Review | Garuda Indonesia Business Class (Denpasar – Sydney)

Well, after an incredibly relaxing week in Indonesia, it was time to head back to Australia. As with the outbound flight, the return was to be onboard Garuda Indonesia’s Business Class.

Flight Details:

Carrier: Garuda Indonesia (GA)
Route: Denpasar (DPS) – Sydney (SYD)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Registration: PK-GPH
Cabin Class: Business
Seat Number: 10A
Date: 04/10/14
Flight Number: GA 714

Being the end to the holiday season, the airport was busy, and several flights to Australia – operated by GA, VA and JQ – were all due to depart at similar times. Upon arrival at Ngurah Rai’s departure terminal, I noticed it was incredibly akin to Hong Kong’s amazing Chep Lap Kok International Airport. The bridges from kerbside to terminal, the high arched ceilings and the view down to arrivals all resembled Hong Kong exactly, albeit on a much smaller and less amazing level.
After passing through an initial security check for checked baggage, we proceeded to the check-in desk. It was surprising to fin the desks fairly empty, and there was no one in the Sky Priority lane. As we approached, a ground staff asked where we were flying to, and we responded with “Sydney. Business Class.” Another ground staff muttered “Ohh, full”. I had no idea what he was talking about, though. We checked in fairly quickly and for the baggage was labelled with priority as usual, however GA was using their old “Executive Class” luggage tags this time. As we proceeded immigration, I realised what the ground staff was talking about. Garuda actually has a premium check-in lounge. It’s temporary, and so looks a bit out of place, but the whole lounge was incredibly packed. Very full in the premium cabins on that evening’s flights!

We headed to the Garuda Indonesia lounge, which unfortunately was temporary. There was very limited seating and a very small selection of food/ drink. This is because Garuda’s new premium lounge was still under construction, so I can understand how why the lounge was as it was. I am sure their new lounge will be incredible! I noticed they had a few seats with “RESERVED” signs on them. Only later I realised that this was part of Garuda’s First Class service. GA has gone all out with their First Class, only available on the 777-300ER, flying to Tokyo Narita, Amsterdam and London primarily. Unfortunately for the passengers travelling to Narita, their flight leaves at a similar time to all the Australian flights. As a result, GA reserved a few seats for their First Class passengers. They offer a meet and greet service whereby an attendant, dressed in a black uniform with golden trim, will escort the passenger from check-in to boarding. It was interesting to see these attendants bring in the Japanese passengers and help them relax in the lounge.

Garuda’s Temporary Premium Lounge
Boarding was delayed slightly, but after some time boarding was finally announced. There was a final security check (a brief bag search), and thankfully GA did have a priority lane for this check. It was still a bit of a mess, with several economy passengers trying to use the priority lane. Only one airbridge was utilised for the A330-200 aircraft (PK-GPH), but boarding was fairly speedy. I was hoping for GA’s new Business seats, however the old style seats were operated this evening. As boarding continued it was clear that the aircraft was VERY full. All but 1 of the rear Business cabin was occupied. The welcome and other formalities were a little rushed, but this was very understandable considering the flight was full and departing late. Pre-departure drink orders were carried out for the cabin, and delivered as we were at the gate.
As boarding wrapped up, the captain apologised for our 40 minute delay, and put it down to the late arrival of the aircraft. All the other announcements were carried out and we quickly made our way to the runway. I find it interesting how Garuda does the Indonesian announcement AND THEN English. Many other airlines do English first, but I think that it’s better to do the local announcement first! Love how Garuda did it!
Anyway, after take-off, the Business cabin was absolutely erratic for about 5-10 minutes. Everyone jumped up and grabbed pillows and blankets, deployed the bed and went to sleep. It was unbelievable how many times the call bells were pressed! There were constant dings for 10 minutes! Well done to the cabin crew for handling all that havoc so well.

After the cabin calmed down, the crew came to take orders for the refreshment and for breakfast. The stewardess addressed me by name, as all airlines do with Business/ First Class service. This is always a wonderful touch, as it really reminds you that you are travelling in a premium cabin on a great airline. Anyway, I ordered the Nacho Chilli Cheese for the refreshment, which was quickly delivered. It was a very simple dish, and had amazing salsa! Unfortunately, the crew didn’t give any refreshment towels/ napkins which are expected for ANY meal.


Refreshment – Nacho Chilli Cheese


Cabin Lighting Shortly After Takeoff
Following the meal, the lights were dimmed and I tried to get some sleep for a few hours. The bed is pretty much completely flat, and is fairly comfortable.


The Seat In Bed Mode
Seat Control Panel
The flight was fairly turbulent, and the seat belt signs were switched on for several hours. As with any case where the lights are on for long periods of time, passengers continued to move about the cabin and use the restrooms. It becomes incredibly inconvenient otherwise.
I absolutely adore flying, and this flight was too short! Very soon, the familiar but always mesmerising sunrise at 40,000ft occurred:
As the cabin lights were slowly switched on, the crew began preparing breakfast. The service began with warm pastries, juices and tea/ coffee. Before the meal, Garuda always gives passengers their famous sweet puff pastries (I am not sure what they are called). They’re amazing!
I do adore the cutlery and crockery GA uses. The plates and bowls are incredibly modern and stylish. At the commencement of the service, the crew lays the table with a table-cloth and places down a lovely stained-glass plate for the pastries and preserves.
Garuda also has an onboard Chef for premium cabin. The chef will cook eggs fresh onboard, and prepare all other meals for Business and First Class. It’s an incredibly nice feature to have onboard!


Garuda’s Signature Sweet Pastries Served Before Meals. They’re Very Light, And Taste Wonderful!



Variety Of Warm Pastries



Preserves, Surprisingly Packaged In Individual Glass Bottles…Perhaps A Lot Of Extra Aircraft Weight?



Breakfast Starter ➔ Porridge. Very Sweet And Tasty, But The Texture Was Not So Great



Main Course ➔  Garuda has an onboard Chef for Business/ First Class, who will cook eggs fresh onboard to individual liking. They were OK, but a little bland and cold. 


The entire breakfast service was fairly slow, but this is understandable given the heavy load. The crew managed to get everyone set up with breakfast, and left us quite a bit of time to eat. They delivered the breakfast in courses, as they do with other meals, which is really a great way of serving meals, especially for on an aircraft!
The crew were clearly under pressure on this flight. With such a full cabin, and a short flight, they did struggle to deliver the full Garuda Indonesia service, however, it was certainly above average!

Final Approach to SYD (Runway 16R)


Here are the final ratings:

Cabin State: 4/5
Seat: 4/5
Crew: 3/5
Food: 4/5
Ground Procedures: 3/5

Stay tuned for my next report on Etihad Airways from SYD-AUH for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

Until then,

Travel Safe.
Fly Well.
And Enjoy Your Journey.


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