Lion Air » User reviews
All-class rating 2.6
- Boarding 4.0
- Seat for sitting 4.8
- Seat for sleeping 1.3
- Service 1.5
- Entertainment 0.5
- Food & drink 0.5
- Punctuality 1.5
- Baggage 2.0
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
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Singapore-Jakarta is one of the prime route for Lion Air and is served 6 times a day. With competition from both conventional carriers and LCCs on the same route, the competition is high. Lion Air advertised itself for being a budget carrier (with tagline "we make people fly") with advanced aircraft (largest operator of B737-900ER which seats more than 200 passengers). This review is of flight JT151 from Singapore Changi (SIN) to Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International (CGK) on Lion Air's 5th daily service which scheduled to depart at 8pm and arriving Jakarta at 8.45pm
Lion Air uses Terminal 1 at Changi International. Having arrived via MRT, I had to catch a Skytrain from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. I proceed to check-in at row 09. Since I arrived 3 hours before scheduled departure, check-in agents for Lion Air (handled by SATS) was also checking in for JT161 which scheduled to depart 1 hour ahead of my flight. Whilst waiting for my turn to check-in, I noticed that check-in agent was slightly rude and treated the passengers like the line of cattle waiting to be slaughtered. Not rare the agent will flick his hand to call the next passenger to be checked-in. Came my turn to check-in, I proceed to check-in desk manned by a lady who was considerably better but showing no hospitable manner.
Flight JT151 was assigned to board from Gate D40 which is located around the corner from Transfer Desk D and Godiva chocolate shop. For 20.00 departure, boarding was printed at 19.25 and gate open 1 hour ahead.
I managed to grab a couple of bite knowing Lion Air won't be serving any full meal onboard (refer below). I was inside Gate D40 shortly after 19.00 and waiting for my plane while the gate area soon filled up with more than 200 passengers.
Plane is nowhere to be seen even after 20.00. No announcement was made by gate agent regarding the whereabouts of the plane. I approached the desk and made enquiry. I was told (again, in no friendly manner) that the plane will be touched down shortly without the exact time of arrival. Finally at 20.15 the plane appeared at the gate but boarding won't start until 30mins later waiting for the passengers from the plane to disembark.
Boarding was done by calling the row number with family traveling with children are given the priority to board first. This aircraft was set to all-economy configuration (some Lion Air's B737-900ER has 2-class configuration). However, boarding seemed to be chaotic as everyone was rushing to the gate (problem with majority of the passengers were Indonesian and do not speak English whilst all announcement was made in English only).
I was seated at 32A one seat behind emergency exit row (Door 4L). This is my preferred seat on this B737-900ER operated by Lion Air as it has the largest legroom. There is no seat immediately in front of it (just the emergency exit) while on seat 32F (same window seat on the other side of the cabin) has reduced legroom due to crew seat in front of it. Another benefit of this seat (having no seat in front of it) is no one will recline and reducing the space around you. Also, you can access aisle from either row 32 or row 31.
The cabin is furnished in Boeing sky interior which provide roomier overhead lockers and mood lighting.
After boarding was completed, no sincere apology was given by the crew for the delay and only mentioned "late arrival" as the reason. Flight pushed back to Jakarta at 21.00 Singapore time, an hour behind schedule. It was further delayed to take off due to congestion on the runway and we were on the taxiway for another 15mins waiting our turn to take off.
As soon as the plane reached cruising altitude, sales trolley was rolled out with minimal interest from passengers to be bothered. For the rest of the flight, the cabin crew were having their sweet time in the galley. They can only be seen again when the plane was about to land and they came around to collect the rubbish, do final check before landing, and be seated for landing.
The only entertainment available is the in-flight magazine named Lion Mag. 95% of the content is in Indonesian with one article in English. Also, Lion Air enforced the magazine not to be a personal copy and do not have initiative to replenish any torn magazine (I took this flight in the beginning of the month but found a torn magazine in my seat pocket).
I ended up using my laptop to watch few episodes of short TV series as form of entertainment while other passengers were noticed to either doze off or just sat still.
Meal and merchandise
There was nothing really to buy from the snack cart. Unlike other LCCs which actively promote snacks and merchandise sales as ancillary revenue, Lion Air does not make any effort to even print a menu. One can only know what's on offer from the mouth of the cabin crew. I noticed that the inflight offering to be always the same (apparent from the stuff that's appeared on the trolley): bottled drinks (mineral water, sweetened tea, soda), unappetizing chocolate bun, baseball cap to name a few.
We had to circle around Jakarta Soekarno Hatta Airport for another 15mins before finally cleared to land. We landed close to 22.00 local time. Out plane was then parked at remote stand and not at the gate. Soon, door 1L was opened for disembarkation. All passengers were then packed into a bus and driven to the nearest gate (which was another 5mins drive). There was no one at immigration lane and bags came quickly (despite no information of which baggage carousel on the screen).
Lion Air do attract a lot of budget conscious travelers for this route (both holidaymakers and someone who just need a cheap ticket home). However, with such poor inflight offering, boredom became the main theme of the whole journey despite one is flying on a relatively new advance plane. While other LCCs are trying to lure passengers to fork extra money to buy food, drink, and merchandise onboard, Lion Air seemed uninterested to offer this and this left as a missed opportunity. The ground handling at Singapore is the worst experience I've ever encounter in flying with LCCs.
Booking: Flight is booked online from the company website www.lionair.co.id At the moment, not all foreign credit cards is accepted as mode of payment. 24 hour before departure time, I tried their web check-in feature on the website. I selected seat 32A, a window seat at the rear of the plane behind the 4th emergency exit rows.
Check-in: I arrived at the airport at 1pm, just in time when the check-in counters open for 3.30pm departure. At that time, long line is already formed by the passengers and snaking around until the end of the check-in island. However, the line moves quickly as there are 5 counters open to handle all passengers.
One peculiar observation: passenger can negotiate on the excess baggage charge with check-in agent. At first, check-in agent seemed strict to adhere to 20kg economy class checked baggage allowance. But after some sweet talk, one can only pay half of the excess baggage limit.
Security: There is a short queue towards immigration as well as the security check before entering airside departure area. It was usual during the afternoon rush of plane departures. Another security check is conducted before entering the boarding lounge. This afternoon, flight JT281 is assigned to gate C6 at the satellite terminal.
Boarding: My boarding pass only indicates boarding time at 14.30. The boarding lounge was already opened by the time I reached there. At 15.00 the plane, a Boeing 737-900ER finally appeared at the gate and began deplaning passengers coming from CGK.
Boarding did not begin until 15.30. Boarding began by inviting passengers travelling with children and those needing assistance. As the plane load is not that full, the next boarding announcement is for the remaining passengers.
Inside the cabin, the crew apologize for the delay due to "operational" reason without stating in details what it is.
Seat: The Boeing 737-900ER PK-LJI (delivered Dec 2011) features all economy-class seats. There are approx 39 rows of seat in 3-3 configuration with 2-2 configuration in row 31 - the emergency exit row.
I found my seat 32A has the widest seat pitch - stretching over row 31 (there is no seat 31A) while 32F - the opposite window seat despite having large seat pitch but blocked by a crew seat. The only downside with my seat is there is no seat pocket and tray table.
All other seat features 30-31inch seat pitch. There is no IFE. Seat pocket is filled with a safety card and prayer card but in-flight magazine is placed sporadically, not in every seat. Passengers are not urged to bring home the inflight magazine.
Service: There are 2 cockpit crew and 5 cabin crew; one of them is a male flight attendant. Before taxiing to the runway, they distribute immigration and customs card for Jakarta. Shortly after take off, an announcement made that there will be meal and goodies on sale. There is no menu or shopping catalogue makes it difficult for passenger to make choice directly from the trolley - and it only passed by once despite according to announcement, sales of food closes 20mins before landing.
Cabin crew is then going to their hideout in the galley for most of the flight duration. 30mins before landing, they come in a round to collect garbage and 20mins before landing they conduct final check before landing.
Arrival: Landing was uneventful at Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport at 4.50pm. Deplaning was done from door 1L but it was quick. Baggage arrived a bit slow but I managed to get out from the terminal some 30mins later.
Verdict: The ticket is not the cheapest, but after comparing with the service, even taking European carrier which made stop for KUL-CGK route is more value for money given all the amenities and freebies. This carrier needs to improve on check-in agent, inflight service, and punctuality. Crew is generally courteous but expect nothing more.
KevMorris flew Lion Air Economy (29/01/2012 02:59)
Lion Air is a fraud. I highly recommend not using them. They find a way to overcharge you at the ticket counter and you end up paying the price of first class to travel economy. DO NOT USE THIS AIRLINE.
"Ultimate cattle class experience in the sky. If one thing's missing: it's the bumpy village road!"
Lion Air flight JT343
Palembang PLM to Jakarta Soekarno Hatta CGK
DPR 1740 ARR1840
Aircraft Boeing B737-900ER PK-LHH (delivered factory fresh from Boeing on 23 August 2010)
I was on a short business trip and need a flight back home by Sunday evening. There are quite a number of airlines flying this route, with 3 having evening departures: Lion Air, Garuda, and Sriwijaya Air. The first two compete on this route with 7 and 8 daily flights respectively. Wanting to avoid flying Jurassic 737 (Sriwijaya) or incur an expensive one-way fare (Garuda), I opted for Lion Air. This also happened to be my first flight on a Boeing B737-900ER.
As a local resident, booking can be easily made through the website www.lionair.co.id, however, if you wish to pay with credit card then this must be done 48 hours prior to departure time. Foreigners might find it hard to book Lion Air tickets unless they have access to a local travel agent in Indonesia.
Palembang's Sultan Mahmud Badarudin 2 airport is compact in size but everything was organized and immaculately maintained. This was the exact opposite of Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International which was chaotic, disorganized, and extremely dirty. As one enters the check-in hall, there is a security check for baggage. One can then proceed to the respective check-in counters. I arrived at the airport quite early for my 1740 departure, and at the Lion Air counter it still showed check-in for the earlier JT335 which departed at 1640. However the staff were willing to check me in and a boarding pass was given in no time.
As in other Indonesian airports, before proceeding to a departure lounge, you need to pay airport tax. At PLM it was done at a dedicated airport tax payment counter. You will be given a receipt with a printed barcode to gain entry to the departure waiting lounge.
All departure gates (both domestic and internationals) are on the upper level. There are few shops selling a range of goods such as specialty food, clothing, souvenirs, plus a few snack bars and cafes. The domestic gate area was separated from the international one. There are 2 gates for each, but both shared the same waiting area. To gain entrance to the gate area, one needed to swipe his/her airport tax receipt through the automatic gate. Attendants were available to help. My flight was scheduled to leave from gate A2.
While browsing the shop, it was announced that my flight (JT0343) would be delayed for around 15mins due to late arrival which was considerably better than the earlier Lion Air flight JT0335 which had more than a 30-minute delay.
The boarding time in the boarding pass was printed at 17.10 for my 17.40 departure. However, due to late arrival, the plane that was supposed to take me to Jakarta only arrived at 17.10. Inside the waiting lounge, there were 4 other departures beside my flight, all bound to Jakarta: A delayed Lion Air JT335, an ontime Sriwijaya Air flight, a 16.30 Garuda Indonesia flight which was delayed with no notice, and another Garuda Indonesia flight at 17.55 Hence, the 2-gate waiting area was packed with passengers for five flights at once: the waiting hall was packed to the brim. The delayed Lion Air JT335 was called to board first from gate A1 followed by Sriwijaya Air from the same gate. After which, boarding for my flight JT343 began from adjacent gate A2. Boarding was chaotic as passengers starting to swarm the gate as soon as the boarding announcement was made. Operating a Boeing 737-900ER in an all-economy configuration, Lion Air initiates boarding through 2 aircraft doors. Door 1L (front) for passengers seated in front of the emergency exit rows, others enter the plane from Door 5L. Seated in 17F in front of emergency exit rows, I entered the plane using a jetway through door 1L before being greeted by the stewardess. Passengers who board from door 5L need to descend down from the boarding gate and then climb up the stairs to enter the plane. The load for this evening flight was pretty good and most seats were taken.
Lion Air's B737-900ER was configured in all-economy class configuration (although some are configured in a 2-class config). There are 10 emergency exits with 4 overwing exits in row 19 and 20. Four other exits are in the aft of the cabin. I can see around 35 rows in a 3-3 all economy configuration which brings the capacity to over 200 passengers.
The lighting in the cabin was slightly dimmed. There was no “fresh aircraft” feeling despite it being very new at only 6-months old.
Seats were covered in dark blue leather with white seat interiors (i.e. tray table). Red leather head covers on all seats had printed advertisements on them. Seat pitch is 29-inch: not generous at all with this type of aircraft especially as they’re used to cross all over Indonesia, with some flights lasting over 4-hours. Slightly larger seat pitch can be found on emergency exit rows and much larger on rows behind emergency exit door 4. No PTV installed (and I don't think they will since the tray table are of an older style which takes all the space on the seat back). Seat pockets contain a safety card (if any), a magazine (on selected seat if lucky), an airsickness bag (if any), and much more rubbish. Clearly there is no cleaning during turnaround (shocking fact!). With 5 stewardesses to oversee 200 seats and a 40mins turnaround, they could at least do something when the airline doesn’t hire cleaners. Casting judgement on the appalling interior conditions of this 6-month-old plane, I quickly inspected the availability of my life vest.
I find it surprising that nowadays, flight attendants do not assist passengers with their carry-on luggage anymore. A gentlemen seated on the aisle in the same row as me had a bulky cardboard box and he just put it in his lap. I was about to advise him that all bags should be stowed but a stewardess approached him and asked him to put his box in the overhead bin. Rather than help, she just stood on the aisle and pointed out what to do to the gentlemen. It was like watching a teacher scold her pupil. I did not know whether it was because the general FA had slightly different non-customer oriented training, or because there is no hand luggage policy being enforced in any airports in Indonesia causing major passengers to carry bulky items on board (earlier, during boarding, I even saw a group of filmmakers carry 5 bulky items each inside the plane - clearly Lion Air has no enforcement on carry-on luggage) which hassles the FA.
FAs ran up and down the aisle to check for seatbelts and to close overhead bins prior to take-off and shortly afterwards a manual safety demonstration was conducted while the plane was heading towards the runway.
Shortly after take-off, an announcement was made regarding the selling of onboard food, drinks, and merchandise. No catalogue/menu placed on every seat, so if one needs something, he has to ask the FA directly. Most people did not bother and the cart passed by quickly. From a glance, I saw that the card was only loaded with drink items (no food) and a few caps as the only merchandise being sold. Very poor offering indeed (Lion Air should learn from other LCCs in this regard if they want to make money from in-flight sales).
No other service is provided. The FAs cared not to check on passengers as they were having their own reunion until shortly before landing. Not so boring for a 1-hour flight, but one would be doomed if he didn’t bring his own entertainment (e-reader, books, music player, etc).
No interaction at all from the cockpit crew. The cabin crew - 5 of them – were all in their young age and all seemed to be arrogant. The attitude is somewhat not customer-oriented (see story above) nor attentive and interested in doing the job. A simple example is during in-flight sales, both FA pushing the cart did not make any interaction to sell the products. They just passed by slowly hoping someone would call them to ask what's on sale. During boarding/deplaning only the FA stood by the door to talk to passengers while the others just stood on the aisle as if they wanted to say "this is my place, so what!?!" With such a combination of attitude, no matter how pretty, young, and attractive they were, I would simply rate this experience as disheartening.
We landed 10mins behind schedule. Plus, since we landed at runway 7R which was closer to Terminal 2, meaning that the plane had to taxi down the long way to Terminal 1B. A further 10 mins approximately was needed to cross the taxiway. Deplaning was done through 2 doors as in boarding; but this time all with stairs despite the plane being parked next to the jetway. One had to walk the long corridors passing a self-made transfer counter for Lion Air flights before proceeding into baggage claim.
As usual, baggage handlers at CGK showed their excellence in slowly delivering passenger's luggage. Despite the TV monitors in each baggage carousel, none were on to indicate which belt was for which flight. We had to look at the tags on each bag in the carousel to see where the bag was from. A rather messy operation. Lion Air staff and a superintendent just stood by without an effort to make announcement to passenger on baggage claim information.
I checked-in 2 bags - one cardboard box appeared first after waiting for 30mins while my small trolley case appeared in the last batch (after 45mins waiting) in a dire condition: it was wet with vinegar!!! A complaint was made to the lost & found department but no-one could give any solution. Tired and getting late, I drove home to report this case to the Lion Air call centre. Apparently, the call centre is not interested in handling such a case as well; they tried to give me the telephone numbers of the baggage departments at the airport, but none was active. Emails and phone calls to customer service went unanswered. In the end, the total cost to have my bag laundered is more costly than the ticket itself!
Despite their marketing campaigns in local newspapers, purporting to be the first to fly the B737-900ER, I found that the product was far from superior. I know that Lion Air is an LCC, but that does not mean it should compromise on the standards. The seats were dirty, so was the seat pocket and floor since no attempts to clean that had been made during turnaround; no wide selection of in-flight sales items (this is a source of income for LCCs too!) nor any effort made to print onboard menus and place them in every seat. Despite being new, the B737s were not being kept in an immaculate condition; surely it's just waiting for mishaps to happen. On the very same day as I wrote this article, a B737-900ER of Lion Air’s skidded off the runway at Pekanbaru airport; the second incident after another plane from Lion Air skidded the runway the night before at the same airport.
In terms of service, the crew is indifferent (read "The crew" section above) and the most disappointing thing to add to an already depressing experience was how the baggage handlers worked so slowly, ruining passenger's bag without compensation! Contacting the airline for solutions was a fruitless effort. Zero customer service indeed. I'm usually quite generous on giving the ratings, but with such a poor experience, I can't see any competitive benefits from this airline.