The time had arrived. I was flying the Garuda Airlines. I had flown it before but on a different sector as a part of my full route. This was the first time I was flying a direct flight from Mumbai to Bali, my destination!
Yes, you heard right. A DIRECT flight to Bali. To say I was excited, would be an understatement. Because well, who doesn’t want a non-stop flight to one’s destination?
As I reached the check-in counter at Mumbai Airport, I saw many passengers. Out of curiosity I asked if the flight was full and to my surprise, it was! The inaugural flight was full! That shows, so many people travel from Mumbai to Bali, and as if they were all waiting for this sector to be launched. The airlines now flies thrice a week to Bali and back. On my return journey, I was pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to business class.
Here is my experience on both onward and return flights.
At the airport:
On reaching Mumbai airport, the check-in was smooth. Unlike my previous trips to Indonesia, I was handed over just one boarding pass. Benefits of a direct flight! 🙂 Since it was the inaugural flight, there was a small program organized by Garuda Airlines at the business lounge where people from the airlines spoke about various new routes and the growth of the airlines.
This is an area which matters most to the passengers but where many airlines fail. Isn’t it? After all, if the in-flight service is poor, you can’t admire the aircraft or even the view!
I flew economy while going. The cabin crew, which has been rated as the no. 1 cabin crew in the world for the fourth year in a row, had no idea that a reviewer is sitting there. That is one of the ways I like to check the crew’s behavior towards the passengers. I was treated like just any other passenger and I liked it. 🙂
On my return flight, it was business class. Before I could even settle down, an air hostess came with those magic words “Would you like a pre-takeoff champagne, madam?” ‘Yes, please’. I wanted a champagne to celebrate the occasion.
Food & Drink:
Another important feature of any air travel is food section. How much does the airlines cares about its passengers’ food choices? If it is taking care of traveling infants or special meals people, then half the job is done. They have a variety of options to choose from. Being diabetic, I had pre-booked a diabetic meal and it was served there on my table.
The food in business class looked very appealing. It was a generous portion with excellent presentation. Oh, delicious too! It cleared all my doubts about a tasteless and boring food that is normally served to diabetics.
In between the meal and drinks, we had requested for masala chai and soon we were sipping good hot masala chai at thousands of feet above sea level and having mid-air discussions.
A LCD TV screen was looking at me curiously wanting to know what I was going to watch. There were films of innumerable genres, periods, languages and countries of origin, besides, television shows, music albums and games to entertain. While I preferred to sleep on Mumbai-Bali sector, I chose to watch two movies back to back on return flight and was pretty impressed with the quality. A video touchscreen handset and noise-cancelling headphones made my job easy. 🙂
Every seat has a seat-back touchscreen. I could also scroll through e-versions of past issues of the in-flight travel magazine. So it is not just the current print issue that you can read, but also the past issues. The safety instructions are also displayed on the screen. For those who do not want to indulge in on-screen media, there are in-flight magazines & newspapers.
Didn’t use much but WiFi connection was good enough.
For my Mumbai-Bali flight, I was one of the first ones to board. I almost ran towards my seat and clicked a few shots before anyone could come into my frame. Wanted an empty aircraft shot!
On first glance, I fell in love with it. The interior cabin colors in Garuda Indonesia’s aircrafts are dominated by natural colors terracotta brown, brick-red and Tosca green which in my opinion, reflect the visual beauty of the country… earth and water. The seats were in 2-4-2 configuration, comfortable with sufficient leg room and each seat had a pillow and blanket. Cabin interior was very clean with good light and great seat. I enjoy this seat configuration that has good space.
On the return leg, enjoyed the airport business lounge at Bali. The gorgeous lounge has all the facilities including a shower if you want to. It offered comfortable seating and sufficient range of snacks and drinks. I restricted myself to banana & corn fritters and fruits.
Free wi-fi, food, drinks and what not. My waiting time just flew away.
In business class I got an amenity kit which had all necessary items in it. The most interesting thing for me was a small bottle of signature cologne. A unique fragrance developed for Garuda Airlines. They have it in their aircraft lavatories too. I was told, on long haul flights they also provide you a set of pajamas!
There’s plenty of space around you to keep your things. To talk of leg space, I think one can easily put a bed between two seats! Best of all was the seat’s ability to transform into a fully flat bed. My cushioned seatback actually folded down to create a flat bed. Seats were forward facing in a 2-2-2 configuration.
What I also liked was the flight timings both ways. From Mumbai it started at 21:50 which means I could sleep for around 6 hours as per my daily routine at home. No jet lag or sleepy eyes the next day. The return flight was at 15:40 reaching Mumbai at around 20:30, again a good time to reach home for dinner.
No wonder, in 2016 Garuda Indonesia was ranked a 5 star airline.
Landing and take off, both were extremely smooth. Didn’t feel even a slightest bump. Hats off to airlines, maintenance team and of course the pilots!! 😀
Things to know about Garuda:
— The boarding pass has a code that offers you discounts on various retail shops for a week.
— Like any other miles programs, Garuda Indonesia also has a frequent flyer program, GarudaMiles which allows members to earn miles on domestic and international flights and has four tiers of membership. Garuda is also part Skyteam membership program.
— The Business class passengers have access to the Garuda Lounges at the airports.
— In case you want a special meal like I did, you need to pre-book it so you can enjoy the meal on board without any hassles.
— It is World’s Best Airline for Halal Traveller.
Have you flown business class anytime? What was your experience?
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P.S.- This article Mumbai-Bali Direct Flight with Garuda Airlines belongs to Le Monde, the Poetic Travels, an Indian Travel Blog, by the traveling couple, Nisha & Vasudevan R. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on another website rather than the RSS feed reader or www.lemonicks.com, then that website is guilty of stealing my content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and let us know. Thank you.