My last flight on Garuda was way back in 1983, when Garuda still had its red and orange livery. I remember boarding their 'brand new' B747-200 from Singapore to Frankfurt via Abu Dhabi as Garuda used to transit most of their Europe bound flights in Singapore.
Fast forward to 2015, Garuda today has a new livery, beautiful new cabin crew uniforms, but a limited European network. I was excited to fly the new 5 star award Garuda to Bali, and experience for myself if they are really worthy of this Skytrax accolade.
Garuda operates out of Changi Airport T3, and is handled by DNATA (formerly CIAS). I arrived in T3 two hours before my flight as I had some lounge vouchers that had to be used before they expired.
As I had already checked in online the day before, the check-in was completed in less than 5 minutes from the time I joined the queue.
Time to check out the lounge. I decided to check out the SATS Premier lounge in Terminal 1 with my lounge voucher this time round as it had just been renovated. I was sorely disappointed…like most lounges in Changi, the only view this lounge has was a corridor leading to the transit area. Food and beverages was mediocre at best.
It was time to head back to Terminal 3 for my flight to Bali! Gate A3, post-security checks. It was going to be a full flight today!
Garuda's new 737-800 with the new Boeing Sky Interior.
I must confess that I was very impressed by Garuda's choice of cabin colours. It exuded a very warm and cozy ambience.
A pre-departure welcome drink in Economy… I don't know of any airline that offers this nowadays. There was no hot/cold towels offered though…
Push back, safety video and take off!
Touch screen IFE, with a decent selection of on-demand movies, TV shows and audio. This aircraft was equipped with the latest entertainment system and programme. The older 737-800s (also with Sky Interior)on my DPS-SIN flight had a slightly different interface and fewer movie and TV selection even though the IFE hardware looked identical.
Lunch was served on Garuda's old serviceware. New servicewares are used on their long and medium haul flights since early 2015. Two choices were offered: Seafood or Chicken. No bread rolls were offered, and there was no coffee/tea run after the meal. The meals look better than they tastes. Service was efficient, but the cabin attendants offered little smiles and spoke English with thick Indonesian accents that made it a little difficult to understand at times. Nonetheless, I must say that they were rather well groomed, and looked gorgeous in their uniforms.
We started our decent into Bali soon after the meals were cleared.
Checked into the Hard Rock Hotel Bali and was upgraded to the Deluxe Premium room. Service in HRH was great, although the buffet breakfast offering was limited and not of top quality.
Thank you for reading my report.
SATS Premier Lounge
Singapore - SIN
Denpasar - DPS
Garuda has improved on its hardware in recent years. However, in terms of the finesse of its service in economy class, it still has a long way to go before it can achieve the standards set by the region's major player - Singapore Airlines.
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