If you have read my reviews in business class, you would notice that there are still a couple of hard products I have yet to review such as open suite and reverse herringbone. While the earlier is to be saved for later (time for JL J?), the reverse herringbone seat has been high on my to-try list since it's relatively easier to try thanks to GA operating some of its CGK-DPS flights using that connfiguration.
On one fine Saturday afternoon after I confirmed wide availability on business class (not necessarily the lowest business class subclass, just any seat available would do for airport upgrade) for the product for a late afternoon flight, I quickly packed my belongings and proceeded to the usual airport bus terminal (in fact, I bought the flight ticket while still on the bus). I first bought the economy class ticket which costed me Rp1.175.000 (US$78) after 15% OTA cashback, and added with the Rp770.000 (US$51) airport surcharge it costed me in total Rp1.945.000 (US$129), a ~30% discount over the normal business class. In terms of the miles earning, I received in total 217 KrisFlyer miles from my credit card + 151 GarudaMiles award miles and 1 segment from the flight (instead of 906 award miles and 4 segments as it was based on the original economy class ticket).
Trip to CGK and check-in
As usual, I went to the airport bus pick-up area and immediately hopped in as the bus was about to depart. True enough, after I entered a staff took a photo of me in the bus and then released the bus for departure to the airport.
It was an exceptionally lucky occasion as the bus was delayed for 10 minutes. I chatted with the driver, who was the sole person on the bus beside me (that is, I had the bus all for myself), and he told me that if nobody took the bus at the STD the bus would wait for 10 minutes before proceeding to the airport empty.
Though operating almost like my personal taxi, I was still charged with the normal fare at Rp35.000 (US$2.3), which won't even cover the fuel for the long trip (even the expressway charges had already amounted to more than half of the fare).
I reached the terminal 3 ~55 minutes after the bus departed.
As usual, I was dropped at the domestic departure area.
A bag-only security was conducted, which was fast.
Since I had clearly intended to fly on business class I proceeded straight to the premium check-in cashier and requested for the airport upgrade. Since the proper cashier officer wasn't there, my card was brought to the ticket counter at the other end of the check-in row for processing.
The seat map for the flight.
After the upgrade surcharge was paid I was handed with the airport upgrade surcharge EMD.
My new boarding pass was also printed there.
I also got the chance to get the list of airport upgrade surcharges imposed by GA. Since it would be rather challenging to read, I have tabulated it and you can read it here (on Google Sheets).
After check-in I proceeded to the security, which was fast.
CGK transit area
I first passed by a couple of shops.
Since I was about to go to GA's lounge I took the left escalator to the mezzanine floor.
Lounge test #1: Garuda Indonesia Domestic Lounge
I was welcomed at the business class reception and after I showed my boarding pass I was let in.
FIDS of the late afternoon and the lounge map.
Magazines and newspapers were provided.
There were a few different kinds of seating area, which felt quite private. Note that this still looked peaceful as it was a week before the mass status upgrade promotion, which practically made the business class section pretty much like a zoo (more of that on the next reports).
The hot buffet options, which was dismal.
Since I didn't bother opening all of them up for the photo, I took a bit from each.
The western/Indonesian salad bar.
The usual Bogor-style soup with noodle was available (read: free flow beef)
Another kind of lighter soup is the meatball soup with noodle.
Choices of drink and popcorn were nothing unusual.
Unscented hot towel was also fully stocked.
It was time for a shower. I first proceeded to the shower cubicle, but since there was no towel there I needed to ask one to the staff.
The staff then directed me to the handicapped toilet, which was far more spacious.
Standard amenities were provided.
It was now time to explore the other areas in the lounge, starting from the open play area.
A business centre room was present, though it was empty (or has it always been empty?)
While GA certainly didn't go the way of TG, they had their own style of massage room.
A movie theatre cum rest area was also present, which showed movies at a fixed timing.
Last but not least, the inflight/in-lounge sales area. Note the separator between the business class and GarudaMiles Gold, which would be removed later.
It was almost time for departure so I decided to leave the lounge.
Lounge test verdict and departure
The lounge was adequate for a domestic business class lounge with some food options and typical business lounge amenities. If anything, though, the lounge felt a bit on the smaller side which caused the corridors to be rather tight and the shower room being a cubicle instead of a proper bathroom.
Downstairs a priority buggy was parked.
I proceeded at the boarding gate where there wasn't much activity yet.
The two parking stands were empty, which meant that we would be brought to the correct parking stand by bus.
Boarding soon started, which was fast.
Since the boarding for this flight would use buses, I went down to the arrival floor
A business class van had already waited for us.
There weren't many people departing on the first van. Also notice the boy on the right, who was perhaps even more enthusiastic about the ride than me.
After a few minutes of ride we finally reached the correct gate, which was at the international area. The plane for the day was PK-GHD, GA's latest 333 which was delivered just 2 years before, and also the exact plane reviewed by @rewardflying before.
Since the escalator was only switched downward I needed to take the stairs to get to the interstitial corridor floor.
As usual, the corridor was rather bare and quiet.
The -GHD seen from the front.
I proceeded through the aerobridge.
I was among the first few to enter the plane so naturally there was no queue involved.
After I was welcomed by the flight attendant I proceeded into the business class cabin.
I then reached my seat, which looked quite new.
One of the flight attendants then said that I shouldn't just take a photo of the seat (yes, she said that - it's my duty after all to review) and offered to take a photo of me on the seat, for which there was only one correct answer. Did I say it also help my social media profiles?
The purser offered a choice of welcome drinks and I opted for the orange juice, which was accompanied with a hot towel and put on the folded table in front of the large IFE screen. After the drink was delivered, the purser also had short talks with each passenger in the cabin.
Typical of GA, the hot towel bore GA's logo and was scented.
Newspaper was also provided.
Time for a seat tour: to the left of the seat inside the mini storage area are the AC/USB ports, headphone port, and remote control, while below it is the seat control.
Its sole remote control was touch-responsive, which was also the case for the screen.
A foldable table was provided, which was adjustable and quite large.
The table was so large it could fit my office computer with a lot of space to spare.
While I didn't use it, it was possible to store some small hand luggage below the seat ottoman.
On the side panel is the literature holder.
Typical of GA business class, the contents inside the literature holder were packed inside a clear folder.
Contents inside the literature pocket, except for the Tempo magazine which was offered by the flight attendant.
A retractable reading light was also provided, even though one was also available from the overhead.
Selfie test: if there's anything to hate about the seat, it's about the headrest, which wasn't adjustable.
The armrest by the aisle also doubled as a storage for the headphone.
For this flight a noise-cancelling headphone was provided, which was ordinary but still did the job.
The usual IFE benchmark, which showed 25 albums as before.
It was finally time for pushback, which afforded a view of just how much the terminal 3 seemed to be GA's terminal.
The international extension pier expansion seemed to be almost done, but in the meanwhile the parking space was still for SJ and QZ.
Terminal 2D/2E was as usual filled with some international carriers and occasionally those within JT's group.
Some people said that planes aren't meant to just fill a parking space, though that had been the case for Indonesia's last 744.
The last plane using the runway before departure was FS's MD83.
Takeoff was uneventful and we soon climbed on our way to DPS.
The moving map during the initial climb.
After the fasten seatbelt sign was switched off a preview of the IFE and some ads were shown.
The cabin was dimmed for much of the cruise.
Dinner service then started, which was first done by putting a small tablecloth (that is, despite the large table).
The meal was then served one by one instead of having a trolley going around the cabin.
The menu consisted of: Appetizer: Salad with mayonnaise Bread: Bread roll with butter Main course: Balinese-style chicken with rice and sauteed vegetables or fish with rice Dessert: Pudding with chocolate and sauce Drink (default): Mineral water Drink: Fruit juices / soft drink / water / coffee / tea
To start, the salad was ordinary and felt more like the one from a fast food chain restaurant. The chicken on the main course was rather tender and flavourful, while the rice and vegetables could be improved. While the dessert was usually pretty decent, this one tasted just acceptable. On overall, I wouldn't consider this an acceptable short-haul business class meal.
The dinner wasn't accompanied with any view, especially because it was already dusk.
During the meal I also tried their Wi-Fi. GA offered free 15 minutes internet up to 8 MB for each device. The internet access was rather slow and the paid plans were rather expensive so I didn't get one after I finished my free internet quota.
After dinner it was time for a short walk around the cabin, so I first visited the minibar, which being a short-haul flight wasn't stocked.
I then visited the lavatory, which was clean.
Apart from the Clarins toiletries the lavatory was pretty much identical to the one on economy class.
Further back is the door 2 galley, which was empty this time.
Since the load was quite light I proceeded to one of the empty seats on the right.
One discernible difference can be seen in the foot cubby. In the normal seats the foot cubby got narrower further to the end.
Even so, it's even worse on the bulkhead seats thanks to the positioning, so instead of getting extra space I would need to place my feet rather weirdly.
I then tried yet another seat after the galley visit and put it on the bed mode.
The seat was spacious enough to sleep on.
As with all good things, it would eventually end and less than 15 minutes later the cabin was fully lit to prepare for arrival.
We soon started the final approach to DPS runway 09.
Landing was smooth and we proceeded into the apron.
We were finally parked beside another GA plane.
As there was only me left in the business class cabin and the deplaning process had started, the flight attendants had started turning around the cabin.
I proceeded behind to take a quick preview of the economy class seats - since it's 333 after all I would be fine sitting there for mid-haul flights.
After I bid farewell to the crew it was time to proceed to the terminal.
One last view of the -GHD.
Arrival at DPS and post-arrival trip
We first proceeded through the interstitial corridor.
A downward escalator ride was needed to get to the arrival floor.
As usual on DPS domestic arrival a Balinese dancer and a Balinese gate could be seen as well.
Some additional walk was needed to get to the luggage claim area.
I decided to have a look at GA's "premium" arrival lounge, which was far more spartan than the one in CGK.
The luggage area was quite crowded.
Since I had nothing to claim I proceeded straight to the exit.
The arrival area, which led to the pick-up area.
Since I opted for motorcycle taxi I needed to walk quite far from the terminal.
For a more proper dinner I opted for some Cantonese porridge that my friend recommended, which was good.
I stayed at a budget hotel at Kuta area, which costed me Rp240.500 (US$16).
Since I felt peckish during midnight I decided to get some roasted pork near the hotel, which was quite tasty were it not for me being overwhelmed by the rather spicy soup.
Garuda Domestic Lounge
Jakarta - CGK
Denpasar - DPS
Though it needs a bit of strategizing, the business class product on GA's newer 333 (not to be confused with their ordinary 333) was quite solid for the route. Another bonus is the CGK-based crew, who was also quite attentive throughout the flight. In terms of the airport, CGK terminal 3 was acceptable, save for the possibly long walk (though it didn't happen this time), while DPS domestic was a bit of a pain to get through with the long walks.
On overall, I wouldn't hesitate flying on this product again given the airport upgrade price range.
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