1 day turn around to get some sleep and see the family before a conference started on Sunday. This time I had a fair bit of work to do at the conference between one thing and another. Plus trying to learn something from the speakers.
The flight back from Bali was rather a different experience to the flight up. We had the rare opportunity of an on tarmac boarding experience, no doubt related to being a small airplane and not orange either. Walking on the tarmac and being so close to landing planes is pretty exciting for an aviation fan. Yes, while waiting to get on my Jetstar flight that AirAsia flight landed and turned off the runway right behind us.
Bali airport has a good range of amenities to use before your flight – eateries, bars and such. I opted for a second tier lounge courtesy of the Priority Pass membership that comes free with a Credit Cards. This membership includes 2 free lounge visits a year that I rarely get to use, so this was a great opportunity to cash in. The lounge was actually very good, with a balcony area, basic hot and cold food, beer wine and spirits, plenty of power outlets (need adapter) and a nice enough shower. I only called it second tier because they didn’t have BinTang!😮😆 They didn’t offer toiletries for the shower, just a towel; this is pretty normal so make sure you have soap and toothpaste.
After a few beers to relax for the flight, I took a stroll around Bali airport with a plan to arrive early to the gate. Our flight was departing from Gate 6A, and that “A” bit seemed a bit unusual. Sure enough I arrived at Gate 6 to find a big airplane that was going to Melbourne, there was no obvious 6A.
Almost exactly as I noticed the sign pointing to the gate an announcement was made telling us to go downstairs for Gate 6A. After a short walk I was in the basement ready to board the bus that would take us to the plane. I made the second bus, once at the aircraft boarding took about 15 minutes. There was at least another bus load to get on as we waited for a while before more people joined us. The flight was rather full.
Once on board there was a rather interesting experience to find someone sitting in my seat. There was a bit of a discussion on this point including some confusion about seat numbers, or letters to be more precise. “B”/”C”. “What someone sits there in the middle?” Turns out the guy was my seat buddy in the middle seat. There was genuine shock to learn that he was the person who was going to be sitting in that middle seat.
It was also interesting that a crew member came over pretty quickly to see what was happening. The seat buddy was travelling with a bit of a group, with dad in the “A” seat and mum a few rows in front. I later wondered if they were the reason for the wait on the tarmac, it was an interesting flight. Dad and son did not leave their seats at all during the 5 hour flight. At one stage I even got up for about 10 minutes to give them a chance at a toilet break. Nada!
They also left the reading lights on for the entire flight, even while sleeping. Leaving reading lights on during an overnight flight is pretty disruptive. The poor lady in the row behind with two young children certainly had a few problems. Other than being a bit strange, my seat mates didn’t bother me. They could be excused as new flyers who just don’t have on board experience. It takes a bit of time to experience the annoying things to learn not to do them to others. Feet tapers and seat grabbers are totally annoying. This week the guy in the seat behind not only had to grab the seat to get up, but also just randomly grabbed my seat about 4 times during a 90 minute flight, perhaps he had worms or something. People tapping their feet along to music send reverberations through the entire seat. Needless to say I take extra care to not tap my feet nor grab the seat in front.
Regardless of all the little things soon enough a flight is over. So it was with the return from Bali. Again no complaints about the Jetstar service or meals. Being a night flight there was no indulging beyond the included meal, masaman beef curry. After arriving back in Adelaide immigration and baggage claim was painless. I was back on the ground, at home and a week off from flying to attend the conference.