Normally I fly with other carriers for long haul flights since they usually have way more schedules and destinations. However I managed to find last minute redemption availability for Garuda Indonesia’s direct flight between Jakarta and Beijing. This would thus be one of the longest flights I have with my home carrier and my first time flying with the new Business class seats fitted in the Airbus A330.
Garuda Indonesia has premium check-in counters for both of the domestic and international flights out of Jakarta’s new Terminal 3. The International side is accessed from door 1 while the domestic side is via door 5 of the departure drop-off. Surprisingly the area is quite busy for a weekday night. The area has armchairs for guests to sit down in and there are plenty of staff to assist guests with enquiries.
Since the flight was a one way flight redemption I was asked for my next flight out of Beijing. Other than that, the process was quick and I managed to check in my skis and boot bag with no issue, with no need to bring it to the over-sized baggage counter. With my boarding pass in hand, I head straight to security screening where there is a special Sky Priority lane. Next it was on to the immigration which I had to queue a bit for since the auto gates did not work for my e-Passport this time around.
In the airside of the terminal, I head straight to the Garuda Indonesia Business Class lounge since I wanted to get a shower before the late night flight. Lounge has 2 shower rooms and both were occupied so I had to wait for my turn. While I have already reviewed the Business Class lounge before, I would cover the dinner buffet that was provided in the lounge for evening departures, as this is the first section of the lounge most guests would see on entering the lounge.
At one end of the buffet section, there is usually a specialty Indonesian dish. Sometimes it could be a mixed rice combination, but this time they were serving Rawon, or black beef stew. Aside from the beef stew itself, there was an array of toppings like bits of fried tempeh (beancurd cake), shallots, rice cakes, crackers, chillies and lime.
Another side of the buffet has the main course which consists of fried rice, stir-fried garlic vegetables, beef with potatoes and a chicken dish with tomato sauce.
There was also a noodle station with ingredients like fish cake and fish ball. While the station was not staffed, guests could request assistance from one of the staff member that would walk around the buffet. In the morning this station is usually an egg station where guests could request eggs cooked to their preference.
For the rest of the buffet there was bread rolls and plenty of fried snacks sand samosas. One more Indonesian dish presents itself here which is rujak buah or fruit salad with a dark sweet peanut sauce.
Next to the fried samosas, there was 2 pots of soup, one was tomato cream soup and another one was tomato lemongrass soup. I found it to be lame that they could not offer 2 different flavour of soups. Perhaps tomatoes were on specials that day?
The other buffet console contains an assortment of fresh vegetables and cut fruits for healthier alternatives. The fruits and vegetables looks fresh and that was all it needed to be.
For drinks, guests could choose from the espresso machine or the brew pot for their coffee. There was tea and hot water available as well. There was an assortment of iced tea, guava juice, apple juice and plain water on the dispenser. Soft drinks like Sprite and Fanta are available from the beverage fridge. Beside the beverage corner, there was also a popcorn area.
Alcoholic beverages like wines and beer are also available from the bar area.
The lounge has some dining tables next to the buffet area. However if this area is filled up, there is a larger dining area further inside the lounge past the washrooms and the other facilities.
After dining in the lounge, the lounge attendant came over to inform me that the shower room was ready. The shower room is pretty basic and feels more like a school dorm room shower, though it does have both a handheld shower and rain shower head.
In addition, there was a set of amenities provided to guests who requests for the shower. This includes a pair of toothbrush, shaving kit, shampoo and shower gel along with some basic toiletries.
Other facilities inside this lounge includes a mini movie theatre with really comfortable lounge chairs. This would make for a nice retreat during long layovers. There was a kid’s play area as well inside the lounge along with a male and female praying area.
There was 2 armchairs set in a more private corner facing each other fitted with a reflexology machine. No one seems to be using these machines though.
Overall, this was a nice lounge to spend time before my red-eye flight to Beijing. There was also added enhancements to the lounge since my last visit such as more alcoholic beverages in the bar, the mini movie theatre and the reflexology corner.