Review of Garuda Indonesia flight Malang-Java Island Jakarta in Economy

Airline Garuda Indonesia
Flight GA 293
Class Economy
Seat 36K
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 15 Sep 17, 13:10
Arrival at 15 Sep 17, 14:40
GA 205 reviews
By 1046
Published on 12th October 2017
Welcome back to another of my flight report. This time, it would be a very short flight taking me from Malang (MLG) in East Java back to the capital (Jakarta, CGK) with Garuda Indonesia's rather old bird of PK-GEM.

The journey began not so early, around 11 am on 15th of September 2017. The ride was quite smooth at the time as it took only 40 minutes to reach Malang Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport from my initial location in the city centre. Being a small city, Malang's ambience is actually much nicer than that of the Capital. Malang's temperature is averagely 20 centigrade approaching the night, whilst during the day, it might get as hot as 30 centigrade. Traffic condition in this relatively-small city is also way more manageable than that of in Jakarta. Here are some pictures of Malang I managed to snap during my ride to the airport. Pardon me if these picture are not quite representing Malang's touristic spots :)

I managed to arrive at the airport quite early at around 11:40 am and went right away to the check in counter. Here are some pictures of Malang airport's drop-off area.

Check in was quite a breeze, with no significant queue at the time. The staff I met in the check in counter was also very nice and hospitable. She greeted me with the usual Garuda's 'salam' and then proceeded to the usual check-in procedure. Check-in area in Malang airport is quite cramped where each airline occupies only one slot of check-in counter. This case however does not apply to Garuda which occupies 2 slots of check in counter separating its economy class and business class passengers.

Another window flight for me
photo 20170915_120901-min

Malang airport itself is quite small with limited airlines serving it, i.e. Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, Sriwijaya Air, Batik Air and Wings Air. There is also no flight departing from or arriving to Malang after 5 pm. The destinations to which it serves is also limited to Jakarta (CGK or HLP), Denpasar Bali (DPS), Bandung (BDO), and Ujung Pandang (UPG). Facility within the terminal building is also quite limited, with only a bunch of shops and one restaurant available after check-in area. If you are happen to be a business class passenger, then there is a more decent waiting place in East Java premium lounge just before airside. In addition to that, there was also children playing area available within the boarding lounge.

As there was nothing interesting around, I decided to go airside right away and took some pictures of my plane that happened to be an old PK-GEM. The last time I flew PK-GEM was a few years ago taking me from CGK to JOG as GA 206. Flight on an echo series means a non-AVOD flight with Garuda. This wasn't such a big deal for me though as I always spend most of my flight looking outside the window, where the real entertainment is.

Fleet Information

Just for your information, Echo Mama was firstly delivered to Ryan Air in 2001 as EI-CSO and flew with them for roughly 8 years until it was leased by Garuda (from CIT) in 2009. This fleet has been actively flying for around 16.8 years now. Echo series was often deployed by Garuda to serve its relatively short flight connecting the capital to JOG or SRG as an example.

imagephoto 20170915_123227-minphoto 20170915_123242-min

Flight Information

Flight Number: GA 293
A/C registration: PK-GEM
Route: Malang (MLG) to Jakarta (CGK)
Flight duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
ETD: 13:10
ETA: 14:40
Load factor: Y (140/150) & C (12/12)

Boarding commenced about 30 minutes before ETA. The flight seemed to be quite packed with 93% load factor in economy and 100% load factor in business. Being such a small airport, there is no airbridge facility in MLG, therefore all passengers must board via stairs. This gave me another chance to snap the aircraft much closer.

And this would be my seat for the next 90 minutes. Leg room in this aircraft is great for me (180 cm tall) that I could move my feet quite flexibly. Unfortunately the economy seats in this aircraft are not equipped with headrest which might become a concern for a longer flight. However as this was only 90 minutes flight, I didn't find it troublesome at all. Here are some views I could see from 36K.

In-flight magazine and shopping catalog were also available in the seat pocket for passenger's comfort during the flight.

Some pictures of the FAs carried out final check prior to departure

Being an AVOD-less flight, I kind of expected that safety demonstration would be delivered directly by the crew. Sadly they delivered it through the overhead screen, the FAs only did the Garuda Indonesia salam in the end, just like another Garuda's flight. Though overhead screen is available in this aircraft, the crew did not provide any headset to the passengers, so we could ony see the muted scene.
imagephoto 20170915_131241-minphoto 20170915_131343-min

Being such a short flight, the crew started the drink service right away after take-off. Garuda's drink option includes fruit juices (orange, apple and guava), coffee & tea, mineral water and fresh milk. I opted for apple juice for this flight. In short domestic flight like this, Garuda does not provide hot-meal service. They only give a snack box, which in this flight is a bread and a chocolate muffin. The evidence of cost-cutting effort is also pretty clear that they no longer give bottled mineral water in their snack box.

Another pictures taken during service. Always love to see Garuda's crew on duty.

I personally love Garuda's inflight magazine, Colours. In terms of design, I have to say that this magazine is eye-catching and gives me eagerness to read through the content. Most of its content covers writings about holiday reference both in Indonesia and abroad. They also feature an "Archipelago Journal" page which covers travel story of Indonesia's many exotic islands (In this version, Sabang is happened to be the main topic of the journal). In addition, Japanese and Chinese page are also available within the magazine. Complementing the content is Garuda's fleet facts and network map.

Toilet inspection revealed that the lavatory was reasonably clean during the flight. Sadly no body lotion or cologne was found on this flight (probably another cost cutting effort by the airline?).
imagephoto 20170915_135753-minphoto 20170915_135803-min

Here are another pictures of cabin situation I managed to capture during the flight.

And some wingview photos!

Descend and landing situation to Jakarta. Welcome to the poulted sky of the capital.

China Airlines B777-300ER was also spotted during taxi to the runaway for Taipei as CI 762. Just another information, as per now, several SkyTeam members have moved their operations to terminal 3. These member of the alliance includes China Airlines, Korean Air, Saudia, China Southern Airlines, Xiamen Air, and Vietnam Airlines. Apparently KLM has not yet joined the other SkyTeam fellows to operate in terminal 3.

Landing was ahead of the schedule and passengers were diembarking through air bridge in terminal 3 CGK. Despite many critics about this new terminal 3, I personally love it. All the passengers experience in this terminal is hugely upgraded compared to the older terminal 1 and 2. Even, baggage claim area is also equipped with camera tracking that allows the passengers to see their baggage being travelled from the ground area into the baggage belt.

To sum up, this flight with Garuda Indonesia was still enjoyable as usual despite no AVOD available and many cost-cutting effort onboard . Consistency of the service delivered by the cabin crew is the one I should highly appraise of. There is definitely no doubt to fly Garuda again in the future, and definitely become the first choice for traveling domestically across Indonesia.
See more


Garuda Indonesia

Cabin crew9.5

Malang-Java Island - MLG


Jakarta - CGK



To sum up, this flight with Garuda Indonesia was still enjoyable as usual despite no AVOD available and many cost-cutting effort onboard . Consistency of the service delivered by the cabin crew is the one I should highly appraise of. There is definitely no doubt to fly Garuda again in the future, and definitely become the first choice for traveling domestically across Indonesia.



If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 416499 by
    Eric V P 125 Comments

    Thank you for the report!

    That's the first time I saw Garuda's older Boeing 737-800 - surprising that they didn't retrofit them with individual IFE, which is quite interesting. Do passengers get headphones to watch the movies on the overhead screen, or was it just a silent movie?

    The evidence of cost-cutting effort is also pretty clear that they no longer give bottled mineral water in their snack box.
    - The last time I flew Garuda's domestic service with drink rounds was on 2015 where they offered half a cup of drink inside the box on top of the drink services, so I found its removal not to be a significant cut. I could say, though, that the box was very sparsely filled which doesn't look that nice.

    How do you also find the seats which come without the headrest as well? Are they still almost the same as the normal ones, or do you find them much less comfortable than usual?

    Thank you!

  • Comment 416729 by
    Panduwskt AUTHOR 10 Comments

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks very much for your comment. Yeah agree with you with the cost-cutting side. On my recent flight with them I found a bottled mineral water again within the box though with different bramd this time. Also the refreshing towel packaging was changed into somewhat poor packaging (not the usual navy ones). However the service was still real good onboard. Im not disappointed thougj considering the fligh time which is really short.

    For the seat, I think it's pretty simillar with the one installed in their 744. for a typical short flight i didnt find it uncmfortable. Yet it might be quite a concern for a 3+ hours flight.

    And for the headset, sadly they distributed none to the passengers.

    Thanks very much! Hope we can catch up to talk more about this industry.

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