Flight Review GA712 Jakarta to Sydney Executive Class Tuesday 4 August 2009


Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport
Garuda is breaking with the past for a bright future
Emir Satar, President and CEO of Garuda Indonesia
Garuda Indonesia’s sumptuous Executive Lounge sets a new standard for airport lounges

Looking Toward The Future With New Planes And New Confidence

In contrast to the daytime flight in the other direction, Garuda Indonesia’s Jakarta to Sydney flight is an overnight experience.  Again, the spacious Executive Class seats come through with as much comfort in the horizontal position as in more vertical positions.  The wide seats naturally make for a wide bed.

Before getting to the plane, there is the startlingly luxurious Executive Lounge to enjoy.  This is no ordinary airport lounge; again Garuda comes through with a superior product.  Fine lacquered furniture, a separate computer workspace, shower facilities, and a banquet fit for royalty all lie behind the gentle waterfall at the entrance.  This is one of the best lounges I have ever visited, and the food is—by far—the best ever tasted anywhere in the world’s airport lounges.  Any Michelin-starred establishment would be hard-pressed to come up with similarly delicious dishes, which naturally feature classic Indonesian cuisine as well as a variety of options for those preferring Western fare.

Boarding went smoothly using the two-door system and the flight departed nearly full.  Many of the passengers took advantage of the new lie-flat beds as soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off to get some sleep before arriving in Sydney 7h35m later.  The landing in Sydney, as was the one in Jakarta days earlier, went almost unnoticed as the sidestick technology aboard this Airbus 330-200 was able to bring the plane in as softly as landing on a cottonball.

This year, the Ministry of Tourism‘s Visit Indonesia 2009 campaign has seen a series of special events throughout the country, adding to the many appealing destinations beyond perennial favourite Bali.  Indonesia is one of the most misunderstood countries in Asia; the constant barrage of negative press in the Western media, however, is unable to diminish the gentle nature of the Indonesian people, the subtle flavours of Indonesian cuisine, or the magnificent landscapes around the country.  If ever there were a time to visit Indonesia, it is now; Garuda is offering stupendously low introductory fares to celebrate the new nonstop flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Jakarta.  How does 1200 dollars sound?  A bit high for an Economy Class ticket, true—but that price is the Business Class fare.  This is undoubtedly the travel bargain of the year and it’s available for purchase until 30 September for travel until 4 December.  All that Executive comfort and pampering on the ground and in a brand new plane—you’ll wish the flight lasted longer.

For the naysayers who doubt Garuda Indonesia‘s ability to provide a product to compete with other carriers courting the Australian market these days, the generously sized storage compartments found in the Executive Class seatbacks  is a great place to stow the cynicism.  Garuda Indonesia President and CEO Emir Satar is a sharp guy and savvy businessman leading an airline strengthened by renewed confidence.  In an interview earlier this week with esteemed aviation journalist Peter Ricketts, editor of Asia-Pacific Aerospace Report, Emir revealed that the current growth curve for Garuda was in fact drawn three years ago; the airline is now taking advantage of that planning to bring it into the league of intercontinental carriers serving the Asian and Australian markets.  At a time when bigger Asian carriers are suffering massive drops in revenue mainly due to a dearth of Business Class travellers on long-haul flights, Garuda finds itself sitting pretty as a regional carrier turning a good profit and positioning itself to move in the opposite direction by adding destinations to its route network.  Expect more good things to come in the months ahead.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B
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