*Note: This entry contains a long story about my 40 hour journey to Indonesia. If you manage to get through this, you’re probably a god. Thisisprobablymoreformymemorysakethananything
I’m usually quite calm and assured about things but the morning of July 14 2012, I woke up panicking, slightly. Wondering if what I was doing was the right thing, would it be wasting my time? And so forth.
But after my initial panic, I remembered the first quote in a lovely travel diary some dear friends had given me.
“Adventure is worthwhile” – Amelia Earhart
I then decided that this is what I was going to live by, even if it meant just making myself feel better about any situation. So I headed off to the airport, let go of my parents’ warm embrace and started my journey to Jakarta.
First stop was a promised weirdly long 8 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur. Which then turned out to be half an hour delayed and took I’d say almost 9 hours.
Upon reaching KL’s LCC terminal, I was informed that my connecting flight to Jakarta was delayed by an hour and would now be at 12.25am.
Now here’s a back-story to my Air Asia woes for this KL to Jakarta flight originally booked for 9.30pm. About a week before my flight, Air Asia kindly emailed me informing that my flight was going to be delayed by an hour and would take off at 10.30pm and reach Jakarta at 12.30am. A few days after, they emailed me again and said that it was delayed by another hour and would reach Jakarta at 1.30am.
Now, in a situation where I had a travel companion I would be annoyed but I would accept and just deal with these changes. However, I thought that travelling by myself to a South East Asian countries in the middle of the night had its safety concerns. So I proceeded to call Air Asia’s call centre to try to change my flight.
The first call had the man tell me that he couldn’t change anything and I should send an e-form from the website and that they would get back to me in 2 days at the latest – I still have not received a reply one week later.
A couple days later my second call had a lady tell me that because it was a ‘connecting flight’ and not a separate booking for the flight she could not change anything and that the only thing I could do was to ask them when I got to KL to change my flight and that there was nothing I could do now.
After feeling defeated I decided to just accept this and to be more vigilant at the airport at 1.30am.
So when the man told me about this third delay and told me I’d reach Jakarta at 2.30am. I decided that it was definitely too late for a lone female traveller in South East Asia. Upon asking the man where I could change my flight he directed me to a counter T6 within the airport with no need to check out.
After this, I managed to quickly contact my cousin in KL (thank god for smartphones) and told him my situation and he dropped everything and came to the airport to rescue me (thank god for family).
At the counter I asked a lady and explained my situation and she told me I couldn’t change my flight because it was already confirmed and that the officer that could change it was in a meeting. After I pleaded with her more she walked away and I wasn’t sure if it was to help me or because she didn’t want to help me. So then I asked another lady at the same counter with more desperation and she called the service counter and told me that the best thing they could do for me was to put me on ‘standby’ for a flight tomorrow.
She then proceeded to show me where to check out and which counter to go to. At counter R56 here is what the man told me:
1. We can put you on standby only for tomorrow’s 6.35pm flight but no guarantees that you’ll be on the flight, you cannot call to check and you should be here at 5pm with all your baggage.
2. No, all flights have been BOOKED OUT for the next month
3. Why can you still book online? Because they’re overbookings
4. Please proceed to the lost and found baggage to collect your baggage, yes they know you’re coming
So after waiting about 40 minutes for my baggage my cousin, his girlfriend and I left to go back to their home. About 15 minutes into our journey the car broke down. After calling the SOS and our Aunty, we were rescued by said Aunty and had some delicious Hokkein noodles at a mamak store.
The next day I magically woke up at 8.30am (10.30am Sydney time, not so magical but I did go to sleep at 3am Sydney time) and we went to the Air Asia office in KL Sentral.
The lady first told me that I should probably go to the airport to be on standby. I told her that I did not want to be on standby and that I wanted a seat on the plane. After some waiting and more waiting, she finally put me on the flight and after I asked about if my baggage was still the same, she said yes.
Feeling a sigh of relief and with my new flight itinerary in hand, we proceed to Petaling Street (Chinatown) for one of my favourite noodle dishes in Malaysia. Chee Chong Fun, but not just any Chee Chong Fun, the sauce is red and you can’t find this specific one anywhere else and I had been craving it since the last time I was in Malaysia and didn’t get to eat it (February 2012).
Just opposite said noodle place, was another favourite of mine, Longan water. A refreshing drink made from Logan berries and other things that you can’t find anywhere else either!
So we made our way back to the airport later that afternoon and this is what happened at the check-in.
1. “Miss, you don’t have any baggage”
2. “Miss, you’re not confirmed on this flight”
3. “Miss, you’re 1kg overweight with your baggage. That’ll be RM45 thanks”
1. No, look at my original itinerary, and I even specifically asked at the KL Sentral office if my baggage was transferred over.
2. Yes I am, I just went to the office.
3. No, this is exactly the same bag as when I left Sydney and it was not overweight and this was supposed to be a connecting flight so I shouldn’t have had to pay anyways, the flight was also delayed 3 times.
So then I finally got a seat on the plane and didn’t pay for my ‘overweight’ baggage and the flight was delayed by half an hour. Also, the flight was not ‘booked out’ definitely a few empty seats!
2 flights, 5 delays, 7 hassles, 1 broken car, 2 rescues, 3 countries and 40 hours later, I was finally in one of Australia’s closest neighbours.