Review of Garuda Indonesia flight London Jakarta in Business

Airline Garuda Indonesia
Flight GA87
Class Business
Seat 9A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 14:20
Take-off 15 Jun 16, 21:10
Arrival at 16 Jun 16, 17:30
GA   #34 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 213 reviews
Razza_Pr
By 15121
Published on 20th June 2016
Hello again everyone! Northern Summer has arrived, and that means it's time for me to visit my bro and his family down in Indonesia again :D. I decided to fly with Garuda Indonesia again as I'm a member of Alitalia's MilleMiglia program, which means I will also earn SkyTeam miles, and also because Garuda now has a direct flight from my home airport of LHR to CGK.

Pre-Departure

If you noticed, on my last FR (which can be found here). I was very delighted with my choice to get a window seat in the bulkhead row of the main J Class cabin. I decided that 9A might offer better views than 9K. So I tried booking it through their website.. to no avail. So I tried contacting their social media team via Facebook and Twitter, and both referred me to their call centre. Rather odd, as I successfully blocked 9K on my AMS-CGK sector with the help of their social media team. So I called their call centre. Again, I was unsuccessful. The crew on the other side of the phone had informed me that I was only able to book the seat 24 hours prior to scheduled time of departure. What's the point of making it difficult for passengers to book their own desired seat prior to departure? I haven't the slightest clue. What's with the bureaucracy here? I do hope they change the entire process and just simplify it for passengers in the future.

Garuda Indonesia operates their 3-class 777-300ER aircrafts for their flights to and from Europe. And they have 16 flight crews to ensure things run smoothly. And personally, I like to give gifts to flight crews, as a way to thank them personally. :)
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I booked myself a car from my residence in Oxford to LHR. Factoring in the evening peak times from 16:30 to 18:30, I decided to leave 4 hours prior to scheduled departure time. 2 hours to get to Heathrow, and 2 hours to enjoy Heathrow after I check in.

Traffic on the Oxford Ring Road
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For about 90 minutes on the road, which built more than enough anticipation for the flight, I arrived at Heathrow.


Departure Airport - London Heathrow

Driving past The Queen's Terminal - Terminal 2. Star Alliance carriers (except for Air India, which uses Terminal 4) + Aer Lingus, Icelandair, and Germanwings.
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Arriving at Terminal 3. Virgin Atlantic's home ground, oneworld carriers + Delta, Garuda, Emirates, Iran, Pakistan International, and Vueling.
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Check in information screen on the outside of the building
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And upon entering the building from Zone G, you will be greeted by this sign
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Garuda Indonesia shares Zone G with several other airlines. But at the time of check in, there was only check in for passengers flying with Iran Air or Garuda Indonesia. There are ticket desks for both airlines in the check in area as well.

The check in area for GA passengers flying out on GA87 tonight.
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The nonexistent queues indicate a low load tonight. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they lack competitiveness against neighbouring airlines in terms of flight frequencies between Europe and Australia/NZ (they don't even fly to NZ at all). And on the other way (from Australia/NZ to Europe), they must first take a technical stop at Singapore because the runway at CGK isn't equipped to cater for a fully-loaded 777, which is rather inefficient for travellers. And then there's their rivals' schedule. The CGK-SIN-LHR flight leaves Jakarta approximately 20 minutes after the morning Emirates departure (EK369), and this Emirates flight in particular take a lot of Europe-bound passengers from Indonesia. On the SIN-LHR sector, it departs half an hour prior to Singapore Airlines' midday LHR departure (SQ318). Both Emirates and Singapore Airlines operate 777-300ER as well, which means Garuda in my opinions lacks USP here, unless perhaps they're trying to attract SkyTeam frequent flyers. There's really not much they can do unless the runway issue is dealt with soon.

For the ground crew at Heathrow, Garuda relies on Dnata. I strongly commend them for their efficiency and professionalism, and also delightfulness. Because there was barely anyone else there, I had 3 ground crews whom assisted me during check in. The lady behind the counter, the man who put my (heavy) luggage on the carousel, and the other man who checked in my other, oversize luggage. I think the ground crew really reflects how much Garuda cares for their passengers. Major kudos! I should've brought some extra chocolates for the ground crew as well :D. Maybe in the future.

After check-in, I was given a Fast Track card for arrival at CGK (which I don't have the photo of, my apologies), and went up to the departure level. I scanned my boarding pass to use the Fast Track facility for premium passengers at Heathrow and Amex Centurion cardholders, and made my way to the No.1 Travellers Lounge. It is a third-party lounge which also welcomes pay-for-entry passengers.

Information screen tells you which airline uses which lounge, for lounges F-H. I do apologise for the slight covering of the lower left corner. I was holding a paper bag as well, which contains homemade sandwiches
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Sign which shows which airlines uses the lounge
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And this is to ensure that you're not about to enter the wrong lounge
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Admission will mean complimentary food and beverages. There are several areas in which you will have to have a pre-arranged booking to get into (i.e. the Library. Quieter area of the lounge). WiFi is available throughout the lounge, with up to 3Mbps of Download speed.

Here is the à la carte menu from their website which matches the menu they had on tables that day
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And the drinks menu
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There is also a fully-tended bar, which offers a pretty good range of alcoholic drinks. I had ordered a Screwdriver which was also complementary. I enjoyed it along with the Asian noodles broth that I ordered from the delightful hostess.
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The noodles tasted ok. Not the best quality for a lounge food, but it did the trick. I rather enjoyed my sandwiches more, if I'm honest. Whilst enjoying my food, I also did some spotting. It was a pretty sweet spot as I got to see planes parked at the Terminal 4 parking bay, but my camera (I used an iPhone 5S camera to take the photos for this FR) wasn't able to zoom nicely without messing with the quality. Maybe all those falls did have an effect after all.

EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER, recently arrived from Taipei via Bangkok (and British Airways A320 in the foreground). EVA is the newest member of Skytrax's 5-star airline club, and well-deserved in my opinion.
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British Airways Boeing 787-8 being towed
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British Airways Boeing 747-400 being towed
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Qantas Airbus A380-800 being towed
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I didn't spot any Delta/American Airlines aircrafts, which I find rather odd, given their respective frequencies to and from London Heathrow. Maybe they used the other runway and were on the other side of T3?

Of course, corporate screenshot
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The buffet option
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The buffet option has a variety of salads with three available dressings; olive oil, French, and balsamic vinegar, some light bites. and there are soft drinks as well, namely apple, orange, and cranberry juices. Next to where I sat, there were 2 coffee machines such as the one photographed below:
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The hot water option is for the tea. Photographed here, alongside snacks typically enjoyed with coffee/tea, white and brown sugar cubes, and teaspoons. Inside the thermos is cream if you wish to add some in your coffee.
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Potato & Lemon salad with French dressing, and Mochaccino with cream and biscuits.
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The salad was very bland. I didn't finish it because I just couldn't be bothered to, so I spent the remainder of my time spotting some more.

Emirates Airbus A380-800 pushback
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Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8 in the distance
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British Airways Boeing 777-200/200ER taxi
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British Airways Boeing 747-400 wearing the oneworld livery
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British Airways Airbus A380-800 taxi
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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 taxi
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After checking the time, I noticed that it was about 15 minutes prior to scheduled boarding time. I had checked the display screen behind the bar, and made my way to gate 27. My apologies for the resolution. I was rushing
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Garuda's and other airlines' flights leaving from gates 23-42 tonight.
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Information screen in front of the entrance to gate 27
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After going through the travel documents check, I was informed by one of the gate agents that there is a SkyPriority seating in the waiting area. So I decided to make my way there and have a seat. Only.. Where is everyone?
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Very low load tonight, barely 50%. Most of the passengers were Indonesians living in the UK. Other non-Indonesian passengers were most likely burning miles or leisure travellers. I've seen many advertisements in London to attract tourism to Indonesia, and have also read somewhere that tourist numbers from the UK spiked very recently. But maybe only a small chunk of them fly with Garuda Indonesia, despite the fact that it's a direct flight, and typically cheaper. Now that the country's tourism board has done its part, maybe the airline should spend more on promotion instead of relying heavily on third-party travel agents and the accolades they've won. It's a shame, really. Garuda's hard and soft products are competitive, but their brand presence and perhaps geolocation are not entirely on their side, at least not yet. Their hub, Jakarta, isn't what I would consider one of the most tourist-friendly places such as Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, or KL. And their home airport, CGK, is certainly one of the least favourable places for a layover compared to the airports serving previously mentioned cities. Sure, it's clean and can be efficient, but it's not somewhere you'd want to have a longer layover at. You just cannot wait for your connecting flight to depart, and Garuda's flights from CGK to Australia are red-eyes. Which means 5-6 hours there. And what better way to spend 5-6 hours than to.. Well, it's too distant from the city for one to be able to leave the airport for a taste of the city, but there are no facilities in the airport to keep one's mood afloat after long flights. There is a new terminal being built, scheduled for completion in 20/06/16, but I'm not sure if that's only for Garuda, them and their SkyTeam partners, or all international airlines.

At 20:38, boarding process commenced. SkyPriority passengers were to board first because there were no families travelling with infants/children, and there were no passengers with reduced mobility. Perhaps if there were, the boarding process would've been different entirely. I was actually the first to board because I was about to ask whether or not the flight will be delayed, but instead they opened the door, and I had my boarding pass scanned. Made my way down the jetway and was greeted by name by the energetic flight attendants.
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Flight Details.
Flight number: GA87
Equipment: PK-GIG (3-class Boeing 777-300ER)
Scheduled departure time: 21:10 UTC+1
Actual departure time: 21:07 UTC+1 (pushback), 21:33 UTC+1 (takeoff)
Scheduled arrival time: 17:00 UTC+7
Actual arrival time: 17:32 UTC+7 (touchdown), 17:39 UTC+7 (at gate)
Scheduled travel duration: 13 hours 50 minutes
Actual travel duration: 14 hours 32 minutes (gate to gate)
Seat number: 9A (Main Business class cabin, bulkhead row, left window seat)


After one of them, Maria, asked for my permission to hang my blazer, she offered me a welcome drink. I OJ and gave her my blazer. Then I put my carry-ons on the overhead locker, and just when she came back with the drink (and hot towel), I gave her the chocolate and told her it is for the flight crew. Turns out I had miscounted. There were 2 more crews than I had anticipated. She thanked me profusely before going back to the galley.

OJ in champagne flute, and the scented hot towel
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View of the cabin from my seat
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Identical to Thai's A380, Etihad's A330, A340, and 777, it is a 1-2-1 staggered layout by EADS Group, the Sogerma Solstys seats. I like the dark tones, I find it very soothing and calm. It doesn't scream luxury, but that's because it doesn't need to. It's subtle luxury.

IFE screen and ottoman of the seat, with a blanket on the ottoman
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The IFE screen can actually be used from gate-to-gate. Although I simply chose not to turn it on until we are at cruising altitude. It can be controlled by the controller in your seat, but it's also touch-screen (a responsive one!)

View from the window
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Each seat occupies the length of 3 full windows. So that should give you an idea of how much space the seat gives you when it's completely laid flat.

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330-300 preparing to return to Colombo, with TAM Airlines adjacent to it.
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Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER preparing to return to Hong Kong. Honestly 1 of the only 2 oneworld carriers that I actually like, the other one being Japan Airlines.
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The mood lighting kicks in. This is to simulate sunset, I think


Welcome on board message in Bahasa Indonesia
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Welcome on board message in English
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It's nice that they're promoting destinations in Indonesia that they fly to. I hope to visit Bangka Belitung islands in late July when my brother can have some free time and I'll go with him and his family. But that remains to be seen

Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 seen as we're pushed back
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We began taxiing to Runway 27R on the northern runway, and I did some more spotting. Again, apologies for the blurry photos

El Al Boeing 777-200ER in the distance. Recently arrived from Tel Aviv as LY317
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Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600. Their main long-haul workhorse, slowly being replaced with the 787s. Nice change, as A340s are very fuel-thirsty, and 787s are very fuel-efficient.
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Emirates Airbus A380-800 with the Safari livery, recently arrived from Dubai as EK5, with British Airways Airbus A320 and Qantas Airbus A380-800 in the background.
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It's crazy that Emirates has 6 daily 3-class A380s between Dubai and LHR. Plus the two codeshares they have with Qantas, and not to mention LGW..

A closer look. Emirates Airbus A380-800 being prepared to turn around for its flight home to Dubai as EK6.
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Airside view of The Queen's Terminal
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Lufthansa Airbus A320 wearing the Star Alliance livery, arrived from Frankfurt as LH920
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Aegean Airlines Airbus A320 in the distance, recently arrived from Athens as A3608
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Avianca Airbus A330-200 being prepared to return home to Bogota as AV121
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Icelandair Boeing 757-200 being prepared to return to Reykjavik as FI455, Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800 being prepared to return to Singapore as SQ321, EgyptAir Boeing 737-800 recently arrived from Cairo as MS779, EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER from earlier, and Thai Airways Boeing 777-300ER being prepared to return to Bangkok as TG917
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United Airlines Boeing 767-400 just landed from Newark as UA934
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Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-300ER returning to Addis Ababa as ET701
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British Airways Airbus A380-800 preparing to depart as BA11 to Singapore (delayed departure)
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We were waiting for our turn to takeoff. After there was a Eurowings flight arriving from Germany, it was Ethopian's turn to enter the runway and depart. We came right after them, entering the runway only moments after Ethiopian can be seen climbing towards the skies of London.

Terminal 5 can be seen - no questioning who the landlady of Heathrow is
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During the climb, I took some more photos of my seat. This time, the IFE controller and seat controls
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In the smaller compartment is where the headphones and bottle of water are stored. When we reached cruising altitude, L'Occitane amenity kits were distributed to the passengers.
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Contents of the amenity kit include; eyeshades, earbuds, a pair of slippers, lip balm, eau de toilette, lotion, hair comb, toothpaste, toothbrush, and the card that explains what's in the amenity kit.

It's now time to check out the menu!


For dinner, Garuda Indonesia offers a 4-course meal. 4 options for appetiser, 4 options for main course, cheese board, and 2 options for dessert. Though I had chosen to skip the cheese board. Maria came to my seat to take my orders. I chose to start with the trout, and have the cod as my main, finalised with the apple pie dessert.

Afterwards, I reached to the in-seat compartment to open the plastic bag which contains the pair of headphones because I wanted to start enjoying the AVOD contents. I believe Garuda's system is called 'Stars'. However, to my surprise, the pair of headphones in my seat were broken. (more on the headphones later)
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Stars is a good system with new films installed. I won't get into the details, but PK-GIG certainly had June's contents. Click here to find out June's newest contents. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for its Music contents. I admit that there is a diverse range of genres and artists, however the latest albums may not easily be available. It shouldn't be too much of an issue if you choose to enjoy the inflight WiFi (US$21.95 last time I checked for the entire flight duration), but I chose to not utilise it anyway as my main goal is to let my body rest for as much as possible.

I then decided to hit up the lavatory to take some lav shots and get changed to a more comfortable attire.

My small backpack, which contains the essentials (laptop, phone, chargers, adapters, extra clothes, and stationery kit) placed on the folded-down baby-changing facility.
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L'Occitane toiletries, and Colgate mouthwash (the amenity kit is mine)
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Mirrors on either side
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In the top drawer is the airsickness bag
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And in the bottom, hand tissues
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Upon returning to my seat and placing my backpack in the overhead locker, I was delighted to see that the crew had replaced the broken pair of headphones with a new one. Water and amuse-bouche were served to my seat. Not quite certain what it was, but definitely something with prawns. I thoroughly enjoyed it
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Whilst waiting for my meal to be served, I plugged the new headphones in and started to browse for film options.
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I ultimately decided to watch Zootopia because I heard really nice critics about it and was not able to watch it in cinemas. To me one of the perks of being a frequent flyer (at least when I can fly good airlines) is that if I'm late for a hot new film, I can always watch it on my next flight :D. Also, I think it's nice that Garuda has multilingual dubbed versions of the film. Though I see no options for Indonesian dubbing, which I find quite odd considering it's where they come from.

And the subtitles are.. Mandarin, I believe? Do correct me if I'm wrong :)
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After the amuse-bouche saucer was cleared, Maria came to my seat again with a bowl of mixed nuts. Macadamia, almond, and cashew were the options
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Starter - Smoked ocean trout, served with potato salad and salmon roe

And after I finished my bowl of nuts, it was cleared again and my table was prepared. Maria came back from the galley with a tray on her hand and set down my meal (+ bread. I wasn't expecting that to be served).
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Thoughts: everything tasted great! The potato salad on board was better than the one at the No.1 Travellers Lounge by a world over. The spinach went nicely with the trout, tasted fresh. And the salmon roe was perfect. I must say I was quite bewildered and to some extent disappointed by the shape of the butter, as it usually is in the shape of a flower petal. Asian airlines tend to do that, and I personally like it when they do. It's a small, but very nice touch. Oh well, not like I'd touch the bread at this time of meal anyway. Again, I'd like to point out that the method of serving by flight attendants coming to your seats with a serving tray brings such a high level of attention to detail on how to make the service feel all the more personal. It's more of a hygiene factor for me than a determining factor, but when airlines serve food on a trolley that are no longer wrapped in aluminum foil, or even plastic cling wrap, the food can get cold pretty fast and consequently reducing overall quality. 10/10

Main - Baked cod fillet, served with lemon chive cream, grain mustard mash, and sautéed asparagus

I finished the glass of water and asked for some coke. She brought the empty glass and returned to my seat with the main meal and a glass now filled with coke.
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Thoughts: the baked cod fillet was wonderfully cooked, and the lemon chive cream complemented the fish perfectly. The grain mustard mash had a really nice flavour which had indulged my tastebuds completely. And the asparagus was also quite nice. Everything had excellent texture. 10/10

Dessert - Warm apple pie, served with caramel sauce, vanilla bean ice cream, and blueberries

After everything else was cleared, except for the glass of coke
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Thoughts: it had the bright, clean flavour that an apple pie should be. The blueberries and vanilla bean ice cream complemented the pie perfectly. Presentation was good enough to remind me that there's always room for dessert. 10/10

After my table was cleared, the on-board chef, Chef Freddy approached my seat to ask for my feedback on the meals provided on board tonight. I relayed onto him my thoughts on each and every one that I've tasted by far, and the told him my (perhaps unnecessary) concern regarding the butter. He then told me two things. First, the flower-shaped butters are usually served during breakfast. And the other thing I have to admit I wasn't expecting - was that he'd like to apologise for the dessert's lack of colourfulness. What? So basically, there were supposed to be strawberries served with it, but because it wasn't the season for strawberries, he decided against putting them on the plate. I can definitely understand how strawberries could've improved both the flavour and the presentation, but I told him how that was already good enough for me. Major kudos to Chef Freddy!

After the table was cleared, I asked for some warm milk. I find that it always helps me sleep better. Maria returned from the galley with a glass of warm milk, and a scented hot towel.
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What remains of the journey after dinner time
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After the rest of the cabin was cleared, the lights were turned off. And the starry-night ceiling effect kicked in. Always a nice touch

Ceiling view from my laid-flat seat. Right after I finished the film
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I slept comfortably for approximately 6 hours, and was woken up by the light turbulence upon nearing the west coast of India
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I decided to see what else I can do with the IFE. Turns out there's a 'Service' section, and so I opted to look further into that
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Oh, look! A F&B menu!
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Unfortunately, it's not available for flights to/from London
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Side note - they must really love Tokyo. Or Tokyo must really love them. From what I know, they fly between Jakarta and Haneda on daily A330-300s equipped with the latest J configuration on their A330 (the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone configuration), and between Denpasar/Bali and Narita on daily 3-class 777-300ERs (such as this one). They also have codeshares with ANA, which I think works really well for both airlines considering how good they are. I certainly wouldn't be disappointed if I had booked ANA and were seated in a Garuda flight, or the other way around. Amsterdam is also a flagship destination for them, as it is KLM's home base and they take advantage of it by codesharing with KLM on many destinations in the Schengen area. Denpasar/Bali is their secondary hub which has direct flights to Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, and Australia mainly attracting leisure travellers.

Anyway, there was a flight attendant casually checking to see if anyone is up, and whether or not they would need anything to eat/drink, she graciously asked if I wanted anything from the in-between fuel menu to which I politely declined. She did not just leave after that, though. She had asked me whether or not she could take my breakfast order now, which will be served 3 hours before we land. Of course I said yes! The dialogue went something like this;

FA: "Hello, Mr Razza_Pr, can I help you with anything from the in-between fuel menu?"
Me: "No, thank you. At least not now, maybe later"
FA: "Certainly, sir. But maybe I can take your breakfast order now? We will serve breakfast 3 hours before landing"
Me: "That's fantastic! Sure!"
FA: "Okay, sir, what would you like?"
(As she retrieved the menu from my seat, and I began to browse)
Me: "Okay, I think for the appetiser, I'd like to have the yoghurt, please. And for the main, I'd like the eggs. Omelette style, please"
FA: "Yes, sir, certainly. And what would you like to drink?"
Me: "I'd like to try the Mandehling roast, please"
FA: "Of course, sir. If there is anything else we can help you with, please don't hesitate to call us."
Me: "Certainly. Please don't hesitate to wake me up if I'm asleep and it's already 3 hours before landing."
FA: "I will make sure the rest of my team knows. Have a good rest, sir."

She left with a smile, and afterwards returned to the galley. I decided to sleep some more.

Breakfast Service

Sure enough, I was woken up 3 hours before landing just as breakfast service is in full swing. I do apologise for not remembering to take a photo of the starters, but I can tell you that the yoghurt tasted like something out of something one can easily get in a supermarket. Not that I have a problem with that, though. I'm betting it was Yeo Valley, but I could be wrong. And the bread options (also not shown) were good, definitely of good quality. But the butter wasn't flower-shaped like I had hoped. 9/10

Main course - Eggs, freshly cooked on board anyway you wish

The omelette and coffee I had ordered, with everything from the breakfast sides added onto the serving, apart from the baked beans.
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Thoughts: the omelette had a nice, gentle texture to it. However the lack of ingredients in it decreased the overall taste for me. Mushrooms, cheese, and bell peppers could've been added like you would with a hotel-style omelette. The chicken sausage was good, and wasn't too oily. The potatoes and asparagus were both wonderfully done. 9/10

Upon finishing my breakfast, I decided to open the window blinds and see what's down there, as the map indicated we were already in Sumatran airspace.

The flexed wing should give you an idea how much fuel there is left.
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I decided to start watching Hail, Caesar! and I must say it wasn't the most predictable of film plots. But then during the middle of the film, I thought to myself, what good is watching a film without the snacks? And by chance, Maria came from the galley to see how I was doing.

Ma: "Hello, Mr Razza_Pr, is everything okay? Did you enjoy your breakfast?"
Me: "I did, yes, it was pretty good thanks. Did you have a nice rest?"
Ma: "I did, for a solid 3 hours thank you. Can I offer you anything to go with the movie?"
Me: "Yes, please. I'd like to have the Indonesian satay and a glass of orange juice to go with it"

After taking my orders, she went back to the galley to prepare the meal for me. Another flight attendant, I think Rahayu was her name, came to set my table for the meal.

In between fuel - Indonesian satay platter

She came back about 5-10 minutes with my glass of OJ and the satay platter
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Thoughts: presentation was okay, and could perhaps have improved. The meat texture was all wonderful. However, there was a problem with one of the skewers' flavour, and to my dismay, I had to put it down. The sauce was very nice, though. 7/10. Perhaps I should've stuck with my instinct and chose the nachos option instead.

After my table was cleared, a male FA came out from the galley to offer passengers some snacks, to which I declined, after eating all that food I needed a break. So I decided to continue watching Hail, Caesar!

Snacks on offer - cup noodles, potato crisps, chocolate bars, wafer bars, cashew nuts, mixed nuts, and healthy snack bars. All in their respective packagings
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.29.03

The tray was put on the aisle-seat divider table on the bulkhead row, so passengers wouldn't have to walk all the way to the galley should they want to help themselves with the snack options.

After helping myself with vanilla wafer bars, I decided to fill in the customs declaration form. Below is the photo of it + my boarding pass
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.33.22

I also decided to take some more photos of my seat. Below is where the F&B menu and the wine list - 'The Cellar' is placed. And in the far right corner you can see a glimpse of the snack tray
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.35.45

More of seat controls and the IFE controller
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.37.37

We started to descend from Flight Level 390 approximately an hour before landing. And the mood lighting effect kicked in
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.40.03

Scented hot towels were also distributed to passengers to help freshen ourselves up
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.41.35

Speedbraking
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.41.49

The seemingly busy Port of Jakarta
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.43.24

Some shots of CGK from the air. The new Terminal 3 Ultimate can be seen in the distance
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.44.55photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.45.08

The IFE screen deactivated and became slideshows. This was the only one that captured my attention
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.46.51

More mood lighting. Simulating sunset again like the time of departure. Perfect for landing at 17:30


And when we have landed, I took some photos of the Terminal 3 Ultimate building
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.54.00photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.54.14photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 16.54.27

Arrival Airport - Jakarta Soekarno Hatta

Our aircraft was parked next to a bunch of narrow-body aircrafts (mainly Garuda Indonesia's Boeing 737-800s), and I thought that was quite strange. Perhaps the plane was bound for Bali afterwards? Or wherever else in Indonesia they fly their 777-300ERs to.

Passengers were instructed to get down from the jetway and to the apron, where we will be transported to the international arrivals hall. I wasn't exactly displeased, because getting down to the apron means I can take more photos of the metal bird!

PK-GIG after her 14-hour intercontinental journey
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.00.52photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.01.48photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.01.58

Business Class passengers had a different vehicle to transport us to the international arrivals section. It was a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van with a seating configuration that I think is appropriate for Business Class passengers. In total there was 9 of us
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.04.25

Reaching the international arrivals hall and passing through the immigration quickly thanks to the Fast Track facility available for premium passengers, we were directed to the Premium Arrivals Lounge.

The sign that greets you after you turn left out of passport control
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.06.19

Apologies for the bad quality. The lighting wasn't the most helpful for my phone camera
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.06.36photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.06.45

I handed over my hold luggage receipt to the kind receptionist, who then hands it over to a ground staff who will be responsible to retrieve my luggage. Whilst waiting for my luggage, I decided to take some photos at the lounge

Indonesian snacks, bags of tea, and a coffee machine
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.10.40

The drinks section. From left to right: apple juice, guava juice, water
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.12.28

There was a single unisex toilet, which was kept clean
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.13.43

And a full-on bathroom
photo screen shot 2016-06-20 at 17.15.15

My guess is the shower is available for those who ask the receptionist for the necessities (towels, soap, etc)

After I was reunited with my belongings, I cleared customs and was greeted by my brother and his family again.
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Verdict

Garuda Indonesia

9.3/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering9.0

Independent Servisair/Globe Ground - 3

7.3/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services7.0

London - LHR

8.8/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Jakarta - CGK

7.3/10
Efficiency7.0
Access6.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

Once again, a great flight experience with Garuda Indonesia.

The Heathrow ground crew, who really delivered everything and more.

The third party lounge was okay-ish. It's too bad that they're not at Terminal 4, where the other SkyTeam members are except for Delta. That way, they could've used the SkyTeam lounge instead. I won't complain about it too much, just that the lounge doesn't really bring the best image for the airline.

The flight experience overall. Great food, fantastic crew, and cleanliness. The new IFE, with comfortable functional headphones, and responsive touch screen. Comfy seats good enough to be a bed.

The premium arrivals service, which can really be useful if you'd like to freshen up right after your flight.

Looking forward to my next journey with them! Definitely one of the best, if not THE best SkyTeam member out there.

Information on the route London (LHR) Jakarta (CGK)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 4 avis concernant 1 compagnies sur la ligne London (LHR) → Jakarta (CGK).


Useful

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

La durée moyenne des vols est de 14 heures et 3 minutes.

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18 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 354093 by
    James55 1 Comments
    I flew this flight back in May in economy. The flight to Jakarta only had 80 people on board and the flight back to London only had 50. It was great the rear economy section was empty and I had a lot of room to spread out and a lot of privacy. I've been told that this is common for these flights, its going to be my way of getting to Asia for the foreseeable future. Not to mention the price.

    Interestingly economy has more meal services that business. Dinner after takeoff, breakfast around India and another snake around the equator. Clearly not on the same level as business class but still good.
    • Comment 354209 by
      Razza_Pr AUTHOR 216 Comments
      I did ask one of the flight crews about the load factor for this route in particular, and she told me that it is consistently low, as opposed to Amsterdam. Garuda has very little presence in the UK, and hopefully they can change that soon to be able to remain a competitive airline on a more global level. But even so it is tough because their regional presence in SE Asia is also small compared to neighbouring rivals SQ and MH.. They should perhaps consider partnering up with Delta to connect US-bound passengers via London since they share the same terminal at Heathrow.
  • Comment 354200 by
    Rewardflying 493 Comments
    Excellent report as well. Thanks for sharing.
  • Comment 354221 by
    ID_Flyer 24 Comments
    Excellent and detailed flight report!
    As an Indonesian, I would like to share what Indonesians think of GA.
    While GA has supposedly improved its hard and soft products, and more importantly, its safety standards, many Indonesians still question if GA can guarantee their safety, especially since most Indonesian carriers are in the EU aviation blacklist. Many Indonesians fly with other carriers competing in the same market. For them, it gives them a higher status as compared to flying with GA!
    Another factor is the geological condition of Indonesia. While Emirates is strategically placed in the Middle East, we're at a disadvantage. Many Indians and Pakistanis fly on EK to the UK, which probably accounts for the large number of flights!
    As for the new terminal, it's delayed due to electrical faults. I personally think it would not be operational to handle the fast approaching Lebaran holidays. Time will tell if the CGK-LHR route will improve over time. Until factors, out of GA's control, are changed, this route will operate at a loss
    • Comment 354324 by
      Razza_Pr AUTHOR 216 Comments
      Hello there, thanks for reading!

      I'm glad you enjoyed my latest FR :)

      So it's a matter of safety and status for Indonesians? I can't really argue for/against their safety records, but an airline's safety record has never been that big of an issue for me personally. As for the status thing, I find quite interesting. I know I'd feel pretty secure about my 'status' if I can tell my friends that I flew a 5-star airline. Sure enough, I just read about the postponement of the new terminal opening to even after Eid al-Fitr. Apparently because the back-up generator is still not online, lack of signage, disrupted tower to apron view, and dysfunctional toilets. To be fair on the operator's side, I'd hate to go into a new terminal many people have been expecting for, only to discover that there are still some faults which could disrupt my journey *ahem* Dubai T3, Heathrow T5 *ahem*. I just hope they make sure it's worth the wait.
      • Comment 354393 by
        ID_Flyer 24 Comments
        Hello. I believe that GA is starting pilot flights by using the Terminal 3 Ultimate on routes like CGK-SRG and CGK-JOG, although I'm not sure if those will continue due to the power outages.
        In the 1990s and 2000s, several accidents and incidents, and the subsequent blacklisting of all Indonesian airlines ( part of which is caused by Adam Air) caused Indonesians to lose faith in GA and the aviation organization which oversees it. These are the safety concerns the flying public has about Indonesian aviation.
        Although many passengers return to GA, SQ remains a top contender in the region. Some deem them to be more superior to GA, and some still have safety concerns. Some use SQ because the prices are competitive, whereas some use SQ due to factors which are difficult to change instantly.
        This means the routes GA flies to. Take MXP for instance. SQ flies to MXP direct from SIN. And so, only one stopover is needed. However, GA has to partner up with KLM as a codeshare partner. The CGK-SIN-AMS-MXP leg consumes a lot of time, and the prospect of having 2 stopovers does not appeal to travelers. Another one is the aforementioned airport. Another one is the route timetable. Spending hours in Jakarta may not appeal to those coming from Australia, and CGK isn't the best airport to be in. I find that the AMS-LGW fifth freedom flight to be more suitable, instead of dedicating a crew, a B77W and a lot of money on fuel and surcharges, to fly this unprofitable route.
        • Comment 354600 by
          Razza_Pr AUTHOR 216 Comments
          I do hope the airport terminal problem will be dealt with ASAP. All those promises about it being able to compete with that of Singapore. I'm curious to see their approach to that.

          GA's schedule isn't exactly on their side, either. They can't even partner up with Delta Airlines for flights to East Coast US departing from Heathrow Terminal 3, because the incoming flight from CGK/SIN arrives after the US-bound flights depart. I think this could potentially be a more profitable partnership than the existing one they have with Etihad. If they had red-eye flights, this could attract more crowd as well. Flights from Australia, Singapore, and other cities in Indonesia can land before the London-bound flight which departs at night. The idea is tough to implement because of the runway weight restrictions at CGK, and the crazy expensive slots at Heathrow.
  • Comment 354273 by
    indianocean SILVER 7573 Comments
    Very nice report with lots of details. Garuda surely deserves its 5 star rank.
    Too bad the network is not too extended.
    Can't wait to fly with them.
    Thank you for sharing.
  • Comment 354288 by
    DrAviation 6 Comments
    Thank you for the wonderful report! I took a regional flight on Garuda recently and I was very impressed with the food and the service by the crew, just as you were. However, i feel that the infrastructure of Jakarta airport really limits Garuda's expansion. I absolutely agree with you that Jakarta airport isn't an airport you want to stay in for long.
    • Comment 354338 by
      Razza_Pr AUTHOR 216 Comments
      Thank you for stopping by :)

      Sounds fantastic! I do hope you'll be sharing your experience with the rest of the FR community? My sister in-law recently flew from CGK to SIN and back twice, one with Singapore, and the other with Garuda. She told me how on her SQ flights to and from Singapore, the IFE wasn't even turned on and the meal felt lousy. On the other hand, she was thoroughly impressed by Garuda, and will continue to fly with Garuda for her regional travels.

      It's not just the airport. Again, Jakarta isn't well-equipped like KL, Singapore, etc to handle the level of foreign travellers the officials dream to achieve. Some travellers would prefer to take a brief stop at their layover destination to see how it's like, and add more to their journey (time allowing), and Jakarta is still underdeveloped. I understand the city's officials are working to change that, so that should be an exciting development.
  • Comment 354538 by
    socalnow 976 Comments
    Thanks RAZZA_PR for this report on a unique route/airline.

    It sure appears to me that GA has come a long way to compete with the likes of SQ (the national carrier of Indonesia as some call them...).

    "For dinner, Garuda Indonesia offers a 4-course meal. 4 options for appetiser, 4 options for main course, cheese board, and 2 options for dessert. "
    -The menu is massive for J class. Lovely Indo choices too. You won't be going hungry!

    The presentation of the meals is top notch. The service sounds genuine and very thorough. What a treat to be on board with this crew. I don't mean to sound surprised as I've only positive interactions with Indonesians in my experience.

    I must say I am impressed with GA and will have to experience their hospitality someday for myself.

    Thanks again for sharing and happy flying.
    • Comment 354598 by
      Razza_Pr AUTHOR 216 Comments
      Thank you for stopping by :)

      You definitely won't go hungry if you're happy with what's already available on the menu. I'm genuinely curious about how they will handle special dietary requirements, and I might take one for the team and order both the special meal and something off the menu next time I fly with them again.

      Their hospitality is definitely one that you shouldn't miss out on :). I understand they intend to restart flights to LA via Narita by next year if Indonesia passes the FAA audit and gets upgraded to Cat 1. Though as a Star Alliance frequent flyer it might work against your luck. Their only Star Alliance earning/redeeming partner is ANA. So there might be some points transfer in the process, but it should be worth the time and effort.
  • Comment 365370 by
    Amir 3 Comments
    Nice flight report RAZZA_PR, thanks for posting! That's a looooong flight!
  • Comment 365371 by
    Amir 3 Comments
    Nice flight report RAZZA_PR, thanks for posting! That's a looooong flight!

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