The Garuda Indonesia Experience : Airline Review

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.

It was the first time, I was flying Garuda Indonesia, the official airlines of Indonesia.

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.
When morning flights land you into new countries!

 

As I entered the Mumbai Airport and checked in the luggage for my flight to Bali, little did I know that this will be one of the many firsts in my journey to Indonesia with Garuda.

If you thought this review is merely based on a return flight between Mumbai and Indonesia, then here’s a clarification : it is based on my experience of flying Garuda Indonesia a total of seven times throughout my Indonesia trip.

In 2016, Garuda Indonesia was ranked a 5 star airline, after years of continuos improvement. Here is my detailed account and review of each parameter as a passenger.

Food: 

Usually, the food lover and vegetarian in me is extremely apprehensive of the food served in a South East Asian airline. So I immediately grabbed a sandwich before the departure. It was clearly not a very good decision.

Why? 

Forty minutes post take off, when the crew served us the inflight meal, I was in for a pleasant surprise. 

I was face to face with piping hot Samosas, Chhole (chickpeas) served with buns and assorted chutneys. The icing was being served  Gulab Jamun at 12 am. 

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.
GULAB JAMUN!!!

Need I say more?

The food served on the Bangkok-Jakarta sector was also Indian (it was a pre-booked meal) – Parathas with Aloo Subzi and fruit yogurt with fresh fruits served separately. 

On the Jakarta-Bali sector, another delight awaited– pesto sauce pasta! 

Not once was I disappointed with the meals served on Garuda Indonesia.  And this comes from a person who has  never managed to complete a meal in a flight. 

The shorter flight from Denpasar to Lombok had a snack, the rest had meals. Beverages were served on all flights. 

On the Jakarta- Bangkok sector, we were served chips with a mango dip, fresh salad, Baingan Bharta (brinjal) and spinach, while the next and final leg was home style rajma (kidney beans), Gobi aloo (cauliflower) with fresh salad and cut fruits.

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.
Honestly, no kidding the first time ever I got home styled food on a flight

The plate was wiped clean. A first ever for me on a flight. 

 

Service:

Somewhere between Jakarta and Bangkok,as I curled into my seat snuggly, post my meal, I feel a gentle pat on my head. She has read my ‘Thank you’ note , a small one that I left on the tray, expressing gratitude for their stellar service. 

This is how I felt about the service on board Garuda Indonesia.

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.
Garuda’s cabin crew has been winning the best cabin crew award since 4 years

I flew economy throughout and the cabin crew had no idea that a review is going to be done, hence I was treated as just another passenger and the experience justified why Garuda’s crew is rated as the no. 1 cabin crew in the world for the fourth year in a row.

The on ground service is impeccable too. At the Lombok airport, post Check in , I realised I left my jacket in the bus. As I sprinted out and tried communicating with the security guards, a Garuda on ground staff, guided me, not only did he call the bus back, but assured me firmly that I will not miss my flight as long as he is there. I was escorted right till the boarding gate by him and my heart melted at this hospitality.

The icing on the cake of my journey was when a gentle request was made to the ground staff at Jakarta for a window seat and I got the entire row to myself. Another first in any International flight for me. 

Flight timing and Boeing type: 

We flew Boeing 737 which departed from Mumbai at 11 pm. I felt the departure time of 11 pm is a very good time for an international flight as I could sleep 6 hours in a row on my way to Bangkok.

The seats were comfortable with sufficient leg room and each seat had a pillow and blanket for all passengers by default.

Seat configuration is 2-2 on the Explore branded aircraft (Denpasar -Lombok ) and 3-3 on the 737 aircraft.

Seat width is 17 inches in all 737 aircrafts and 18 inches onboard the A330 and 777 aircrafts.

Flights taken were:

Mumbai- Bangkok- Jakarta

Jakarta- Denpasar

Denpasar to Lombok

Lombok- Jakarta

Jakarta- Bangkok-Mumbai

From the above , all the planes were Boeing 737 except the short flight from Denpasar to Lombok that was an Explore jet.

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.
The Explore Aircraft from Denpasar to Lombok

Almost all the flights were exactly on time except the Lombok one, which came as a surprise even to local guides, as they say “Garuda is never late!”.

The Garuda Indonesia fleet (140 aircrafts) majorly consist of A330-200, A330-300,  Boeing 737-800 and ATR-72.

Connectivity:

Garuda Indonesia operates flights to over 133 destinations across 14 countries of Asia, Australia and Europe. There are approximately 500 daily departures from Jakarta, Denpasar, Medan and Makassar and the airline is well connected to Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Amsterdam.

Flights to Moscow, Los Angeles (via Tokyo) and Manila are planned to resume soon.

From Mumbai , the route is Mumbai- Bangkok- Jakarta.

UPDATE : There are now DIRECT flights to Bali from Mumbai! 

Garuda Indonesia will be starting flights from Mumbai to Bali effective 23 April 2018 twice weekly on Monday and Thursday. From 02 June onwards, they will be increasing the frequency to thrice weekly on MondayThursday and Saturday.

Currently, this flight commencement makes them the one and only non-stop carrier to Bali from Mumbai.

Economy class fare BOM – DPS  starts form INR 22,956 (USD 350) for sales now till 30 Apr and travel up till 31 May 2018.

Garuda Indonesia is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, thus helping them expand across Asia, Middle East and Western Europe. It shares a code sharing agreement with Jet airways of India.

Inflight entertainment :

Long flights need fool proof methods of killing time.

Garuda Indonesia’s in-flight entertainment comprised of a host of options including a variety of movies Hollywood, Bollywood, and local (with sub-titles), a great collection of music, games for children and  a whole lot of factual information for those who wish to know more about Garuda.

On most 737s, seat-back inflight entertainment is offered, while  all A330s and 777s have it.

Every seat has a 9 inch seat-back touchscreen.

What caught my interest immediately was that passengers to scroll through e-versions of past issues of the in-flight travel magazine. So it is not just the current print issue that you can read, but also the past issues.

The safety instructions are also displayed on the screen.

What you need to know: 

An entire terminal in Jakarta is dedicated ONLY for Garuda Indonesia flights.

You need to check out the signature cologne in the lavatories. A unique fragrance developed for Garuda Airlines.

The boarding pass has a code that offers you discounts on various retail shops for a week.

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.
Benefits!!

GarudaMiles is Garuda Indonesia’s frequent flyer program, which allows members to earn miles on domestic and international flights and has four tiers of membership covering GFF Junior, Blue, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels. Passengers can earn GarudaMiles, by flying on any of the codeshare airlines flights like Korean Air, Jet Airways, Etihad airways.

There is Executive class in almost all the aircrafts, with a spacious 2×2 seating, in seat laptop power supply, free Wifi and signature Indonesian cuisine. 

The Business class passengers have access to the Garuda Lounges at the airports.

In case you want Veg Asian meals, you need to pre book meals so you can be rest assured of being served veg food on board.

Verdict: I am definitely flying them again, now that direct flights have begun, there are lesser stops!

Absolutely pleased with the experience!

Garuda Indonesia is the official airlines of Indonesia and this is an account of my experiences being on board this 5 star airline.  
Disclaimer:  I was invited by Indonesia Tourism and Garuda Indonesia India for this trip to #wonderfullindonesia . The views as always are my own!
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43 thoughts on “The Garuda Indonesia Experience : Airline Review

  1. Okay done deal, you convinced me to travel only by Garuda if I want to travel to Indonesia which as you know is on my bucket list! Really good catering and hospitality changes the whole equation, doesn’t it?!

  2. For most people the best connection to make with your brand is through great food. I always rate airlines by quality of food they serve. If they fail here, well…..
    Happy to know that you enjoyed great Indian menu, Divsi!

    Keep sharing your travel insights!

  3. I would love to go with these airlines mainly because of the food. It looks absolutely delicious. In fact, I am so hungry now. I usually go for a vegetable options if possible 🙂

  4. Looks like a great experience on Garuda. Food looks delicious, which is always important on a long flight! I’ll have to check out this airline out if/when we travel to Indonesia!

  5. I think, from other airlines in indonesia who offer domestic flight, garuda really doing a great job. it comes with meals every time, the crew was amazing and vice versa. If I remember well, in 2010 Garuda was voted as the most improved carrier in the world. Garuda’s management certainly did a fantastic job and can praise itself as a 4-star airline 😉

  6. I’ve flown them once, about 7 years ago. In-flight service was fine, but one aspect to inspect is buying your ticket. First: the price of a Garuda ticket when seen through a booking website such as Expedia or Kayak is very much higher than you’ll get buying direct from Garuda. Second: their website was awfully flakey, especially when it comes to payment. They had a million ways to pay, most involving bank transfers or ATM machinese in which you get a receipt, then take it to the airport. I hope things are better now–did you have any trouble paying?

  7. The airplane food looks yummy! (I actually like eating the food on flights haha). I never made it to Indonesia while I was over in Asia, so I didn’t have a chance to fly with this airline. I actually have never heard of it before.

  8. The food on Garuda Indonesia airways looks pretty darn good for airplane food! The tropical fresh fruit cup looks super tasty. And I really love that they have their own signature cologne in the restrooms – very unique. Other airlines should perhaps follow suit. Thanks for the informative review! I look forward to flying with them one day.

  9. Wow, indeed the best cabin crews for giving importance always for their passengers. The food served looks so yummy. Well, if I will be served with these kind of foods, I can eat them all and will definitely leave a clean tray. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I have to admit, for airline food, the photos do make the food really yummy compared to a lot of other airlines. This airline does look like one of those I would want to fly one if I ever get to Indonesia. Great review.

  11. Thanks for the informative review! I almost always book exclusively on price, but it’s good to know that Garuda is a solid choice for SE Asian flights! I’d never heard of them before, so this was super helpful. The food does look delicious! 🙂

  12. I honestly didnt even know Indonesia had an airline but I can tell you I am sold on the food alone. I suppose i took an international flight fro the states into Bali but did not island hop – which is my dream to go back!

  13. I had recently flown Garuda 45 days back, and I too hold them in good esteem. Its so nice as a vegetarian to get some variety on an international trip going far east. Your photos of the food indeed is making me happy, as though its in front of me. I flew Garuda on the Singapore-Jakarta route and loved them because they looked more premium than the earlier airline I flew (Jet Airways). Good veg food and window seat should be enough to keep travellers happy :-). I also liked their in-flight entertainment system and caught up on an Indonesian movie which taught me about a new place to explore (Labuan Hati). General feel good factor on the airline!

  14. Garuda Indonesia Airlines looks like quite nice option. Food and hospitality are the important ingredients for flight and here food and hospitality both looks quite awesome. Entire terminal for Garuda airlines, that is just superb. Discounts mentioned on the boarding pass, cool! Nice review and pictures.

  15. I’m sold! Honestly, the food descriptions alone got me! As a veggo, it’s hard to get good in flight food and that looked almost like restaurant fare. Bon appetite 😉

  16. I really appreciate this post because I was skeptical about flying Garuda in the past. I have flown them once, short flight so I didn’t get a chance to experience it like you have. Wow, the food looks great, entertainment, service – it has it all, this post has changed my view. Thanks!

  17. I’ve never actually heard of Garuda, I would definitely give them a try, though. Their food looks absolutely delicious – the food on flights is very important to me. Haha. I’m glad to hear that the service is great as well. This is definitely an airline to consider the next time I travel in the region!

  18. I hadn’t heard of this airline but it looks like I’m missing out! Heading to Indonesia this year so will need to look into it. The food looks amazing for aeroplane meals!

  19. Wow! Sounds like an amazing airline. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of them before. The meals definitely seem exceptional!

  20. Have never flown Garuda Airlines but by the look of it flying with them seems to hold the promise of safe and comfortable fights. I am impressed by the quality and range of food. Not many airlines have this kind of variety in terms of vegetarian meals. The seats and the aisle and leg space seems pretty comfortable too.

  21. 7 times with the same airlines – definitely it might have something very special. The meals look great and hardly any airlines these days offer good food. Thank you for writing such an honest review. I would definitely love to fly with Garuda sometime. The pictures are lovely.

  22. Haha, who doesn’t have midnight craving for gulab jamun. I am surprised to see that samosa and other Indian food was available on Garuda flight! I prefer reading on flights. However, if there are good selection of in movies on board, I don’t mind watching them. Good to see that you can read past issues of the magazines as well.

  23. I never flew through Garuda but loved the services provided by them. Vegetarian food with Indian choices are amazing. Samosa and Gulab Jamun on flight is like a treat. Hopefully they start direct flights from India to Bali which must be time saving for all travelers.

  24. I am actually planning a trip to Indonesia and I sure will check out Garuda. It seems you have been having a great time on this flight. The food platter in particular impressed me too. because just like you, I am never able to wipe my plate clean on a flight!

  25. Very nice review with attention to every detail. Food and onboard entertainment options are pretty impressive. You certainly had a great flight with them. ☺️👌

  26. Living in Singapore, I’ve heard of Garuda quite a lot but I did not know that they offered such good service and food. I’ll try it out someday, thanks for sharing!

  27. Hi, thank you for your pleasant review. We are about to fly Garuda airlines for the first time, should we be selecting Veg Hindu meals or Veg asian meals for a pure vegetarian? thank you for your help and suggestion

    1. Hi Karan! Happy you liked the review.
      As a pure vegetarian both Asian veg meal as well as veg Hindu meal don’t have eggs or meat.
      Veg Hindu meal is likely to have Indian specialties like Chole, Samosa chutney whereas Asian veg meal would have oriental options like noodles. You can book as per your preference. But both are without meat and eggs. Hope this helps! Have a great trip!

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