Garuda Indonesia A330 Business Class Flight Review
Since we started this blog almost 2 years ago, we’ve taken a lot of business class flights. One of the better flights was in Garuda Indonesia Business Class, so we thought we’d go back and review it again with 2 more years of experience and background. Enjoy!
In March of 2014, Garuda Indonesia became the 20th member of Skyteam, and with that opened up a large route network throughout Asia and Oceania for redemption using miles for all Delta SkyMiles members.
Garuda went through a major re-branding and image revival in 2009/2010, improving their service, reputation, livery, crew, uniforms, and more, attempting to reinvent themselves as an airline and company. Despite that, and despite being a member of Skyteam for over a year, calling Delta agents usually results in a “What’s Ga-ruddah?” response? The first agent claimed they didn’t exist, and the second agent had to be convinced to visit the SkyTeam website to see that they indeed were a member!
We headed out of the Qantas lounge (the lounge they use in Melbourne) we headed towards the boarding gate to experience the Garuda A330 firsthand.
We quickly boarded the plane and were greeted by two wonderful flight attendants, who bowed to welcome us and shown to our seats. After we sat, they bowed again and thanked us. As you can see, there was another pair of passengers in the back row, but other than them, and the two in front of us, that was it. 30 seats and only 6 occupied, almost like having your own private cabin! No wonder there was lots of availability using delta miles 🙂
It didn’t take but just a couple of seconds for the flight attendant to come over and offer champagne and orange juice. Literally, seconds.
Skytrax has awarded Garuda the 5 star award for its excellent service and product, and after this flight, I can certainly see why.
It was a little odd having the entire plane walk by us as we were seated, offered champagne, and delivered menus, but I suppose the bright side was that the plane was only half full, so it wasn’t TOO many many people that were forced to walk through business class.
The Dining Experience
Here’s a glance at their really expansive menu. Just the drinks alone encompassed 7 pages.
Take off was quick, and just as soon as the seatbelt sign got turned off, our tables were prepped with some more champagne and an olive based appetizer.
With our palette was cleansed, the real service began. Just check out the silverware, china, and table settings!
The linen tablecloth was a nice touch, and the glass plate on the left was certainly unique. Most airlines just use simple white china, but I give an extra kudos to Garuda for keeping an awesome design!
Check out the presentation of the soup… even Emirates just brings you the soup to your seat.
For the main I ordered the shrimp curry with rice, and not only did the dish taste outstanding, but the presentation was a 10/10 and the portion size was just right.
How about something a little local for dessert? Pandan flavored pannacotta with a raspberry coulis and vanilla cream. WOW.
About two hours into the flight I was getting a bit hungry, as the food prepared before was good but I wanted to try some new food options. Also, I figured that if I wanted to have some real Indonesian style street food (without the risk of getting diarrhea) then I should eat it on the plane and not on the street. I decided to go for the Nasi Goreng (fried rice) with chicken, and was glad that I did. It was a great way to get a taste of the region, without the requisite charcoal pills.
If you haven’t tried Indonesian Coffee yet, you need to. We go out of our way to find it and buy it whenever we can, because it was just so damn good!
I can see why Skytrax gave them a 5 star award. Never once did we ever feel like we were a nuisance or a bother to them. On the contrary, they wanted to make sure that we knew that they were there to take care of us for whatever we needed to make the flight more enjoyable.
The Arrival Experience
Once we landed, the flight attendants held back the economy class passengers until the 6 business class passengers could deplane. I wish that this happened more often, as it truly is a nice distinction that sets a lot of the foreign carriers apart. We’ve had that on Emirates, ANA, Korean, even Amtrak did it when we got to Canada!
Once you clear immigration there is a Garuda waiting area for premium class passengers. just approach the helpful Garuda employee, hand over your luggage tags, and enjoy the air conditioning
There are a lot of business class products in the world, and a heck of a lot of competition. Garuda doesn’t get much love, probably because their route network currently doesn’t have any flights to the USA. That’s about to change however, as Garuda is going to start flying between Jakarta and Los Angeles via Tokyo. The word was to have that route started in April, but we’re still waiting to get final confirmation of the exact date.
The service? 9/10. It was non intrusive and incredibly attentive. They were always there when you pushed the call bell, and the glasses were never empty. Why not a 10/10? It still did feel very scripted, but not so much that it became robotic.
The Food? 9/10. Admittedly, I’d never thought of Indonesian food as gourmet, but these guys took it to the next level. Every morsel was perfectly prepared and the presentation was amazing.
The Seat? 7/10. While it was comfortable for sitting, we didn’t have a chance to try out the sleep feature as it was a daytime flight. The seats were roomy and cushy, and they did lie angle flat instead of fully flat. There is a different Garuda product that is fully lie flat, so if you can get that on the A330, grab it!
You can easily find Garuda availability by searching on Delta’s website, as they now show full availability. Give yourself an awesome flight experience and try Garuda the next time you’re in SE Asia!