Boarding was delayed till around 22:05 coinciding with the flight to Sydney on the next door. Furthermore, passengers need to walk to gate 12 and passengers to Beijing was held back in the corridor to allow the passengers to Sydney to get to their gate and to avoid confusion. This is due to both planes being parked in the domestic side of T3. I find this a very ineffective way of boarding and for a new airport terminal, it was a poor workaround.
GA890 Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Terminal 3 CGK – Beijing Capitol Terminal 2 PEK
Gate 10, plane at Gate 12 Seat 8A
Airbus A330-300 PK-GPZ
On entering the cabin via the forward door, there was already one other passenger who I assume to be the air marshal for this flight as he did not board with the rest of us.
The Business class cabin onboard this Airbus A330-300 was a relatively new version which features reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. This is definitely the nicest Business class in Garuda Indonesia’s fleet as the ones on their other planes are either staggered seats in 1-2-1 or angled flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration.
Right on the bulkhead, there was newspapers and magazines along with bottled water.
The crew immediately asked me for my drink orders after escorting me to my seat. Since I had yet the time to peruse the menu or knew what they offered, I just asked for a glass of water first.
There was already an amenity kit and a pair of slippers placed on the armrest. A bottle of water was also found along with the menu for this flight. On the seat, there was a large pillow but the blanket would only be handed out later by the crew.
Since it was an empty cabin, I took some photos of the bulkhead seats and noticed there was not much difference to any of the other seat. I do not have a preference for the first row seat due to its proximity to the galley and the front door, so I remained in my chosen seat.
Back on my seat, I checked out the seat features. There was a magazine holder by the armrest with a reading light that could be swivelled out on the left of it.
The simple amenity kit contains toiletries by Clarins and features a moisturizing lotion, a body lotion and a lip balm. There was a pair of eyeshades, a comb and a dental kit included as well. However there was no socks supplied on the flight.
Underneath the armrest, there is a power outlet, headphone ports and USB ports. This is meant to be a compartment to store your passport and charge your mobile phones while on the flight.
The longer and narrower section of the armrest console opens out to reveal the inflight entertainment controller which is a modern version with its own touch screen panel.
There was another touch screen panel facing the seat that was open showing one-touch controls for altering the seat and overhead lights.
On the right side of the seat there was another armrest which contains another storage compartment. This compartment is quite deep and could store the headphones and your laptop or the bottled water.
While the cabin still did look fresh, there was some signs of wear and tear on the edges. This is from the knocking against the hand-carried luggage and the cabin trolleys I believe.
Like all reverse herringbone seats, the legrest is found underneath the TV screen and it was a triangular section that was adequate for me. Though I expect it could be a bit of a squeeze for those with longer legs.
After checking out the menu for the flight, I asked for a Kedondong beverage since it was on the menu. This was served while we were still on the ground and because of the light load, the crew was available.
Pullback occured just past 22:30, which is very fast after boarding. There was only 6 passengers in the front cabin which is a very low load. This could be the reason why I managed to reserve this flight using Flying Blue miles spending 57,500 miles just the day before departure.
The leading stewardess in the cabin took my meal orders while on the ground and she gave passengers the option of having the meal 90 mins prior to landing in Beijing. I took up the offer so as to sleep immediately after take-off. Next she asked me for my choice of beverage after take off. The menu for both meals and beverages are on a single fold-out menu so it was concise.
After pullback it was a quick taxi to the runway as the lights are dimmed. The crew came once more to remind business passengers that the life vest are located next to seat under the side console.
Plane was shaking quite violently during take-off but it was all smooth once we were airborne.
Once we were up in the air, I head to the washroom to change to my lounge wear. Clarins amenities such as a hand cream, toning lotion and eau de toilette are found in the lavatories. Wet towels and mouthwash was also provided. I did note that the lavatories are cleaned by the crew after every use as she did the same for the passenger waiting after me.
Back on the seat, I converted the seat into a bed and laid down the suede blanket that I used as a duvet since the cabin temperature was quite warm. I had a nice nap but was awoken 3 hours into the flight due to turbulence.
I went back to sleep before the crew came around with hot towels which woke me up with 90 minutes more to the flight.
While waiting for the meal to be served, I went to switch on the inflight entertainment and used the supplied headphones. These generic headphones are not really great for inflight use and I regretted not taking mine out of my checked luggage.
Entertainment selections onboard the flight was average and aside from a couple of movies that interests me, there was little else in terms of TV shows or other Asian movies. Definitely not 5-star by any means.
Meal service was served after that with the fruit appetizer, warm bread and the dessert in separate bowls. A simple bread roll and a garlic bread was served while dessert was a sponge cake with strawberry sauce.
The main course was served after I finished the fruit but the plate seems a bit large for the tray. While the rest of the meal was mediocre, the main course did showcase the best Indonesia have to offer. The beef slices had a rich flavour that went well with the aromatic coconut rice. This was a tasty pre-arrival meal.
I asked for a cup of coffee and an extra bottle of water after the meal as I head to the lavatories to refresh and change.
The tray table setup in this seat is quite practical for use as it is easy retractable from under the TV monitor. It can also be folded down for drinks and snacks while I continued to watch the TV show Krypton but with only 2 episodes, it was just nice for the remainder of this flight, though insufficient for longer daytime flights.
At the back of the Business class cabin, there was another galley which the crew could place snacks and drinks for longer flights but it was empty during this flight which had a very light load. Two more lavatories at the back with one at the front make for a total of 3 lavatories for Business class passengers.
Seats 10K and 11K in Business Class have been designated as the pilots’ rest area with the curtains set up around them.
Our flight heading north continued smoothly under clear weather since I was able to spot the city lights underneath. We also passed the new Daxing Airport that would serve the greater Beijing region.
Descent into Beijing was smooth and without delay and the sunrise made for a very nice finish to this flight.
The morning arrival meant it was a quick landing and taxi towards the older Terminal 2. This made for a very pleasant arrival into Beijing.
Upon landing, I opened the compartments to ensure I did not leave anything behind and the crew bade me farewell as we were able to disembark from the front of the aircraft into the winter chill at Beijing.
There was a bit of a walk to the passport control but short queues meant I was through quickly. Baggage claim was also fairly quick to come out since I did not really want to hang out long in this old Terminal 2. All things considered, the nice cabin setup in Business class with the tasty Indonesian meal made it worthwhile to fly direct to Beijing from Jakarta on this flight. The unfortunate thing is that this flight is not operated daily. Instead it only flies 2 times a week as of September 2019 to Beijing. Otherwise, I think Garuda Indonesia offers a very good service onboard with competitive seating and amenities, that is only marred by the state of infrastructure in their home airport in Jakarta.