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After briefly dropping in at both the Garuda Indonesia Domestic Lounge and Concordia Lounge Bali, it was finally time to board our flight to Jakarta, where we would connect onward to Hong Kong and Los Angeles on Cathay Pacific. Unfortunately, our original flight on GA417 departing at 6:20pm was canceled, so we forfeited lay flat seats on Garuda Indonesia’s A330 and instead would be flying on the 7pm flight aboard the 737-800.
I knew at booking that there was a decent chance our flight would get canceled. Having looked at their historical data in the weeks prior to our flight, Garuda Indonesia would frequently cancel about half of their scheduled A330 flights on this particular route. I’m guessing there just isn’t enough demand. So while we were hoping it wouldn’t happen to us, we weren’t all that surprised when we got bumped to the 7pm departure. Disappointing, since we paid out of pocket with the intent of reviewing the A330 business cabin, and instead would have to settle for recliner seats on a 737-800. But we knew the risks.
Revised Flight Details:
Boarding was actually quite eventful — we had to walk about a quarter mile across the tarmac, which allowed for some beautiful sunset views on the ground.
The 12-seat business class cabin features a 2×2 configuration across three rows. The aircraft was showing its age — entering it’s 10th year in commission. Seats had small stains and scuffs along the armrests, but overall the aircraft was in pretty decent condition. Each seat came with personal IFE and outlets (of course, no USB ports).
And despite a very short flight time of about an hour, blankets and pillows were provided (they even had expiration windows).
I’d forgotten to request a seat change after we got bumped to the later flight. Bulkhead seats aren’t my favorite — I don’t like having my leg space restricted by the wall since I can’t straighten them. The bulkhead also has a missing window.
I prefer non bulkhead rows since you can extend your legs beneath the seat in front of you.
The IFE is located between the seats, and branded headphones with old-school three-prong plugs are provided to business class passengers. The entertainment options were limited to about 30 new-ish releases.
I took a moment to recognize the 5 star Skytrax rating as we prepared for takeoff.
With only an hour between takeoff and touchdown, the meal service started promptly after we reached our cruising altitude. The cabin crew brought around hot towels and table cloths.
Dinner was good for a quick meal service – we were offered the choice of a meat or vegetarian curry that came accompanied with a papaya salad, gelatin dessert, and rice chips.
Meal service was quick, and shortly after our tables were cleared, we were descending into Jakarta.
Overall, I actually found Garuda Indonesia’s business class on board the 737 to be pretty solid for such a short flight. We’re no strangers to the 737-800 premium cabin, and Garuda Indonesia does it a lot better than U.S. domestic airlines. The seats, blankets and pillows were more than sufficient for an hour onboard, and having personal IFE and outlets was the cherry on top.
While I was disappointed that we didn’t get to review the A330, I still appreciated the excellent onboard service. Squeezing a proper meal service onto a one hour flight is no easy task, and the cabin crew were very efficient and polite throughout. I enjoyed the onboard experience in Garuda Indonesia Business Class, but a word of caution: don’t book Garuda Indonesia as part of a connecting itinerary since they do have a tendency to cancel flights.