Flight Review GA 713 Sydney to Jakarta Inaugural Flight Executive Class Sunday 1 August 2009


A volcano pierces the clouds over the Indonesian archipelago
Garuda’s spacious Executive Class seats
Garuda’s courteous cabin crew are always on hand to make the trip more enjoyable
Sign of things to come at Sydney Airport

Garuda Indonesia Passes The Elbow Test With A Beautiful New Product

Garuda Indonesia is entering a new era in its long history, and if this flight is anything to go by, good times lie ahead for the national carrier of the Republic of Indonesia, founded in 1949 and on the verge of a renaissance in its sixtieth year of operation.

Check-in in Sydney went without a hitch and Executive Class passengers enjoyed the comforts of the Qantas Business Class lounge before departure on a great day for flying.  The lounge was not crowded on a Sunday morning, providing a calm environment along with the expected reading material and snacks.

The first thing noticed when boarding Garuda Indonesia’s plane is the breadth of the aisles, which are narrower than usual.  At first, this seems odd because it is different from the expected—then you realise the reason for this design was to make the seats wider.  Much wider, in fact.  The brand-new A330-200 is fitted with 36 Executive Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration, separated into two sections of 18 seats.

About those seats.  The are extremely comfortable and pass the elbow test with flying colours, in this case a tasteful scheme of muted beiges and browns, which were relaxing for this day flight of 7h47m.  The seats are wide, wide, wide and allow for a normal person’s arms to relax at their sides instead of having the armrests restrict shoulders to an already too familiar computer hunch imposed by airlines with narrow seats. Space is generous for lower limbs as well, with the seat in front miles away (seat pitch = 74 inches).  The overall effect is one of sitting in a plush armchair in a living room rather than a seat on an airplane.  Sophisticated machinery under the seat powers you into any position from upright to fully flat.  The seat design itself is also innovative, with easy access to the buttons for position and video controls.  Another detail appreciated is the full-size, one-piece tray table.  Sounds minor, but enough drink-spills and paper-falls have been witnessed, and experienced, through the years to know that two-piece folding tables have their drawbacks.  The table swings fully out of the way when passengers wish to stand up or sit back down.

The entertainment system is also worthy of praise, with simple-to-use controls and enough variety in programming to keep the cinephile happy for the duration.  The screens are of good size and refreshing free of smudges; the entire plane was immaculate in every way.

Okay, the hardware is great, but what about the other assets?  The Garuda cabin crew offered the type of pleasant attentiveness one finds on Asian airlines; the crew were always at hand, graceful and polite but not overbearing.  Meal service was enjoyable, and efficiency was again displayed on arrival at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, from where Garuda is eventually planning to reintroduce service to Europe, thus offering passengers originating in Australia the opportunity for a few days’ shopover in Jakarta on the way home to load up on inexpensive goods at ITC Mangga Dua Mall or on the most luxurious of items at the dazzlingly impressive Grand Indonesia Shopping Town.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B
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