Saturday, March 13, 2010

Refleeting Mandala Airlines and Rebuilding Padang

Brand new Airbus from Mandala Airlines - a local brand but enjoying the trust of Indonesians.

For those who use AirAsia (Malaysia) will realise by now they are flying brand new planes. The average age of AirAsia fleet may be about 2 years old. Fuel efficiency is just one of the factors for refleeting. Another is definitely passenger's confidence.

I use to fly different domestic airlines in Indonesia due to their extensive coverage of the archipelago. One of the reason is that Garuda may not have the coverage/schedule or their ticketing policies put passengers at a disadvantage. The frequency of economy class tickets running out is very frequent thus ending up paying for business class tickets.

Some of these domestic airlines are doing great business as AirAsia has found out to their delight. But the problems with these airlines are that they are using some very old Boeings. Some over 25 years old. I may not recognised and tell the age/model of the plane by looking at the physical plane but the design of the overhead bin speaks volume. I have never seen such a design ever and I have been flying for a long time.

I flew from Batam to Padang using a brand new Airbus. Mandala is refleeting with new planes. Its fleet age is down to 7 years and will drop further. The extent and seriousness in airlines providing good service and safe travel are underline by Lionair. It is operating 31 brand new Boeing 737 Next Gen.
What I had for snacks in my flight. More than I can eat!
The interior is the same with AirAsia planes.
I went back Padang to look at some rebuilding sites about 1 1/2 hours away. These are the places that were bereft of aid. Mine you - zilch. More than 200 houses were seriously damaged in this village. 13 families had their homes rebuilt already and more will be rebuilt by stages as donations come in.
Simple snacks and tea at the village. Singkong (steam tapioca) and coconut water.
The damaged in the city of Padang is still there for all to see. Some will be completely demolished and rebuilt while others repaired. There are rumours that the city's administration will be moved to a more stable land site further (much) away from Padang City as more earthquakes will come. To prevent extensive lost of lives in the next quake, building codes have to be tightened.
You got to eat right! And some Padang food.This is Ikan Masak Gulai Manis. Fantastic! I must have it when I am in Pariaman, 1 hour from Padang. I have eaten in this unassuming shop 5-6 times and the price was cheap. 1 big fish head, 1 fish tail, plus 3 fish blocks (2 cooked gulai manis and 1 fried) cost just RM26. It fed 4 hungry men!Kepala Ikan Masak Gulai Manis. The meat was succulent, fresh and smooth and coupled with the coconut milk plus spices infusion, it tasted out of this world.


PaulK said...

AirAsiaX... be careful.

Most recently, my wife and I were stranded in Abu Dhabi when AirAsiaX announced they were canceling service to/from Abu Dhabi in January this year. They didn’t notify us (their stranded passengers) until Feb 10th. Neither did they offer any accommodation nor answer our emails asking for help. We had to get back to Malaysia on our own. They won’t reimburse our additional expenses either.

They said they would refund the Abu Dhabi/Kuala Lumpur portion of our trip, but it will take them 30-50 days to process the refund. Such an attitude!

Watch out for these guys. If you are considering using AirAsiaX, It might be a good idea to develop a plan B... just in case.

CUMI & CIKI said...

food looks great. I too love flying airasia. never had anything bad happen yet (touch wood, praise god!)

Life for Beginners said...

AirAsia... hmm. I've had so many bad experiences with them that I try not to go with them unless I have to or my company sends me their way.

FireFly is more dependable in my experience (maybe cos they fly less flights), and the staff at MAS is lots friendlier too. I guess we get what we pay for. :P