Indonesia AirAsia QZ181 is a new flight plying the Singapore – Medan route, adding a new international route for Indonesia AirAsia to Medan and increasing the airline choices between the two cities which were previously served by just one full-service carrier and one low-cost carrier. QZ181 departs Singapore at 12.50pm and arrives in Medan Kuala Namu at 1.20pm.
Check-in for all AirAsia flights from Singapore is at Row 4 of Changi Airport Terminal 4, using the self-service FAST Check-in system.
On first look, the interface of the FAST Check-in kiosk looks exactly the same as AirAsia’s own check-in kiosks in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and India.
Looks like it might be same software, since the image of the AirAsia check-in kiosk is used instead of the FAST Check-in kiosk. The procedure to re-print the boarding pass is the same as the AirAsia check-in kiosk too – no need to scan your passport and choose your destination unlike the FAST Check-in kiosk.
Here’s my re-printed boarding pass from the FAST Check-in kiosk.
However, I used the one I printed at home.
After immigration and security screening, you have to walk through the main duty-free shops first, a little like Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.
After the duty-free walkthrough, you end up in the main departure transit lounge.
There are lots of seats to lounge around in this area.
However, I proceeded up to the Blossom – SATS & Plaza Premium Lounge to have my brunch while waiting for my flight – an option which was totally worth it.
Once done with brunch, some wine and a shower, I headed off to board my flight at Gate G14.
From the main “exit area” after the Peranakan Heritage Zone and where the Peranakan Love Story play is, well, played, you will show up at Gate G12. For gates with bigger numbers than that (Gates G13-G21 and Bus Gates H1-H8), turn left. For gates with smaller numbers (Gates G1-G11), turn right.
If you’re heading to the extreme right gates of G1-G5, there’s a little shortcut just after security screening, but that’s another story for another day.
As the plane arrived early on the previous flight from Padang, boarding for QZ181 started quite early too – more than 45 minutes before the flight and it was free-for-all since there wasn’t much of a crowd.
Scanning my boarding pass at the automated boarding gate.
Heading down the ramp to the plane.
PK-AZJ ready for departure.
A preview to another upcoming review?
The plane was still rather empty about 40 minutes before departure. Unfortunately, it was going to be a rather full flight.
The view from my 23D aisle seat.
The legroom on board Indonesia AirAsia’s Airbus A320.
See you soon.
The typical Airbus A320 washroom on Indonesia AirAsia. They provided actual paper towels, so that’s a plus point to Indonesia AirAsia for me.
While I didn’t pre-book my meal this time as I had lounge food already, I purchased a Malabar Mountain Coffee (Rp. 20,000, ~S$1.89) and a box of T&CO Assorted Cookies (Rp. 25,000, ~S$2.37 for 6 pieces in a box) from the on-board menu.
Disembarking from the plane at Medan Kuala Namu International Airport, which landed 14 minutes early at 1.06pm.
My first impression of Kuala Namu International Airport? Looks a little bit like Hong Kong actually.
Bye Indonesia AirAsia.
Heading down for immigration.
There were (I think) 6 counters open, with all of them stating “All Passports”, so it was a breeze with the whole process taking less than 5 minutes, unlike at Palembang where there was just 1 counter for foreigners which took forever despite there being just one international flight.
The Arrival Hall looks a little like Hong Kong too with the curved roof and bridges across.
With the early arrival and fast immigration, I headed off to get onto the 1.40pm Railink to Medan Railway Station.
Overall, Indonesia AirAsia was a very pleasant flight from Singapore to Medan with a good flight timing, an affordable and extensive buy-on-board menu of good quality, and definitely a great early arrival. Based on flight times and cost, this might be the best choice for the short hop to Medan.