If you have been reading my past entries about our short visit to Central Java, Indonesia during the 1st week of May this year, you would have noted that it was a fairly fantastic trip with its fair share of close calls and near disasters:
- I ripped my shorts and exposed the family’s crown jewels while sitting cross-legged in a lesehan;
- My wife and I fought for dear life just to catch a train ride to Yogyakarta in a scene reminiscent of a rugby scrum; and
- We dreamed of a romantic getaway in the City of Solo but instead found ourselves in the middle of nowhere.
Ok. I’m just kidding. But you’re getting the drift, right?
Our series of ‘misadventures’ would not stop there. Our late afternoon flight from Solo to Jakarta via Garuda Indonesia was delayed by 30 minutes which was about enough time for me and the wifey to suffer a serious sense of humor failure. You see, the delay meant that the wifey had to literally hit the ground running once our plane landed in Jakarta so she can catch her forward flight to Singapore (she only had 45 minutes left to do this due to the delay). I, on the other hand, had to catch my flight to Manila which would only depart 3 hours later that night.
I was the one who booked her on that flight (via Jetstar) and so, to diffuse the blame game that was about to erupt any moment :-P, I talked to the ground crew and arranged for her baggage to be prioritized for aircraft unloading. I also requested for one of their staff in Jakarta to assist her in checking in for the flight. The accommodating ground crew assured us that everything had been arranged just as we requested and even motioned us to the computer screen in front of him just to emphasize that he had indeed relayed our requests to their Jakarta office.
But as luck would have it, there was no ground crew waiting for us in Jakarta and I had to make a mad rush for the baggage carousel (while the wifey made a quick dash to the check in-counters) and waited for what seemed like an eternity before her luggage finaly came out.
Huffing and puffing like an out-of-shape-guy-fast-approaching-his-forties, I met her at the check-in counter a couple of minutes later only to be told that she was a fraction of a millisecond too late. Which was a bummer. The wifey had a promo ticket which meant that rescheduling her flight would be thrice, no, make that quadrice (if there’s such a word), as costly. Which was a triple bummer.
This, of course, would not have happened if our Garuda Indonesia plane was not delayed! So off we went to their Customer Service Counter with a firm conviction to camp out in their offices until our “righteous” demands are meet, which were as follows:
- A plane ticket to Singapore on their next available flight, and
- An overnight stay in a hotel with breakfast and airport transfers.
What can I say?! After stating our case for about 30 minutes and throwing my hands up repeatedly for good measure, I was able to convince them that we deserve the two items that we were asking for! So we just waited for them to print out the wifey’s plane ticket and the next thing I know, she was off to a posh hotel on a chauffeur-driven car. Talk about waiting for your flight in style!
Moral of the story:
- It pays to throw your hands up repeatedly!
- Travelling on low fare budget airlines makes money sense. But sometimes, booking a flight on flag carriers (such as Garuda Indonesia) does have its perks. You won’t expect this kind of customer-lovin’ after such a fiasco from a low cost carrier, would you?
- Finally, it won’t hurt to know your rights as an air passenger! Here’s an infographic on Air Passenger Rights from the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines (Source: http://www.gov.ph/summary-of-the-rights-of-air-passengers/).
Want to read more about our adventures as a couple? Here’s a story about how we tested our untrained and unrefined palates at the famous Banana Leaf Apolo Restaurant in Singapore.