Cheapest Way To Try Garuda Indonesia First & Business Class

I’ve written quite a bit lately about Garuda Indonesia, the newest SkyTeam member airline.

In the past they’ve had a horrible reputation, though the past few years they’ve been working hard to try and turn that around.

Possibly what’s most impressive about them are their new Boeing 777-300ERs, which look state of the art.

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Garuda Indonesia first class 777-300ER

Garuda-Indonesia-Executive-Class
Garuda Indonesia business class 777-300ER

But beyond the hard product, the soft product really looks borderline revolutionary. Check out this trip report someone wrote on airliners.net about a flight in Garuda Indonesia’s first class between Jakarta and Amsterdam. I don’t think I’ve ever read about (or experienced) such personalized service on a commercial plane.

So what’s the best way to redeem miles for Garuda Indonesia first class? Well, Citi ThankYou points do transfer to Garuda Indonesia, so you can redeem those points for Garuda Indonesia first class. Unfortunately their redemption rates aren’t very lucrative, though.

Also, in theory you should be able to redeem Korean Air SkyPass miles for travel in Garuda Indonesia first class, given that Korean Air allows redemptions in first class on partner airlines. Unfortunately SkyPass doesn’t seem to have access to the first class award fare code for travel on Garuda Indonesia. I’m not sure if that’s an oversight or intentional, though I’m leaning towards the former, to be honest.

But here’s one fun way to try Garuda Indonesia’s first or business class — they recently launched service between Jakarta and Amsterdam, with continuing service to London Gatwick. Garuda Indonesia has pick up rights on the flight between Amsterdam and London, so in theory you can book them on that segment alone.

The one way business class fare between Amsterdam and London is £144, which is about half the price of what British Airways charges for Club Europe (which is basically economy with a blocked middle seat).

Garuda-Indonesia-Fare-2

Meanwhile first class costs £266, which is only marginally more expensive than British Airways Club Europe.

Garuda-Indonesia-Fare-1

Garuda-Indonesia-Fare-3

The catch here is that this is literally a 40 minute flight, so chances are you won’t really get the “full” Garuda Indonesia experience.

That being said, if you’re on an award ticket between the US and Europe, this seems like a fun segment to include. For example, if you’re traveling from the US to London via Amsterdam, instead of flying KLM between Amsterdam and London, you might as well add in travel on Garuda Indonesia — seems more fun anyway, and award space is wide open in business class with Delta SkyMiles.

If you are interested in the flight, it operates with the following schedule on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays:

GA88 Amsterdam to London departing 11:50AM arriving 11:55AM
GA89 London to Amsterdam departing 1:10PM arriving 3:15PM

Has anyone flown Garuda Indonesia between Amsterdam and London yet?

(Tip of the hat to Head for Points)

Comments

  1. if the first class ticket gets me their $500 Loewe amenity kit then it’s totally worth it… but i doubt that’s the case.

  2. I just saw that flight last night since I was thinking of flying London to AMS next month. The date I was looking at business class cost $347 (150% miles earning) and first class cost $453 (175% miles earning) —- compared to $115 in economy (75% miles earning) or $81 for the cheapest fare (0% miles earning).

    @Ralph, how quick was the flight? 😉 Did they do any meal service at all?

  3. Airtime 46 minutes to LGW (circling of course), 39 to AMS. We received a hot wrap and sweet take with bottle of water on both legs.

  4. They better improve their champagne and wine selection to even compete with Cathay, Singapore and Emirates.

  5. @ Lantean — Not sure it’s a $500 kit, but I imagine if you ask nicely they might give you one, even if it’s not supposed to be provisioned for that sector.

  6. @lucky

    well, when you go to Bergdorf, Loewe doesn’t even sell anything under $500 there (i believe the $500 item is a key chain or something like that). all leather pouches/bags starts at $900 or so.

  7. Flew with them AMS – LGW in September, C-class. Was one of max 10 in C-class. Service was really good. Magazines, newspapers, hot towel, welcome drink poured at your seat. They served a tray with a salad, roll and fresh fruit on lovely china..was quite tasty as well!

  8. They fly that plane from Bali to jakarta as well.. Almost a two hour flight. I took it in y and have to say it was the most comfortable y seat I’ve flown in. I doubt you get the same service as the long hauls but if you want to try it that’s another way.

  9. With 227 miles separating AMS and LGW I wonder if passengers get to take seatbelts off. The JKT to DPS segment sounds fun.

  10. Wow… I was blown away by Roni’s trip report aboard Garuda’s new first class. Having grown in Indonesia, I’ve always encountered authentic and good service but one as elegant and world-class as this was never something I ever expected from them. I can’t wait to personally experience their service at some point. That said, I wonder how sustainable this kind of over the top service can be in the long term and if it is even economically viable for Garuda’s long-term future? Perhaps this is their initial way to re-direct attention towards their renewed service improvements and to move more lucrative front of the plane travel towards them? Regardless, an impressive report. Thanks for sharing Lucky.

  11. I flew Business Class Melbourne to Gatwick return in October 2014. The 777 service ex Jakarta is a force to be reckoned with. Superlative cabin service, sumptuous food and despite some posts about the bubbly the Billecart-Salmon is a fine champagne.

    No sleepwear in business with Garuda unlike Qantas, Emirates and so forth. The rather pokey L’Occitane amenity kits are a touch outdated now compared to other airlines too. Checking in at Jakarta is smooth with dedicated check in counter; after that it takes a bit of a slide. There is no express boarding at Denpasar or Jakarta and likewise no Express arrivals; I have to admit the boarding process at CGK is abominable, they really need to get their s*** together there for business passengers. For F passengers my understanding is that one is chauffeured to the aircraft direct from the First lounge. Nice.

    Express departures are available ex-Gatwick but the lounge is pretty naff.

    All the ground stuff aside the onboard experience is excellent – wi-if on board for $25USD for 24 hours is great if you want to communicate whilst in the air. Getting the head down is easy too; comfy seats, fully flat bed et al.

    All in all Garuda is a great choice for pointy end travel at a fraction of the cost of other carriers.

  12. Very interesting report. I’ll try Garuda’s Boeing 777-300/ER in a short section from Jakarta to Bali as GA410.

  13. Is his route still available? I checked ita matrix and couldn’t find it for May 2016? Thanks

  14. I will be flying GA Business Class next year NRT-DPS.
    I got it using Delta Miles: 40,000 Skymiles plus $23 one way for a 7.5 hour flight.

    Found the flight on Delta’s website and booked it.
    Very easy and simple: Just find the flight and pay the miles and $23 fee.
    To reserve the seat I called simply GA.
    Very short wait, they spoke English perfectly, very easy to do and they gave me the seat I wanted right away.
    I was frankly surprised and delighted at how easy and quick it was.

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