Garuda Indonesia doesn’t usually come to mind when listing the leading airlines for First and Business Class, mostly because they’ve been off the radar for a little while. However, since re-entering European air space in 2009, the Indonesian carrier has rebuilt its image to world-class standards and has amassed a number of awards in the process. With a firm eye on the European market, the airline has made a concerted push to meet the cutthroat demands of the premium classes. One of its notable upgrades is the introduction of its First Class on the Boeing 777-300ER – the only First Class option available in the carrier’s entire fleet. Let’s take a look at why so many have placed Garuda’s First Class private suites among their ten most luxurious.
The eight First Class suites on board Garuda’s flagship B777-300ER, which are configured in a 1-2-1 arrangement, are like peaceful sanctuaries that will make you feel like you’re – quite literally – sailing amongst the clouds. The middle suites have a privacy screen that slide up higher than you would find on other carriers, providing extra privacy if you’re travelling solo but is also a good arrangement if you’re travelling with a companion. Enter your suite via a sliding door where you’ll discover a wide, ergonomic seat which converts into a luxurious, fully-flat bed that comes with a mattress, duvet and pillows, as well as an ottoman. You’ll find ample storage space ingeniously incorporated in the suite. There’s a concealed compartment under the armrest for personal items and a hidden table for work or dining. If you like to have a change of outfit inflight, there’s even a personal wardrobe for you to keep them wrinkle-free, located conveniently by the door of your suite. And, you can control everything around your seat with just a touch via the seat control unit that has a touchscreen panel.
Garuda’s dining experience is definitely one to write home about. You can enjoy a la carte dining inflight with a wide selection of exquisite dishes that include traditional Indonesian specialties like Soto Kudus (traditional chicken soup served with quail eggs) and the Krengseng Lamb Ribs (lamb ribs served with Javanese sauce). Your meal is prepared fresh by an on-board master chef that’s been handpicked from some of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants.
You can choose how you have your meals too. If you fancy a restaurant-like affair, then the airline’s signature five-course banquet will tickle your every taste bud, starting with a caviar service which includes Kerupuk (deep fried crackers) and Blinis (mini savoury pancakes topped with crème fraiche). Each dish is complemented by vintage wines or your choice of beverage. Perhaps a lighter option is more you? Then a dish like the Prawn Machos (Arabic fried rice with shrimps) from the ‘Supper Menu’ will do. There is also a ‘Movie Supper’ menu available if you’re one who likes to stay up at all hours enjoying the entertainment, with a delicious spinach ricotta cannelloni.
If you are one who likes to stay up at all hours watching films, then you’ll appreciate the 23-inch LCD touch screen with full video-on-demand, inflight entertainment system. For the home theatre experience, it’s equipped with a remote control and noise-cancelling headphones. You can sit back, relax and enjoy all of this in comfortable ‘loungewear’ that comes with soft, cushioned slippers that a crew member will even come and fit on your feet while stowing the footwear you originally had on (now that’s service!). Refresh inflight with your amenity kit, which are packed separately in an elegant LOEWE box. Inside you’ll find luxury LOEWE products such as Agua de Loewe eau de toilette, body balm and revitalizing eye contour. Garuda Indonesia is also a proud member of SkyTeam Airline Alliance, giving it strong links to Europe with partners KLM and Air France. The flag-carrier now flies directly from London Heathrow Airport to Jakarta five times per week with departures every day except Mondays and Fridays.