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The First Class Experience with Garuda Indonesia

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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:19 pm
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The First Class Experience with Garuda Indonesia

Date: 5 September 2013

GA 884 CGK – NRT
Dep. 23;15 Dep.: 23:15
Arr.: 09:00 Arr.: 08:30
Reg. PK-GIC

Background:

While many major airlines in the world are doing away with their First Class, Garuda Indonesia has reintroduced its First Class after at least 18 years of hiatus. This is definitely a bold move by the new management of the airline which has been working very hard to transform the airline into one of the bests in the world with its Quantum Leap program. Along with the reintroduction of the new First Class, the airline is also upgrading once more its services in both the ‘Executive’ Business Class and Economy Class on selected routes served by its new B77W and A330. Garuda is now aiming to become one of Southeast Asian premium airlines alongside SQ, MH, and TG.
Garuda is not the only airline selling a non-stop First Class service to NRT from CGK. JAL has been serving CGK for years now with its newest B77W offering its latest First Class product as well. So, there must be a demand for a premium service between the 2 cities. The following is the trip report which I hope can best represent my experience onboard Garuda Indonesia’s New First Class service.

The Pre-Flight:

Having made my booking, I was provided with an email address and a phone number to call should I need to organize any limousine service to the airport on the day of travelling. This service is currently available only for those who reside in and around the Jakarta metropolitan area. This service can be arranged anytime to up to 24 hours before our flight. I called the number on the morning of the 4th and organized my transport easily. However, due to some last minute changes of my schedule in Jakarta, I ended up cancelling the airport limousine transfer and having my friend dropped me off the airport instead. I did inform GA about this last minute changes and I was advised to go to the special drop off point designated for its First Class passengers.

Upon arrival at the special drop off point for First Class passengers, I was greeted by a butler and a First Class assistant. The butler was quick with handling my luggage and the First Class assistant ask for my travelling documents. They then accompanied me all the way to the First Class lounge which is still a temporary lounge as GA’s lounge in CGK is still closed for refurbishment.

In the lounge, where I was the only passenger that evening (Yes, I was flying solo in F and the fact that this is the only GA flight with F at the moment), I was greeted and quickly attended by the lounge attendant. The First Class assistant excused herself politely because she needed to help me with the travelling documents. She then left the lounge to handle my travelling paperwork. The lounge attendant then got into a full swing by asking if I would like to order anything to eat pre-flight. I was impressed when he handed me a menu that was actually quite extensive. I went ahead and ordered a lobster bisque for my soup and a wagyu tenderloin as a main. For drink, I went ahead with my favorite ginger ale. He was happy that I did order something to eat and then left the lounge to prepare. The First Class assistant then came back in with my boarding pass and my passport all stamped and ready. She then asked if I would like to have an early or late boarding. I told her early. She told me that the butler and she would come back to accompany me to the plane once the flight was ready to board.

Everything had happened so quickly and I had been so impressed so far with such a god like treatment from the staff and GA that I had forgotten to take my camera out to snap a few pictures for my reports. My first picture to start off this trip report is the lounge menu:



The lounge attendant came back in with my ginger ale and an amuse bouche which is a vegetable spring roll:

“This amuse bouche is for your enjoyment while you wait, Mr. SQGAKL,” said the lounge attendant





My lobster bisque came not long after:



The lobster bisque was actually quite delicious but it was not hot enough temperature wise. It was the feedback that I had given to the lounge attendant when he asked me what I thought of the soup. He was happy to take any feedback from me and he seemed very eager to serve only the best.

Then came my wagyu tenderloin and the mashed potato that accompanied the main dish:



My wagyu was a bit overcooked for me and I was also quite full already because I had a proper dinner with friends in town before I left for the airport. So, I didn’t finish it. The lounge attendant seemed concerned at first but felt better after my explanation. He then brought me some cut fruits and told me they would help me with my digestion. Despite being full, I finished the fruit platter because it was too irresistible. He then went on and asked me to send my best to a friend of mine who had flown out the night before. That was a nice gesture.

My cut up fruit platter:



I then left to use the bathroom which is temporary located outside of the lounge in the public area. What I didn’t expect was that one of the First Class lounge attendant actually waited for me in front of the bathroom with hot towels and some hand moisturizer for me to use when I came out. I was really taken aback with this. I guess this was to make up for no private bathroom in the current make shift lounge. Kudos to GA for trying so hard to impress and so far I had been very impressed with the service rendered and the service attitude of the First Class staff to me.

As soon as I came back to the lounge, the First Class assistant and the butler were ready with my luggage and they were ready to accompany me to board my first First Class Experience flight with Garuda Indonesia.
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:24 pm
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The First Class Flight

At the end of the aerobridge just before the door 1L, the First Class assistant handed me officially to the purser.

“Welcome aboard, Mr. UMD!” greeted the purser in dark blue Kebaya. “2K is on the other side.”

“Welcome aboard, Mr. UMD! Let me show you to your seat” said Lia, the F Maitre D’Cabin in Lavender Kebaya to me.

“Welcome aboard!” greeted the onboard chef, Dani, from the galley as we walked past the galley.

The butler who had helped me with my carry-on luggage also helped me store it in the compartment above 2F. There are 4 overhead compartments on Garuda’s B77W First class cabin and all 4 of them are located above the 4 middle seats. There is no overhead compartment above the aisle seats.

“Welcome aboard, Mr. UMD!” Santri who donned the orange Kebaya greeted me as we were approaching my seat. It was Santri who would be performing all the in-flight services later that evening to Narita, Tokyo.



“Thank you for flying First Class tonight, Mr. UMD!” said the F Maitre
D’Cabin to me as soon as I was fully settled on my seat. “My name is Lia and I will be over seeing the service in the First Class section tonight. Together with me, there is Santri our senior crew member, Dani Eliasa, our onboard chef, and our purser working in this cabin tonight. First of all, let me explain some functions of this seat for you. “

“Here is your control panel monitor. All the seat functions can be controlled here,” as Lia pointed out to the little touch screen monitor on the side panel of the seat.

“Thank you. I think I should be fine with the seat and all its functions. Don’t worry,” I replied.



“We have the menu and the drink list as well as some reading materials for you here,” Lia showed me the row of nicely organized folders and magazines decked out on the side panel of the seat. “And here is your amenity kit,” she pointed out to the black color right next to the menu folder.

“In this cabinet here, you will have your headset and also 2 bottles of mineral water. You will find an electrical outlet in another smaller cabinet to the front should you need to charge your electronic device,” said Lia as she was explaining the best she could about the new suite. “There is also another bottle of mineral water in that cabinet, too.”









I thanked Lia for explaining the seat to me and she told me to let her know without hesitation should I have any question.

Santri was then walking towards me from the galley.

“Hello, Mr. UMD. How are you? My name is Santri and I will be serving you tonight,” Santri introduced herself to me and she also handed me a hot towel on a special towel tray.

“What do you want to drink, Mr. UMD?” asked Santri. “We have juices, beverages, and Champagne.”

“I would like the Champagne, thank you.”

“Which one? Billecart-Salmon or Laurent-Perrier”

“Billecart-Salmon, please.”

“Sure. I will be right back,” replied Santri to me and quickly she went back to the galley.

Soon enough, she was back with a tray that contains a bottle of Billecart-Salmon, a champagne flute, and a small plate of macadamia nuts. She then placed the napkin coaster on the side panel of my seat, the champagne flute on top of it, and poured the bubbly out to the flute.

“Do you want to taste it first, Mr. UMD?”, she paused a quarter way through pouring.

“I am OK. I am sure it will be fine.” I assured her before she continued pouring until the flute was quite filled up. A plate of Macadamia nuts was then placed next to the glass of bubbly champagne.





“Enjoy, Mr. UMD.”

As I was enjoying my glass of Champagne and the nuts and at the same time trying to reflect of all the right things that had happened so far since I had stepped onboard, Santri reappeared again next to me and this time she actually lowered herself and kneel down next to my seat.

“Mr. UMD. Do you want to change your shoes out with slippers to make
your feet more comfortable? “

u“Sure”

She then gladly laid a red cloth the size of a foot mat on the floor in front of my seat and then put a pair of nicely padded slippers for me. As I took off my shoes, she quickly put my shoes into a nicely cream colored GA shoe bags and stored them inside the wardrobe cabinet on the front side of my suite partition.





‘WOW’… that’s what registered in my mind at that moment. What an experience! Garuda is really trying to treat its First Class passengers as royalties here. I expected to be handed a pair of slippers only but I didn’t expect the crew to help out in the process and to have such a ‘First’ class treatment for passengers and their shoes. Kudos to you, Garuda! Does anyone know if the Queen of England has someone to change her shoes for her?
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:29 pm
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She then went back to the galley and soon after reappeared again with a comfortably looking pajama on the hanger.

“Do you want to change into your sleepers now?”

“Not now. I will probably do it later.”

“Ok. Let me hang them and store them in the wardrobe cabinet for you first for when you are ready.”



She then kneeled down once more and took my after take-off drink order.
“Mr. UMD, what do you want to drink after take-off? We will have a caviar service. Do you want to continue with the Champagne? Or you would prefer something else?”

I thought for a while and I said, “I would like some Japanese tea.”

“Great. I love Japanese tea too. Which one do you like? Have you had a chance to look at our drink list here? We have four selections of Japanese tea and they are all very good,” Santri said it with a certain pride in her voice. “My favourite is genmai cha,” she then continued.

“I like genmai cha too but I think I will go for something else first,” I replied and I quickly went through the menu and said, “I will try the Gyokuro.”

“Sure. So, it is the Gyokuro.”

The plane was then pushed back on time from the gate. The cabin was then secured for take-off after the safety video was played. CGK was slow after about 22:30 every night so that night was no different either and we quickly taxied to the runway and took off. We were soon reaching our cruise attitude and the cabin service began.

Santri came out from the galley with a tray on her hands. I could see her carrying a very nice pot of tea. Once she reached my seat, she set the tea set up properly on the side service area next to my seat. I really like it when an airline pays attention to such details in term of providing the best services to its customers.

Santri then went back to the galley and reappeared very quickly with another tray. This time it was the caviar. Despite being a proper caviar service with blinis and crème fraische, Garuda is also adding an Indonesian twist to its caviar service by having Kerupuk (Indonesian prawn crackers) as additional optional condiment to caviar.



“Here is the caviar, the blinis, and the ccentral kaca

ème that our chef Dani has prepared.” Santri pointed out at each item as she was explaining it to me. “We also have kerupuk here to eat with caviar.”
“Wow, that’s something different and new to me.”

“Give it a try, Mr. UMD. I am sure you would like it.”

Surprisingly, the kerupuk went very well with caviar and the cream. I really enjoyed them.





Imageo
“Mr. UMD, we are serving our In-Between Fuel menu. What do you want to eat after the caviar service? We will serve breakfast only prior to our arrival into Tokyo.”
As I mentioned earlier, I was actually quite full that night as I had lots to eat in town with friends before I headed out to the airport. Then, there was also the big feast in the lounge for the sake of sampling what Garuda First Class Experience is like. So, I declined.
“But just in case you want anything to eat before breakfast, please let me know.”
She then left me enjoying my caviar experience under some twinkling stars. While I was enjoying my caviar with blinis and kerupuk, the purser of the flight came to me to thank me for flying with Garuda. She then handed me an envelope with a complimentary WiFi password and username that I can use in-flight. It is the latest addition to Garuda’s latest improvement in its cabin product. Garuda has not yet officially commercialized this service to all its passengers. It is now available only for its First Class passengers. The plan is that First Class passengers will continue to enjoy this facility for free while the other 2 classes will have to pay a certain fee to use this facility. She told me to provide her any feedback so her team and Garuda can continue to improve. She thanked me again for flying First Class with Garuda that night before she disappeared to the Executive Business Class section behind me.



[URL=http://s17.photobucket.com/user/umd_1970/media/GA%20884/IMG_2820.jpg.html]l

Santri came back as soon as I finished my caviar. She asked if I had enjoyed the caviar and the kerupuk to which I replied yes. She then cleared the caviar tray and came back to check the tea pot. As the tea was running out, she asked if I would like to have another pot. I told her I would like another one but this time it would be the genmai tea instead. She gladly took my tea pot and my cup away and came back with a different pot of genmai tea to serve me. Soon after she set the tea pot up on the side service area, she asked what I wanted to have for breakfast. The breakfast menu was quite extensive which consists of Indonesian Breakfast, Japanese Breakfast, and European breakfast. I went for the European style breakfast with poached eggs and all the breakfast side dishes. After taking my order, Santri asked if I was ready to turn in.
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:32 pm
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“Are you tired now, Mr. UMD? Do you want me to set up your bed for your now?”

“Sure”

This is how she did it.



oiA layer of nice foam padding on the seats


A new bigger pillow and nice duvet for a more comfortable sleep


oiuBefore turning in, I decided to visit the toilet first and changed into my pajamas. I slept for at least a good 4 hours and only woke up as we were flying above Okinawa and only about 1 and a half hours before our arrival into NRT.









“Good morning, Mr. UMD! Did you have a nice sleep?”

“Morning. Yes, the sleep was good.”

“Are you ready for breakfast yet or you want to wait for a while?”

“I think I am ready to eat now. Yes.”

“Before that, what would you like to drink? We have different kind of juices.”

“Can I have orange juice, please?”

“Certainly,” Santri answered.

Soon after, the orange juice arrived. This is how Garuda serves orange juice for breakfast to its First Class passengers. A true 5* style!



I then went to fresh up and on my way, I saw the Dani, the onboard chef, preparing fresh eggs for my breakfast. Upon back to my seat, Santri came over and set up my table for breakfast.

“Mr. UMD, do you want a sparkling or a still mineral water?”

“Sparkling, please”

Very quickly, she came back with a bottle of San Pellegrino and started to pour away.

“Any tea or coffee for you?”

“Genmai cha for me”

Last edited by UMD; Sep 18, 13 at 6:29 pm
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:36 pm
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Double Posting...

Last edited by UMD; Sep 18, 13 at 6:27 pm
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:41 pm
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Then she came with a bread basket and selections of jams, olive oil, and butter. The ‘Red berries and mango, cinnamon splash, and almond sable’ fruit platter arrived not long after.









The fruit platter was amazingly fresh and sweet.

My poached eggs and all the side dishes soon were served. Beef bacon could not make it as a bacon replacement as it doesn’t have the fat and the taste. The cured salmon strips were very savory and tasty instead.









The poached eggs were fine but slightly overcooked and as usual quite tasteless as poached eggs should be. The reason I ordered poached eggs because they are usually the hardest one to get right. I later learned from one frequent flyer who flew out on the same flight the night before that the omelet he ordered was very good and slightly better than the one he was usually served by the World’s 5* airline from a neighboring country. The French toast was apparently also very good according to the same source.

The dessert followed to conclude the full European Breakfast service.



Hot towel was then handed out and placed on the on the side of the seat. Throughout the flight, hot towels were provided after every meal service.
We were only about less than 30 minutes before arrival by the time breakfast service was over. So, I decided to change back into my shirt. Upon arriving back to my seat, my seat was already tidied up for landing by the crew. On the floor in front of my seat were my shoes placed on the red cloth. Santri must have placed them there for me already so I could change back into my shoes. As soon as I put my shoes back on, Santri came over and collected the red cloth as well as the slippers. I then asked Santri for the menus because I collected them. She happily gave them to me after she had removed them from the leather folder.

The cabin was then secured for landing. Santri thanked me for flying with Garuda. Lia, the Maitre D’Cabin then came to thank me for flying First Class and hoped that I had enjoyed the Garuda Indonesia First Class Experience with them. She asked if I had any disappointment with the product and the way the service had been carried out. I assured her that everything was fine and that I had received a true 5* service from her and the team.



We soon landed about 5 minutes earlier than our scheduled arrival time and our gate was on the North Wing of Terminal 1. Terminal 1 serves all the SkyTeam airlines with the exception of China Airlines. We parked right next to PK-GIA which was the first GA 77W that joined the Garuda’s fleet in June. PK-GIA had arrived about 15 minutes earlier from DPS.





The wonderful First Class crew of Garuda Indonesia: Lia in her lavender Kebaya, Dani the chef back in his suit, and Santri in her orange Kebaya.



The Arrival:
As soon as the door was opened, I was greeted by a First Class assistant at the aerobridge. Although Hasumi-san works for a meet and greet company that has been contracted by Garuda Indonesia, her service was of a really high standard. She insisted on pulling my carrying on luggage for me and assisted me through the whole arrival process. Just before we cleared customs, however, I realized that I had left my First Class amenity kit and the menus for the flights either on my seats or on the sink in the toilet as that was where I had been before deplaning. I blurted out my frustration to Hasumi-san. She told me to wait for her. She actually ran back to the plane to try to retrieve them for me. However, as the plane had been cleaned for the next departure, she was not allowed to get back to the plane. She felt so apologetic when she was back to arrival hall to meet me. Although I told her not to worry, I couldn’t help but to feel quite upset for being so careless. Hasumi-san continued to accompany me all the way to the train station to buy Narita Express train to Shinjuku and then waved and bowed good bye to me at the train automatic gates area.
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:48 pm
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Ga 885 nrt - cgk

Date: 8 September 2013

GA 885 NRT – CGK

Dep. 12:00 Act.: 11:50
Arr. 17:35 Act: 17:25

Reg. PK-GIA

The Pre-Flight:

Today was the day that IOC would announce the 2020 Summer Olymipic Games host city. News on the street placed Tokyo, Mardrid, and Istanbul as favourite host cities for the 2020 Games. I happened to stay at Keoi Plaza hotel in Shinjuku which is right across Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. One could clearly saw and felt the enthusiasm of Tokyo 2020. I personally wanted Tokyo to win the bid. Later that evening, Tokyo was indeed selected to be the host of the 2020 games. This will be the 2nd time for Tokyo to host the summer games. Congratulations, Tokyo!



I took a Narita Limousine Bus service to Narita that departed the hotel at 0750. As the travel time to the airport was around 2 hours, it was recommended we left for the airport 4 hours before. The bus ride was uneventful.



It was around 09:45 when the bus I was on arrived at the airport. Check-in was a breeze for First Class passengers. It so happened that Hasumi-san was again my First Class assistant for my departing flight. She was very happy to see me again. She took me through the security check point. Garuda Indonesia also uses SkyPriority security check-point at NRT for its First and Business class passengers.





After I cleared immigration, she then took me to the shop as I needed to buy a little last minute souvenir back home. I said good-bye to Hasumi-san and thanked her again for her courteous service in the front of Delta Sky Club lounge.



In the lounge, I was shown to a specially reserved area for Garuda’s First Class passengers. There were 6 First Class passengers today – 2 for the DPS flight and 4 (including me) for the CGK flight.



I am very familiar with this lounge as I use it often on my way to the US. It is quite a functional lounge with enough numbers of computer terminal and sitting area. As long as you don’t expect too much from it, you will be fine. The only thing I really like about this lounge is the tarmac and the runway view.



Fast forward, boarding for the CGK flight was called. On my way to the gate, I dropped my Canon S-95 on the floor and broke it. From here on, all pictures were taken by my Samsung Note II’s camera.
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:49 pm
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:52 pm
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The First Class Flight:

Boarding the flight, I was greeted by Budi, the purser in grey suit today.

“Welcome aboard, Mr. UMD!” greeted Sherina as she appeared from the cabin to greet me and then showed me to my seat, 2A.

Anggie, the other First Class cabin crew was seen helping 1D and 1G. The purser then came over and also helped me store my carry-on luggage in the crew storage compartment upfront in the galley. Then I noticed something on my seat.



“Are these?” I blurted out.

“Yes. They are, Mr. UMD,” Sherina confirmed. “I got a message that you had left these on your flight 2 days ago so we returned them back to you.”

I was so happy to reunite once more with the menu and the amenity kit that I had left on the plane 2 days ago. It was certainly a great little surprise from the crew and also from Garuda. To me, it is truly an example of customer service at its best.

“Mr. UMD, thank you for flying First Class with us today. My name is Sherina and I am in charge of the service today. Together with me, there are Anggie, our First Class flight attendant, Komang, our onboard chef and Budi, our purser. We are here to make you enjoy your First Class experience,” Sherina introduced herself and the team to me. “To start, how about champagne for your welcome drink?”

“Champagne will be wonderful for now.”

‘We have Billecart-Salmon and Laurent-Perier. Which one do you prefer?” asked Sherina.

“Billecart, please”

She went to the galley and very quickly came back to my seat with a bottle of Billecart-Salmon and a small plate of macadamia nut.

“Do you want me to take a picture of you?” asked Sherina when I took the picture of her pouring the Champagne

“Nope. I only want to take pictures of the journey and also of you and your colleagues.”

“In that case, then we will be famous when you put the pictures on the internet.” Sherina said jokingly with a few giggles. Sherina surely has a great sense of humor here.





Anggie then came over to welcome me onboard and also to introduce herself to me. She had a pair of slippers ready for me to change into. As done by the crew of the incoming flight, Anggie also laid a red cloth and the pair of slippers on the cloth.





Sherina was back to top up my Champagne and asked, “By the way, is there anything you would like to ask about the seat, Mr. UMD?”

“I am ok. Thank you.”

“Just let me know if you have any question. Oh yes, don’t worry about all the folders and the magazines here now. We will tidy them up for you before take-off. Just for your information, if it is alright with you, we will offer you your pajamas and set up your bed after our lunch service. However, if you want to change earlier and set up your bed earlier, just let us know.”





“I will wait until after lunch. Thanks”

"Oh yes, we will have a caviar service after take-off. What do you want to drink with that?” asked Sherina.

“I think I will continue with the same Champagne.”
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Old Sep 18, 13, 5:57 pm
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The plane then started to push back. The ground engineers were waving good bye at us. Soon afterwards, the cabin was secured for take-off.





The service was in full swing after we had reached the cruising altitude. Anggie came to my seat kneeling down and started to take my lunch order.

“Mr. UMD, have you had a chance to look at our menu? What would you like for lunch?”

“What do you think? I was looking at both the Japanese set and the European set. Which one is better?”

“Both are good. If you want the European meal, I would recommend you go for the smoked salmon as the starter. I like it a lot. For the main, I like both the lamb rack and the smoked duck. The Japanese set is very good. Our Wagyu asparagus is very good,” Anggie suggested.

“It is actually very difficult to choose for me. Looks like everything is good but I am leaning towards the Japanese set meal but I like lamb a lot”
“If you really like lamb so much, why don’t you go with the Japanese set meal and I also order the lamb for you too. Our chef can do it for you. You are flying First Class anyway, you can order anything on the menu,” said Anggie.

“Ok. Just go with what you suggested then.”

Soon after, Angie came over with my Champagne and the caviar service.
“Where is the Kerupuk?”

“The chef found out that the Kerupuk is not of good quality today so he decided not to serve the Kerupuk,” replied Anggie apologetically. I later learned from the purser that Kerupuk that they uploaded at NRT had not been fried the right way.



My Champagne was topped up at least twice more by Anggie before I told her that I would like to switch to genmai cha for my beverage with my lunch.

Lunch started about 45 minutes after take-off and it took about 1 hour to finish the entire course.

















Everything was delicious especially the Wagyu asparagus wraps and the Seabream somen soup. The lamb was tender and good too but no to the level of how I liked the Wagyu asparagus. The dessert was extremely delicious. I just wished the chef had put a bigger scoop of maple ice cream on my desert.

I was so full after the meal service. I told Anggie that I probably should not have had ordered the lamb. She told me not to worry. She said flying made people hungry and that It happened to her all the time. She said she was happy to see that I enjoyed my food so much.

The cabin was then cleared up so we could go to rest. Sherina came over and asked if I would like to change into my pajamas and that if I wanted my seat to convert to bed. I told her I didn’t need the seat to be set up as I was not yet tired. As for the pajamas, I asked if I could just take them home with me.

“Of course, you can. Mr. UMD,” said Sherina happily. “Do you also need 1 for your wife at home?”

Sherina then also asked for my passport so she could help me with the immigration on board.

Soon, the cabin light was deemed and the mood lighting was up. I decided to watch 1 episode of ‘Modern Family’ on the entertainment system. Sherina came over again and asked if I wanted anything to drink while I was watching the show. I told her I was fine.
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Old Sep 18, 13, 6:01 pm
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After 1 episode of ‘Modern Family’, I decided to go walk around the plane. I was very interested in seeing the new Business Class because I had a flight on Garuda’s Business Class to SYD coming up soon. They just completed their new meal service when I was there which was very similar in terms of presentation to the First Class meal service with fewer selections. It was a full load today in Business Class with all 38 seats occupied. GA has 5 crew + 1 cuisine manager (Garuda’s designator for the onboard chef in C) serving the Business Class section. The cuisine manager in Business Class wears a black color chef uniform instead of a white color uniform like in the First Class.

Going back to my seat, the cabin was glowing under lots of twinkling stars. My friend on the ground somewhere in Sumatra sent me a message and asked me to check the speed of the WiFi.





I then decided to take a nap by reclining the seat in the position that I found most comfortable with a full massage function on. I found this massage mode to be the best one ever on any seat that I had been on.



I fell asleep for a good 1 hour or so. When I woke up, I decided to spend time exploring the IFE system since this one has different interface with the current one onboard Garuda’s owned A330 and B738. The movies library is now up to 70 movies from 58. There is now also a section on food on board and in-flight duty free. As I was browsing the system, Sherina came back and asked if I would like anything to drink. I asked for a mint lime juice which was refreshing.









Sherina then came back with my passport and a special Immigration On Board clearance card that we could use to exit CGK without the need to go through the same procedure on the ground. I noticed that we had just entered the Indonesian airspace somewhere over Kalimantan and we were only about 1 ½ hours from CGK.



Anggie then came over and said they would start the “In Between Fuel” snack service.

“Mr. UMD, are you feeling hungry now?” asked Anggie

“I am actually feeling hungry. It is strange because I felt so full before after all the food.”

“You see. It’s like what I told you. We get hungry very easily when we are flying. Don’t worry, you can order anything you like,” said Anggie with a big smile.

I was going to order the Indonesia Tekwan soup noodles but 1D and 1G had ordered them. She highly recommended the tempura udon and the New York cheese cake. I went ahead with the Sate plate, the tempura udon, and the fruit plate.

“Anything to drink with that?” Anggie asked.

“I will have the Japanese Sencha.”

Last edited by UMD; Sep 18, 13 at 6:19 pm
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Old Sep 18, 13, 6:11 pm
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The Indonesian sate plate was very good. Each with a different sauce as it should be. The beef sate is with a kecap manis and onion sauce, the chicken is with a Maduranese peanut sauce (this is to differentiate from the North Sumatra/Riau Peninsula/ Malaysia and Singapore peanut sauce which is precooked), and the Balinese seafood lemongrass wrapped sate lilit which is already full of flavor by itself. The only problem with the sate plate was that the rice cake was a bit too soggy for me.





The Tempura Udon was indeed very good and the fruit was fresh.





Having cleared the table, Anggie offered me Wedang Jahe which is an Indonesian style ginger tea purely made of the juice of a ginger and sugar. I love ginger tea so I was very quick to agree.



Soon, we were only about 25 minutes before arrival. I went to the toilet to freshen up and when I came back to my seat, I found Anggie had arranged my shoes on the floor for me and of course on top of the ‘red carpet’ as well.



Anggie came over again to secure the cabin for landing. As she was picking up the slippers, she asked if I would like to take them home with me. I said sure because I found them very comfortable. She then put them into the shoe bags and happily gave them to me. Anggie then thanked me for flying with Garuda Indonesia.

Sherlina came around every seat to thank each of us for flying First Class with Garuda Indonesia .

“How were were doing, Mr. UMD? Did you enjoy your First Class experience with us?” Sherina asked.

“Certainly”

“Thank you for flying with us and thank you so much for flying First Class with us,” said Sherina.

Our plane landed at CGK about 10 minutes ahead of our schedule. The plane soon parked at one of the gates in T2E. When we (the First Class passengers) deplane, we were greeted by 4 First Class assistants (one assistant for each passenger) who were helping us out with our luggage and customs. As I was picked up by my friend at the airport, the Frist Class assistant went with me all the way to the pick-up point. Garuda also has arranged an arrival limousine service to drop us all the way at our home or hotel in Jakarta if we want to.

The wonderful First Class crew from Garuda Indonesia: Anggie in her blue Kebaya, Sherlina in her lavender Kebaya, and Chef Komang in his white chef attire.



Conclusion:

By far, this is the best First Class experience I have had with any airlines. Maybe it is because I started the trip not with a very high expectation knowing it is Garuda’s second attempt to re-introduce First Class and that the airline is so new at being premium having just successfully entering the last phase of its Quantum leap transformation program. However, I do hold Garuda up to a very high standard because I am comparing Garuda’s First Class service only to the First Class of one the world’s best, Singapore Airlines. I have been on Singapore Airlines First Class several times and none of them (with the exception of one special B744 flight) can beat this one in terms of the total First Class experience. Mind you I am yet to experience Singapore Airlines’ Suite class on its A380. Garuda’s First Class seats on its B77W are definitely way better than the current Singapore Airlines’ First Class seats on its B77W.

The challenge is of course whether Garuda can continuously and consistently upkeep this standard of offering which of course includes its safety records. The new Garuda Indonesia is a totally different airline from the old Garuda that we used to know but it is only just building its premium branding. In a lot of countries people will still laugh at you if they hear you are flying with Garuda. In some offices, some managers even curse at their boss for making them fly with Garuda to Indonesia.

The booking for First Class on the CGK and DPS NRT routes so far seems quite good for the airline. However, the route is still limited to Narita only for now and soon to Sydney. Just like what Kevin Coastner once heard it in ‘Fields of Dreams” – the famous ‘if you build it, they would come’, Garuda will surely be able to lure the Indonesian premium passengers to fly with them if it continues to maintain and build its premium branding like what it has done on its new First Class.

Last edited by UMD; Sep 18, 13 at 6:21 pm
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Old Sep 18, 13, 6:21 pm
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wow! looks fantastic!!
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Old Sep 18, 13, 6:46 pm
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great report!thank you
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Old Sep 18, 13, 6:49 pm
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WOW!!!!!!!
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