Garuda Indonesia 777 First Class In 10 Pictures

Hello from Jakarta! I’ve spent the past 14 hours in Garuda Indonesia first class, on their nonstop flight from London Heathrow. Garuda Indonesia is the single airline I’ve most been wanting to try, and I’m so excited to have finally had the opportunity.

Garuda Indonesia is a Skytrax 5-star airline, and their first class is generally regarded as one of the best in the world (unfortunately there just aren’t many practical ways to redeem miles for it, though I managed to snag a pretty good deal during a Black Friday offer they had). I’ve heard rumors that service on them in first class is deteriorating, so was excited to experience their product firsthand.

So, does Garuda Indonesia first class live up to the hype? YES.

Garuda’s 777-300ER first class cabin is in a 1-2-1 configuration, with a total of eight fully enclosed suites. The cabin feels very elegant, much less blingy than the cabins on some Gulf carriers (for better or worse).

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Waiting at our seats were Loewes amenity kits, menus, pajamas, a writing kit, etc. First class passengers also receive complimentary wifi passes with no data restrictions, and the internet was among the fastest I’ve experienced on any international flight. Even if you don’t get complimentary wifi, a pass with no data restrictions costs ~$21 for the entire flight, which is very reasonable.

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Moments after settling in the crew did what could only be described as a shoebag service, where they put on white gloves and carefully placed shoes in individual shoe bags for storage during the flight. Damn.

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The food was fantastic. There was a caviar course to start.

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The rest of the meal wasn’t quite as bougie, but the execution and quality were phenomenal. Everything tasted so good, including the crab cake starter…

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…chicken noodle soup…

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…Indonesian beef rendang…

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…and walnut and dark chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream.

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On top of that, Garuda’s coffee selection is incredible. Their cappuccinos are among the best I’ve had anywhere (not just in the sky), and they even have french press coffee, where you can choose the type of roast you want.

But what really impressed me most was the service. I’ve consistently heard that service in Garuda first class is incredible, and this flight was no exception. There were four flight attendants working first class. Four of them!!! They all came by to introduce themselves by name before takeoff. There was the purser, Oktaviana, flight attendants Septi and Henny, and onboard chef Aziz.

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They were top notch. While this is my first time visiting Jakarta, I’ve been to Bali many times, and it’s one of my favorite places because of how friendly the people are. This crew’s warmth and sincerity reminded me a lot of service in Bali.

But it’s not just that they were friendly, but they were also polished. There are a lot of airlines where service is genuine yet feels like amateur hour — that wasn’t the case on Garuda. This was possibly the best set of crew I’ve ever had on any airline.

Now, the product isn’t perfect… no product is. However, my quibbles are very minor. I thought the mattress pad could be a bit thicker, the blanket a bit bigger, the seat a bit less firm, and I wish the tray table were able to be adjusted. I still got a solid six hours of sleep, and I love the fact that the seats have doors that close.

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I came into my Garuda Indonesia first class flight with ridiculously high expectations, and I’d say they were met. Garuda Indonesia first class is fantastic, among the best in the world.

Where does Garuda Indonesia’s first class product rank?

In the past I’ve shared what I consider to be the world’s six best first class airline products. None of those products are perfect. So where does Garuda Indonesia rank? I’d say definitely in the top five, and possibly even in the top two or three. I’ll need more time to think about it.

No, Garuda doesn’t have an onboard shower or onboard bar, but I don’t think there’s an airline in the world that gets first class “basics” right better than them. I put “basics” in quotes because I realize that sounds ridiculous in the context of first class, but hear me out.

Garuda Indonesia has:

  • Fully enclosed, gorgeous suites
  • Delicious food
  • Free, fast wifi for all passengers
  • The most hospitable service in the sky
  • A customized ground experience where you’re looked at every step of the journey

To me those are the “basics” of the world’s top first class products, yet no other airline on the list gets all those things right. Emirates wifi is unusably slow because it’s free for everyone, Emirates and Etihad service can be hit-or-miss, Cathay Pacific’s seats aren’t fully enclosed and don’t feature wifi, wifi on Singapore’s A380 is outrageously expensive, and with the exception of Lufthansa, none of those airlines offer extensive ground service for first class passengers.

All of these are very minor points, but it does lead me to believe that Garuda Indonesia may just have the world’s most well rounded first class product.

What do you think — where does Garuda Indonesia rank on the list of the world’s best first class products?

Comments

  1. Ground service like driving you from checkin to gate with a buggy doesn’t seem that much to ask for, and it is surprising to see how rare it is to be found in most first class products.

  2. Minor complaint: The shoe service happening BEFORE takeoff would bother me. I make a point to keep my shoes on my feet until we are in the air in case we have to abort the plane during takeoff. I also keep my phone and wallet (with passport) in my pocket so in an evacuation I have everything that I need on my person and can bolt for the door without needing to grab anything.

  3. Lucky, after your Black Friday post I snapped up a ticket from London to SIN via CGK in First.

    Not many reviews but I know they are highly praised. It too will be my first time flying in F and I can’t wait!

    7 months until my flight though and happy to read your quick review on their service.

    I would only compare this FIrst class product to Air France service wise soft and hard but then of course you have those Middle Eastern airlines and I’ve flown Etibad in J and won’t again! Perhaps SQ compare to Garuda?

  4. Lucky,

    I don’t remember, but did you pay cash for this ticket, or was there a points transfer to an airline program? I’m going to Asia next year, and am currently booked in F (2A) on CX. Would love to maybe hit Jakarta on a future trip.

  5. I’m flying next week in F LHR-CGK – so excited. re: first class call center I have used them to setup my arrival time to LHR (I’m arriving on another airline), my connection in CGK (going to SIN from CGK), they also asked about any dietary restrictions, the size of PJs I wanted, also asked if there was anyone else flying with me in another cabin – not sure what they would have done for them if there was as I did not.

  6. @ Travel With Leo — You can’t redeem partner miles for Garuda first class, but rather only Garuda miles. They are transfer partners with Citi, and I believe a one-way ticket between Europe and Jakarta costs just under 200,000 miles.

  7. @ Andrew — I know it’s something they asked in the past, but they don’t seem to do that anymore. That being said, the email center was EXTREMELY responsive, and within hours confirmed my car transfer, pajamas size preference, etc.

  8. @Travel With Leo well Delta’s miles can’t book first class but KE can. However only recently could you book Garuda awards online with their own program so maybe KE can as well, via a call. Not sure if GA releases F seats to partners.

  9. @ David W — Unfortunately they don’t. Even for SkyTeam carriers that do allow first class redemptions, it’s only through special contracts between airlines, and not through any alliance-wide policy.

  10. @ RCB — I’m sure they would have been happy to do it after takeoff as well. It just seemed that most people prefer taking their shoes off before takeoff, for better or worse.

  11. @RCB, HA! I thought I was the only out there with this quirk. I NEVER take my shoes off before liftoff and wouldn’t let anyone take them from me until we’re at an altitude where running would no longer be an option

  12. I have flown Garuda for many many years as we commute to our home in Bali from Sydney.

    I have been a member of their FF program for a long time, and I have booked reward seats many times.

    The process is via a telephone call, as I live in Sydney I ring the Sydney Garuda Office – they are as efficient as you could ask for.

    The phone is normally answered on the first ring, and they get it done so fast its unbelievable.

    All FF transactions and credit card transactions need to be faxed or scanned or emailed (indoneisa loves a paper trail).

    I will give you an example, I was booking SYD CGK in J using my points – I needed to buy a few thousand to complete the transaction. I was then booking CGK to KUL in J using my partners points (and needed to buy a few thousand). I was expecting it to be a difficult phone call. Yes SIR – understand all of that – I am emailing the forms for the FF purchase to you, along with the credit card authority form – complete it and sign or fax back with 24 hours.

    I hung up expecting issues – opened my email – downloaded the forms – signed them faxed them back. 30 mins later I had the etickets and recipts in my email.

    Best service I have ever had from a FF program or a call centre

  13. @ MattJ — Yeah, I was thinking about which airline would be the best comparison. I think the problem with Singapore is that they’re not that consistent. On a good day in Suites Class it’s arguably the best first class product in the world, while if you’re on one of their older 777s with a mediocre crew from an outstation, it can be a bit underwhelming. Singapore also doesn’t offer much in the way of ground services, and other than their new 777s and A350s, wifi is either not available or outrageously expensive. So I never though I’d say it, but I think Garuda has the upper hand.

  14. @Rick, I definitely share in your manias. I keep fully shoed and clothed until we reach what I call the “It doesn’t matter, we’ll all die if we fall from this height” level, and then after that point I know it doesn’t matter if I have shoes on anymore.

  15. ‘This was possibly the best set of crew I’ve had on an airline’. Wow!
    That’s saying something, coming from you Lucky!

  16. Great post Lucky. Thanks for sharing. Really glad you were able to make this happen.

    The infamous SFO777 (for those of us who read FlyerTalk), took advantage of the same sale and had this same flight. Very similar experience on the ground and the menu looks almost the same. He has great pictures on his FT trip report post and his own website if anyone is interested.

  17. Lucky, what would be your hotel of choice in Jakarta? I gifted stays for my folks at the Grand Hyatt, and they’ve been happy with it. Hilton has a nice new DoubleTree but the area is not a really nice area.

  18. Interesting that a relatively obscure airline has such a good first class product. I wonder who their core clientele is–who were the other passengers in the first class cabin?

    Given that they don’t really do a points system, I imagine most of the customers are paying full fare?

  19. Noting that the Lowes amenity pack looks the same as the bus class pack I got on a Denpasar – Sydney 787 flight.

    Can’t say I was overly impressed by the service – but my purpose on the overnight flight was sleep. Still, they did serve Billecart Rosé.

    Looking forward to your full review

  20. As an Indonesian, really glad to finally read your review about Garuda Indonesia and looking your expectation is met, it’s kind of relieved. As @Saket said, it’s saying something coming out from you.

    Looking forward to read the full report on this

  21. Nice “teaser” , awaiting the full report. One thing though, you mention the “hit and miss” service on other airlines, I think you cannot use this as a comparison towards rating your GA First experience as you have only flown them once. The next time it might just as well be a “miss”.

  22. @ Bob — This is my first time here so don’t have thoughts on that yet, but will be sure to share my hotel thoughts after the fact.

  23. @ J.Y. — It’s a great question, and in a way I wonder the same. I think the airline has had such an incredible turnaround, and part of that is that they’re trying to offer the best experience possible in just about every cabin. While not many passengers are redeeming miles for these seats, I think Garuda’s first class fares are relatively reasonable, in the grand scheme of things. For example, the normal first class fare seems to be about $5,000-6,000, which seems a lot less than the $20,000+ charged by some airlines. But I do sort of wonder how they can justify the cabin financially (though I’m very happy they do).

  24. @ KG — That’s a valid point, and I can’t claim to definitively say that after one flight. That being said, just about everyone I’ve heard from who has flown Garuda raves about the service. It’s similar in a way to JetBlue Mint. Before I flew it I heard so many people say great things about the service, and after I flew it for the first time, I “got it.” While I had only flown Mint at one point then, when you hear enough consistently positive stories and then experience it firsthand, you become a believer. Curious what my return experience is like…

  25. It’s lovely to have ‘ridiculously high expectations’ AND to have them met. That’s so awesome. Congrats.

  26. Garuda First is WAY better than SQ because consistent & genuine service, which SQ has lost too many years ago.

  27. Hi Lucky. I had never heard of SFO777, who someone above describes above as “infamous”. I wonder why. I’d like to know. I like your site, but the detail of his report gives yours a kick in the a**, I’m sorry to say.

    In any case, maybe just this time. Keep up the good work, I realize your full report is not yet up so maybe you will catch up to him.

  28. Lucky,
    I am a devoted follower of your blogs because if I had the time I would be doing the same as you, we share the same passions: flying and writing about it. And your trip reports are perfect.
    This is the first time anyway that I post a comment for one of your reports and I think this particular one deserves it.
    I’m an expat living and working in Jakarta, already for more than 3 years. And I have been seeing the consistency and quality of Garuda Indonesia along this time and those are unbeatable.
    I do not agree with people who has minor complaints about an airline that it’s superb. They definitely rank top 5 and for me I would say top 2. I have even voted for them a few days ago as the best airline in the world. I have flown them extensively in economy and business class, domestic and regional. And they are always the same, simply phenomenal! Also, their customer service when you call them is very helpful and friendly.
    I’m very happy that you finally made it and that your high expectations were met, I was sure they would be.
    I hope you enjoy your stay in Jakarta, don’t know where you decided to stay finally, but take advantage of the fantastic restaurants and bars the city offers. Don’t miss “Skye” rooftop bar at the BCA Tower, next to Grand Indonesia Mall, or “Cloud” rooftop bar and/or the restaurant at the top of The Plaza Building, adjacent to the Keraton Hotel.
    And for sure, use the limo transfer offered by GA for your trip back to CGK Airport, forget about those police escorts offers you got. Keep on enjoying the best of the best that Garuda Indonesia is offering to you.
    Last but not least, just know that even I fly Garuda quite a lot, but because of my long hauls and particularly to South America, I’m a Qatar Airways Platinum member/oneworld Emerald. If I had known Garuda better from before and they had more long hauls flights and connections especially to the Americas, I would have definitely put all the eggs in their basket. Hopefully they start flying back soon to the US as it has been stated and so I may fly with them and connect with DL or AR to South America.
    Anyway, back to topic, congratulations for your Garuda Experience and be sure your return flight will not be a miss. Cheers!

  29. I have been Solitaire for 15+ years in SQ but now I absolutely prefer GA. Too bad they only have a few long haul routes.

  30. @Lucky
    Finally, it is long awaited 😉

    @2paxfly
    Garuda doesn’t have a 787. SYD-DPS typically flew by 332/333.

  31. Hi Lucky, I’m curious, in reference to your reply to David W, would you advise crediting miles for GA 1st to Korean Air SkyPass to someone who already had 140,000 miles banked with Delta SkyPass and none on Korean? I was thinking about starting with Korean, but then didn’t after the targeted US Bank sign up bonus offer dropped off. I guess I’m just hesitant to deposit miles to that program because I’m unfamiliar with it.

  32. @Bob
    I would stay at Ritz Carlton in Jakarta. I took my partner there, as a pre-birthday stop before we went to Bali. He loved the shopping malls in Jakarta. The main purpose was to eat amazing food and to shop. The staff were amazing, they decorated the entire Suite with rose-pedals and left the most amazing birthday card with a sweet note, stating my love for him. I did not expect this in a country with a large Moslem population. At least about 10-15 staff members came up to our suite with a very fancy cake that retailed for $50 dollars in their pastry shop, and sang happy birthday to him. He never gets impressed by anything and this time, he was taken a bit.

    @Alejandro
    We are going back to Jakarta as part of our around the world trip at the end of May as I will film a travel documentary. We have also flown Garuda and really loved the service. The SQ crew can be hit or miss and often times I think they are just too plastic and put on a show, versus I felt a genuine hospitality from the Garuda crew.
    I also have problems with SQ’s customer relations as I have never been compensated for any of my numerous situations associated with their flights.
    We would love to meet you when we are in Jakarta. Please keep in touch with me and perhaps you can meet us for a cappuccino.
    Thank you,
    AlanLouganis@yahoo.com

  33. @Alan
    Absolutely!!! It will be my pleasure. End of May is perfect, I will be here.
    I will email you directly and keep in touch, you will see we have several things in common.
    Cheers,
    Alejandro

  34. @Geraldo
    There are other reviewers who also posted pics of GA’s FAs on their TR but I forgot their names. Actually the FA didn’t mind their pictures to be posted since they are beatiful in their kebaya uniforms, and that’s also the reason why the posed, right?

  35. @ Geraldo — Because they were so incredibly warm and friendly. I don’t think I’ve ever had a crew where all the flight attendants were so friendly. At the end of the flight I said “you were all so lovely, is there any chance I could get a picture of you?” Not only did they agree, but then one by one they all took out their phones and took pictures with us, etc. (including the captain!).

  36. @ Rick — If you don’t have any other easy ways to get Korean Air miles then I’d probably credit to Delta. In my case, I decided to credit to Korean Air SkyPass since I have a big balance of Ultimate Rewards points, and I know I’ll be redeeming for Korean Air first class soon again. Therefore I thought it made more sense to add to that balance.

  37. @Aergales & Ben, not that I’m disagree with you post the photo. I’m really glad though, it’s just beyond Ben’s habit in writing trip report.

    For the last few years GA won the best aircrew, I’m hoping that ‘title’ is shown theough their service during the flight.

  38. Agree with Geraldo.
    Garuda has won Skytrax World’s Best Cabin Crew the last 3 years in a row. I guess Ben that you noted why.

  39. Great report and would love to try this flight!

    I’m a PLUS ONE for the shoes on/passport in pocket until airborne. Have evacuated airplanes SEVERAL times due to emergencies (including onboard fire) and in all weather. This is the same reason I don’t wear sandals on planes (and am hesitant to wear shorts, even on a quick ATL-EYW flight in summer)!

  40. I also love their FC, but if you are from out-of-country and buy an intra-Asia ticket say from CGK>SIN or CGK>BKK, god help ya if you need to change it. They make it very, very difficult as you can only do it by phone to the country you bought the ticket in, and their hours are very restrictive.

  41. @Jolyon

    My apologies. You are totally correct, and thanks for bringing it to my attention. Not a 787 but an A330 300. That will teach me to write comments late at night, and rely on my memory. The comment about the service however is correct.

  42. Wow!
    “I don’t think I’ve ever had a crew where all the flight attendants were so friendly.”
    This is classic Indonesian service hospitality and why I try to go to Bali every year. The service at the top hotels in Bali are phenomenal – and much more affordable than flying Garuda FC :).

  43. “shoebag service”
    I’d love to see a US carrier provide this kind of service. Yeah right…not ever in a million years! Never, ever, ever will this every be done by US crew members.
    Forget “shoebag service”, just giving a warm smile is too much effort or too demeaning for many ground staff and crews of US carriers. How sad.

  44. Ben,

    It was good that you finally tried GA F since you learned about this new product a little over 2 years ago from my trip report on flyertalk. I am so glad that GA continues to impress other frequent flyers with this top notch F product. From your report and other recent reports on this product, it seems that both the cabin and the ground crews are getting even better now in executing their premium services. I do hope you enjoy the same kind of phenomenal service again on your return flight.

    Andrew Z

  45. @robertschrader wrote “if you think Bali (which objectively is a shithole filled with bogan Australians) is nice, you should head to Raja Ampat.

    Robert, you need to stop visiting and staying at the Bali slums. All slums world wide are “shitholes”. You need to stay at one of the Aman Resorts or the brand new Mandapa Ritz Carlton Reserve. The properties are pristine and the service and facilities are world class. And I have never run into any Australians at those places.

    Raja Ampat is beautiful but it does not have the world class resorts and exceptional service that I look for when I take a vacation.

  46. Maybe you should try Nihiwatu Resort in Sumba Island. Just 40 minutes of flying from Bali by Garuda’s Bombardier CRJ1000.

  47. Lucky, time to give something back to OMAAT 🙂

    Garuda Miles is having a HUGEEEEE promotion (90%) at the moment for all tickets issued from 12/22-12/31 for 2/1-5/31 departure.

    Garuda is known to have expensive distance based award chart. For example, C CGK-AMS usually cost you 180,000 miles + tax to redeem, with this promo it would only cost you 18,000 + tax. F CGK-NRT usually cost you 90,000 miles + tax, with this promo it would only cost you 9,000 + tax.

    Unfortunately to check inventory you have to call Garuda service center at +62 21 2351 9999 or go to garuda sales office. Let me know if you need any help since I live in the same building as garuda sales office.

    For more info use google translate to read this:
    https://garudamiles.com/tophome-id-id/berita-dan-penawaran/penawaran-spesial/best-deal-of-the-year

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