Garuda First Class has long been on the list of international First Class products I’ve been wanting to try. Thankfully, I was able to pick up a ticket during the 90% off sale on award ticket prices.
Additional Reading: Booking Garuda Indonesia First Class
My ticket only cost 19000 Garuda Miles. Taxes and fees were 290 SGD (205 USD), so this ticket overall was very cheap.
Garuda First Class Before-Departure Service
Passengers have email and phone access to the first class desk at Garuda. It was useful, but oftentimes I wouldn’t get email responses until I prompted or called them.
I asked them if a friend flying the same flight in business class could be guested into the First Class Lounge. That was denied. So, other than booking the car service, the welcome they provided was quite confusing because of how vague it was.
I’m a little curious whether I could have asked for a different kind of champagne, or “wagyu” beef, but given that there were no data points I wasn’t really bothered.
I mean, I asked for an extra pair of slippers to take home, and on the flight, I was told no. A pair of slippers can’t cost them that much (although they would be the one of the nicest pairs I’ve seen in first class).
The flight began when I was picked up at around 4pm from the Fairmont in Jakarta where I was staying. I had requested a Meredes E-200, but instead got the Toyota Alphard.
Two car arrived, the first one below with the logo, and then a second black one which i was on.
There were water and towels in the car.
Once we got to the terminal door, there were two GA representatives who picked me up. I went through security along with everyone else in the priority line, but after that I was whisked away to the first class lounge.
The ground service was excellent. Given that Jakarta isn’t the most pleasant airport, going from airport door to lounge in less than 10 minutes was great. The attendants also took my passport for immigration formalities as well as my boarding pass until it was time to board.
The lounge, however, not so much. The menu was alright – but not better than the best international first class lounges. I was the only passenger in the lounge the entire time, which meant the passenger staff ratio was 1:4 (including the ground staff who picked me up at departures).
The quiet was nice, but I would have preferred a better menu, and maybe a spa. I’d say that the lounge didn’t really leave an impression, unlike the Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai or the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt.
What irked me the most about the lounge was the terrible internet speeds. It was atrocious, and ruined any possibility of me getting my work done.
Garuda First Class Review
My flight was a overnight redeye from, with a ground stop in Singapore for refuelling. I was the only passenger on the first leg, and then another passenger joined me on the Singapore – Amsterdam leg.
Garuda First Class Seats
On Garuda First Class, there are eight first class suites which have sliding doors. The flight also has wifi and first class passengers get a voucher for free access. Ironically, it was faster than the speed from the lounge.
The bathroom was stocked with Loewe products.
The food was pretty good onboard, except the menu was lacking.
I did like that they had eggs made to your liking cooked onboard.
A distinct touch is that they assist you with your slippers and handle handle your shoes with white gloves.
The service was attentive, especially given that they have a cabin camera like Emirates.
The funniest part was that the other passenger in first class was picked up by ground staff for immigration and arrival. I wasn’t so presumably he was on a paid ticket. We were at a bus gate, and there wasn’t a separate bus for premium class passengers, so we waited for it to fill up completely.
We had arrived after a Jet Airways Boeing 77W, so the lines were already quite full. In Europe, passport control is separated between Schengen and non-Schengen passport holders, as well as diplomatic/special lines and Privium (in Amsterdam).
The passenger was a non-Schengen passport holder, so he couldn’t use either of the faster lines. Then, the ground personnel attempted to get through the special/diplomatic line, except I guess the immigration agent wouldn’t permit it, so he ended up several spaces behind me in the non-Schengen line.
My Thoughts Overall
I’m not an over the top person when it comes to premium classes. I don’t need carts or attendants walking me to the gate, or my shoes to be handled with white gloves, or an empty lounge. My last experience with Cathay Pacific, in my opinion, was far, far better than this experience.
Additional Reading: Cathay Pacific First Class Review
I’ve flown many international first class segments, and I have to say this was quite underwhelming. It was nice trying it out once, but I probably wouldn’t take it again, given there aren’t any cheap ways to redeem for Garuda First Class other than paid tickets.
I don’t think Garuda First Class is bad. But it certainly isn’t one of the best products for international first class, and the overall product is hit and miss. What I mean, is like how they offer an email concierge service but yet can’t assist me with anything. Or having a quiet lounge but terrible wifi. Or offering cart service to and from the lounge in Singapore, but the lounge itself was not good.
For the price I paid, anyways, it was nice to try it out!