For the return flight, I was not planning on posting about it but several noteworthy experiences made me write about the experiences of being a SkyTeam Elite Plus flying on Economy class with Garuda Indonesia. I had obtained my SkyTeam Elite Plus after accumulating my miles with Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue program. For my return flight, the short 90 minute journey was made onboard a Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-300 since it was the end of the Ramadhan holidays and the flight was full even for this short haul journey.
I had reserved an aisle seat though an Indian mother and daughter had occupied my aisle seat when they were supposed to be seated in the middle 2 seats. I do dislike such occurrences since I believed they did know their seat assignment and occupied my seat wilfully. There was really nothing much to shout about the legroom though the cabin of the A330 was comfortable with 8-abreast seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Another special note was my choice of a fruit platter since I had dinner at Singapore before boarding this flight, and I was actually dreading the Garuda flights as their inflight catering can be quite bad based on past experiences. The fruit platter was certainly a nice change and has a good variety of fruits. In fact all the tray components consists of fruits only, while the dessert compartment had dried fruits. It was definitely edible and I would take note to just order this platter for late evening flights. Passengers opting for the special meals get theirs earlier before the onset of regular meal service, and does provide for more rest time for this short flight.
Upon arrival into Jakarta and passing through immigration, I had the opportunity to try out the Premium Arrival lounge that is open for SkyTeam Elite Plus members. The services includes handing your luggage tags to the staff at the lounge and he will collect the luggage for you as guests wait in the comfort of the lounge. There are plenty of beige leather armchairs with wood accents inside the lounge and it was quite empty.
One shower room was available beside the washroom in the Arrival lounge and it meant guests could get the staff to wait for the luggage as they refresh themselves. It would be a great feature at the end of a red-eye flight though with more popularity, just having one shower room might not be enough.
Back at the lounge, guests could get some beverages and there are only water, apple juice or guava juice from the dispenser. No other snacks are available. Since I was neither thirsty nor hungry this counter was not useful to me. The limited drinks does no honours to the lounge either.
With the Arrival lounge, Garuda Indonesia certainly aims to create a new benchmark as I do not see Singapore Airlines or even Cathay Pacific having such a service for premium members at their home base. While the amenities in the Arrival lounge is lacking, at least they have one and the highlight for me anyway is being able to get a complimentary service of the luggage being found for you. Having a dedicated staff member to collect your luggage while one waits in comfort is certainly a luxury. It is even more useful when the arrival airport is as messy as Jakarta!