It was Friday – December 20, 2013.
I took Alif to work in the morning. Then at 11:35 AM (lunch break in Indonesia on Fridays = 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM), he and I left my office. It was 4 hours before my flight but we had to leave that early not to miss the deadline for check in.
The trip from Thamrin City to airport by DAMRI Bus was 75 minutes. It departed hourly, exactly at 12:00 PM. The seat was only one vacant left, then Alif had to sit on my lap (I paid only for one person = Rp.35,000).
We finished all of check in formalities at 1:55 PM. Took that long because I had to repack our cabin baggages to only two luggage.
After immigration process, Alif and I spending time waiting for boarding time at Mutiara Lounge until 2:50 PM. We had late lunch of Mie Goreng, Nasi Goreng, soft drinks, some cakes (free of charge, complimentary for my BNI Syariah credit card).
Finally we got on plane at 3:20 PM, but it didn’t taxi until 25 minutes from ETD 3:35 PM because the pilot waited for some passengers who were late due to notorious traffic jam at Jakarta.
The plane took off at 4:35 PM. I was impressed to see that last three rows (number 69, 70, 71) were spared in the middle for pray room. Our seats were 70J and 70L.
Alif enjoyed the trip because of the provided movies, he watched “Despicable Me 2” then I had to hush him for laughed loudly over the very funny movie. He got a gift, as a child passenger: Folding backpack.
Dinner was served one hour after took off, 5:35 PM. The rice and salad was mediocre, the cheese cake was okay.
Two hours later, Alif felt asleep until next 3.5 hours (7:35 PM – 11:05 PM). He continued watching some movies and playing some games, I was glad that he could entertain himself and didn’t get bored at all.
Supper was served 1.5 hours before arrival. Rice with fish and the salad was terrible, the mango puding was mediocre. Saudia really didn’t strive to deliver best service (unlike other flag carrier) probably because not much effort to attract customer, thousands of Muslim would use this airlines for pilgrimage to Makkah everyday anyway.
TRANSIT AT JEDDAH AIRPORT
After 9 hours 8 minutes flight, we reached Jeddah at 1:46 AM (local time = 9:46 PM). The transfer process was smooth, we simply reported to check in desk at arrival gate, then went upstairs to directly reach departure gate after passing some 24/7 duty free shops.
Surprisingly, the prayer area was only a walled space without ablution facility (unlike prayer rooms at Indonesian or Malaysian airports). Meant I had to take wudhu for Shalat Maghrib-Isha in the toilet (no dedicated tap, like others I did it on wastafel then it was not easy to wash my feet). No tissue, then its floor was wet.
Same like some Saudia transit passenger’s experience on some websites, I got four meal vouchers from the transfer desk (two vouchers for each of us). Drinking water taps were available at some corners. At least we would not be hungry or thirsty during our transit.