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Trip Report: Onboard a HAJJ Flight – Garuda Indonesia B747-400

Join me on a Boeing 747 Hajj Flight from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. An experience to remember for my whole life!


Garuda Indonesia has wet leased 2 B747-400s from Aquiline International (ER-TRV and ER-BOS) among other wide-body airplanes. Together, they're bringing over 100,000 Hajj pilgrims in just a month from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia.

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The journey started at Soekarno-Hatta Int’l Airport in Jakarta. 450 pilgrims checked in outside the airport and came directly to the airside waiting to board the Boeing 747. Many of them were first-time flyers and many were elderly.

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Garuda Indonesia CEO Irfan Setiaputra personally sent off the Hajj pilgrims on today's flight
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To speed things up, there was no boarding pass, pilgrims were given a seat number with red on the left and blue on the right side of the plane. Once the engine had started, many pilgrims began chanting prayers for a safe flight.

The Boeing 747-400, ER-TRV have all Economy Class on the main deck and 26 Business Class seats on the upper deck.

Manufactured in 2001, originally for Singapore Airlines as 9V-SPP. It was retired by Singapore in 2012 and flew with Transaero Airlines in Russia before went to storage in 2015. In 2022, on a nearly impossible mission, Aquiline International got her out of storage flying again.

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a group of people on an airplane
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Cockpit and Flight

Captain Vitaly from Russia and First Officer Anton from Ukraine flew our Boeing 747 flight.

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Flight time to Jeddah was just over 9 hours. Only light to moderate turbulence were encountered on the flight. Our takeoff weight was 350 tons on the B747-400.

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Enjoy the takeoff from the cockpit in my video:


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A pack of candy were placed on every seat.
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2 full meals in disposable box were served on the flight. A choice of beef or chicken, with prawn chip, Indonesian snack and pudding.

Passengers were extremely humble and quiet during the flight. Many of them never used an airplane toilet before and need crew assistance.

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The Hajj flight crew were contractors who only worked for 2 months as Hajj cabin crew, nevertheless, they work with pride and honour as Hajj is a national event of Indonesia. They were extremely attentive to the needs of pilgrims ensuring they had a smooth journey.

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2nd meal was beef rendang or chicken with turmeric rice

Entering Saudi Arabia

Just before flying over Saudi Arabia, many pilgrims changed into white robes and the group leader started prayer calls at the point of Miqot where the pilgrims commenced Hajj. See video about the prayer calls.

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a group of people in an airplane

We landed on Runway 34L at Jeddah and arrived at the special Hajj terminal in Jeddah on time around 5:20pm local time.

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During disembarkation, it was a specially emotional moment with most pilgrims thanking the crew for taking good care of them.

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a group of people in a plane
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Trip of a Lifetime!

It was an absolute honor and privilege for me to join them on the flight. I experienced some of the most amazing human kindness from all the passengers and crew! Most of them waited and saved all their life for this moment, trip of a lifetime!

With the completion of our flight, stage 1 of the Hajj has been concluded with over 200,000 Indonesian pilgrims transported to Saudi Arabia making Hajj one of the mighty airlift operations.