Review of Garuda Indonesia flight Jakarta Amsterdam in Economy

Airline Garuda Indonesia
Flight GA088
Class Economy
Seat 37H
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 16:40
Take-off 14 Oct 15, 20:50
Arrival at 15 Oct 15, 08:30
GA   #31 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 213 reviews
Phetoy6
By 7401
Published on 21st October 2015
Trip Report - Garuda Indonesia - GA088
iPhone 6 Wide-Lens Edition
Jakarta (CGK) - Amsterdam (AMS) via Singapore (SIN)
PK-GIF - Boeing 777-3U3ER
Economy Class - 14 October 2015
ETD 20h50 – ETA 08h30(+1)


Hello all,

This is my first trip report ever in my life (looking for feedback and advice!). I am so excited that I am reviewing my own national flag-carrier, Garuda Indonesia, on its current longest flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam. All in all, the flight was enjoyable, and I didn't feel that it was a long 17-hour flight (including the transit in Singapore). I fly from Indonesia to Europe on average three times per year, and I am glad that I didn't need to stop by Middle East and took the overnight flight instead. It was a lovely treat!

Disclaimer: I am an Indonesian national, thus this review might involve a bias of a national pride. My recent previous flights include Emirates and Qatar Airways, thus most comparisons are made towards these two airlines. All images/videos are copyrighted to me.

I arrived in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta three hours before departure time. Going through the drop-off area and finding a porter to help with my luggages for security check in terminal 2E were not a hassle. Garuda Indonesia's international economy check-in desks are empty. I checked through my final destination, which was Geneva (GVA), connecting with KLM's cityhopper from Amsterdam. The check-in took longer than usual (perhaps the leg package was unusual), however the ground staff was full of smile and efficient. I requested for aisle seats, and she gave me what I requested. She was lovely enough to give me priority tags for my checked-in luggages.

Check-in desks for Garuda Indonesia’s international flights
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The signage for international economy passengers
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After checking-in, I went outside of the terminal landside again to have dinner, to do Islamic prayers, and to say goodbye to my family who went to the airport with me. Exactly one hour before boarding, I went to the immigration checkpoint. The queue wasn’t long. There were five people ahead of me in the line for Indonesians, with less people in the lines for foreigners. I got my passport checked and stamped, and proceeded further to the airside terminal 2E.

The terminal was not crowded at all; the amount of people inside the terminal is acceptable during this specific hour. The light was not the brightest inside, that it gave me a very relaxed atmosphere. Although I got annoyed by the amount of commercial advertisement inside the terminal, which is humongous!

Jakarta’s main airport that prioritizes ads more than the flight information monitor, compare the two screens!
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Strolling around the terminal before proceeding to the gate for boarding.
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Something that I would like to criticize about this airport is the lack of smoking area in its airside terminal. The only area for smoking in terminal 2E is basically a café. Although it is written “public smoking area”, their gesture made me feel obliged to consume from their menu! For more on the atmosphere of the terminal, please see the videos below!

Going from the shopping area to gate’s security screening + smoking area.


Finding the gate, E5! Go for full screen for optimum experience! ;-)


And I arrived at the gate!
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After my boarding pass got scanned, I chose to seat in the more quiet part of the gate. This part was written “Sky Priority”, although after I asked it wasn’t really exclusive for the “Sky Priority” people. So I went. From this part of the gate, I didn’t get the feeling that the flight will be full.

The view of the gate from my seat.
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Capturing the new white ceiling of Soekarno-Hatta airport’s gates. It is not actually that bad.
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The boarding was five-minute later than the aforementioned boarding time. As usual, Sky Priority pass holder, passengers with special needs, and passengers who are traveling with children are given the priority to board first. This is followed by passengers with seats in the back rows, et cetera. What was really surprising me is the fact that the passengers were waiting until their seat number is being called. A very rare situation in Indonesia, where people seldom queue!

People are waiting diligently for their boarding announcement based on their seat number.
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And it’s boarding time for me! I remember I was super excited. The queue in the airbridge was fine. And finally I am meeting with the World’s Best Cabin Crew!

Excited for the famous Garuda Indonesia’s cabin crew’s signature greeting, and their smile!


Sat down on my seat 37H. I like the fact that I am pretty well placed, I was placed in the back row of the middle section of the Economy Class. I chose aisle because I thought it is going to be an overnight flight that I will see nothing outside. But the fact is the sun rose about three hours before landing in Amsterdam. So I was pretty disappointed with my chose. The sunrise seemed to be quite beautiful and could be a good photo material!

Boarding time.
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Leg room, pretty generous!
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And their famous Garuda Indonesia’s signature greeting!
PS. They put Dutch subtitle for the safety announcement, as could be seen in this photo.

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Welcome drink, a cup of fruit juice.
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Overall, my boarding experience was memorable because of the kindness and the great hospitality of the cabin crew. A lot of smiles! They indeed deserve the Skytrax award for World’s Best Cabin Crew for two consecutive years! I also appreciate that they gave the passengers the welcome drink right away with a packaged drink, so the passengers didn’t wait, unlike some others airlines that serve welcome drinks after take-off with their trolley. I didn’t want to wait!

Although, I hope for an improvement in the type of the drink; the cup fruit juice is Garuda’s old style, I remember when I was a child I was served the same thing I believe. A nicer packaging could do. And I wish they would pay more attention to details such as to provide a better quality napkin… the one given to me was so think and a bit crumpled. Also why not providing a warm towel? That’s my favorite part of a boarding experience.

Now it is time for take-off. One thing that impressed me the most is their mood lighting. Check these photos out!

Pretty cool mood lighting.
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Weeew… a lot of different colors!
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Something that bothered me was the fact that we, in the economy class, didn’t get the starry ceiling unlike the passengers in the executive class. :-) The take-off was very smooth. Once the fasten-seatbelt sign was off, I am checking out the amenities that they provided in this leg of Jakarta - Singapore.

A blanket, a pillow, and a headset. Loving the new Garuda logo!
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Since it is such a short flight, the cabin crew worked very fast to serve dinner. I am impressed with their dynamic yet their positive hospitality, always smiling! I was offered the choice between beef pasta and chicken fried rice. I chose the Indonesian dinner, chicken fried rice!

Dinner, leg Jakarta - Singapore.
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I was already warned that the meal service in Garuda’s flights wouldn’t be anything special. I could see from their serving/plating/traying(?), not impressive. They served the main meal, bread with butter, sweet jelly, and three slices of assorted fruits. Comparing with my recent previous flights, no crackers, and no cheese. The portion was not exaggerating, although I like the feeling when they exaggerate. However, I appreciate their economical portion, I didn’t feel overwhelmed finishing everything.

The bread is nothing compared to European bread; it was all right. The fried rice was tasty although not the typical soya sauced brown fried rice as I was expecting. The chicken was juicy! I don’t like the color of their greenish plastic cup. They need to learn from long-haul KLM flights on traying.

The flight entertainment was not the best that I have ever had either. Although it has many movies, most of the 110 movies available were not recent. The choices of TV series were old and extremely limited.

Not so long after dinner, landing preparation was announced. The flight was 30-minute earlier than scheduled, to arrive in Singapore. Landing was smooth, I heard some people clapping! We were told to disembark and bring all of our belongings, as the Singaporean authority obliges us to do so. Once we disembarked, the Changi airport’s ground staff was very swift in guiding us about what to do. We had one hour to stroll around Changi’s terminal 3 (a great cigarette break before the longest leg!), and were given a transit lanyard and an SGD 30 voucher! YES! An SGD 30 voucher!

The atmosphere after disembarking in Changi.


Seriously, this is the highlight of the trip. They gave to every economy class passenger, a 30-dollar voucher to be spent in Changi, for a one-hour transit! I chose to go further for a quieter area and finally decided to spend the voucher in Hard Rock Café. The voucher was too much for a JackD Coke, they offered me a glass of orange juice and a bottle of water as well! ;-)

Impressed!
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Arriving in the gate again for boarding, leg Singapore - Amsterdam.
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I entered the gate in Changi, after security and boarding pass checkpoints. Chatted a bit with friends that I just realized were in the same flight! I boarded on time, not after a long time waiting.

Welcome back, 37H!
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Welcome drink, a bottle of mineral water
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We were ready to take off, the same time as scheduled. However we needed to wait for 30 minutes on board for a permission from the Changi authority to start taxiing to the runway! Again the cabin crew was very spry following the captain’s instructions. Again the take-off was very smooth. Once the fasten-your-seatbelt sign was off, I am checking the amenities they gave me before taking off. A light snack was following.

Sleeping kit!
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The light snack, hot chicken bbq sandwich.
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The sandwich was okay-ish. Although I believe many people were not hungry anymore at that time. And I hate to see that crumpled napkin again. The crew was so fast to make sure that the passengers could start to sleep soon. Ten minutes after my snack was served, the crew started to clean up; it was just the perfect time. I went to wear the provided socks and slept beautifully for seven hours. Can’t believe it!

I woke up and found the cabin crew going around to offer banana and some fruit juices to the passengers. My first thought was “never saw an airline offering banana in a flight before”. This is indeed remind me in my country, Indonesia, where banana trees grow everywhere! Although I expected for some ice cream as they did offer a long time a go in their long-haul flight. I really think that the ice cream was a truly good touch, as KLM and emirates, both are doing it now.

It was written in their menu that there is a café galley in the middle and the back sections of the economy cabin. I went to check it out in the back section, just to find out what’s available. Came there and only found the banana and some cereal bars. The variety wasn’t impressive. Although I met with two cabin crew, a coordinator (purple uniform) and a flight attendant (blue) . We chatted a bit, and they are super warm!

Choices for café galley.
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The scene in the back section of economy class. Sssshhh…
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I conveyed to the cabin crew that I am going to make a trip report for the online aviation fans, they don’t seem to know about what a trip report is, and was a bit afraid of me! (LOL). I explained to them, but they were still unsure. HAHA. I asked to take picture of them, and they said, let’s do it later. Okay, I thought I will never get a picture of the cabin crew, which I think is a pity.

What I really appreciate from this flight is that, as I was seated just in front of the middle galley, I was quite afraid that the light coming from the galley would bother me. And of course they have a curtain! A good thought.

The red curtain.
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About 2.5 hours before landing, they turned on the light and announced that they will serve breakfast soon. I felt fresh already and was ready for another meal. And of course I chose for an Indonesian breakfast! Tumeric rice with beef! Yumm..

Menu for breakfast.
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Breakfast, leg Singapore - Amsterdam.
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The rice was awesome and very tasty. The meat was okay. And I left the yoghurt alone; I don’t think the yoghurt was selling so much for the Asian market (we just don’t eat yoghurt in Indonesia). Surprisingly(?), the have the same fruit cuts, I would fancy a different choice! The croissant is good, although not the croissant you would get in a French café. Again, their meals are not the most impressive. Although the portion is very good, not exaggerating!

After the meal service is over, I went to the lavatory but realized that I don’t have my toothpaste with me. Looking for the “free” toothbrush pack in three lavatories, couldn’t find it. Asked the cabin crew, and she said it is finished for now and apologize. Well… However, she came back to me about 20 minutes later and found a fresh pack for me! Impressive that she remembered my request and remembered me who asked for the specific request. Bravo! I thought the idea of not giving the toothbrush to every passenger is a nice touch, because not everyone would use it.

Another thing that I really appreciate beside the curtain, is the foot rest that helped me to sleep really well!

The foot rest.
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Prepare for landing
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Just during the landing preparation, SURPRISINGLY, the cabin coordinator approached me and asked “do you still want a picture of the cabin crew?” I was like “YEEESSH!”. And she escorted me to the back galley and gathered 5 OTHER CREWS! With different uniforms to take picture with and without me. REALLY THAT MAKES MY JOURNEY WONDERFUL! I am such a big fan of their uniforms, and really find they do deserve the title World’s Best Cabin Crew! Honestly.

The ladies that make the flight an enjoyable experience!
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It’s time to land, and I am a proud Indonesian.

Thank you Garuda!”
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We touched down in Schipol 25 minutes after the scheduled time, as we got delayed to take off in Singapore. Hope you guys enjoy the trip review! More pictures as a bonus:

The aircraft, PK-GIF, finally have a shot of the Garuda!
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Continuing my journey to Geneva, a view of Lounge 1 of Schipol Airport
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- Amri
See more

Verdict

Garuda Indonesia

7.9/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering6.0

Jakarta - CGK

7.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Amsterdam - AMS

7.9/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

A flight report of a Garuda Indonesia flight, GA088 from Jakarta (CGK) to Amsterdam (AMS). Indonesian hospitality at its best.

Information on the route Jakarta (CGK) Amsterdam (AMS)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 7 avis concernant 2 compagnies sur la ligne Jakarta (CGK) → Amsterdam (AMS).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est Garuda Indonesia avec 8.0/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 15 heures et 30 minutes.

  More information

14 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 148974 by
    TerryYong 40 Comments
    Nice to see GA's long-haul offerings! I will be flying the exact same flight next year, albeit only the SIN-AMS leg.
  • Comment 148999 by
    Benoit75008 7191 Comments
    Thanks for this nice report!

    Indeed AMS is one of few european destinations for GA.
    Economy class service seems to be very good.
    • Comment 327294 by
      Phetoy6 AUTHOR 7 Comments
      You are very welcome. I agree, as I said it is the presence and the hospitality of the cabin crew that made my flight a memorable one. Also perhaps with the new aircrafts that they have.
  • Comment 149002 by
    ADITYA 1 Comments
    Fantastic and In-depth Flight Report...Nice to see ASIAN/MIDDLE EASTERN airlines dominance in SKYTRAX.
    Surely fly with GARUDA some time in a year ahead.As you said in Trip Report Really deserves the Skytrax award for World’s Best Cabin Crew.HATS OFF....
  • Comment 149067 by
    tn92 173 Comments
    Really want to try Garuda one day. Being based in Singapore, I should have lots of chances, but till today, I have yet to experience this airline. Definitely looking forward to flying Garuda; even more after reading your very comprehensive report! Great pictures too, so, keep them coming!
  • Comment 149397 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 6858 Comments
    Hard to believe this is your first Flight Report ever; you really are a natural! A very good report with lots of good details and pictures. Garuda has really stepped up it's game over the past few years in all classes! There's been a good buzz about Garuda for a while now, and it seems they are deserving. A welcome drink in Economy is really quite rare--these little touches of additional attention and service are what sets apart the best airlines from the rest. Most airlines are focusing more and more on the premium cabin and squeezing in more and more seats in Economy class, all the while cutting service to cut costs, so it is nice to see when a carrier makes an effort in Economy class service.

    Thanks for sharing your first report here with us and Welcome to Flight-Report!
  • Comment 149727 by
    Quirrow 155 Comments
    Great report on Garuda, as an Indonesian myself, I like the direction of where the airline is going. Not many airlines offer a welcome drink nowadays. The growth of Garuda is also sadly hampered by the lack of airport infrastructure in CGK, forcing the layover in SIN.
  • Comment 150576 by
    NGO85 SILVER 2002 Comments
    Thanks for sharing this report with us and welcome to the site!

    From the amenity kits to the pre-departure drinks, GA is well-deserving of its strong service reputation. Interesting that you deplane in SIN and they didn’t make you stay in a quarantine zone.

    I guess my complaint about the catering would be that if you were only doing the SIN-AMS sector, you’re not getting two meals on a fairly long trans-Eurasia flight. They also lack a starter on both meals. That said, if you are going to as me to pick between service, catering, and comfort; catering is the first thing I’d let slide when picking a carrier.
    • Comment 331609 by
      Phetoy6 AUTHOR 7 Comments
      Yeah, that one hour tour around Changi was a nice touch. It is a lovely treat, as I know that Indonesians love to wander around and go shopping in a shopping-mall-like airport like Changi, as I enjoyed!

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