This morning, Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the ocean simply minutes after leaving Indonesian capital Jakarta, with 189 folks onboard.
On the finish of final 12 months, I flew with Indonesian provider Lion Air from Lombok to Jakarta.
It wasn’t meant to finish up that manner: I used to be booked to fly from Bali to Hong Kong, the place I lived on the time, however the late November eruption of Mount Agung, on the island’s japanese aspect, put paid to that.
We had been stranded on Lombok. The provider I’d booked with, Hong Kong Airways, messaged to say the flight from Bali was cancelled. Denpasar Airport was closed for 2 days, leaving 1000’s stranded on the paradise island.
I used to be on the close by island (it’s about an hour’s boat journey between the 2), having determined to not fly straight there as a result of a) it concerned a swap in Jakarta airport (and the air conditioning within the home terminal is garbage) and b) as a result of the choices for an onwards home flight weren’t that palatable.
However provided that flag carriers and full-service airways that will have transported us again to Hong Kong – Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia and Hong Kong Airways – had acquired chilly toes and cancelled a rash of flights, we went for the subsequent most suitable choice: Lion Air from Lombok to Jakarta, with a swap to Air Asia for the Indonesia to Macau leg. As I bear in mind, it was the one airline (alongside subsidiary Batik Air) working from the island that day.
So we boarded flight JT655, two days after we had been purported to fly from Bali. It was a Boeing 739, a narrow-body jet used to creating the quick hop from Lombok to the capital. The flight was effective: the air crew barely frazzled from having to take care of passengers stranded on account of Agung’s ash, however in any other case just about what you’d count on from a funds airline.
I used to be simply blissful to be leaving Lombok and escaping Mount Agung, whose eruption seemed like it might proceed to disrupt journey for 1000’s over the subsequent few months. Solely when skirting Mount Agung throughout northern Bali, moments after take-off, did I peer out of the window to see the the ash puffing from it, and it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t precisely prime flying situations.
Sadly, Lion Air is not any stranger to air accidents. In 2013, a Lion Air Boeing 737 overshot the runway at Bali’s Denpasar Airport. The fuselage broke up, however all 108 folks on board survived. Then in 2011, a Lion Air flight overshot the runway at Sepinggan Airport in Indonesian Borneo.
There’s at all times a threat once you fly, nevertheless minuscule. Even on airways which are thought of secure by Iata, the worldwide aviation commerce physique. For me it was both fly Lion Air with a lower than glowing security report, or wait it out in Lombok for the subsequent week. And I would make that alternative once more.