While currently, Boeing 777-300ER is the flagship aircraft type in Garuda Indonesia’s fleet, the airline uses the smaller Airbus A330 on many of its medium- and long-haul routes as well.
When making my way from Europe to Japan back in January, I had a chance to try its business class onboard the larger Airbus A330-300 equipped with its older generation seats.
Read this review to see what the flight from Denpasar to Osaka was like, and what level of comfort and service you can expect on medium-haul Garuda Indonesia flights.
Transferring at Denpasar Bali Airport
I arrived at Bali airport on a KLM flight from Singapore. There was no queue at the transfer security check, and so it took me less than ten minutes to get from the KLM aircraft to the airport’s departures area.
As I had a few hours to spare before the flight was scheduled to board, I paid a visit to each of the three lounges in the international terminal – Garuda Indonesia Business Class Lounge, T/G Lounge, and Premier Lounge.
While I was able to access the first one because I was flying in Garuda’s business class, I accessed the other two with my Priority Pass membership.
I left Premier Lounge at 11:45PM and headed to gate 1B where the flight was supposed to start boarding at 12:10AM. When I got to the gate, a Qatar Airways flight to Doha was still boarding, and I was sent to a separate waiting area of the gate.
Later – when they started letting us through around 11:55PM – it turned out that rather than the gate itself, it was just an entrance into a separate part of the terminal where the actual gate (as well as gate 1A where a flight to Tokyo was departing from) could be found.
The actual boarding started at 12:10AM – exactly on time – and I was the first person to walk through the jetway and onto the aircraft.
Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-300 Business Class Cabin and Seat
Garuda Indonesia A330-300s come in three different configurations, two of which feature both business and economy class cabins. The third is an economy class-only configuration seating 360 passengers.
As for the business class configurations, the older one seats a total of 251 passengers – 36 in full-flat business class seats in a “2-2-2” configuration and 215 in economy class seats in a “2-4-2” configuration.
The A330-300s in the newer configuration are equipped with 24 reverse herringbone seats and 263 economy class seats for a total capacity of 287 seats.
My flight was operated with an aircraft equipped in the older two-class configuration.
While my seat, 11D, was nowhere near as private as a reverse herringbone seat would have been, it offered a lot of legroom and space.
The seat controls could be found in the outer armrest, while the rest of the functionality – the IFE remote, USB and power outlets, and reading light – could be found in the console between each pair of seats.
The console was also equipped with a small counter (ideal for drinks, cell phones, etc.), a storage compartment where a noise-cancelling headset could be found upon boarding, as well as a partition that could be extended to provide some extra privacy from the neighbor.
The seat back in front of each seat was equipped with the in-flight entertainment screen, a shoe compartment (with slippers waiting in it upon boarding), a seat pocket, as well a literature rack and a coat hook.
Meal and drink menus, a pillow, an amenity kit, and a bottle of water were waiting at the seat upon boarding as well.
Departing Denpasar Onboard Garuda Flight 882
Not long after settling in my seat, one of the friendly flight attendants came around to offer me a welcome drink. Champagne and orange juice were available, and as usual, I went with the latter.
The drink was brought together with a warm towel. At that point, I asked the flight attendant whether anyone would be coming to an empty pair of seats by the window, and once she confirmed that those seats were empty, I moved over.
The aircraft doors were closed at 12:35AM, and around the same time, one of the crew members approached me to take my breakfast order.
I asked for some fruits and cereals, as well as the Indonesian main course. I asked whether it would be possible to wake me up an hour before landing to have the meal, but apparently that was too tight, and so I agreed to be woken up 90 minutes before landing instead.
As I was quite hungry, I also ordered the Sate Lilit (Balinese satay) and some fruits to have right after take-off.
About five minutes after that, quite heavy and warm blankets were handed out with the flight attendant spreading them over passengers’ knees.
At the same time, the safety video was played, and Garuda’s flight to Tokyo started pushing back from the gate next to ours (unfortunately I wasn’t able to get an award seat on that one).
We were pushed back at 12:48AM – eight minutes behind schedule – and four minutes later, we started taxiing towards the active runway.
Take-off followed at 00:58 after a fairly bumpy take-off roll.
Garuda Indonesia Business Class Midnight Snack Service
Seatbelt signs were switched off five minutes after take-off at which point some of the passengers turned down their seats and went to sleep while the cabin crew started preparing for the midnight meal service.
First, a drink (Coke Zero in my case) and an amuse-bouche were served. While it was nice of Garuda Indonesia to offer amuse-bouche on this fairly short redeye flight, unfortunately, the small piece of bread with mayonnaise, salmon, and salmon roe was quite unmemorable.
Less than ten minutes later, the cabin crew went around the cabin placing table cloths on tables of those that opted to eat. And, two minutes later, I received the two items I ordered – Sate Lilit and a fruit plate.
I should note here that the satay was excellent and the portion of both of the items was perfect for a late night snack.
Garuda Indonesia In-Flight Entertainment System
While I was waiting for the meal above to be served, I spent some time playing around with Garuda’s in-flight entertainment system. The first thing that caught my eye was the title screen background which featured a slideshow of Indonesian places worth seeing.
As for the content itself, it was nowhere near as extensive as Emirates’ ICE or Turkish Airlines’ selection, but it was on par with other major airlines.
There were dozens of movies including some of the newer ones like Crazy Rich Asians, and there were several different TV shows, each with at least two or three episodes.
There were also more than 200 albums to listen to and more than 50 games to play.
Besides that, there was also a kids menu which was essentially a selection of content appropriate for small children out of the whole offering. And, there was also a section with destination guides provided in partnership with TripAdvisor.
Finally, there was an airshow with a couple of different views on loop.
The headset offered decent sound quality, but was quite uncomfortable to wear.
In addition to the in-flight entertainment system itself, the aircraft was equipped with onboard wi-fi as well. I didn’t try it and so can’t comment on the speed, however, below is the price list for the packages that were offered.
Sleeping in Garuda Indonesia’s Older Generation Business Class Seat
Going back to the flight, once I was done with the meal – which was less than an hour after take-off – I briefly visited the lavatory before turning my seat into a bed and falling asleep.
There was nothing noteworthy about the lavatory except for the fact that some of the ameny bottles were, for some reason, open. While making my way back to the seat, I also noticed that there was a small “bar” with some soft drinks set up in the galley.
As for the bed, I found it to be quite comfortable. Especially so since I had a pair of seats to myself which allowed me to enjoy the spaciness of the older generation seat combined with level of privacy which I wouldn’t be able to enjoy if there was a stranger sleeping next to me.
That said, when it comes to lie-flat seats in “2-2-2” configuration, I prefer those that have a separate ottoman (for example, those that LOT uses on their 787s) as I find those to be sturdier than the ones – like Garuda’s – where the “ottoman” part of the seat in the lie-flat mode is just an extension coming out of the seat.
Garuda Indonesia Business Class Breakfast Service
I was able to sleep for about four hours before being woken up for breakfast at 6:30AM Japan time – about one hour and forty minutes before landing. As soon as I woke up, I was served a cup of orange juice and offered a cold towel.
Not long after that, one of the crew members came around to set up my table for breakfast. And, I started watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother on the IFE system.
Then, I was served bread with butter and strawberry jam, a cup of water, some cereals, and the fruit plate.
Once I was done with the fruits, the main course – “traditional steam rice served with fried chicken in spices desiccated coconut marinated boiled egg, tempeh, fried potato tossed in spicy chili sauce” – followed.
The breakfast was filling and tasty – I especially liked the chicken.
After the meal, I decided to have a cup of peppermint tea that I was able to enjoy while watching the sunrise.
Before continuing with the flight, below is the complete drink menu in case you are interested.
Arrival at Osaka Kansai Airport
Once the meal trays were cleared, the cabin crew went around the cabin to distribute Japanese immigration and customs form.
A couple of minutes after that, I decided to ask for a cup of fresh ambarella juice – something that caught my attention on the drink menu. The juice had an interesting “leavy” taste, and was very refreshing.
By this time, the flight was nearing its end.
We started descending towards Osaka Kansai airport at 7:35AM, and fifteen minutes later, the seatbelt signs were switched on.
At 8:07AM, the pilots lowered the landing gear, and just four minutes later, we touched down on runway 06L at Osaka Kansai airport.
We taxied for another ten minutes before coming to a full stop next to an Air Calin A330 at 8:21AM – nine minutes ahead of schedule.
Garuda Indonesia A330-300 Business Class Summary
Even though the flight was quite short – and departed well after midnight – it was still an enjoyable experience that gave me a brief look at what flying with Garuda Indonesia on longer business class flights might be like.
The crew was very friendly – well deserving of the “Most Loved Airline” award – and the meals were great as well.
That said, while I was able to enjoy a lot of privacy thanks to the seat next to me being unoccupied, the comfort level would have been way lower with a stranger sitting next to me.
As such, when choosing a Garuda Indonesia flight, try to pick a flight operated by one of the A330s equipped with reverse herringbone seats or by the 777-300ER.