Nov 262019
 


After a bit of time relaxing and enjoying my last few hours in the Presidential Suite, I decided to head down to the executive lounge for one last snack. All things considered the haze and humidity wasn’t too bad, and I had a nice view of Jakarta. I really enjoyed my short time, and can’t wait to come back for longer.

Afternoon tea was being served, and I took the opportunity to have a diet coke and some sweets before checking out.

Grabbed a grab to the airport, and since KLM’s app was cooperative I had managed to check-in online with no problem. Took a couple work calls en route before heading to security…and proving that yes, I’m in Jakarta!

Security and passport control lines weren’t too bad, and I was through both in under 15 minutes and decided to start looking for the Garuda lounge. It’s not easy to find, but eventually I did. Very warm staff at reception…and even warmer in the lounge. They even had a sign apologizing that the air conditioning was broken. It was about 78F in the lounge so very warm, but not horrendous.

The lounge was reasonably bright with plenty of seating, and I had no trouble getting a good seat near a power outlet. I was also near the “Difable” washroom. It really begged the question: is this just a common Asian English mistake, or is it short for “differently abled?”

The food selection was so-so with quite a few options, but I wasn’t that hungry and nothing really spoke to me so I settled for a glass of wine and what I thought were prawn crackers. Unfortunately, no prawn and they were just flavourless puffed rice, but still something crispy to munch on.

Our flight arrived from KL about 45 minutes late, just 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave, and the lounge agents were great about telling the KLM passengers that there was no need to rush to the gate. I waited about 30 minutes longer than I would have and then headed down. Good choice too – I’ve never seen a flight with so many people swarming the group one lane!

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight 810
Jakarta, Indonesia (CGK) to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL)
Depart 19:25, Arrive: 22:30, flight time: 2:05
Boeing 777-300ER, Registration PH-BVK, Manufactured 2013, Seat 01D
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 184,598
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,876,900

After boarding, my suspicions on the seats were confirmed. They were in a 2-2-2 configuration, and seemed identical to what you would find on United’s ex-Continental 777s. A decent seat in the middle section, but absolutely zero privacy. As an added bonus, however, my seat today came with no pillows but bonus earplugs….

Pre-departure beverages were offered, and the champagne came in probably the most elegant looking PDB glasses I’ve ever seen in business class. I’m personally not a fan of overly ornate glassware (except the amazing Ultima Thule on Finnair) but it did feel a little more “special” than what I’m used to…

Despite a flight time under two hours, a full dinner was promised tonight!

Other airlines may have larger washrooms, or fancier fru-fru amenities, but nobody has Delft Blau Huisjes on the walls! AMAZING!

We were only airborne about 15 minutes when dinner was served. Yes, it was all on one tray, but quite a large meal for a short flight. I love the water glasses too – I think KLM now has my second favourite glassware after Finnair! It was way more food than I needed, and I think I only had the chicken, some rice, and of course can’t say no to chocolate cake!

As soon as my tray was served, the drama started. A page went out (20 minutes into flight max) asking if there was a doctor on board. It took me a bit to realize what was going on…and that the stricken passenger was right behind me! He was a younger guy, maybe mid 20s, and was foaming at the mouth getting super agitated and hyper.

The crew did a great job surrounding him and holding up blankets for privacy, but it was pretty clear that someone had taken something and was higher than our 777…

Meal service completely stopped, I think only row one got food, and for the next hour there were several crew members and doctors with him the entire time. I was shocked we didn’t divert to Singapore given just how terrible the guy looked, but the crew and ground-based medical services obviously know better than me!

While landing, one of the flight attendants even knelt in the aisle holding on to keep him in his seat which remained mostly flat even for landing. They had him on oxygen and he looked a little better, but wow what a crazy experience.

The downside of the service ending is that they also weren’t able to offer the little huisjes either. One of the crew apologized to me after landing and I said no problem – I was really looking forward to it, but obviously safety and health come first.

That’s what something that restored a bit of my faith in humanity happened. The woman across the aisle had two of them (from AMS-KUL-CGK a few days prior) and offered me one – commenting to the same flight attendant that she hoped they could give her two to make up for it. I wish I’d gotten her email or something to thank her more properly, but it was the nicest onboard gesture I’ve seen in a long time. In this age where tensions are often high in the air, it was so nice to see!

Landed right on time, and unfortunately I had to sit in the terminal for an hour taking a work call before clearing immigration and heading to the hotel. I was meeting my friend Ian in KL, and even with my phone call he was still at least 30 minutes behind me, so I decided to head to the hotel on the KLIA Ekspres Train which is wonderfully convenient.

Checked in to the Le Meridien, no upgrade despite being a titanium member, but at least there was a Tiffany blue carton in my room with sweets for pre-bed!

Mmmmm macarons! They were pretty good quality too – not amazing, but definitely good!

Met up with Ian, and chatted a bit before crashing. Since I’d already been in Asia a couple of days I was sure I’d be up early so didn’t set an alarm, while he promised to set one for late morning to ensure we didn’t waste the whole day.

At some point I rolled over to the phone which wouldn’t stop ringing. WTF, why was someone calling me in the middle of the night. No way I was answering….but it had woken me up, so after 10 minutes or so I gave up and rolled over to look at my phone…it was after 1pm! I’d managed to sleep more than 12 hours – something I don’t think I’ve ever done before! I don’t even think I’ve broken 10 more than a couple of time.

I felt like I’d been hit by a truck (and it couldn’t be from two glasses of wine) so clearly all the travel had gotten to me. Rushed to get going so we could at least enjoy what was left of the day…


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