After some research, we found the price pretty affordable for the 2-hour, Airbus 330-300 flight to the tropical island destination, so we booked it. On the return, we would fly an Airbus 330-200. Getting to fully experience an new airline's best service on a domestic flight brings us sheer joy, but that's in theory. So, how did it actually go? Here are our thoughts on the total experience:
What We Liked:
· Legroom. Loads and loads of legroom! It is an internationally configured plane, so good legroom is fairly expected, but we were happy to enjoy it for two hours. Tip: the newer, smaller, 330-200 has even more legroom.
· In-flight entertainment system consisted of a 17-inch seatback TV with lots of options and unique features.
· The service was impeccable. The flight was fairly empty to Denpasar, and completely full to Jakarta, but the flight attendants didn't slack off on either flight.
· Meal options. In total there were 3 of them and all hot! Yes, on a 2-hour flight!
· Garuda has gone through an image re-branding and their meal service china got the upgrade early on. It is a light-blue artsy design on white that carries through the entire meal tray.
· Mini Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Nothing beats the cool creaminess of ice cream on a flight. How can you resist the Belgian Chocolate?!
· The details of hand lotion and an eau de toilette in the lavatories were a nice touch. We liked it so much that we're now searching for the scent of Garuda (to no avail).
·When transferring from the main terminal to the aircraft, Executive Class passengers have a separate bus from economy.
What We Didn't Like: (Now we are going to be picky, because this was a great experience all around.)
· Blankets were only passed out on request
· When the refreshment trolley came by, we didn't see any alcohol on display. Now, we completely understand the cultural differences here. We just wanted to sit back and relax with a glass of bubbles. To Jakarta we asked for beer and got the national brew, Bintang. Guess you just have to ask.
· The meal itself was a little odd. To Denpasar, we opted for the chicken puff since we thought it was going to be delicious and it was a bit overcooked and too crusty. Our choice from DPS to CGK was a shrimp pad thai that didn't have any flavor.
Bottom Line: As a whole, the experience was pretty fantastic. Very attentive flight attendants whose smiles never stop smoothed over our few complaints and a wide, comfy seat and massive television made our flight super enjoyable. The price was just under $500 round-trip and we think it was well worth the experience. Sitting in the "second" premium cabin afforded us great photos of the wing and engines!
One amazing detail of the flight service was during both initial and final safety announcements, the flight attendants stood at the front of the cabin and synchronized the shallow bow with their hands pressed together in the wai greeting. It was a very nice touch.
[Photos: Rayme Gorniak for Jaunted]