In December I had the chance to fly Garuda Indonesia first class from London to Jakarta to Singapore to London. The flights were incredible, and Garuda Indonesia has what’s easily one of my favorite first class products in the world. It was one of the all around most seamless first class experiences I’ve ever had.
The problem with Garuda Indonesia is that there’s no way to redeem partner miles for travel in their first class. However, we’ve seen some good opportunities to snag a Garuda Indonesia first class ticket at a discount lately:
- Last November Garuda Indonesia had a “Black Friday” sale, with roundtrip first class tickets available for as little as ~$2,500
- Last December Garuda Indonesia had a 90% off award sale, though unfortunately this ended up being more trouble than it was worth for many
- Just last week Garuda Indonesia launched another first class sale, with roundtrip tickets available for ~$3,000
Garuda Indonesia’s two longhaul routes with first class are from Jakarta to London and Amsterdam, with some of the flights stopping in Singapore.
Unfortunately it looks like Garuda Indonesia has downgraded one of these routes. Garuda Indonesia’s flight between Jakarta and London won’t feature first class between June 1 and October 28, 2017.
While Garuda Indonesia has 10 Boeing 777-300ERs, only a few of them feature a first class cabin, while the others only feature business class and economy.
Why is this route being downgraded?
I’m working on figuring this out right now. I’m not sure if Garuda Indonesia needs maintenance on one of their 777s, and it’s causing this, though that seems like a long time to take a plane out of service for that.
Otherwise I suspect they’re planning on using it for another route, though I haven’t been able to figure out what that is yet.
Garuda Indonesia has been wanting to start flights between Jakarta and the U.S. in 2017. The FAA finally boosted Indonesia’s safety rating, so they can now start flights to the U.S. Perhaps the plane is being taken off the London route because they’re planning on launching flights to the U.S. with it. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
What are people being offered for the downgrade?
Rather disappointingly, people are reporting that Garuda Indonesia is encouraging them to refund their tickets. I guess they realize that many people booked the tickets specifically to try Garuda Indonesia first class. So of course you’re entitled to a refund if you want, though I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask to be accommodated on the Amsterdam flight instead.
Regulation 261 should also apply to this situation, I believe. However, while this regulation is clear in regards to compensation for most issues, downgrades are a bit of a grey area:
If a passenger is placed in a lower class than that for which a ticket was purchased, the airline must refund 30/50/75% of the cost of the ticket for type 1/2/3 flights. For the purpose of this condition, flights to the French overseas departments are not considered to be within the European Union. It is unclear whether the refund relates to the price of the entire ticket, or the segment on which the passenger was downgraded.
This would be a Type 3 flight, meaning in theory you’re entitled to a 75% refund. That would be a heck of a deal for a business class ticket. However, getting the airline to actually honor that may be a bit trickier.
Garuda Indonesia is fantastic, so it’s disappointing to see them no longer offer first class to London. If you’re scheduled to fly the route between June and October, be sure to check your itinerary, as you’re likely downgraded. Now I’m just curious what they’re doing with the plane — hopefully they’re planning on using it for U.S. flights.
Have you been impacted by this Garuda Indonesia downgrade? How do you plan on handling it?