Review: Garuda Indonesia First Class 777-300ER London To Jakarta

Filed Under: Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia 87
London (LHR) – Jakarta (CGK)
Tuesday, December 6
Depart: 8:15PM
Arrive: 5:05PM (+1 day)
Duration: 13hr50min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 2D (First Class)

Have you ever boarded a flight and known from the very first second that the crew would be amazing? Well, this was one of those flights. At the door we were welcomed by all four first class crew members — Oktaviana, Septi, Henny, and Aziz — with the warmest imaginable smiles and a “welcome aboard, please let me show you to your seat.”

The three ladies had gorgeous uniforms on, all in different colors.

Garuda Indonesia’s 777 first class cabin consists of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration. While random, one of the first things that stood out to me was how the curtains between first and business class were closed. Other airlines will board first and business class through the forward door, while on Garuda Indonesia the first class cabin is exclusively boarded through the forward door. As a result, you really almost feel like the plane has just eight seats.

Garuda Indonesia 777 first class cabin

Garuda Indonesia first class features fully enclosed suites. I love the design of the suites, though there are a few airlines that have similar cabins, so it’s not that unique of a product.

Garuda Indonesia 777 first class cabin

I had assigned us seats 2D & 2G, the two center seats in the second row.

Garuda Indonesia first class, seats 2D & 2G

Garuda Indonesia first class, seats 2D & 2G

Immediately above our seats was a Skytrax 5-star placard. Garuda Indonesia is clearly proud of this award, and they sure deserve it.

Garuda Indonesia Skytrax 5-star placard

Obviously the window seats afford a bit more privacy if you’re traveling alone, not to mention you can easily look out of the window.

Garuda Indonesia first class, seat 2A

Garuda Indonesia first class, seat 2A

Garuda Indonesia first class, seat 2A

I was in 2D, which is the aisle seat on the left side of the cabin.

Garuda Indonesia first class, seat 2D

Waiting at my seat were two pillows, including one rectangular one and one cylindrical one.

Garuda Indonesia first class pillows

My seat had an ottoman, which could double as a buddy seat, in case you want to dine face-to-face.

Garuda Indonesia first class ottoman

To the right of the seat was a small monitor that could be used to control the lighting, seat functions, etc. The entire screen could even be removed and held in your hand, if desired.

Garuda Indonesia first class seat controls

Towards the back right of my seat was an entertainment controller, headphones, and a bottle of Evian water.

Garuda Indonesia first class storage compartment

Garuda Indonesia first class bottled water

The headphones were Garuda Indonesia branded, and were okay quality, though certainly not as good as Bose headphones, for example.

Garuda Indonesia first class headphones

Then towards the front right of the seat was another storage compartment, which is also where the power port was located.

Garuda Indonesia first class storage compartment

Between those two compartments was the area holding the massive tray table, which had a glassy faux-wood finish. The tray table could be folded over so that it was only half out, though unfortunately it couldn’t move front and back, which made it tough to get up during the meal services.

Garuda Indonesia first class tray table

Then on the outside of the seat was a small closet, which was big enough for a coat, etc.

Garuda Indonesia first class closet

Other bags could be stored either underneath the ottoman, or in the center overhead bins. The cabin didn’t have any overhead bins on the sides, but rather just four bins in the center section, above row two. There weren’t any on the sides to create a more spacious feeling, and there’s usually not one above row one due to the pilot crew rest on top.

Waiting for us on the center console were all kinds of goodies, which were beautifully displayed.

Garuda Indonesia first class menus and amenity kit

This included the menu and wine list in leather binders.

Garuda Indonesia first class menu & wine list

Then there was a tray with a copy of The Jakarta Post, as well as a writing kit.

Garuda Indonesia first class binder & newspaper

The writing kit had paper, a pen, and an immigration form for Indonesia.

Garuda Indonesia first class stationery, pen, and immigration form

Then there was the amenity kit, which came in a cool Garuda Indonesia First Class-branded box.

Garuda Indonesia first class Loewe amenity kit

The amenity kit was provided by Loewe, and featured a dental set, a shoehorn, a brush, eyeshades, earplugs, and lip balm.

Garuda Indonesia first class Loewe amenity kit contents

Then there was some facial moisturizer, cologne, and body lotion.

Garuda Indonesia first class Loewe amenity kit contents

There was also a separate kit with socks and eyeshades.

Garuda Indonesia first class socks & eyeshades

Once settled in, all four of the first class flight attendants came by one-by-one to introduce themselves. I was so impressed by their professionalism. Each of them kneeled down by my seat, addressed me by name, and in the warmest way possible welcomed me aboard Garuda Indonesia and wished me a nice flight. I felt like I was being welcomed into their homes, rather than being welcomed onto a flight that they just happened to be working. I know that sounds cheesy, but it really felt that way to a degree I’ve rarely experienced on any airline.

As Oktaviana came by my seat she offered me a drink — “Mr. Schlappig, may I get you something to drink? Perhaps you’d like a glass of champagne?” Works for me!

Garuda Indonesia has two types of champagne in first class — Billecart-Salmon and Laurent-Perrier Rose. I selected the rose, which Oktaviana promptly served me.

The incredible purser Oktaviana offering me champagne

In addition to the drink, I was offered a warm towel and warm macadamia nuts.

Garuda Indonesia first class pre-departure rose, macadamia nuts, and warm towel

Moments later, Septi came by with pajamas for the flight. The first class concierge who contacted me before the flight asked what size pajamas I wanted, and it seemed like that information was passed on to the crew. While the pajamas are simple, they’re also very comfortable.

Garuda Indonesia first class pajamas

After that, Henny came through the cabin to provide a service I’ve never seen before. She had white gloves on and placed a mat by my feet. Then I took off my shoes, and she placed them in a shoebag while also placing the slippers on my feet — wow, what service!

Garuda Indonesia first class shoe & slipper service

I loved the Garuda Indonesia slippers, as they were sturdy.

Garuda Indonesia first class slippers

I kept my shoes underneath my ottoman for the entire flight, though it felt sort of silly having my sneakers in shoebags.

Garuda Indonesia first class shoe service

As I mentioned in the previous installment, we were battling the curfew at Heathrow, meaning we were in a rush to leave. Boarding started at 11PM, and we had to be airborne by 11:30PM, or else we’d violate the curfew.

At around 11:15PM the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, apologizing for the delay, and introducing his three colleagues in the flight deck. He anticipated a mostly smooth flight to Jakarta, though said there might be some moderate turbulence over India.

Boarding was really efficient, and the cabin door closed at 11:22PM. There were six passengers in first class, and we were the only non-Indonesian passengers, best I could tell — there was a couple in 1D & 1G, a guy who was filming much of the flight in 1K, and then a lady with a massive ring who just slept most of the flight in 2A, across from me.


At that point the cabin senior, Jury, made his welcome aboard announcement.

As we pushed back the safety video began to play, though once we completed our pushback we taxied super fast, probably because we were trying to beat the curfew. As we taxied out the crew came through the cabin to ask if we wanted to partake in the caviar service after takeoff, and asked what we wanted to drink with it.

The cabin lights were dimmed as we taxied out, and the “stars” on the ceiling were turned on, which is such a cute touch.

Garuda Indonesia first class cabin stars on ceiling

At 11:32PM — two minutes after the curfew — we began our takeoff roll. Due to the crew’s takeoff preparations, they were buckling up as we were rolling down the runway.

The climb out was fairly smooth, and less than five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off.

I briefly browsed the entertainment selection. Perhaps the most interesting feature is that you can choose what color background you want for your screen, which I’ve not seen on another airline.

Garuda Indonesia entertainment system

First I checked out the airshow for our 14hr5min flight to Jakarta, which was significantly longer than usual due to light tailwinds.

Garuda Indonesia airshow enroute to Jakarta

Garuda Indonesia airshow enroute to Jakarta

Garuda Indonesia airshow enroute to Jakarta

I then browsed the entertainment selection. There was a selection of about 120 movies. While not as extensive as what you’ll find on Emirates or Singapore, that’s a pretty solid selection, if you ask me.

Garuda Indonesia entertainment selection

Garuda Indonesia entertainment selection

Garuda Indonesia entertainment selection

There were also about 100 TV shows, though it was a largely unusual selection, and not the typical array of sitcoms you’ll find on many airlines

Garuda Indonesia entertainment selection

Garuda Indonesia entertainment selection

Shortly after takeoff we were also presented with cards for complimentary Wi-Fi. It’s such a nice touch that Garuda Indonesia offers this for first class passengers, as so many airlines don’t.

Garuda Indonesia first class complimentary Wi-Fi voucher

Even if you don’t get a voucher, Wi-Fi on Garuda Indonesia is very reasonably priced, with no data caps. There are the following package options:

  • 1 hour of Wi-Fi for $11.95
  • 3 hours of Wi-Fi for $16.95
  • Full flight Wi-Fi for $21.95

Garuda Indonesia 777 Wi-Fi pricing

As I said above, there are no data caps for those packages, and you can even switch between devices (you just can’t use two devices at once). Wi-Fi was among the fastest I’ve had on an international flight, so it’s a really solid offering.

I was impressed by how quickly after takeoff the crew began their service. Less than 20 minutes after takeoff, Septi served me a glass of rose and caviar. The caviar was beautifully displayed, and the caviar bowl even had dry ice underneath it, so there was a dry ice effect towards the beginning — amazing!

The caviar was served with blinis, sour cream, and prawn crackers.

Garuda Indonesia first class caviar service

Garuda Indonesia first class caviar service

While not the most expensive champagne out there, I really do like the Laurent-Perrier rose.

Laurent-Perrier Rose Champagne in Garuda Indonesia first class

After that course I quickly checked out the lavatory. There was only one lavatory at the front of the cabin (it would be nice if they had two, given that it’s also used by the pilots), which featured “real” towels and some other toiletries.

Garuda Indonesia first class lavatory

Garuda Indonesia first class lavatory towels

As I emerged from the restroom I saw the captain just getting ready for his rest, and said “I have to ask, how did you get around the Heathrow curfew?” He laughed and said that since it was Garuda’s first violation they were given an exception, but he was still frustrated that they barely missed it.

Once back at my seat, Aziz (who was in a chef’s uniform at this point) came by my seat and said “I wanted to discuss your dining on today’s flight, if this is a good time.” He went over the entire menu with me, explained that I could dine whenever I wanted, and took my order.

The menu read as follows:



And the drink list read as follows:







The tea & coffee menu read as follows:





We wanted to start our meal right away so we could get some rest, and sure enough they set our tables within about 15 minutes.

I thought the table setting was gorgeous, including the breadbasket, glass plate, salt and pepper display, olive oil, etc.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner appetizer

For the starter I ordered the crab cakes with pickle and pineapple salsa, which was incredibly flavorful. The salsa was very spicy, and the crab cakes had a lot of meat in them, rather than being mostly breading, as you’ll often find on planes.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner appetizer — crab cake with pickle & pineapple salsa

Ford had the smoked duck with pineapple, coconut and mango yogurt, and papaya salsa, which he really enjoyed.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner appetizer — smoked duck

We had a glass of sancerre to go along with this course.

Garuda Indonesia first class wine — sancerre

Next we were served the soup course, which was presented first without the broth/liquid. One flight attendant would present the bowl, and then Aziz would be right behind with a pitcher that had the broth.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner soup — chicken noodle soup

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner soup — chicken noodle soup

I had the chicken noodle soup with a chicken meatball, pak choy, and and spring onion. It was phenomenal, and once again, spicy.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner soup — chicken noodle soup 

Ford had the tomato soup, which he enjoyed as well.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner soup — tomato soup

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner soup — tomato soup

Next we were served the main course. Ford had the Indonesian beef rendang with jasmine rice, kale curry, and green chili sambal. I tried some of it, and it was very good.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner main course — Indonesian beef rendang

I had the salmon and prawns, which I enjoyed as well.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner main course — herb crusted salmon and grilled king prawn

Next Ford and I shared a cheese plate. Once again, the presentation was beautiful, though I found the combination of an apricot, olive, and cherry on the side to be unusual.

Version 2
Garuda Indonesia first class dinner cheese course

The crew insisted we have some dessert wine, so we took them up on the offer.

Garuda Indonesia first class dessert wine

Next we were served dessert. I had the strawberry cheesecake. Is that restaurant quality presentation, or what?

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner dessert — strawberry cheesecake

Ford had the walnut and dark chocolate brownie tart with vanilla bean ice cream.

Garuda Indonesia first class dinner dessert — walnut and dark chocolate tart with ice cream

The entire meal service was done just under 2hr30min after takeoff, and what a feast it was. The food wasn’t necessarily the most bougie selection you’ll find on any airline, but the execution and flavors were incredible. Without exception, every single dish was bursting with flavor.

But really the most noteworthy aspect of the meal was the service. I can’t properly put into words how professional and kind our crew was. First of all, I don’t know any other airline that staffs a first class cabin with four crew members, which is an incredible ratio.

It’s not just about the ratio, though, but about how genuine and professional the crew was. For example:

  • At every single interaction they’d kneel to communicate, so you were on the same level
  • When every single dish was served, they’d provide a description of exactly what you’re being served, and say “please enjoy”
  • After every course they’d ask how it was
  • Oktaviana, Septi, Henny, and Aziz were among the kindest people I’ve interacted with on a plane; it’s not just that they were poised or professional or kind, but they were so fun as well; we really felt like we were guests in someone’s home, rather than feeling like we were on a plane; sometimes you get one good flight attendant, while in this case all four were incredible

Kudos to this superstar crew, they really are probably the best I’ve ever had.

Garuda first class cabin with lights off

After dinner we requested to have our beds made, which was promptly taken care of. The beds were very nicely made, and Septi even tucked me in and said “sweet dreams, Mr. Ben.”

Garuda first class turndown service

Having a fully enclosed suite is always a special treat, as you actually feel like you have some privacy.

Garuda Indonesia first class suite door

As far as the bedding itself goes, I had mixed feelings. The pillows were great, and I appreciated that there were three of them. However, the bed was a bit on the firm side, so I wish they had a thicker mattress pad. Furthermore, while the blanket was soft and comfortable, it was pretty narrow, so you couldn’t fully wrap yourself in it.

These are ultimately all very minor complaints, and I managed to sleep very well, given how exhausted I was.

Garuda first class turndown service

I know this perhaps sounds crazy, but I find the stars on the ceiling on planes to be incredibly calming, and help with falling asleep.

Garuda first class ceiling stars

I went to bed with about 11hr30min to go to Jakarta, as we were over Turkey.

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

I slept for almost exactly six hours, and woke up as we were just south of Mumbai, about 5hr30min from our arrival in Jakarta.

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

Within moments of waking up, Septi appeared at my seat to ask how I slept and offer me a snack. I had a look at the snack menu, which read as follows:



I wasn’t especially hungry, though decided to order the Indonesian sate platter, which was tasty.

Garuda Indonesia first class snack — Indonesian sate platter

I also ordered a peppermint tea.

Garuda Indonesia first class peppermint tea

I decided to work for a few hours, which was easy thanks to the fast and free Wi-Fi. Eventually I also ordered a cappuccino. I’m bummed I didn’t order one earlier, as this was probably the best cappuccino I’ve ever had on a plane. It was served in a massive cup, and tasted every bit as good as it looked.

Garuda Indonesia first class cappuccino

As someone who is addicted to caffeinated beverages, I also decided to order a french press coffee. When you order a french press on Garuda, you can even choose what type of roast you want, which I’ve never been offered before on any other airline.

Garuda Indonesia’s coffee game is spot on!

Garuda Indonesia first class french press coffee

I worked for the next few hours, and eventually we were about two hours from our arrival in Jakarta. Aziz came by my seat to remind me that I could have breakfast whenever I wanted, so we decided to eat about 90 minutes before landing.

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

Airshow enroute to Jakarta

The breakfast menu read as follows:



The breakfast table setting was once again beautiful, between the bread basket and three types of jam each presented on a separate plate. I ordered a cappuccino and still water to drink, and had some corn flakes and fruit with fruit yogurt to eat.

Garuda Indonesia first class breakfast

The bread basket consisted of a croissant, chocolate pastry, and a danish.

Garuda Indonesia first class breakfast — pastry basket

For my main course I had scrambled eggs. I ordered them well done, and they were indeed prepared perfectly. I had some mushrooms, asparagus, and a hash brown to go along with it.

Garuda Indonesia first class breakfast — scrambled eggs

Ford had the nasi goreng for breakfast, which he enjoyed as well.

Garuda Indonesia first class breakfast — nasi goreng

After breakfast I headed back to the lavatory to change, and thanked the crew for how incredible they were. I told them that I’ve flown many airlines in first class, but that they were the best. One of them responded with “we may not have as much money as some other airlines, but we have heart.” They sure do!

I asked if it was okay if I took a picture of them, which they were perfectly fine with (and then they took out their phones as well, and all started taking group pictures). Unfortunately Aziz wasn’t in the picture as he was in business class at the time, but you can see the captain and the three incredible flight attendants taking care of us in first class — Oktaviana, Septi, and Henny.

Our incredible crew — the captain, purser Oktaviana, and flight attendants Septi and Henny

About 30 minutes before landing the captain provided updated arrival information for Jakarta, at which point the crew slowly began preparing the cabin for landing. This included them providing the white glove “shoe service” once again, where they’d take your shoes out of the shoebags and place them by your feet. They also came around with Garuda Indonesia First Class-branded bags for taking home all the goodies we were given throughout the flight, including pajamas, amenity kits, etc.

Garuda Indonesia first class bag

As we descended, each crew member came around one by one to thank everyone for flying Garuda Indonesia.

Airshow approaching Jakarta

Airshow approaching Jakarta

Finally at 8:15PM we had an extremely smooth touchdown in Jakarta, and 10 minutes later we found ourselves at a remote stand. We were sad to bid farewell to the crew, though little did we know that the amazing service for our journey wasn’t over yet!

Garuda Indonesia first class bottom line

This might just have been my favorite flight ever. While there are airlines that perform better than Garuda Indonesia in specific categories (blingy amenities, better bedding, etc.), I don’t remember the last time I’ve flown in such a well rounded product.

Garuda is absolutely best in class for their cabin crew. The flight attendants taking care of us were incredible. But beyond that, the food was tasty across the board, I loved the free Wi-Fi, and there were so many little touches that made the flight special.

As I reflect on this flight, I really do think it was my favorite flight ever, and Garuda Indonesia first class may be my favorite first class product in the world.

Kudos to the airline on this great product, and in particular kudos to the crew for their heartfelt hospitality.

  1. Sounds like a great flight! It’s always been my experience that some of the best networking opportunities can be found in Garuda first class.

  2. @ Ben — “As a result, you really almost feel like the plane has just eight seats.” As it should be! The peasantry should only be there to pay for the fuel, and not be seen. 🙂

  3. ‘While not the most expensive champagne out there, I really do like the Laruent-Perrier rose’

    Hate to break it to you Ben, but because something is the most expensive does not mean it has to be the best…….LP Rose is generally touted as one of the best Rose Champagnes on the market

  4. Imagine if an airline had a first class seat with an XBOX One. It has the wrong type of RAM! That would be crazy.

  5. TMI!!
    To be fair, it is a really detailled and well written trip report. Also thank you for reviewing Garuda.
    But for me I thought it was going way too much into detail. I lost interest while reading it and skipped to bottom line. That’s a first with your reports.
    but please don’t let you down by my humble opinion… happy New Years

  6. How many hours late did you arrive? I’ll be doing the same flight, with a connecting one to SIN which is the last one out of Jakarta and really don’t want to stay over night! (Now have to book refundable hotels in each city just to be sure).

    Thanks again for the review, hotly anticipated review of the year! Can’t wait to experience it myself Lucky. Still in awe.

  7. Great to read you enjoyed it throughout!!! I like the touch on closing the curtains during boarding as I recently flew Air France and recall going through La Premiere in order to get to my seat in J.
    To my knowledge, the only way to redeem points for this product is through GarudaMiles, right? 190,000 miles (unless there’s a 90% promo where it would cost 10% of that amount.) 😉

  8. Really?? You’re flying a top-notch, SkyTrax 5-Star Airline in F and the best you can do is wear Asics “sneakers”? Wow. Please tell me you weren’t wearing “sweat pants” to match. I’m sure Ford would not be caught dead in such banal.

  9. Awwww, I was hoping you would comment on how garish the color scheme was. That orange/brown is very 70s, though you do see a lot of that in SW Asia so there’s that. But you never miss an opportunity to rag on OZ for their color-scheme/pattern so I figured you’d have some commentary on these.

  10. “which was significantly longer than usual due to light tailwinds.”

    I am no aeronautical engineer, but wouldn’t a tail wind speed you up? Did you mean a head wind?

  11. Lucky, when you are travelling with Ford, do you pick different kinds of food to sample a wider selection or do you have totally different tastes for food?

  12. Amazing review. As a coffee snob, I hope the menu is lying when they say the beans were roasted that very morning! Beans need a few days rest after roasting, to release gases that are activated during roasting. They taste so much worse if you have them right after roasting. I’m sure Gardua doesn’t actually use beans that were roasted the same day, and instead are just playing up their coffee service, but still, it’s like bragging about doing something wrong!

  13. I know of all the things to want on an airplane star patterns is pretty low on the list, but I really hope UA went for the star feature on their new 773s given their Polaris branding of the J product.

    Have had it on a couple carriers and it is quite enjoyable.

  14. this shouldn’t bother me but it does….sneakers? for someone who complains frequently about level of service and attention to detail, you have a role to play too in not dressing like you are going to the gym, and i think you of all people should know to dress better for J/F class flying.

  15. Nice review, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Nice list of top-notch premium brands on offer, too, until you come to the gin and it’s… Gordon’s. Really? I love a gin and tonic and, frankly, I’ve never yet met one I wouldn’t drink, but, for what looks like an otherwise wonderfully considered product, it’s disappointing that they haven’t been a bit more imaginative here than bog-standard, buy-it-in-any-supermarket Gordon’s.

    Though personally I don’t think I could ever get past people kneeling to talk to me. That’s what kindergarten teachers do; but we’re all grown-ups, right? Or is something else being suggested by the subservience?

  16. Oh god here comes sneakergate again. Didn’t everyone flip out about sneakers for a Garuda F review last year? Get yourselves together, people!

  17. @QR – I’m assuming that what they meant to say was that the beans were freshly ground that day, and not actually roasted that day.

  18. I experienced similar service on Thai F recently.

    By the way, what’s the best way to book Garuda F and what is their availability like?

  19. Fantastic trip report! This is why “we” love you Ben!
    I felt as if I was on the flight with you.
    I will try to fly Garuda F in 2017!

    PS: a few minors typo (‘Laurent’ spelled Laruent, “rose” should be spelled “rosé” and “Wwifi”) probably due to your excitement 😉

  20. The comments here are something else, there are probably more passive aggressive potshots than actual constructive comments.

  21. Lucky, next time try the ‘Ketoprak’ appetizer. That’s a traditional Betawi (Batavian – read: old Jakarta) street vendor fare. Thank you for the review. I told my parents about the 90% off promo, and they are booked on my hometown-DPS-NRT round trip itinerary. Unfortunately, only 1 F was available, so dad will sit in Business class, while mom will take the F seat.

  22. @ MattJ — Arrived just over three hours late. I’m sure you’ll be fine, for the most part they seem to have a decent on-time record on this flight. Enjoy the trip, I’m sure you’ll love Garuda!

  23. @ Joey — Thanks! Yes indeed, booking directly through Garuda’s program is the only way to redeem miles for this product.

  24. @ Steven — Since this was an eastbound flight there will almost always be tailwinds, so the point was that the tailwinds were significantly less strong than usual, meaning our flight time was longer than anticipated.

  25. Is there any advantage with row 2 over row 1 when you want the seats in the middle? Both rows are available on my flight. Thanks.

  26. Great review and great product but here are some thoughts and ways Garuda could improve even better their product:
    1) I don’t like airplane interior and mainly seats in beige and brown tones. That is very personal but gives me the impression of being dirty.
    2) If the headsets are not to be taken by the customers from the plane (usually FA’s will get them before landing) I don’t get why airlines cannot have Bose headsets on first class. It is not a huge cost since they will be used again and again.
    3) Why not use a Indonesian or other Asian high end brand for the amenity kits? It would be a way nicer touch that use a Spanish brand that has nothing to do with Indonesia.
    4) Both options of champagne are completely fine but not on pair with Krug or Dom. Also, all the red wines were pretty average and very cheap for a first class that costs a lot of money. Nothing impressive.

    Regarding your sneakers, you can do whatever you but if you are flying first class (even while not paying for it) you should be dressed accordingly. Sneakers are a no no on first class international in my opinion.

  27. @ Carlos — Yep, the goal is to always sample as many different things as we can, so we always order different things. He has good taste, so usually in a restaurant I’d just order the same as him, but not when flying!

  28. @ Pauk — For what it’s worth, that’s common on many Asian airlines. Heck, it even happens at some restaurants in the U.S. I don’t think wanting to talk to someone face-to-face is really “subservience.” It’s one thing if they were kneeling down while I’m standing up (that would be weird), but talking on eye-level seems reasonable enough to me. To each their own, I guess.

  29. @ Bob — The only way to redeem miles for Garuda first is directly through their program. However, they sometimes have fairly reasonable first class fares.

  30. @ Marvin — Not really, though row two probably has a bit less foot traffic, given that the galley is in front of the cabin. That’s why I chose it.

  31. Great, great review……One of your best.

    But Ben, really????? Sneakers or tennis shoes or whatever they call them these days? Really???

  32. Ben –

    Thanks for the great TR.

    I have to ask, though, why the recent repeated use of the term “bougie”? Maybe it’s because I spent too long in Berkeley, but I think of (and usually hear ) the term as being used in an insulting manner – sort of a pompous variation on “snob”.


  33. Hi Lucky
    Nice review.
    I flown Garuda Business many times between Hong Kong and Jakarta and there service is exceptional but not as great as you got on First.
    Also there FAST TRACK Immigration is really good for First/Business and also having a special lounge at the Baggage Carousel, where you just relax and wait while they retrieve your bags and put them on a trolley for you.
    Exceptional service

  34. Gordon’s gin although on the cheap side often comes out above in blind taste tests above some of the more ‘premium’ gins

  35. Great and fair report. Been waiting for this . GA crew I believe is one of the best out there. Never flown their F class but definitely top on my list should a special fare comes up.

  36. Great review as always. I enjoyed how detailed the review was especially with how the service was incredible. I really do love those examples as well as the specificity you through when describing food and such. On a side not WTF people why does it matter what shoes he wears? Do you really have nothing else to do but complain about the fact that Ben wore sneakers. He could wear flip flops for all I care. If the sneakers are comfortable why cant he wear sneakers? Honestly I think the problem is your so jealous of Ben’s lifestyle that you just dream about what you would wear in Garuda First and thats how you came up with the idea that wearing sneakers are a problem. Get a life besides criticizing the type of sneaker he wore. I see nothing wrong with wearing sneakers if he feels they are more comfortable to wear on a 13 hour flight then f*cking dress shoes. Once again lucky I really enjoyed this review and don’t listen to what the haters say keep wearing sneakers and writing detailed trip reports!.

  37. @MattJ
    I imagine you’ll be fine. This was a one off delay, since they had to fly new equipment into SIN on the way in. Also, if you do have to stay the night, fairly sure GA will pay that, since I once missed a connection on CX due to delay, and they paid for a night in a really great hotel in Hong Kong. And that was in economy!

  38. The Laurent-Perrier Rose is made from 100% Pinot Noir and is better matched with red fruit desserts. You should have tried the Billecart-Salmon with the caviar as it translates better in the air.

  39. Hi Ben

    Interesting & informative review – I feel very envious.
    Just a typo, I think you meant “Garuda Indonesia first class stationery’ not “stationary”

  40. @Drew
    “Hate to break it to you Ben, but because something is the most expensive does not mean it has to be the best…….LP Rose is generally touted as one of the best Rose Champagnes on the market”

    You’re perfectly right !!!
    So funny not to say a bit ridiculous how some bloggers – mostly American I’ve to say -always make a direct link in between the quality of a Champagne and its price…

    Same as caviar on airlines… Most of it is just extremely salted dark eggs usually coming from China and most of the times served with lemon and onions which is quite of a nonsense because it will completely spoil the taste !!!
    Not to mention the lack of a mother of pearl spoon like on EK…
    Never flew GA F class and can’t talk about the quality of their caviar but, at least, this is the way it has to be served when you REALLY like caviar !

  41. Hey Ben, didn’t you recently rate SkyTeam as the weakest of the alliances because they lacked a ‘premium’ carrier? The alliance of ‘leftovers’ I believed you called them.

    What are your thoughts on this now after your Garuda flight?

  42. Thank you for the detailed review. But I think it is not right to wear sneakers.

    – Gustavo Woltmann

  43. Thanks for the awesome reviews and thanks for going into such detail. I am one of those who really likes long detailed reports because it is the details that really give you an idea of what you experienced. Without a lot of details all we would get is just a general idea. So please keep writing long reviews with lots of photos.

    As far as Garuda First Class goes, all I can say is WOW!!!. In 2016 I flew SQ First Class SFO-HKG and it was the best flight in my life. I had an exceptional stewardess serve me and thoroughly enjoyed the flight. However after reading your review, as wonderful of an experience as I had with SQ, it looks like GA is even a step above what I experienced.

    “Then I took off my shoes, and she placed them in a shoe bag while also placing the slippers on my feet” She even put the slippers on? OMG! lol… now which airline can match that standard of service? Never in a billion years would a US airline crew do…

    “Septi even tucked me in and said “sweet dreams, Mr. Ben.” OMG!…lol… Are you kidding me? She actually tucked you in? “Sweet dreams Mr Ben.”? Let me guess that the last time that ever happened to you was when you were a kid and your mom tucked you in. What sweet service. No wonder this was your best flight experience ever. If this is the kind of service that you get from GA, it is now a life goal of mine to experience it too.

    They poured the chicken noodle soup broth for you? Wow… I have never seen that happen before anywhere. I have had chicken noodle soup countless times in Asia, including in Indonesia and have never experienced that before. That is First Class service. I know for many readers they will just laugh and think that is no big deal – but it is a big deal because GA is thinking about all the small details and the attention to details is what truly creates an exceptional experience.

    For those readers who would like to experience the amazing warmth and level of service that Garuda provides its First Class passengers but don’t have the means to fly Garuda First Class, you can get similar level of service from the high end resorts in Bali. This is why I go to Bali every year, just to experience the phenomenal level of service that you can’t get anywhere else.

  44. Lucky, good on you for reciprocating the great cabin service by letting them know personally. I’ve had flights where the J or F seats or food wasn’t the best but the cabin crew made the flight excellent. Funny how I recall those flights easier than many others. Cathay, Air New Zealand, ANA, Brussels, JAL, Austrian come to mind where I had great cabin staff and service.

  45. Great review. Great airline too, it seems.

    Your comments on the curfew are interesting too. I am for sure no expert but my understanding is that the Heathrow curfew is not a hard and fast total ban on flights after 11.30 pm and before 6am, which are the restricted hours. Certainly, there are scheduled arrivals before 6am and I often used to travel on the first inbound BA Joburg flight that lands around 5.30am. It’s all regulated by a Department for Transport ruling and I believe around a dozen or so flights per day are permitted within the curfew period with an annual cap.

    What the curfew does do therefore is severely limit flights at those times. Suspect that Garuda were simply and exceptionally given latitude to use one of the available post 11.30pm and pre 6am slots, which I am sure an 11.32pm take off would have counted as. I guess this is what the captain referred to in his comment. My other guess would be that airlines who consistently need to transgress the 11.30pm cut off do find it enforced rigorously on them, and / or may even suffer a charge from Heathrow for using a restricted slot. These last points are pure guesswork though so someone with more knowledge would need to confirm.

  46. “we may not have as much money as some other airlines, but we have heart.”

    Damn, that’s a tagline Garuda can use. Wonderful review, Ben. Can’t wait to read the SIN-LHR leg and SIN transfer service.

  47. after breakfast I headed back to the lavatory to change, and thanked the crew for how incredible they were. I told them that I’ve flown many airlines in first class, but that they were the best. One of them responded with “we may not have as much money as some other airlines, but we have heart.” They sure do!

    LOVE IT !!!! I LOVE GARUDA INDONESIA. I’ll booked a flight wherever I go as long as Garuda has the route, I’ll choose Garuda Indonesia. Wonderful Indonesia.

  48. I am posting this a long time after your flight Mr Lucky, but we are all in lockdown and I’m feeling very trapped and trying to live/fly vicariously!

    Thank you for your reviews, I love them. Your very personal writing style makes me feel like I’m there with you (and your flying partner). I would imagine you to be a pleasant cabin buddy, even if in First one does not really interact with co-passengers. (I’m very friendly and love to say hello to passengers if they make eye contact and smile and have met some lovely people in Biz lounges around the world). I have only ever flown First once as I’m quite poor and have to save up (I’m not poor in the world scheme of things, but have a very average job and can’t fly often so can’t do the credit card or frequent flyer miles thing). I have flown Garuda but only in cattle but I agree with another poster that Indonesian customer service is often fantastic, even in fairly simple restaurants, accommodation etc.

    I would like to comment on the amazing coffee and tea menus. So many premium airline cabins have poor coffee and tea offerings. I would have wanted to try all the beans and teas and been really wired! I think that many airlines are missing a thing with regard to their coffee and tea offerings in premium class, given how marginal the difference would be to offer single estate beans/leaves, compared with the cost of high end wines and spirits. I do remember offered a Tea Forte selection on Oman Air many years ago and of course Dilman on Sri Lankan, but I’ve had many a very mediocre espresso/Americano even on the top-flight carriers.

    The bolster cushion – it amused me to imagine the planning meeting where the designer had to argue for including that. Did you use it and did you find it added to your comfort? I think a bolster is an Asian style of sleeping pillow.

    Pre flight concierge – what sort of things did they ask or offer you may I ask?

    I’m now going to start plotting how I can afford to fly in Garuda 1st in the future… I need a trip to Indonesia when the pandemic is over!

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