Review of Garuda Indonesia flight Surabaya Denpasar in Economy

Airline Garuda Indonesia
Flight GA344
Class Economy
Seat 31K
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 08 Jun 18, 16:25
Arrival at 08 Jun 18, 18:40
GA   #13 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 186 reviews
Eric V P
By GOLD 485
Published on 18th July 2018
Report #40: GA344 - Miles to the rescue

This will be my report on flying on Garuda Indonesia economy class from Surabaya SUB to Denpasar DPS, a short-haul intercity flight within Indonesia, on board their Boeing 737-800.

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: Read 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: You are 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

Background


After a string of intercity flights with the GA group (for the first part of the Indonesia aviation tour), what is the best way to end those flights? Another flight with the group, of course. Despite the short flight time, SUB to DPS can take excruciatingly long to travel by car, even outside peak period. Therefore, GA's fares for the flight shot all the way to Rp907.000 (US$65), with only the flexible tickets available.

I then remembered that I had collected miles from flying on business class (on KL SIN-DPS and DPS-SIN as well as GA SUB-SIN OW) and after scouring for a while found a sweet spot for redeeming my miles with GA: there was only 1 seat available for redemption for the entire day at 4000 miles + Rp95.000 (US$7). This would bring my miles' valuation to Rp201 (US$0.0144)/mile, which while not as high as other points and miles expert aren't too bad since:
- It's better than either letting them expire,
- I've been usually stuck with the abysmal redemption valuation of my miles with QR at Rp66.7 (US$0.00479)/mile, and
- I had rather low hope of earning much more miles with GA.
photo ga344 08062018 receipt

Another benefit of using miles for flights in economy class is the possibility to select seats ahead of online check-in. I made use of that, so naturally I went for the emergency exit row window seat (too bad I forgot to take a screenshot of it). However, one way to prove it is through the self check-in boarding pass where GA won't otherwise allow emergency exit row selection.
photo ga344 08062018 bp

Trip to SUB and check-in


I arrived by car to the airport and was dropped at the kerbside.
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FIDS of the late afternoon.
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The kerbside was slightly crowded from those waiting.
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It was first a preliminary security check to the public area shops, which was fast.
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The inside part of the public area was quiet.
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GA's domestic check-in counters are located to the left.
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SQ group (which was MI for the late afternoon) and AK group's check-in counters are located to the right. The rest of the counters are used for the other international flights such as GA/CI's daily flights to SIN.
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GA's check-in counters were not that crowded so I was through in 2 minutes. I also checked the load on both classes (while it was relatively low in economy class, the load factor on business class was considerably higher)
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The boarding pass of the late afternoon, which was printed in GA's standard stock paper. Note that as the ticket was booked in subclass X it wasn't upgradeable.
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GA's premium check-in area, which was underused.
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It was a short escalator ride up to the departure floor.
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The area mostly consist of a handful of eateries
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Before entering the transit area I needed to scan my boarding pass on the turnstile.
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It was followed by security, which was fast.
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SUB transit area and departure


The transit area mostly consisted of a handful of stores and eateries.
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Despite the compact domestic transit area, the seating wasn't particularly full.
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A view of the boarding gate before boarding commenced.
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I opted to be among the last to board so naturally boarding was a breeze.
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One proof that SUB T2 domestic departure area isn't the best place for spotting.
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I walked through the non-air conditioned corridor.
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Then it was a walk down the air conditioned aerobridge.
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The plane of the day was PK-GMN, an 8 years old 738.
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There was a bit of queue at the aerobridge.
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After 1 minute of waiting I reached the plane.
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On board


Flight: GA344
Plane: PK-GMN
STD/ATD: 16.25/16.58
STA/ATA: 18.40/18.43
Load factor: 83%J (10/12), 67%Y (100/150)
Seat type: Standard economy class (emergency exit row window seat)
Details:

Newspapers were provided on board.
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After I was welcomed by the purser I proceeded back to the economy class cabin. I didn't take any photo of the business class cabin due to heavy load, but an overview of the business class seat can be read here.
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Legroom was especially generous on the emergency exit row seat.
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Typical on GA an IFE screen was provided, however due to being an emergency exit row seat the table was disabled.
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Instead, a table was available from the armrest.
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The seatbelt was nothing to write about.
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In the seat pocket two safety cards were present, one for the general one and another for emergency exit row seats.
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Their in-flight magazine as well as entertainment catalogue was also available.
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An airsickness bag was also present.
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Unlike the CGK-TKG flight, this flight also provide a flimsy headphone for use.
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A short briefing was also conducted for the exit row passengers.
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Me on the seat. Note the usual well-adjustable headrest.
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We were parked to another GA's 738.
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It was ten a short taxi to the runway.
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Safety video was played during taxi.
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As usual on GA, the video ended with the flight attendants clasping their hands and bowed slightly on the aisle just like at the screen.
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QG's 320 preparing for departure.
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While waiting for the departure I went through the classical music selection on the IFE, which was limited.


A view during the hold short.
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In keeping with the tradition of posting a video of the take-off, here is one:


We soon climbed to the east through the gloomy weather.
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The view was significantly improved after we passed through the clouds.
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After the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off a video showing the IFE's offerings was shown.
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GA didn't care whether it was a < 1 hour flight or a longer one, so the battery of ads was shown again.


Snack service commenced during the ad.
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Typical on GA's shorter flights a snack box was provided.
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The box when opened.
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The unboxed snack contents.
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Note the notoriously few filling on the bread.
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The snack service for the late afternoon consisted of:
- Nuts: Mixed nuts
- Bread: Bread with cheese filling
- Candy: Assorted candies
- Drink: Aqua brand mineral water

Looking at the snack content, it was apparent that the snack service was a mix between ex-CGK (referring to the candies) and ex-SRG (referring to the savoury bread filling) snack services. The bread apart from the filling was acceptable and even better than the red bean paste filling snack from CGK. The mixed nuts and assorted candies were also nothing to complain at, so constitute this an acceptable snack service.

On dusk the pilot announced that it was time for fasting Muslim passengers to break their fast.
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I switched my IFE to the moving map, which was also basic.
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A view of the economy class cabin from behind.
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I visited the lavatory, which was slightly dirty.
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As usual I went for a brief galley visit, though I was unfortunately unable to recall what was discussed.

The rest of the flight was uneventful and ~20 minutes later the cabin was dimmed for final approach.
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The view mostly consisted of an array of lights.
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Landing was uneventful and we made our way past the international terminal.
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Afterwards we passed by the domestic terminal.
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The plane was parked in a remote stand in front of the domestic terminal.
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After I bid farewell to the crew I went down the stairs.
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The bus was ready to pick up.
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One last view of -GMN from the bus.
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The bus ride was uneventful and being on the last bus it wasn't packed to the brim.
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Arrival at DPS and post-arrival trip


Unlike at most other airports the walk to the arrival area wasn't completely sheltered.
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A short walk was needed to get to the sheltered area, that is the domestic arrival.
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A view of the domestic arrival.
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Some walk through the barely filled corridor was needed to get to the luggage claim.
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The luggage claim area for GA was quite crowded as it was used for all GA flights.
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After I claimed my bag and booked my hotel I proceeded down the corridor to the public area, passing by some shops.
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The only at DPS thing in Indonesia: alcohol store outside transit area.
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The arrival kerbside was quite quiet.
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Typical of DPS domestic arrival, a walk was required to get to the pick-up area (or in my case, the carpark).
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Hoping to get my stay paid by KL due to their mess (more on that for the next installment), I stayed at Ibis Bali Kuta, which was already a significant upgrade over my accommodations throughout the trip.
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For dinner I opted for the ones a very short walk across the hotel - the first one is at a Javanese-style salad with rice and the second one at a Cantonese porridge restaurant.
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See more

Verdict

Garuda Indonesia

6.4/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Meal/catering6.0

Surabaya - SUB

7.3/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.0

Denpasar - DPS

4.6/10
Efficiency4.0
Access3.0
Services5.5
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

While GA offered a good way to cross between the islands, compared with the paid fare it seemed to be a particularly lousy deal with only acceptable snack and dated cabin. The crew was also rather rushed to conduct the snack service so this flight wasn't particularly representative of what GA had to offer. In terms of the airport, SUB terminal 2 was a breeze to get through while DPS despite being more recently renovated than SUB was particularly a pain to get through with long walks and luggage claim time.

On overall, I would find it especially difficult to justify the extortionate paid fare by GA on the route had I paid by cash.

Some thing done well for the trip (airports):
+ Fast check-in at SUB
+ Acceptable security at SUB
+ Modern terminal at SUB

Some thing done well for the trip (on board):
+ Acceptable legroom
+ Snack service provision
+ Acceptable flight attendant

Things that can be improved (airports):
- Spotter-unfriendly interstitial corridor at SUB
- Gate usage at DPS
- Slow luggage claim at DPS

Things that can be improved (on board):
- Expensive paid fare (Rp907.000 (US$65))
- Dated cabin
- Bread filling quantity
- Unmaintained lavatory

Information on the route Surabaya (SUB) Denpasar (DPS)

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