I was flying from Bali to Labuan Bajo on my trip and wanted to experience Indonesia’s national carrier’s economy class: Garuda Indonesia. This quick one hour flight is operated by an ATR 72 at only 10,000 feet, making for views of beautiful volcanoes and islands. Needless to say, I was quite excited about this flight, until I arrived at the airport.
Take One of My Journey
I arrived at the Denpasar airport around 9am for my 10:50am flight, giving me plenty of time to check-in and make it through security. I checked my reservation status on Garuda’s website the night before to ensure that nothing in my itinerary changed. However, as soon as I made my way to the front of the check-in line, I was bluntly informed my flight was canceled.
They told me I was rescheduled for the next day at 5pm. I thought the cancellation may have been due to the Indonesian forest fires, but, when I asked why this flight change occurred, I discovered that the flight was canceled a month ago due to operational reasons and I was rebooked.
I never received an email or any type of notification alerting me of this, so I was absolutely taken aback, especially as the Garuda website confirmed my flight the night before. This was unacceptable, however, I found a hotel for the night and returned to the airport the next day.
Take-two of the journey
Restarting the process the next day, I finally made it past the airport check-in and through the easy to navigate domestic terminal. There were quite a few shopping sections and restaurants I had to walk through to make it to the gate, but I was greeted with a nice waiting area.
The boarding process was expedited and swift, starting a half-hour before departure. There was no order to the boarding process, and anyone at any section of the plane could board at any time. As seat 22A, I was actually in the 4th row back from the cockpit. I scanned my boarding pass and continued down a flight of stairs to an awaiting shuttle bus.
As we disembarked the bus, we were quickly directed to stairs at the back of the plane. Boarding was inconvenient as I had to push past other passengers getting situated to reach my seat in the front.
Soon after everyone settled in and stuffed their bags into the limited overhead space, the attendants promptly sealed the boarding doors, and we were on our way – only 30 hours late.
As we taxied, the crew played some oddly upbeat but mysterious background music. While it is hard to describe, you should imagine a modern rap beat mixed with the soundtrack of a mystery movie. This was definitely a strange start to the flight
I luckily got away with taking a few photo’s of the interior, despite, Garuda’s negative publicity around flight reviews lately. The product itself was a sleek looking leather seat, which was sufficient for the short flight, but nothing to rave about. It was very firm but clean.
There was also no IFE on board, but the views of Indonesia sufficed. There were a variety of magazines, although none were in English.
The legroom itself was bearable for an hour. As a six-foot and one inch tall person, there was not nearly enough room for me to even stretch out my legs or shift my weight.
The airline definitely prided themselves in their recent award from SkyTrax as the most loved airline. While their flight attendants were dressed nicely, I did not think their service embodied this award. The attendants were not very helpful or outgoing besides serving the inflight meals and completing safety checks. While this is not necessarily a negative, I do not think the service was anything out of the ordinary.
20 minutes into the flight, we leveled off at 10,000 feet and were served a muffin, nuts, and water. This light snack tasted good and was just enough food.
The views from the left side of the plane (out the windows on the north side) were gorgeous. However, I noticed that the view to the south had many more islands. I would recommend securing a window seat on the right-hand side of the plane if flying this route.
We landed right on time, coming down for a hard landing. After disembarking, we aimlessly walked across the tarmac to reach the main terminal.
Overall, I am hesitant to fly Garuda airlines again because my flight was canceled without any notification. The flight and product were average compared to other national carriers; the service was mediocre. Hopefully, in the future, they can improve their route reliability.