Mandala Air is one of the oldest national Indonesian airline companies. They have been in existence since 1967 and last year had the unfortunate event of one of their planes going down, causing 147 people to lose their lifes. After that Mandala scrutinely inspected all their aircrafts and has been trying to overcome the bad experience it had.
Checking in at Sukarno Hatta, the counter employees are surprisingly friendly. In their dark blue uniforms they look distinguished and not as cheap as some of their rival low cost airlines. The flight is supposed to leave at 13.50 but with the usual Indonesian jam karet (rubber time), boarding only starts at 13.45. No need to stress out though, after boarding we are on our way to the run way in no time. The seats in this Boeing are divided in two rows of three, and are rather comfortable. Also, leg room is spacious compared to other aircrafts.
After the necessary safety instructions it's ready for take off. Once in the air, the on board service supplies all passengers with a small cardboard box with a cup of water and three different cakes that are not bad tasting at all. Again service is friendly, the employees look fresh and in a good mood. Flight information is provided on several occasions, and the English version is for a change understandable enough.
As far as entertainment goes, there is no inflight magazine to keep you occupied during the flight, but flight attendents go around with several Indonesian newspapers, but none of them in English. There is also the possibility to buy some duty free products such as perfumes and watches or Mandala related merchandise, if you forgot to bring your wife a gift.
After one and a half hour the landing procedures bring us closer to the ground and end our flight with Mandala as smoothly as it began. Overall a satisfactory experience, the staff was friendly and professional and the comfort level in the aircraft was remarkably better than expected. It's a miracle what a few inches of leg room can do for the flight duration and comfort level.
Mandala has a professional and experienced outlook, which it portrayed clearly during this flight.