This flight felt like a time capsule to a time world airlines forgot, of full-service economy, spacious seats, unlimited food & drink, and excellent service.
You can see a video of the experience here.
Garuda flies direct from Sydney to Bali, onboard an older A330-300. Garuda is currently receiving several new A330-300 aircraft from Airbus, but they are not operating on this route. Thus the aircraft has the older cabin configuration, from a time of tiny seatback screens, shaky tray tables and lack of in-seat power.
The flight takes around 6 hours, and flies to Bali during the day and returns overnight. Included in the cost of the ticket is a meal, snacks, beverages, luggage and entertainment, which when priced next to Jetstar or another low cost-carrier (which all of the above items would be priced a-la-carte) makes Garuda rather attractive.
But this older fit out isn’t too bad, because it was built before airlines went as dense as possible (looking at you Virgin Australia), there is plenty of room to relax in all cabin classes. In fact, out of all the aircraft flying between Sydney and Bali, Garuda has the most legroom in economy!
The economy cabin is in a 2 – 4 – 2 configuration which provides a little privacy to couples traveling together. Additionally, the seat itself has 78cm / 34in of pitch allowing a six-foot person to extend their legs fully.
The window seat did have the entertainment unit under the seat in-front, reducing the footwell width by about a third.
But let us talk about the tray table. I don’t know who designed this but it is super far away from the lap and barely extends. When using the table and the passenger in front reclines their seat, the lack of extension makes it almost impossible to use the table.
If we had to describe the flight in two words, it would be “flying buffet”. Even in Economy we were given so much free stuff that our tray tables were full and our seat pockets bursting at the seams.
- Unlimited beverages, including alcoholic beverages.
- Inflight magazine, shopping magazine, tourism flyer, an immigration card, and safety card
- Morning tea with a packet of nuts
- Lunch meal with another beverage (a choice of two different meals, but no vegetarian options unless ordered ahead).
- A sleeping kit of socks, earplugs, and eyemask (despite it being a day flight)
- Pillow and blanket
- And if you wanted anything, just buzz the flight attendant and they will bring it to your seat!
But there was a disparency between the vegetarian meal and the default beef or chicken, notably the absence of an entire salad, bread, and cheese & biscuits. Upon asking in the galley, the flight attendants informed this reviewer that there was no additional cheese onboard.
The entertainment screen was a little hard to watch at 21 cm and polarizing surface but suffice for its purpose. Content wise there was a good mix of new and old movie options, although, like the food above, some odd things missing. For example, in the TV show section there were multiple shows missing mid-season episodes (EP1, EP2, EP5, EP10 etc) and thus making binge watching a confusing off
Overall, the cabin crew service was excellent and we could not find any fault. They were attentive, happy, welcoming and incredibly accommodating.
There is free wifi onboard (up to 8mb) and paid options (up to 100mb) but we found the internet to be incredibly slow that not even a google search worked.
Garuda Indonesia provides a old fashioned full-service carrier service, at a price point that is pretty competitive with low-cost carriers. Because you get luggage, meals and entertainment threw in, plus the biggest economy leg room between these two destinations, makes it a solid winner.
Until you get to the Bali airport and have to wait for over an hour for your checked baggage. But that’s the cost of paradise.
What do you think? Have you flown this route before? Let us know in the comments below.