Bali Airport has recently seen an upgrade and the duty free area now raises the heart rate of anyone from China. So it was that night – immigration and security were quick but passing through the duty free area took longer than immigration and security.
The Garuda Business Class Lounge at Denpasar Airport is a small scale affair. It was filled to capacity at 11 PM with the Garuda flights to China and Japan waiting for departure. Our flight would be delayed by one hour. Similar to the Business Class Lounge in Jakarta (REVIEW) the design is well done but it’s a failure besides that. It is loud (it is only semi shielded from the busy terminal and the duty free area), the food is inedible and the WiFi does barely work. The good news is that you can ‘ask’ for alcohol (it is not displayed) and you may get a local beer served.
The gates at Denpasar airport are incredible crowded with many flights leaving at midnight. Our gate would change several times and it was a pain with the main super loud announcements that nobody understands anyway. Our flight never got any announcements (and I am not sure they might have helped).
Once boarding came the mostly Japanese passengers stormed the plane as their live would depend on it. A few years ago on my flight with KLM from Amsterdam to Osaka 300 passengers got seated and ready for takeoff in less than 10 minutes. So it was this night – Business Class would be extremely full and I swear within 5 minutes it was all seats taken electronics out and slippers on and ready to go. I had trouble finding an empty seat for pictures.
Garuda Indonesia uses the same seat you may be familiar with from the Etihad Business Class (REVIEW). It isn’t my favorite Business Class seat – but also not the worst. There seems to be so much wasted space – since the cabin was full all I got was an outward facing middle seat – not ideal.
This flight would feature alcoholic drinks and the welcome Brut Rose champagne was excellent.
We eventually pushed back and made our way into the turbulent skies over Indonesia to Palawan and on to Taipei, Okinawa and Tokyo.
The flight attendants seemed very attentive and friendly (Garuda is consistently rated as having the world’s friendliest cabin crew) though I found them a little hard to understand.
The rather strong turbulence would wake me up a number of times but the seat allows you to lay somewhat flat and comfortable. I can almost lay down all the the way but I wish it would be wider as turning isn’t easy.
When I woke up breakfast was in it’s final stages and I managed to still get my Japanese breakfast served. There is a chef on board though I wasn’t sure what part of the food preparation he really did.
I wasn’t hungry but also really did not like the items from the Japanese breakfast. I gave it back after a few little nibbles.
Garuda has a decent product on their 777 though it is a generation behind. The staff is friendly but the limited IFE and the catering need work.