Ibnu Bohari

Garuda Indonesia GA 88 Jakarta – Amsterdam Economy Class Review

Posted in Stuff Around Me by mibnufajar on 10 August, 2015

This is a review of flight GA 88 CGK-SIN-AMS on August 8th, 2015.

When I was browsing for Garuda Indonesia reviews, I found a couple reviews for their First and Business Class (rave reviews, btw) but literally none on their Economy Class, at least not on their flagship Jakarta-Amsterdam route. Since we, mere mortals, mostly travel on Y class, I feel morally obliged to contribute to the society by writing this review.

It should be noted that the flight GA 88, even thought marketed as a direct Jakarta-Amsterdam flight, actually only flew directly three times a week. In the other three times (it flew six times a week), it has to make a fuel stop (and picking up extra passengers) in Singapore. Part of it because of the poor condition of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which cannot handle Boeing 777 at full capacity (passenger, fuel, and cargo) needed to fly to Europe. I booked the Saturday flight, which is the not-so-direct-flight,that will take 16 hours 40 minutes instead of the faster 14 hours.

Terminal 2E Soekarno- Hatta International Airport Jakarta

Terminal 2E Soekarno- Hatta International Airport Jakarta

Check-in

If you buy their more expensive class of ticket, you can pick your seats and meal right when you book the ticket. But if you’re a bargain hunter like me, sorry hoor. You can only pick your seat during check-in and since I go to the loo super often during long-haul flight, sitting in the middle seat is just not an option for me, so I have to check-in fast.

Check-in is available via every means imaginable. Phone, web, mobile, city check-in. but I find that their app on iOS is really shitty to do anything useful so I opt for web check-in which is available from 24 hours before flight. Garuda has 3-3-3 seats configuration and in such scheme I always opt for an aisle seat in the middle section. Aisle seat on either left or right section are going to be bothered by two people whenever they need to go to the bathroom. While aisle seat in the middle is only going to be bothered by one person, and there’s only 50% chance s/he will pick your side. Bonus point if a couple sitting next to you, meaning you won’t be bothered during the whole flight.

And yes there’s still empty aisle seat in the back. 61G, yay! There are two configurations of this aircraft, the one with and without First Class. I flew the one without First Class, which is still not covered by SeatGuru and got me confused because in their website, economy class ends at row 52.

Seat configuration, according to SeatGuru. Incorrect.

Seat configuration, according to SeatGuru. Incorrect.

Check-in process was smooth and there’s barely any queue since I arrived early and I was told we have to disembark in Singapore along with our luggage. Yay for me, meaning I will be eligible for the $30 Voucher Garuda is giving away for every passenger flying to Amsterdam via Changi.

Then the universe said no…

Flight Delay

Flight Delay

I’ve flown Garuda my entire life and haven’t had any major delays in recent memory but this one just got delayed from 20.20 to 23.05 (Almost three hours!) because of the ongoing Mt. Raung volcanic ashes eruption preventing connecting passengers from Bali from joining us. Oh well.. I guess no shopping in Singapore then, since most shops in Changi close at 1 AM. (I have already planned to buy some passport holder or luggage tag with my voucher..)

Good thing is, Garuda gives us, stranded passengers, access to either Keris or Emerald Sky Lounge, and I chose the latter since I’ve heard about it a lot and boy was it crowded. In terms of food the choice is endless, from cold sandwich to proper full meal. They also provide variety of drinks. Wi-fi is slow though, and there is hardly any power outlet.

Food selections at Emerald Sky Lounge Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta

Food selections at Emerald Sky Lounge Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta

Food selections at Emerald Sky Lounge Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta

Food selections at Emerald Sky Lounge Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta

Relaxing at Emerald Sky Lounge, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Relaxing at Emerald Sky Lounge, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Boarding went smoothly.

Jakarta-Singapore Leg

Garuda Indonesia In-Flight Entertainment

Garuda Indonesia In-Flight Entertainment System

The IFE remote control. Love that it's modern and simple.

The IFE remote control. Love that it’s modern and simple.

Seat is comfy, definitely one of the best if not the best but sadly lacking power outlet or USB charger. The IFE system is responsive and there’s quite a bit of choice, but not as much as I’d like. Upside is, they’re available even on the ground so you can enjoy it immediately (it will reset after take off, though). I have brought along Emirates Noise-Cancelling headphones that I borrow from Robse but sadly, they’re not a match. Garuda Indonesia uses two-pronged headphone system instead of three.

Two-pronged headhone jack

Two-pronged headhone jack

While waiting for take-off we were offered a choice of apple or orange juice in a packaged cup and soon after take off FA starts offering dinner, a choice between beef pasta or chicken with rice. Being true Indonesian, I chose rice. But being served meal at 01.00 AM, I can’t seem to enjoy the food, but at least it’s not disappointing. Flight went smoothly and we landed in Singapore around 02.20 AM.

Welcome drink. Apple Juice.

Welcome drink. Apple Juice.

Garuda Indonesia GA 88 Dinner

Garuda Indonesia GA 88 Dinner

Because of local regulations, everyone has to disembark with their luggage and went to security check again even though we were only going to be there for 45 minutes. In front of the gate officers are handing out snacks, transit pass and my $30 Voucher (yay!) valid until 1st of November 2015.

Transit-in-Singapore Package

Transit-in-Singapore Package

Singapore-Amsterdam Leg

Amenities Kit and Mineral Water

Amenity Kit and Mineral Water

I was pleasantly surprised that they put a small bottle of mineral water in each of our seats, which is a better solution than providing water dispensers near lavatories like Singapore Airlines (mostly because the water tasted horrible). Besides pillow and blanket, Garuda also provides small amenity kit for economy passengers, consisting of earplugs, socks and eye mask. Compared to other top airlines, I have to say Singapore Airlines and Etihad provides better amenities, which include toothpaste and toothbrush (which are very useful!)

During this leg of flight, the staff is making announcement in three languages, Indonesia, English and Dutch.. Nice to hear Dutch with Indonesian accent being spoken. The safety demonstration video also has dutch subtitles in it that gets Dutch passengers excited.

Safety Demonstration, with Dutch subtitles

Safety Demonstration, with Dutch subtitles

Taking off at 04.30 AM, I was wondering whether we are going to be served full meal at all. I think at this point everyone just wants to sleep. And sure enough, as soon as the lights go off for take-off, I can’t hold my sleepiness any longer. I was awoken soon after by staffs making rounds offering warm chicken bread (which tasted delightful! Love it). They also handed out breakfast menu, which will be served shortly before landing…

In-between Fuel

In-between Fuel

Garuda Indonesia GA 88 Breakfast Menu

Garuda Indonesia GA 88 Singapore-Amsterdam Menu

Hmm.. Apparently there’s some snack in the galley.. I went to check it out on my lavatory run and they are fruitbars and bananas. Not bad. Afterwards I went to full-on sleep mode.

Snacks in the Galley

Snacks in the Galley

Btw, there is wifi on board, one hour for $11.95 and $21.95 for 24-hour, payable by credit cards. You can also use your mobile phone via AeroMobile, as long as your telco provider supports it. International Roaming charges apply.

Wi-fi On Board

Wi-fi On Board

Wi-fi On Board Prices

Wi-fi On Board Prices

Four hours later, I woke up and decided to check their EFI. Hmm, they have bigger movie selections now, with even more new movies like Furious 7 and The Age of Adaline… I picked We’re The Millers (hilarious movie, btw) and Harry Potter. The Millers movie has Chinese subtitles and I can’t find a way to turn it off.

We're The Millers on Garuda IFE. Hilarious movie. But with Chinese subtitles

We’re The Millers on Garuda IFE. Hilarious movie. But with Chinese subtitles

I forgot to take the picture of the breakfast, but it’s an okay meal.. I picked the western menu, omelette with chicken sausage, tomato, potato and carrots. They also give us Yoghurt, sliced fruits and croissant (with butter only, no jam).

I fell asleep again, either because I am very tired or the seat is just accommodating. I think this is the first I flew long haul and not feeling like the clock moves super-duper slow. I don’t even need my neck pillow. It was actually sort of pleasant.

Landing was uneventful and off the plane I am..

Garuda Indonesia Boeing 777 Interior

Garuda Indonesia Boeing 777 Interior

Verdict

Pleasant flight! Seat is comfy, food is ok, FAs are delightful, but I have to say Singapore Airlines still provides better services for their economy class (They serve cocktail on board, even for Economy class passenger. SQ also serves more variety of food, and their FAs are equally nice). But I would choose Garuda for a truly non-stop Jakarta-Amsterdam flight, and SQ is simply more expensive.

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5 Responses

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  1. Sharon said, on 7 June, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks for writing this! Now I know what to expect on my first Garuda long-haul flight 🙂

  2. Orchidea della casa said, on 19 March, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Waktu itu sepenuh apa pesawatnya, terutama di bagian belakang? I know this was like 1.5 years ago tho. Just curious, as I’m flying this route next month.

    • mibnufajar said, on 28 April, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      Rute Jakarta – Singapura tidak begitu penuh (¾) tapi rute Singapura – Amsterdam basically penuh.

      • Orchidea della casa said, on 5 May, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        Sampai sekarang yang rute via SIN juga masih ramai. Tapi di Changi gak dapet transit pass, snack, dan–yang paling ngenes–voucher lagi.


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