Singapore

Singaporeans finally board flight home

Mum, daughter travel 15 hours to Surabaya

After waiting close to 19 hours at Surabaya's Juanda International Airport, a Singaporean mother-daughter pair finally boarded a 2½-hour Scoot flight for Singapore, at 7pm Indonesian time yesterday.

Ms Rukzana Hamid, 36, and her 15-year-old daughter Nur Humairah, had been caught up in the chaos that followed the eruption of Bali's Mount Agung.

They were on the island for a holiday.

But the temporary closure of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport, 60km from the volcano, meant they had to make a tough 15½-hour journey from the island to Surabaya to try to get a flight back to Singapore.

They had to contend with traffic jams caused by flooding as well as a 10½-hour car ride with no toilet breaks and no sleep for Ms Rukzana.

The pair had been on holiday since Nov 24 and were scheduled to return to Singapore on Nov 29 on a Scoot flight. But the Bali airport was closed on Monday and Tuesday and reopened only on Wednesday.

Said Ms Rukzana: "Scoot told us they were clearing the backlog of passengers from Monday and Tuesday and could not put us on a flight from Bali to Singapore anytime soon."

She said they were told it would be better at Surabaya airport, so they got the Scoot staff in Bali to arrange for another flight with their counterparts in Surabaya.

Ms Rukzana arranged for her own transport there as she had heard some coaches headed for Surabaya arranged by the airlines had broken down in the jungle.

The car journey cost her $300 and comprised a four-hour ride to the Gilimanuk ferry terminal.

What followed was a one-hour ferry ride and a non-stop 10½-hour journey to Surabaya on a bumpy road.

Ms Rukzana and her daughter arrived at the Surabaya airport in the early hours yesterday.

She said: "I have not slept or showered. I wanted to keep watch and make sure the driver didn't go off-route."

TOURISM & TRAVEL