I was looking forward to Garuda Indonesia Business Class, mainly because it was a new airline for me, but also because I had heard good things from the first class trip reports when they had a sale a few years ago. After landing at Shanghai Pudong’s Terminal 1, we briefly entered China on a transit waiver and walked across the large indoor bridge to Terminal 2. I had fears about the process of transferring terminals but they were unfounded. We could have even had a tighter connection by about an hour because the Garuda Indonesia desk was closed until 4.5 hours before our flight departure. During our wait, we stretched our legs. This was my first time stepping foot in Mainland China and I had a thought about trying the Mag-Lev, but the timings just didn’t work out.
We had to check in at the Garuda Indonesia Business Class desk since we were lugging checked bags with us.
Despite the desk officially opening at 9:30pm, we are at security by 8:40pm. We had a lounge pass to the No. 69 First Class Lounge (but opted for the No. 77 China Eastern Plaza Premium Lounge instead) as well as a Fast Track immigration pass for when we landed in Bali.
A short walk from the No. 77 lounge to D79 for our boarding at 12:25am for a 1:00am departure. There were two jetways, with door 1 for business class and door 2 for economy class.
Garuda Indonesia GA859
Shanghai-Pudong (PVG) to Denpasar-Bali
Wednesday December 18, 2019
Business Class, Seats 9D/9G
Depart 1:00am – Arrive 7:30am (6h30m) – Arrived 15 minutes late
The business class cabin features the Super Diamond seat, though the seats are closer together than on other airlines. The last time I flew this seat was on the Royal Air Maroc 787-9, which had a much more updated version of the seat. There’s actually no privacy divider so the seats in the center are perfect for a couple. This isn’t the greatest business class hard product but it’s good for an overnight flight such as this.
You know that feeling when you know it’s just going to be a good flight? Or that the trip you’re taking is going to be great? We got that feeling just a few minutes after settling in to our seats. Despite connecting in Shanghai, we flew in on Delta and I didn’t think we had left on vacation yet. As soon as we boarded, the cabin crew exhibited such great hospitality that we finally felt relaxed and on vacation. And as we were on the country’s flag carrier, I felt even more excited to fly to Indonesia.
We were promptly served a hot towel and juice as pre-departure beverage. The seat had a simple amenity kit with earplugs (unlike their SkyTeam partner on our last flight). I noticed that they had Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé on the menu and asked to have it after takeoff (likely not available on the ground due to having to pay a Chinese duty if they did).
The menu was well-presented in a book. Given the 1:00am departure, there is an optional snack service as well as a breakfast service. Since we had just eaten in the lounge, we decided to skip the snack and maximize sleep as we’d be landing in Bali at 7:30am and wanted to stay awake as long as possible once on the ground.
I am a fan of the Garuda Indonesia safety video – it showcases various parts of Indonesia and was clever but still informative.
We were delayed departing due to luggage on-loading issues. We were falling asleep and the crew pulled out duvets while we laid down for about 15 minutes before it was time to depart.
I fell asleep in the upright position as we were taxiing for takeoff and the next thing I remember was waking up about two hours later in the flat bed position. I have absolutely no clue how that happened and wouldn’t put it past a crew member to position my seat.
In fact, shortly after I woke up, a flight attendant came by and asked if I wanted the champagne I had asked about earlier. I’m glad we were taking a longer route!
I ended up going back to sleep shortly after for another two hours and woke up around 5:45am, about 1h45m before landing. The crew offered breakfast, which I made into a champagne brunch over Brunei. The coconut savory rice with chicken was fantastic.
There was WiFi available, but it was
- $5 for 15MB over 30 minutes
- $12 for 30MB over an hour
- $17 for 50MB over 3 hours
- $22 for 100MB over the course of the flight
Needless to say, those prices were not worth it. I completed a movie on the IFE and moved into seat 11A as we descended over Bali from the north. The views were divine.
We exited via door 1 into the terminal where we had an escort from the St. Regis awaiting to take us to our car.
Garuda Indonesia Business Class Conclusion
This was an abbreviated experience with Garuda Indonesia, given that we flew out of an outstation to its second hub on a 6.5-hour overnight flight (basically a red-eye). That said, it was a great introduction to the country. The service was hospitable and the seat/bed was comfortable with the opportunity for adequate rest. The only room for improvement would be lowering WiFi prices or removing the data cap. I would certainly fly them again.