For those of us who like to sample the world’s best first class products, the good news is that most of the best products are easily attainable using miles. There are two exceptions which come to mind:
- Air France first class, which you have to be an Air France FlyingBlue elite members to redeem miles for, and even then can only book at the more expensive “standard” mileage level; the Air France first class ground experience in Paris is the best in the world, though
- Garuda Indonesia first class, which you can only redeem miles for directly through Garuda’s frequent flyer program (not many people have miles with them); Nick flew from Amsterdam to London in Garuda first class a few months back, and the product looks exceptional
Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to fly Air France first class, and found it to be great. But I still haven’t flown Garuda Indonesia first class. The product looks stunning, between the fantastic hard product and the supposedly industry leading soft product.
So while I’d love to review Garuda Indonesia first class, I just haven’t yet found a practical way to do so.
Well, a couple of days ago my friend Kelly was posting some pictures on Instagram of a Garuda Indonesia first class cabin. And the pictures were taken in Jakarta, so he wasn’t just on the Amsterdam to London flight, which is the cheapest way to try out the product (though also doesn’t give you the full experience).
I mean, who wouldn’t salivate over these pictures?
Of course I messaged him in a split second asking how on earth he managed to book that ticket. And he was kind enough to share that Garuda Indonesia seems to have decent first class fares out of Melbourne, Australia. Now this is by no means a “cheap” ticket, but it is the best value I’ve ever seen for Garuda Indonesia’s longhaul first class.
The fare from Melbourne to London via Jakarta and Amsterdam (with the first segment in business class and remainder of the itinerary in first class) is ~$2,800.
For comparison, the Jakarta to Amsterdam to London flight alone would cost over $4,000.
The catch is that this fare expires in March, when Garuda Indonesia is cutting that particular route. They’re replacing the Jakarta to Amsterdam to London flight with a Jakarta to Singapore to London flight, and will operate a separate flight to Amsterdam. So the amount of time left to take advantage of this fare is limited.
On one hand, ~$2,800 is a lot of cash to spend on a first class flight. On the other hand, my goal is to try as many products as possible. In addition to the actual fare, I’d also have to position to Melbourne and from London. I suppose I could review Air Tahiti Nui enroute to Australia and Iberia on the way home from London, though it would still be a hell of a routing.
What do you guys think — is the fare good enough to jump on, or is it not worth it at that price? Anyone know of a better Garuda Indonesia first class fare? I’m all ears!
(Thanks again to @kellydaoud for sharing the above pictures and fare)