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Flying Ever Higher, Garuda (SIN-SYD-SIN Via CGK)  
User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 7353 times:

Hi there,

Welcome to my 4th TR!

This trip was actually completed in Feb'2011, therefore pardon me if some of the things have changed since then. I've always been curious about GA's med to long haul flight service, and since I got a very good deal of S$750 return for my SIN-SYD flight via CGK in Y class, it didnt take me long to decide.

Anyway, let's start the journey.

Route: SIN-CGK-SYD
Flight: GA0833, connect to GA0712
ETD/ATD: 18.30/18.42 & 21.50/21.52
Aircraft: B737-800NG & A330-200


It was in early Feb, so GA was still operating out of T1 in Changi.

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184976_1764653789582_1036236163_31994269_5528290_n.jpg
That's my ride to CGK

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180662_1764654109590_1036236163_31994271_4415277_n.jpg
Sandwiched by B747 JAL on the left

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/184083_1764654549601_1036236163_31994273_2023435_n.jpg
And another B767 JAL on the right

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182202_1764654869609_1036236163_31994275_6609972_n.jpg
Boarding proceeded smoothly...a variety of local SG and Indonesian newspaper was offered at the entrance of the plane

The signature "Garuda Greeting" was offered by the crew upon entering the plane, which is very nice indeed. However, considering my shy nature to take a photo of the crew while performing that "greeting", I guess you guys can only imagine for now.

As usual, a welcome juice was offered...the choice was Guava or OJ.
http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183242_1764655229618_1036236163_31994277_3972782_n.jpg

Soon after, the flight taxied to the runway
http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/183416_1764655869634_1036236163_31994281_2929597_n.jpg

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/185930_1764657069664_1036236163_31994287_4018674_n.jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183936_1764657229668_1036236163_31994289_6258684_n.jpg


The crew started the meal service. Despite the short flight duration, the crew managed to deliver a professional and attentive service on board this flight. I could start smelling the delicious aroma of the food...wonder what it would be...

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/182865_1764657789682_1036236163_31994293_5548421_n.jpg
Double meat combo for all! Yes...my first time getting a Y class meal with 2 types of meat in the dish: chicken curry and beef rendang with coconut milk infused rice. Absolutely delicious although the beef rendang might look a bit on the dry side. The meal was complemented by Japanese style coleslaw and Strawberry mousse cake with pistachios cream. I thought the cake was very light and nice.

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182985_1764658269694_1036236163_31994296_4185275_n.jpg
Flight was full....after the meal service, crew member walked down the aisle with immigration card.

GA is definitely serious in revamping its hardware offerings. The IFE content (while no match to Krisflyer) is definitely more than enough for this short flight.
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182046_1764658549701_1036236163_31994299_4775013_n.jpg

Flight landed smoothly in Jakarta and it was on time too.

CGK Airport was definitely not designed and built with transit passengers in mind. Though the transfer/transit process was smooth with no major drama, I got really bored after 10 mins.
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184216_1764659709730_1036236163_31994306_1652136_n.jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180958_1764660189742_1036236163_31994307_7644169_n.jpg
The 2-hour transit time was well spent on this foot reflexology session that only cost me some 95K rupiah...which is about S$13-14 for 1 hour! woohoo...how I wish the same price could be applied to foot reflexology centres in Singapore.

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183802_1764659389722_1036236163_31994303_8096133_n.jpg
Not knowing what else to be done, I headed straight to the gate for my flight

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/183348_1764710150991_1036236163_31994432_4297929_n.jpg
Boarding commenced 40 mins before the ETD and load was about 65% only that night. This is GA's daily service to SYD from CGK. They are using the new A330-200 on this sector

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/184313_1764710350996_1036236163_31994434_8161078_n.jpg
GA's signature welcome drink...while this time there was no choice, it was still a nice touch by GA. I cant quite remember the last time I flew other airlines that offered welcome drink to passengers in Y class

One notable strange experience is to see the crew performing safety demo manually!! I have no idea why they didnt show it on the screen. The previous flight from SIN-CGK was in video demo
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180950_1764710631003_1036236163_31994437_7194070_n.jpg

Soon after take-off, a pack of amenity kit that contains eye shade and socks & menu card were distributed to all pax
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/179832_1764710951011_1036236163_31994439_2421135_n.jpg

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/184766_1764711191017_1036236163_31994441_5436682_n.jpg
As in any other red-eye flights to Oz, only breakfast is offered 2 hours prior to landing in SYD.

However, they provided a bottle of Aqua and chocolate muffin to all pax before the lights were dimmed and finally turned off, so that passengers could snooze off comfortably
http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/183585_1764711471024_1036236163_31994443_1588188_n.jpg

...TO BE CONTINUED

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 7324 times:

I was mesmerised by the beauty of the sky...enjoy the following shots as the sun was rising up

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About 1.5 hours prior to landing in SYD, the cabin lights were turned on....crew started serving wholesome breakfast

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180939_1764713711080_1036236163_31994457_5064599_n.jpg
I opted for the fried rice instead of the boring omellete, which was a bit spicy for breakfast (I think). Nevertheless, the taste was very good.

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180781_1764713991087_1036236163_31994459_732517_n.jpg
As we were about to approach SYD, I could see the shadow of our plane there....the sun light was so strong and the temperature was reported to be 32 degrees at 6am??????

Flight landed 30 mins ahead of the schedule and a familiar sight bestowed us upon arrival....I see this airlines everywhere I go and I wonder if their loads are really that good???
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184226_1764714271094_1036236163_31994461_3731305_n.jpg

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180582_1764714991112_1036236163_31994467_4210775_n.jpg
Straight away went down to catch the airport rail to the city. Didnt expect to pay such an expensive fee for a short ride to the city. I think it was a rip-off!! esp. after conversion from the strong AUD...sigh

Using my SPG points to exchange for 3 nights of free stay at this hotel, the 4th night unfortunately had to be paid and it cost A$505!!!! When did Oz hotel start becoming so expensive???? I mean I grew up in Melbourne in the 90's and things were definitely not that expensive then...
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/181573_1764663109815_1036236163_31994325_3327191_n.jpg


View from my room's window

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/183955_1764715471124_1036236163_31994471_5905480_n.jpg
Very ordinary room if you ask me....it was clean though



I had the whole 4 days in Sydney basically, as the returning flight to CGK was in the morning of the 5th day. Needless for me to explain the sights of Sydney...I'm sure lots of SQTalkers had previously posted better TRs in SYD.

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A trip to Sydney wont be complete without a visit to Lindt Cafe! I absolutely love the fondue


User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7265 times:

It's now time to go back.

Route: SYD-CGK-SIN
Flight: GA0713, connect to GA0832
ETD/ATD: 11.15/11.10 & 16.30/16.38
Aircraft: A330-200 & B737-800NG


http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184293_1764718911210_1036236163_31994491_2462381_n.jpg
Busy morning at SYD

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184804_1764719551226_1036236163_31994495_3591225_n.jpg
GA check-in counters were located on the right side of the terminal building.


Check-in counters were divided by class (Economy and Executive) as well as Plat&Gold FF

It was a breeze thru check-in as the load was only 89 pax!! Very very light load for that morning. As I was checking in, I noticed an interesting announcement

Wish I had that extra A$800 to spend on this

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/183799_1764720831258_1036236163_31994503_2920051_n.jpg


The official SYD Airport magazine

Morning time at SYD is filled with all Chinese carriers
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182220_1764726591402_1036236163_31994539_5125801_n.jpg

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182836_1764729791482_1036236163_31994557_709482_n.jpg

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That's our ride back to CGK

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184309_1764725591377_1036236163_31994533_2098751_n.jpg
A rather "senior" set of crew will be on duty in this flight

As I was seated at the rear, I was allowed to board first.

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180550_1764729511475_1036236163_31994556_3279_n.jpg

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http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184637_1764730151491_1036236163_31994559_6491041_n.jpg

The usual routine started...
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/185965_1764729951486_1036236163_31994558_5397236_n.jpg

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182699_1764730351496_1036236163_31994560_6046875_n.jpg
Manual safety demo on A332 planes

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184912_1764730711505_1036236163_31994561_3492430_n.jpg

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/181927_1764730911510_1036236163_31994563_8006619_n.jpg
Lunch service with options of Stir fried chicken with rice or Beef Pasta (in case you guys cant read the small words)

Guess what?? Hot towel was offered too!! Woohoo...this is getting better and SQ-alike
http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/181986_1764731471524_1036236163_31994566_6042076_n.jpg

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http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/181588_1764731071514_1036236163_31994564_236499_n.jpg

In fact 2 rounds of drinks were offered before lunch service started. Indeed very good service by GA
http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180684_1764732911560_1036236163_31994572_1740878_n.jpg
The male crew in vest during meal service.

These were the 2 choices of meal offered
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I opted for the pasta which turned out to be brilliant!!! 9/10 from me!!!

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184856_1764733071564_1036236163_31994573_1214224_n.jpg

This generous serving continued with ice cream afterwards. Indeed this service was beyond expectation from GAhttp://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/180952_1764734631603_1036236163_31994580_3739115_n.jpg

I like the way they served water in full bottle to all pax instead of the puny glasses like many other airlines. Of course OJ/Apple/Soft Drinks were regularly offered too throughout the flight.

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184687_1764734351596_1036236163_31994579_3454789_n.jpg
The blanket is of high quality and thick too

When stomach was full and I was getting ready to get some rest, I noticed there were a couple of officers in "immigration uniform" with push carts on the aisles. Wondering what they were up to, I waited until they reached my seat.
http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/183721_1764734151591_1036236163_31994578_15104_n.jpg



Wow...this is new for me! GA is offering "Immigration On Board" service for all pax flying into CGK from SYD, so that they dont have to queue up at the notoriously long immigration counters upon landing. The service not only applies to C class pax, but also to Y class pax.

We finally landed smoothly in CGK...however, due to congestion at the gates, our plane was parked at the remote bay and all pax were then transported by buses to the main terminal building.
http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180968_1764734951611_1036236163_31994581_7471817_n.jpg

I quickly went straight to the gate for my connecting flight to SIN as the transit time was merely 1 hour.

ON TIME performance seems to be the culture of GA flights nowadays and I was very pleased with it.

http://a6.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/181772_1764735151616_1036236163_31994582_4361061_n.jpg
The usual welcome drink in many forms and types, depending on your point of departure...it's interesting!

http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/184719_1764735431623_1036236163_31994583_6390597_n.jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180922_1764735631628_1036236163_31994584_1866281_n.jpg
The yummy and spicy fried rice made its come back again! I dont mind having a repeat meal as I liked it the first time anyway :wink:

We landed around 10 mins ahead of the schedule. And upon arrival in SIN, I waited for my luggage for almost 1 hour and it never appeared on the conveyor belt! My nerve started to shiver....and I hate to know that my beautiful and memorable journey so far with GA had to end sourly. Indeed the luggage never appeared.

I lodged in a luggage missing report with CIAS (the ground handling agent of GA) and my inquiry was handled professionally and promptly. The next day, an officer from GA in Changi T1 called me up to personally apologise and promised to trace the luggage ASAP. On the third day after it went missing, the luggage was finally found, still stranded at SYD airport. It was then flown in to SIN by QF and delivered to my doorstep with a handsome compensation sum from GA for the inconvenience caused! Again another surprise by GA as I didnt expect any compensation in return, considering that SIN is my home base and even my travel insurance couldnt compensate me for the delayed luggage.

All in all, I sincerely think that GA deserves the 4 stars rating and if I may be allowed to comment, I personally rate GA higher than some of the so-called "5 stars airlines" by Skytrax. Thanks for reading my old TR....signing off for now. Adios

Jim


User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1096 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6976 times:

Very nice report.

Garuda offer an exceptional product and if they can maintain this performance without incurring financial issues then the airline is going to do so well.

The meals all looked consistently excellent and the service sounds like it was bang-on.

Shame to hear about the light loads out of Sydney but it might take the Australians a while to wean themselves off Emirates.

rgds

Luke



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6355 times:

Hi

Good report, thanks!
GA seems to have great service as usual
CGK looks exotic as well

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinesmi0006 From Australia, joined Jan 2008, 1541 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 6051 times:

Great report, exceptionally detailed and with great photos.

GA still has a bad reputation amongst the Australian public, due to a not so great safety culture in the past. Hopefully with such outstanding service GA can shed this reputation, and highlight the great service Indonesians are capable of!

I believe GA has aspirations to be the next 5-Start airline within Asian and with a growing and sizeable affluent home market, they may just be able to accomplish this.

It has also mentioned that they wish to grown their share of the Australian market, and offer a large scale hub to Europe and Asia. However it looks like an enormous amount of work will need to be completed at CGK first, one if not the fastest growing airport in Asia. Are there any large scale plans for a new airport or expansion?


User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5817 times:

Hi Luke,

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Shame to hear about the light loads out of Sydney but it might take the Australians a while to wean themselves off Emirates.

Apparently, GA is doing well now on SYD-CGK route. There are news saying that they may up the frequency to twice daily soon. I'm sure I read or heard it somewhere from a reliable source.


Hi Marc,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 4):
Hi

Good report, thanks!
GA seems to have great service as usual
CGK looks exotic as well

Greetings
Marc

Thanks for liking my TR. CGK's exotic look may disappear soon. I think the airport is undergoing major refurbishment now as we speak.


Hi smi0006,

Quoting smi0006 (Reply 5):
It has also mentioned that they wish to grown their share of the Australian market, and offer a large scale hub to Europe and Asia. However it looks like an enormous amount of work will need to be completed at CGK first, one if not the fastest growing airport in Asia. Are there any large scale plans for a new airport or expansion?

Yup, airport expansion and major refurbishment is being carried out now. It should be ready in 2014 (if I'm not mistaken...I'll try to find the source to back up my statement later)


User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5810 times:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f6/T3_Acces_Road.jpg/800px-T3_Acces_Road.jpg
Artist's impression of the new CGK T4 (Courtesy: Wikipedia)


User currently offlinesmi0006 From Australia, joined Jan 2008, 1541 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5765 times:

Quoting groomyjl (Reply 7):
Artist's impression of the new CGK T4 (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Looks most impressive, might have to head over to Wikipedia for a read. Well with significantly improved airport infrastructure GA could be very competitive in the Asian market place! Good luck to them. I hope we see further expansion of all Australian ports - Although especially out of Melbourne as a Melbourne boy here!


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6824 posts, RR: 77
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5752 times:

Hi Jim,

very nice report about GA - even the long-haul product is very impressive. The seats and the IFE system on the A330 are very similar to the ones on Hainan Airlines.

Striking Newcomer: Berlin-Beijing On Hainan A330 (by PlaneHunter Nov 22 2008 in Trip Reports)

Quoting groomyjl (Thread starter):
Double meat combo for all! Yes...my first time getting a Y class meal with 2 types of meat in the dish: chicken curry and beef rendang with coconut milk infused rice. Absolutely delicious although the beef rendang might look a bit on the dry side. The meal was complemented by Japanese style coleslaw and Strawberry mousse cake with pistachios cream. I thought the cake was very light and nice.

The food looks delicious once again - but the meals on the short sectors look a bit more substantial.

Quoting groomyjl (Thread starter):
Though the transfer/transit process was smooth with no major drama, I got really bored after 10 mins.

Can you see any traffic from the transit area?

Quoting groomyjl (Thread starter):
.I see this airlines everywhere I go and I wonder if their loads are really that good???

That depends on the routes, but usually they are.

Quoting groomyjl (Thread starter):
The blanket is of high quality and thick too

I like the combination of brown and blue.

Quoting groomyjl (Thread starter):
All in all, I sincerely think that GA deserves the 4 stars rating and if I may be allowed to comment, I personally rate GA higher than some of the so-called "5 stars airlines" by Skytrax.

One should never rely on Skytrax.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlinegroomyjl From Singapore, joined Sep 2012, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5277 times:

Hi smi0006,

Quoting smi0006 (Reply 8):
Well with significantly improved airport infrastructure GA could be very competitive in the Asian market place! Good luck to them. I hope we see further expansion of all Australian ports - Although especially out of Melbourne as a Melbourne boy here!

Well, GA does serve MEL out of CGK and DPS on daily basis too right? Anyway, GA plans to utilise the new airport in Medan (MES) as their hub for expansion to European destinations from 2013/2014 onwards...so that will offload some of the traffic in CGK. The new airport of MES is supposed to be immaculate and ultra modern.

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b72/umd_1970/Kuala%20Namu/kualanamuct9.jpg
Image of MES airport after fully completion in 3 phases

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/9299/img9463l.jpg
The progress to date. The airport is scheduled to open in March 2013


Photos courtesy of skyscrapercity.com


Hi PH

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 9):
Hi Jim,

very nice report about GA - even the long-haul product is very impressive. The seats and the IFE system on the A330 are very similar to the ones on Hainan Airlines.

They're not just similar, they're in fact identical. GA took over the plane from Hainan Airlines that cancelled the order at last minute when everything had been fitted.

Quoting smi0006 (Reply 8):
Can you see any traffic from the transit area?

yes, but not a lot I must say

Quoting smi0006 (Reply 8):
One should never rely on Skytrax

Can't agree more. I still wonder how some of them made it to the elite club of 5*


Regards
Jim


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