Overnight Down Under Hop on a Garuda’s New J service
Having worked for 2 full days in a hectic Jakarta, I was so ready to fly down to Sydney for some well deserved relaxing time as well as for handling some personal matters in the land down under for 3 days.
My trip to SYD had actually been planned and booked when Garuda first announced its B77W service to SYD back in April. Therefore, this service was supposed to be on its newest B77W but has been changed back to A332 because of the delay of the airline’s service to LGW. Garuda had planned to introduce a new kangaroo route from SYD to LGW via CGK, which is now pushed to May 2014. While the aircraft remained A332, I learned that the service for this route had been upgraded to the new J service (as opposed to the C service) that the airline has introduced along with the introduction of its 77W and on some of its strategic routes out of and into CGK.
I arrived at the airport 1 hour before the scheduled departure time. As a Garuda’s platinum, I went to the premium check-in counter where I was quickly greeted, checked in and escorted through special immigration lane and then to Garuda’s make shift lounge at CGK. Garuda’s lounge is still under renovation. It has certainly taken the airline long enough to complete the work. The friendly agent who escorted me told me that as the lounge had to be expanded into 2 levels to give room for the new F section, it had taken a long time to complete. However, he told me there was a possibility that the new lounge could be completed by year-end.
Boarding was soon called and when I arrived at the gate I realized that the load was light for that night – 28/36 in C and less than half full in Y. Entering the aircraft, I was greeted by the purser in dark blue kebaya at the door who directed me to my seat at 3H. Just as I settled on my seat, a Garuda girl in orange kebaya came to help me settle and asked if I would like to have any welcome drink. I later learned her name as Devi and she was assigned to my section in the flight
“Any welcome drink for you, sir?” asked Devi. “We have juices, water, soft drinks, and champagne.”
“Yes, please. I would like the champagne.”
While Devi disappeared into the galley, I noticed that a bottle of Evian has been placed in the bottle compartment under the armrest of the seat along with a pair of noise cancelling headset. I also noticed that the amenity kit has been placed on the armrest for each passenger.
Devi then came back from the galley with a champagne flute and a bottle of champagne along with a hot towel on a tray. Garuda serve Billecart-Salmon Rose for its Business Class.
As boarding was about to complete, a lady then boarded and occupied 3K. Because 3E/F were empty, I excused myself and moved to 3F after I got a signal from the purser that those 2 seats would remain empty.
Safety video was then turned on which went on for close to 5 minutes. Once completed, Devi was in full action again taking meal order from all the pax in our section. On the other asile, Yusni was also doing the same thing. The menu for the overnight service included a snack service after take off and a full breakfast service 1 ½ hours before arrival into Sydney.
“Hi Mr. GASQKL, can I take your after take-off drink order?”
“I will have a Japanese tea”
“Will that be a Gyokuro tea or the Genmaicha?” asked Devi. “They are both very good green tea”
“I know. I tried them 2 months ago on my NRT flight in F,” I said. “Genmaicha. Will you be serving it in a special tea pot and cup too?”
“Yes, we will. We will serve it just like how it is served in F. You seem familiar with our service already, Mr GASQKL!” said Devi with a big smile.
“Have you had a chance to look at our menu tonight, Mr. GASQKL?” asked Devi. “We will be serving light snack.”
“I can’t decide between the Udon and the Stir Fry Noodle.”
“They are both good. I myself prefer the Stir Fry Noodle,” said Devi.
“Since it is late, I think I will go with something soupy. So, Udon for me then!”
“OK,” said Devi. “How about your drink? What do you want to drink with your Udon?”
“Just water with ice.”
“Will that be a still or a sparkling water, Mr. GASQKL?” asked Devi.
“How about breakfast? “ Devi continued. “We will also serve breakfast 1 ½ hours before arrival into Sydney. Are you familiar with our new menu?” asked Devi as she helped me turned the menu to the page showing the Indonesian, Japanese, and Western (European) breakfast menus.
“I will go for the European breakfast.”
“Good choice, Mr. GASQKL. What would you prefer for your starter? We have a five grain porridge, a red berries and fresh mango platter, and smoked garoupa.”
“Smoked garoupa, please”
“How about the main course? You can have the eggs any style cooked to order by our chef onboard. You can also have the French toast.”
“I will have the omelette, then.”
“Any side dish to go with it?” asked Devi.
“I will have the roasted tomato.”
Soon after, the captain announced that we were about to take off. So, both Devi and Yusni quickly returned to their seats. The cabin light was then dimmed and we were soon on our way down to SYD.
As soon as we reached our cruising altitude, both Devi and Yusni got into action. My pot of Genmaicha tea then arrived.
Followed by the signature Garuda’s amuse bouche, which was a savory cream cheese puff. Mixed nuts were also offered and served.
In the next 20 minutes, both Devi and Yusni continued to refill drinks in their section. Across the aisle from me, an Englishman and an Australian had so far sampled the reds, whites, and numerous refill of champers.
Devi then came over to clear up my tea pot and set up my table. Soon, my tempura udon arrived. When asked if I could have a chile powder, she replied, “Togarashi?”
She came back with a small plate of Togarashi and also a glass of San Pelligrano sparkling water with ice cubes.
Udon was definitely a good choice but Devi was right, the stir fry noodle indeed looked really good when I glanced across the aisle to see how the Englishman had enjoyed his serving of stir fry noodle.
Within about an hour after the service had started, the snack service concluded and the cabin light was dimmed for everyone to rest. In this new J service, Garuda has again introduced a new larger size pillow and a very plush and comfortable duvet lined with cotton on 1 side and wool like material on the other side.
I slept for about 1 hour before I woke up for a nature call. On the way back from the toilet, I noticed the chef on board or the Cuisine Manager as Garuda is calling this position working in the C cabin was busy preparing the breakfast orders along with the Maitre D’Cabin and the stewardess. I saw how the mango platter was prepared with berries and freshly cut Indonesian mangoes. What was interesting to see was how the Cuisine Manager prepared all the eggs orders from fresh eggs.
In the midst of all this preparation, Yusni who happened to be in the mid galley came and offered me something to drink.
“Do you want anything to drink, Mr. GASQKL? Any hot chocolate or coffee for you? Cappuccino? Latte?”
“Cappuccino sounds very good,” I said.
“Ok,” said Yusni as she quickly went to the front cabin to make up a cup of cappuccino for me.
Garuda also stocked the minibar in the C section with instant noodles, cookies, and other snacks. When Yusni came back with my cappuccino, she also offered me if I would like to have anything from the minibar. I politely refused as breakfast was only about 2 more hours to go.
Lilies, the Maitre D’Cabin then asked me what I thought about this new J service. I told her I was very impressed with this new service so far and that it had reminded me so much of the F class experience I had just 2 months ago to and from NRT. She was very happy to hear that and told me that although they (the cabin crew) now had to do more but they were happier because the passengers seemed to appreciate their hard works.
From Lilies, I learned that there was also a new Y service being implemented as of Nov. 6, 2013. However, this service was now only limited to the CGK – PVG – CGK flight. The new J service that I was experiencing on this flight had been in place for several months now on the CGK – SYD – CGK flight. Other routes getting this new J service are CGK – NRT – CGK, CGK – KIX – CGK, CGK – ICN – CGK, and CGK – PVG – CGK. Lillies also advised me that the popular CGK – SIN – CGK service would also be upgraded soon but the service would be slightly different.
I went back to my seat and put on my headset to listen to some of the music collections in the IFE system while setting my seat to a very comfortable lounging position. I did doze off several times and finally when were above Broken Hills, Devi came to wish me good morning and asked if I was ready for breakfast.
“Would you like to start with a glass of juice, Mr. GASQKL?” she asked.
“Orange for me, please.”
“Sure,” she gladly said and came back with a glass of Orange Juice, a hot towel, and a sweet cream puff.
I quickly finished off the puff and the juice. When Devi came back to clear my glass, she asked if I would like to refill my juice or if I would like to have any other beverage to go with my breakfast.
“I will have Genmaicha, again,” I said.
“Sure, Mr. GASQKL.”
She then quickly disappeared into the galley and came back with a table cloth and napkin to set my table for breakfast.
Then came a bread bowl and an empty water glass.
“Still water or sparkling?” Devi asked
Then a plate of starter which consisted of smoked garoupa, Roquefort, asparagus, and pickled quail eggs.
The omelette and the roasted cherry tomatoes
Devi came and checked if my tea pot needed a refill. She also helped pour to my cup.
To top it off, the exquisite dessert which was Strawberry and cream with honey praline
The breakfast service went on at different times for each of the passengers in the C cabin until 30 minutes before arrival. Soon the cabin was secured for landing and this concluded another wonderful flying experience with Garuda Indonesia.
Emerald Sky Lounge
Jakarta - CGK
Sydney - SYD
I continued to be pleasantly surprised with Garuda Indonesia. Having tried its new F class, I thought it would be difficult to beat the experience again. However, the new J service is just as good as the new F service and it sure beats the expectation that I have had on the overnight flight.
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