For those that have yet to be told and to be honest I have told very few, I have been planning to visit England for Christmas and New Year to visit my family and catch up with some old friends, have a mince pie or two, a few fingers of whisky by an open fire and pull a seasonal cracker on Christmas day, basically try to have a 'normal' English Christmas or as close to that as normal. I am struggling still with Christmas in Indonesia because they dont have parsnips or Eastenders Christmas tears and so its not the same. Don't get me wrong, sitting in a beach restaurant Christmas night tucking into something like turkey with a glass of red wine and a live band on Bali is sheer paradise but I am yearning for some cold nights with lots of festive cheer and great decorations!!!!
Saving for England has been a nightmare as things have cropped up, but finally with enough saved it was time to part with my hard earned cash.
typical English family after Christmas dinner, tired and watching TV
Due to it being Christmas, everything goes up in price, the special offers are withdrawn so I was left with few options. Had I chosen to fly back to the UK 3 weeks later, I could have saved a fortune. But I did not want to do that.
Checking Air Asia out for flights to London, this was the naturally the cheapest choice and with daily flights also a good option. But, I have flown AirAsia around Asia. It is comfortable and simple but a 12 hour flight? No.
The flight from Kuala Lumpur is cheap enough but.... but here are the drawbacks
1. You have to fly to Kuala Lumpur from Jakarta and so that costs
2. You have to pay for the luggage in the hold as that is not included in the price
3. The flights from and to Jakarta from Kuala Lumpur do not match and with my experience of every flight I have been on with Air Asia is delayed s I would have to spend a night in a hotel before flying back to Jakarta
4. On board, the long haul you have to buy your meal, water, snacks, etc and for 12 hours thats a lot of cash for me
5. You also have to buy your blanket etc
6. With Air Asia you land at Stanstead Airport North London and further from my home. I also preferH Heathrow (Heathrow is west London, which is on the main motorway west, which is where I live, the west of England)
So a promise of a cheap flight to the UK actually started to cost more than it should.
Our Survey said too expensive and too much hassle
Etihad and Emirates were more expensive still. Direct flights from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur were also more expensive so I opted for Qatar Airways. You know the worlds 5 star Airline. Now, if they are anything like Emirates or Etihad then it will be a great flight.
For 4 weeks every day I checked the online price of the flights to London, I got prices from the offices here and all the information I needed. I checked with my mum back in the UK for costs of flights as she was a travel agent and so knows this sort of stuff and buying the ticket here was the cheapest option.
I thought I would have to exchange Rupiah into Dollar as that seems to be the normal thing here to do when buying airline tickets. My gf made a lot of calls and found out that I did not need to exchange the money but I could pay at the Qatar sales office in cash, rupiah cash.
The Sales office is on the 3rd floor in Grand Indonesia shopping Town somewhere I wont be returning too soon as it is so sterile and boring...and that's all I have to say about that (thanks Forrest)
I found a Permata Atm that gave out 100,000 rupiah notes and unlike usual I was pleased it did as it is easier to count and carry than 50,000 notes, otherwise 100,000 ph ATMS are pain.
Going to the Qatar offices to get this ticket I had envisioned all sorts of pallava, disputes, complications, holdups, etc so I braced myself for the worst.
I have checked my ticket 6 times since to make sure it is correct and it is.
I have to say that this has possibly been the easiest transaction I have encountered in Indonesia and fastest. So well done Qatar. It will be a while now until the next bit, checking in at Hatto airport and flying but so far great!