"Cherie, I read in the website of flight safety that Adam Air from Sby-Manado lost. Do you have more info about it?"
Cintaku sent the message yesterday, 21:00 western Indonesian time. I was surprised, as I didn't watch any news a whole day. Soon I turned on my radio and picked Elshinta's channel. That's the news radio that's always be able to broadcast the latest update of any news in Indonesia. And it was true, Adam Air updates were on the air. I was sure that something horrible must have happened to that B737-400 and all news today justified the thoughts. It crashed in West Sulawesi, until now it is informed that 90 passengers died and 12 are still missing.
Then I remember my 3 horrible experiences of flying with Adam. When I first chose to fly with Adam I was attracted by the company's fresh image that I learned in the media. I first flew with Adam last June from Denpasar to Yogya. My first impression about it? Perfect. It was punctual, the flight attendants were friendly, and they performed professionally in their World Cup wardrobes.
It satisfied me a lot, compared to my previous experiences with Batavia and Sriwijaya, and it's cheaper than Garuda. At that time I was still afraid to take Lion and Mandala after their horrible accidents in the previous years.
However, my flight back with Adam from Yogya to Denpasar was cancelled. Due to the CSO, it was because of the insufficient condition of Yogya airport after May 2006's earthquake. I could understand that fully, and since I needed to be in Denpasar soon, I came back by GA, which was 3x more expensive than my flight with Adam. Adam's CSO said that they would reimburse Yogya-DPS ticket 30 days after the cancellation date. But I was disappointed. I received it 50 days later, after 3x calls to Adam air's office...
However, I didn't take it seriously. Just 2 weeks after my cancelled flight I took Adam again, from Semarang to Jakarta. Cintaku was shocked to see that Adam used the old B737-200...the kind of aircraft that has been omitted from qualified flight operators. For the first time in my life, I saw him praying during the take off!:))
The flight was delayed. A chaos took place since many passenger brought too many things in the cabin and even some refused to put them in the overhead cabinet (in my observation it's a typical Indonesian passengers' dangerous habit, beside turning on the mobile phone during landing). The image of overload take off weight haunted us on the way...but we landed safely anyway, with 45 minutes delay. Pretty good for Indonesian standard :)
2 days later I flew back to Semarang. Until that day I was always be so confident of doing the go show, buying the ticket directly at the airport just some hours before the departure. Cintaku has insisted me to take GA, but I ran out of the ticket, and I could only get Adam when I went to a travel agency at Eastern Jakarta. I paid the ticket exactly at 11:30, or 1,5 hour prior to time limit of the day.
Cintaku was so worried to know that I flew with Adam again, as he concerns so much on flight safety. But, what happened later was nothing about safety. I was rejected at the check in counter in Sukarno-Hatta airport! The check in officer said that my name was not listed! Oh gosh, I was trying to be nicely explaining the chronology of my ticket purchase, but she insisted, pretty rudely, that I was about to be included in the waiting list!
I exploded. I had all prove that I have paid before the limit, I had the ticket with OK status, I checked in 2 hours before departure, but I couldn't fly? Give me a break...So, I became a hell-demanding customer and told her to report to her supervisor or I would did it myself. She went, and in the next 5 minutes she was back, in much more (fake) polite expression, apologizing and letting me check in...
After that experience, I became a more discipline passenger. I omitted the go show habit from my travelling list, even I loved the sensation...
Stupidly enough, I took Adam again in September, just because I needed the time line, I would be able to finish all my activities in Jakarta without rush in the afternoon and arrived in Semarang in the evening, in the same day.
BUT, just a day before my return to Semarang, I got a call from the CSO again, saying that my flight was cancelled, and I was offered to be replaced to the flight in the afternoon, or moved to the flight in the next day.
I still had to fix some business in Central Jakarta in the afternoon on that date, so it was impossible to take the afternoon flight. I had no option but taking the flight in the next morning. I didn't want to wait for another 50 days term for the reimbursement, and I didn't have time to book other flight.
So I remembered the previous cases with Adam. Politely I said to the CSO that when they cancel the flight they shoud consider the other loss that has to be born by the customer. For instance, changing the flight = paying more, or spending one more night in Jakarta = 1 more night accomodation cost.
But you know how she answered?
"But ma'am, don't you have any relatives in Jakarta?You wouldn't lose anything if you stay with them.."
Oh gosh, what do you think about it, pals? Was it a professional answer?
So, I ended my conversation by ensuring that I didn't have to pay any additional cost for my next morning flight.
I fed up with Adam that day. But seems that it was not enough, in the next morning, when I checked in in (again), Sukarno Hatta airport, the officer let me down.
I was so careful that even I confirmed to the counter supervisor about the change in my ticket. She said it was ok, so I came into the check in. The officer looked at my ticket, and said,
"But it's the ticket for yesterday, Ma'am..."
"Yes, and the flight was cancelled, wasn't it?"
"You should've taken yesterday afternoon's flight"
"I had not finished business in the afternoon"
"Allright, but for the flight this morning we only have higher class. You must upgrade your ticket. Rp. 85.000 more, please..."
OLALA. I was really-really exploded. I couldn't understand how the system was, after putting 1 more night accommodation fee to me, after the CSO and supervisor said OK, she asked for more?
Of course I said no way. And again, with my irritated expression I told the check in counter to see the supervisor. And again, with that fake polite smile she said sorry. Brrrr....
I thank God that I could be an assertive person when it is necessary, and I have been travelling a lot to know what is wrong or right. How if I was such a quite discourageous inexperienced passenger who couldn't defend the right? I would have became the victim, I am sure.
Thus, September was my lat time using Adam's service. In October when I bought a Mandala and Lion tickets for my next trip in a travel agency, I met 2 customers who talked about their bad experiences with Adam. I was not alone.
So I was not surprised that a Tourist Association in a Kalimantan Province planned to boycott Adam due to the bad service to the customer. But I was shocked and couldn't understand when Adam was awarded as the Low Cost Airline of The Year 2 months ago in Singapore. What a joke, or were other Indonesian airline services too bad that Adam could win such award?
I feel sorry for Adam's accident in Sulawesi. Hopefully, after this Adam would learn and have the overall look towards the service to the customers. It takes time to gain back the trust, but it's never too late.
Believe or not, after trying the improved services from Mandala and Lion Air last October, now I don't mind to fly again with them. I could feel that they improve their services to the customers, like Lion that provided fresh drink in waiting room and Incocation Card in the cabin, and Mandala's flight attendants who became more smily than when I travelled with them 3 years ago.
But you know what, to my last choice, Cintaku still say "NO!", and this morning (again) he gave me a list of the safest Indonesian airlines, along with the reasons. He's worried about my insecure flying habit* and never give up to change my mind.
Ah, It's so good to be loved... :)
(Not So) IMPORTANT NOTES:
*my insecure flying habit:
chosing the flight with the considerations of having cheap ticket and friendliness of flight attendants. I always say, at least with that I would die smiling (and Cintaku hates this statement) :))
*Cintaku's secure flying habit:
chosing the flights with the considerations of the type of the aircraft, the engine and construction quality, age, operator history, maintenance, safety track record. I always say, it's too complicated to remember all those data...(and Cintaku will just say, "Grrrr...") :))
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