Report #37: GA367 - Joyride on the larger baby Garuda
This will be my report on flying on Garuda Indonesia economy class from Semarang SRG to Surabaya SUB, a short-haul intercity flight within Java island, on board their Bombardier CRJ-1000ER. This review will be also the second review of the new SRG terminal here (the first one was for the SUB-SRG flight by QG earlier), opened just the day before, so read on!
Here are the 12 parts of the trip: KUL - CGK on KLM 777-300ER business class: Read here CGK - SUB on Garuda Indonesia 737 MAX 8 economy class: Read here SUB - SRG on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here SRG - SUB on Garuda Indonesia CRJ-1000ER economy class: You are here SUB - KJT on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here (first commercial flight to KJT) KJT - SUB on Citilink A320-200 economy class: Read here (first commercial flight from KJT) SUB - DPS on Garuda Indonesia 737-800 economy class: Read here DPS - SIN on KLM 777-300ER economy class: Read here SIN - DPS on Jetstar Airways A320 economy class: Read here DPS - CGK on Lion Air 747-400 economy/business class: Read here SUB - CGK on Garuda Indonesia 737 MAX 8 business class: Read here CGK - SIN on Lion Air 737-900ER economy class: Read here
As much as I like spending time in SUB, the main goal for the first part of this trip (i.e. up to the DPS-SIN by KL) was to sample as many different offerings as possible within the GA group. Therefore, I decided to fill the afternoon with a roundtrip to sample GA's regional product at least once.
It was a very close contest between flying on GA's AT7 to Banyuwangi BWX and back on the exact same plane and QG's 320 to SRG and back to SUB by GA's CRK, I opted for the latter mainly out of the dangerously close connecting time in BWX, but also flying to SRG would also allow me to revisit the town after a while (note that as mentioned in my previous report I had not heard of the SRG new terminal before so that was out of the equation).
The prorated fare after OTA discount came at Rp653.000 (US$46), which while steep wasn't entirely unjustified due to the unique product.
The fare class was also high enough to allow me to choose all seats, so I was torn between the ex-business class seat (which are basically Y seat with extra pitch, slightly better cushioning, and a plastic partition separating it from Y proper) or the emergency exit row seat. I then opted for the last row of the ex-business class seat.
Trip to SRG and check-in
The road on the way to the new SRG terminal is different from the one used to reach the old terminal as both terminals are on the opposing sides of the airport.
Just like in most other Indonesian airports, merely reaching the pick-up/drop-off would already mean paying for the airport parking fee.
The car I rode on happened to be right behind the BRT I used earlier to leave SRG.
As only one of the roads was activated, there were some jams leading to the kerbside.
Around 5 minutes later I reached the kerbside.
Later on there would be a marching band at the kerbside by the Navy as part of the opening ceremony - too bad I was unable to see the ceremony in full.
There were a lot of wreaths with congratulatory messages for the airport terminal opening.
And by that, I mean really a lot of them.
The terminal feature a large water installation around the public area and check-in hall, which coupled with the land being previously swamps made the airport previously nicknamed by the local media as the airport above water.
The queue to the public area building. Also note the metal detector, which wasn't usually there, due to the terminal opening ceremony.
The initial security involved only a bag check for those with bags.
Those with smaller bags or no bag can subject themselves to a simpler manual check.
Some reporters were taking photos of the security officer screening the bag using X-ray machine, so I did that as well.
The public area mainly consisted of a couple of eateries.
On the way to the check-in area to the right side is the dedicated security and check-in counters for users of the terminal's sole lounge, which as I inquired was mostly reserved for priority banking customers from some Indonesian banks though for that day was reserved for the VIP.
Beside the lounge entrance some seats were found with covered power plugs between those seats.
To the left is the water installation continuing further.
A couple of seats with a vie w of the check-in hall and sloped walkway to the transit area.
I then entered the check-in hall, which was quite crowded.
There were a bit of queue on GA's check-in counters.
The same couldn't be said for JT group (Indonesians' favourite airline group), which saw a more significant queue.
Check-in was done in 3 minutes. During that time I checked bag as well as confirmed the seat and checked the load for the day, which was respectable.
Ticket check was conducted after check-in.
I then went to the security, which took me a good 2 minutes to clear.
The security was so messed up virtually everybody got patted down, which considerably slowed down the security and resulted in some queue behind. When I asked why to the security officer, he said that it was due to the metal detector being set much more sensitive for the second security, which I found nonsense as there lies a difference between reasonable amount of metal (e.g. metal zipper on a jeans) passing through and an inordinate amount of it worthy of pat down.
SRG transit area and departure
After the security it was a walk down the glass walkway before the sloped walkway to the departure level.
As the airport had just opened, there were still a few people stationed whose task was to wish travellers a safe trip.
After the first half of the ascent there was a sloped moving walkway, but still there was no elevator available.
There was still no store between the security and waiting area.
FIDS of the afternoon all the way to early morning the day after.
It was a choice between turning left for domestic flights or further straight for international flights.
The empty counters were guarded by someone sitting between the counters.
It was a short walk further through the proposed retail area.
The waiting room was quite crowded and had few power plugs.
The terminal wasn't especially wide as it was only designed with 3 aerobridges.
A couple of eateries and a minimarket could be seen in the waiting area.
At the third floor lies the lounge (which I discussed earlier before check-in), though as it was guarded for the VIPs I decided not to look further.
GA's 738 preparing for departure to CGK.
JT's 739ER and ID's 320
I then slept a while and afterwards realized that my flight was already on last call, so I made my way to the queue-free boarding gate and was let through.
It was a downward escalator ride not unlike during the arrival to the apron.
GA's 738 from below.
The plane for the late afternoon was PK-GRL, a 5 years old CRK.
Boarding was done with stairs and additional cover.
Flight: GA367 Plane: PK-GRL STD/ATD: 16.05/~ STA/ATA: 17.20/~ Load factor: 88%Y (85/96) Seat type: Standard economy class (ex-business class window seat) Details: ~
After I was welcomed, I proceeded to the cabin.
The ex-business class cabin would turn completely full during the flight.
Apart from the slightly wider-looking seat and possibly better pitch, there is no apparent difference compared with the economy class proper.
My home for the next 1 hour, located at the last row of the ex-business class cabin. One way to determine the class is by the antimacassar - it would be a thin one in turquoise for economy class and a thick, cotton one in burgundy red for business class.
Seat tour: the seat pitch was quite generous for a regional jet, albeit with my portable battery in it became a bit tighter.
The seat belt tongue was interestingly thicker than the ones found on 738.
The seat was quite well-padded, which was appreciated
A coat hook was also available.
Contents in the seat pocket include the inflight magazine and shopping catalogue.
A safety card was also present, which was in good condition.
The view from my seat before pushback.
As the CRK doesn't have any TV on board, the safety demonstration was manually done.
Some views of the PSU.
Me on the seat. Note the squeeze between my head and the shoulder and the side panel.
A special view of the day: Indonesia's Air Force One in the form of a 73H.
IN's AT7 and GA's 738 were about to depart first.
GA's 738 lifted off.
After GA's 738 and IN's AT7 took off, QG's 320 arrived first before we departed.
We then made our way south to the end of the runway to turn around.
The old terminal, which had just been closed.
The video of the takeoff can be watched below. Note the especially quiet engine of the CRK.
Afterwards it was a right turn to the east where we flew north of Semarang.
The view during cruise.
A snack box was soon distributed
The inside of the box.
The content inside the box unpacked.
The snack service for the late afternoon consisted of: Savoury bread: Bread with minced chicken filling and sesame seeds Sweet bread: Pineapple cake Drink: Mineral water
While it was nothing out of the ordinary (and GA being GA was also rather stingy on the bread filling), on overall both breads tasted decent and was appropriate for the distance. Note the lack of drink rounds due to the short duration.
Some views during the cruise, which mostly followed the Java island's northern coast.
I then visited the lavatory, which as expected on a regional jet was cramped (note the gap between my head and the ceiling).
The closet was fortunately clean as few people got to use it.
Unlike those on the mainline fleet, the lavatory still used blue water to flush.
On board sales then commenced. While I didn't take any photo of that, I found the flight attendants, who were UPG-based, to be rather talkative and even went as far as recommending some of the items for me despite the short flight length - too bad I didn't buy any as I preferred to spend them on flights than souvenirs (plus, the only trace for the entire trip are 2 passport stamps) :p
We soon descended towards SUB.
The expressway leading to Surabaya.
Passed by the bridge from Krian to Sepanjang.
Then it was through the densely occupied area near the airport.
Situation in the cabin during short final.
MZ's maintenance facility as well as the graveyard for its planes.
Landing was smooth and we made our way to the terminal 2.
We were parked beside GA's -GNV.
A much clearer view of the economy class proper seat.
One last view of the cabin during the deplaning.
Last but not least, a photo with the crew of the day. As I was the last to deplane, the photo was taken by the ground staff.
After thanking the flight attendants I then made my way out. Here are some last views of the CRK.
Arrival at SUB and post-arrival trip
I made my way by foot to the arrival hall since it was close from the parking stand.
As it was almost breakfasting period for many Muslims, the airport provided complimentary snacks. Though I wasn't fasting, I decided to take one for the sake of the review.
The breakfasting service provided by the airport consisted of the following (note the flipped order as it was once suggested to break the fast with sweeter items first): Fruit: Date Dessert: Pudding Snack: Mini egg murtabak Drink: Mineral water
The luggage claim area was quite quiet.
My bag arrived soon afterwards.
I then made my way to the public area.
Afterwards it was a short walk to the kerbside, where I walked further to reach the motorbike parking for the motorcycle taxi.
Semarang-Java Island - SRG
Surabaya - SUB
GA provided an especially pleasant experience on the short ride from SRG to SUB, although the high fare made it challenging to fly with them more often. Compared with the CGK-based crew earlier on the CGK-SUB route, the UPG-based flight attendants were found to be less reserved and in some way more attentive, which is also appreciated. In terms of the airports, SRG's new terminal wasn't particularly bad apart from the messy security and sheer crowd, while SUB terminal 2 was a breeze to get through.
On overall, I would definitely fly with GA again provided that they reduce the fare to a more reasonable level.
Some thing done well for the trip (airports): + Fast check-in at SRG + Acceptable security at SRG + Modern terminal at SRG + Fast luggage claim at SUB
Some thing done well for the trip (on board): + Modern cabin + Acceptable legroom + Snack service provision + Friendly flight attendant + Clean lavatory
Things that can be improved (airports): - Crowd at SRG - Metal detector sensitivity at SRG - Lack of retail options at SRG - Lack of reasonably priced transport option at SUB
Things that can be improved (on board): - Expensive price (Rp653.000 (US$46)) - High load factor - Bread filling quantity
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