I flew on Garuda’s A330 in their new business class last August from Jakarta to Denpasar in Bali. This time, I took the same flight booked in economy for just $130 one-way but got into the very first economy aisle emergency exit row – basically sitting in the aisle of business class (this is a very off configuration).
As mentioned earlier, the new terminal at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta is world-class and such an improvement on the old terminals. There is a lot of space (almost too much, I feel) and there is a lot of good food and coffee for purchase. Some of the vendors near the Garuda gates were closed up this time (incl. my favorite layered cake stall) for ‘maintenance reasons’.
Boarding was right on time and came without the AirAsia crowds and loud announcements – it just went along calmly.
The A330 was just about half full and seemed deserted in business class.
The airline usually runs a much smaller 737 most of the day but uses these planes to re-position flights between their dual hubs in Jakarta and Bali Denpasar.
After takeoff, we veered right in a furious roar toward Eastern Java and once we reached 33,000 feet, the flight attendants came out with dinner service almost right away. I found the food absolutely edible – quite decent indeed.
There always seems to be turbulence when coming off East Java and crossing into the sea toward Bali, like today. But shortly after, we landed at Denpasar Airport.
The biggest challenge is to get an Uber/Grab car; instead of clear instructions to walk out and then request a ride, the drivers tell you to go to some mysterious parking lot which nobody has ever heard of. The Indonesian taxi mafia apparently beat up Grab and Uber drivers if they are seen at the airports.
Do yourself a favor and walk out of the airport area (just about a 10-minute easy walk) and request a Grab once you are sweaty enough – it will be cheaper and fast.