Review: Garuda Indonesia First Class Arrivals & Chauffeur Service Jakarta

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I was expecting the amazing experience to be over the moment we stepped off the plane given that Jakarta Airport is one of the less-nice ones in the region, though Garuda still found a way to make the ground experience pleasant.

We arrived at a remote stand, and the moment the door opened there were several airline representatives waiting to pick up first class passengers. There were two representatives per party (one to escort you, and another to take your luggage).

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Garuda Indonesia 777 upon arrival in Jakarta

We were greeted by Larizka and Ilham, who said they’d be helping us through immigration and to our waiting car. They apologized once again for the flight’s delay, and for the fact that we were arriving at a remote stand. It’s nice when an airline has a separate bus for premium passengers, but in the case of Garuda Indonesia, they had two buses for first class passengers, so that there were only three people per bus. We had a roughly five minute drive to the terminal.

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First class bus on arrival in Jakarta

I was expecting they might be able to get us into a special immigration lane, though little did I know they’d be helping us (basically) skip immigration altogether. Larizka walked us past the immigration queue and through a side exit, while Ilham took our passports and bags and handled immigration formalities.

We walked with Larizka towards the arrivals area, and moments later Ilham came running behind us with our bags and passports, as he had just completed immigration formalities.

Given how horrible traffic in Jakarta is, I figured I’d use the restroom before getting into our car. When I asked Larizka where the nearest restroom was, she responded “I wish you had told me earlier, you could have used the one in the first class lounge, it’s much nicer.” Hah!

Less than 15 minutes after arriving at our remote stand we were introduced to our driver, who would be taking us to our hotel. He was waiting in his car when we exited the terminal, so there was no need to go to some remote lot or wait for him to pull up.

Garuda Indonesia offers a limousine service for first class passengers, with the choice between a Mercedes E-Class or Toyota Alphard. I chose the Alphard, since it’s much more spacious, and I was expecting it to be a long ride.

Larizka and Ilham were so lovely, and much like the crew onboard, provided hospitality from the heart. I asked if I could get a picture of them before we drove off, which they gladly agreed to.

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Our incredible escorts

The Toyota Alphard was comfortable, and the driver even had waters and towels for us in the car.

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Transfer to hotel

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Transfer to hotel

Shockingly the drive to the hotel only took about 30 minutes. I was preparing myself for a two hour drive, though I guess thanks to our late arrival traffic wasn’t nearly as bad. Aside from traffic for a few blocks as we approached the hotel, we didn’t encounter much traffic at all.

Garuda’s Jakarta first class ground experience bottom line

Talk about a seamless experience from the moment we arrived at the airport to the moment we arrived at our hotel in Jakarta. While Jakarta Airport is outdated and usually not a pleasant airport to transit, Garuda’s excellent first class ground services make the arrival process a breeze.

Not only was the experience as polished and quick as possible, but Larizka and Ilham were incredibly kind.

It was a great finish to an amazing flight.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. The Alphard! Love them with two thrown seats in the rear. Perfect to have one in an Asian city like KL. Though I love the S-Class the Alphard is excellent.

    Lucky, did you ever manage a Police Motorbike Escort to any hotel/airport whilst in Indonesia?

  2. @Charlie… I too question them holding onto a Passport and then not having it for a period of time…

  3. Wow, Garuda offer limo service to first class pax?

    I booked first class with them from SIN to AMS, then AMS back to CGK, yes the 90% miles off, managed to grab the seat with SIN office and issued the ticket in KUL office last week.

    I’m still considering if to pull over a night in Jakarta, if do, does it means I can request free limo service to my hotel as well? Or if I decide to fly back to SIN (maybe on LCC from CGK to SIN) on the same day, possible to request to spend some time in their lounge?

  4. I travel to Indonesia frequently and immigration is always very simple and hassle free. Though I’d be a little nervous being separated from my passport, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

  5. What is the problem of all the people here with the passport? You give your passport to an official airline employee that is clearly verified (since it is rather unlikely they will have random people in airline uniform standing around at remote gates) for immigration processing. If you feel uncomfortable with that do you also feel uncomfortable with giving your passport to an immigration officer who then takes it to some back office for checking, or even just puts it on his desk where you can’t see it as it happens frequently?

  6. @ BenBen,

    my problem isn’t with giving the passport to “an official airline employee” if they are really so. My problem is that people are essentially allowed to enter a country, vouched for by an airline, with the immigration official stamping in passports without actually seeing the person entering, but trusting the “official airline employee” that the passports belong to the said persons.

  7. The passport thing is not a random service carried by an airline. They have made some kind of “agreements” with the government in this case immigration special to first class passengers only. They must have procedures and the data about the persons traveling in F.

    Previously they had also agreement about having immigration onboard.

  8. @Charlie
    Got it, well I presume they will have agreements and a proper process in place whereby the airline follows strict checking on their side to produce the same result as passing through immigration the traditional way would.

    On a side note, as someone who lives in Malaysia, believe me in terms of immigration issues not checking first class passengers visually at the counter is literally the very least important problem these countries have.

  9. Your review excellently portrays Garuda’s First Class Service. My experience was similar through DPS airport (Bali) where I deplaned a Garuda flight from Jakarta on my way to Narita, Japan. My connection was tight and I doubt seriously I would have made the connection sucessfully on my own. My reception upon arrival was warm and welcoming. With their care and oversight we negotiated promptly all the cues and formalities. This exception service was discernably First Class. Safe travels always and Happy New Year!!

  10. Talking about seamless experience on premium class, you should try Etihad’s The Residence on any route 😉

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