After the spectacular trek through Komodo National Park on Rinca Island, we had to hustle back to Labuan Bajo for the return flight.  The tour booked me on Nam Air.  Like Wings Air, I’d never heard of this airline much less flown it previously.  NAM Air is a subsidiary of Indonesian airline Sriwijaya Air.  NAM Air began service in 2013.  Its fleet consists of 10 737-500s and 5 ATR 72-600s.

But doing and experiencing things for the first time is a big part of the fun of traveling.   I looked forward to this flight. Unfortunately, chances were good I would miss it.

Posts about the Bali trip:

Korean Air 747-8i Upper Deck Business (Prestige) Class – Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Seoul/Incheon, Republic of Korea (ICN)

Korean Air A330-300 Business (Prestige) Class – Seoul/Incheon, Republic of Korea (ICN) to Denpasar, Indonesia (DPS)

Hotel Review – The Stones Hotel, Legian, Bali, A Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel

Wings Air ATR 72-500 Economy Class – Denpasar, Indonesia (DPS) to Labuan Bajo, Indonesia (LBJ) 

Komodo National Park, Rinca Island, Indonesia – Trip Report

My Worst Ever Travel Mistake –  Qantas 737-800 Denpasar, Indonesia (Bali) to Sydney, Australia 

NAM Air Flight 665 was scheduled to depart at 17:00.  Our boat didn’t reach the dock at Labuan Bajo until after 16:30.  Fortunately, in a town of less than 2,000, traffic is not a problem.  A mad dash to the airport had me walking into the terminal at about 16:45.

Nam Air check in at Labuan Bajo.

I wasn’t terribly concerned, though, for two reasons: (1) the tour would be responsible if it did not get me back in time for the flight, and (2) Komodo Airport is small enough that it takes only a couple of minutes  to clear security and get to the gate.

NAM Air (IN) Flight 665 Labuan Bajo, to Denpasar, Indonesia

Equipment:  737-500

Great circle distance:  323 statute miles

Scheduled flight time:  45 minutes

Class of Service:  Economy 

Actually, I had nothing to worry about.  The flight was delayed.  I took a seat.

One large waiting area serves all four gates.  I searched and searched but found no electrical outlets.

Facilities in the airport are obviously new. On the upper level by the gates there was a gift shop and a snack bar.  There was no WiFi.  The gift shop was closed.  That was disappointing because I had planned to buy some small souvenirs.  If there was a gift shop at Komodo National Park, I missed it.

NAM Air reps expected a one-hour flight delay.  Surprisingly, they provided refreshments while we waited.

Nam Air goodie bag. I was impressed this airline went to such lengths to accommodate customers during a fairly short delay.

During the delay, I asked one of the reps at Gate 3 about changing my seat to an exit row.  Done.  No problemo.  No charge.

I’m continually surprised at how easy it is to score an exit row seat on many  Asian airlines.  Airline websites usually block selecting exit row seats.  Unless the flight is full, exit row seating is almost always available at check in or at the gate.  I’ve never paid a charge for an exit row seat.  Perhaps it’s just my charming personality and good looks.

Boarding began at 18:18.

Boarding via forward and aft airstairs. Using two doors seems to cut boarding time by more than half.

Nam Air 737s have eight “Executive Class” recliner seats in first class and 112 economy seats arranged 3-3.  There was no power or in-flight entertainment.  Although some Sriwijaya Air planes have WiFi, there was no service on this flight.

Executive Class recliner seats in the forward cabin.
Nam Air designates seats with extra leg room at the front of the economy cabin “Golden Seats.”

Best Economy Seat on the Plane

I didn’t have a “Golden Seat.”  I think my seat was just as good if not better.

Seat 11A, exit row, port side.

Not only does 11A have significantly more legroom than standard economy seats, the seat to the left is missing providing even more personal space.  This arrangement restricts downward views through the window.  That is the only drawback.  Other than a “Golden Seat” in Executive Class perhaps, Seat 11A and 11F are the best economy seats on the plane.20190418_010134

This flight was maybe 2/3rds full.  I was the only person sitting in the port side exit row.

We even had pre-departure service.  Flight attendants passed out small mints.

Takeoff on LBJ’s lone runway, Runway 17/35, was to the north at 18:36.  Twelve minutes later, flight attendants passed out a light snack.

Water and a paste filled sandwich

I can’t say the sandwich was tasty.  At least NAM Air provided something.  For a 737 flight scheduled for 45 minutes gate-to-gate, even limited service is impressive.  After serving and clearing the snack, the super efficient flight attendants took a cart through the aisle selling duty-free type items.

That was the whole flight basically.  Short and sweet.  Otherwise, I enjoyed the sunset and checked out the flight magazine.20190417_09070720190417_090203

All planes on this airline can operate out of Komodo Airport.  And all planes have names.  All airlines should follow that practice.

The tour bought my ticket so I’m unsure of the cost.  However, NAM Air one-way economy fares for this flight are generally available for under $90.

Overall Impression

This was a great flight despite the delay.  Refreshments during the delay of just over one hour, pre-departure service in coach, and a snack on a 45-minute flight are above and beyond what 99% of airlines do.  The airplane interior was in good shape, and service from the flight attendants was pleasant and highly efficient.  Any airline that names its airplanes rates highly in my book.  Highly rated Bangkok Airways calls itself “Asia’s Boutique Airline,” but NAM Air might give it a run for the money.  I’d love to fly this airline again.