ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1463
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:30 pm

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I N T R O D U C T I O N
It’s finally here! Garuda non-stop to Amsterdam, and for the first time ever!

In the recent years, GA 88 -the airline's 'return' to Amsterdam- took on various shapes and sizes, each with a unique bang of its own. It began with the actual return to Amsterdam via Dubai, and with a total product revamp that was so out of the radar, it caused severe jaw-drops when experiencing it for your own.

Next was the sudden strategic shift from Dubai to Abu Dhabi -complete with an Etihad code as well- that allowed Garuda to add a touch of icing on its Amsterdam love affair in an effort to keep the fire burning. And boy does this airline have tricks up its sleeve to keep those fumes flaming!

Then was the announcement of plans for the B777-300ER, which in all honesty was an initiative Garuda had stuck with from the get-go. The airline -much like Indonesia- has rooted ties with the Netherlands, and so a nonstop route of its own to Amsterdam was needed. But not without FIRST CLASS; a surprise that had taken the entire industry by surprise. During a trend where airlines are ditching their loss-making First Class products, Garuda shakes thing up a little and brings theirs back to life!

And by shaking things up, another quick surprise was thrown into this mix: London Gatwick! Soon to be inaugurated via Amsterdam, but was once upon a time planned as yet another nonstop. Amazing times indeed!

So now, it is my chance. The newest airline on my top-5 list has revealed an amazing First Class product that promises not only to bring back the romance of travel, but to also give you a taste of something you have never experienced before; ever.

Join me on Garuda's absolute finest: FIRST CLASS from Jakarta to Amsterdam on the B777-300ER.



CONTINUED BELOW
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1463
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:32 pm

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WELCOME TO MY 47th TRIP REPORT
This report will cover my First Class flight on Garuda Indonesia from Jakarta to Amsterdam on the B777-300ER.



FLY RONI
This report will soon be available on my website - www.flyroni.aero - along with the rest of my previous work. The main focus as always will be on trip reporting, but photos and videos are also available! All non-commercial, and purely for enthusiasm. No attitude, and no pretense; everyone is welcome!

Please take a look, and do follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you like, to keep current with all updates!



FIRST CLASS CALL CENTER
The Garuda First Class experience begins with the First Class Call Center. Consider it as some form of a virtual 'Manage Your Booking' engine, with an added human touch. The disposal of this service rendered any need for me to use the website in the normal ways I would have to manage my booking.

Specific to First Class customers, the call center is at your service with anything; literally!

I initially gave the call center a call out of curiosity, but later ended up making friends with the sole agent that always answered every one of my hundred or so calls that followed up until the day of departure.

Apart from the usual select my seat, add my frequent flier services I was able to do here, I was also asked if I wanted 'anything' specific on board. And they really meant it! You can more or less ask the world of them, and they will see to it.

My first request wasn't too creative because I was taken by surprise. I asked for a Bloody Mary which at first was assumed to be a standard offer that can be whipped up on any flight. But after several subsequent calls, I was informed that the proper ingredients of the Bloody Mary are not widely available in Indonesia but that they are working on confirming my request.



But of course, Garuda then confirms my first request!

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My second request was to eat 'Gado-Gado' on board -an Indonesian salad with peanut sauce- over and above the standard catering, naturally. Again, my request was confirmed with a very polite "Mr. Hawi, we are pleased to confirm to you that your request to have Gado Gado onboard GA 88 from Jakarta to Amsterdam is confirmed".

And my third and final request, was to be greeted on arrival from my Malindo flight from Kuala Lumpur -some 13 hours prior to my Amsterdam departure- and escorted to the lounge. And of course, my third request was again confirmed.


Now I had my Bloody Mary, my Gado-Gado, and my meet & assist all secured for my flight, and this was over and above all the other -slightly more important- details like my seat selection, frequent flier, and confirmed ticket.




MEET & ASSIST
Arriving on Malindo Air flight OD316 from Kuala Lumpur, I make my way through the LCC crowd in the aerobridge, until I found my haven at a white placard that had "Mr. Hawi/Roni" printed on it.

My Meet & Assist was promptly at the gate waiting for my arrival. But whilst I only expected one person, I was instead greeted by a group of four First Class Agents that were there to attend only to me. One was Shabeera, who was my personal First Class agent, the other two were Rama and Mufti who were there to attend to my luggage (one each for carry on, and checked baggage), and the last one was Chahia whose sole purpose was to handle my documentation and related procedures such as immigration, checking in for my connecting flight, and what have you.



Meet & Assist upon my arrival

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"Mr. Hawi, welcome to Jakarta"
"My name is Shabeera, and I am your First Class agent"
"Me and my colleagues are here to assist you through the airport and escort you to the First Class Lounge"

I was far too overwhelmed to speak!



I handed my passport, and ticket to Chahia, and my carry-on luggage was with Rama. Shabeera lead the way with me, whilst the others trailed behind us, and we sailed through Soekarno-Hatta Airport passing through immigration, arriving at my Malindo flight baggage reclaim -for Mufti to pick up- and passing through customs effortlessly before routing towards the First Class Lounge.



THE FIRST CLASS LOUNGE
The lounge is situated in a rather 'normal' part of Terminal 2E, as a small extension to the overall international lounge.



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Inside the lounge, I was escorted down a flight of escalators into a relatively small and lavishly decorated rectangular room, which was the Garuda First Class Lounge. At my arrival, I was promptly introduced to the lounge manager and the chef.



"Mr. Hawi, please make yourself comfortable in the lounge, and I wish to introduce to Mas Erik who is the lounge manager and he will take care of your requests here"

"Also, this is Fakhrul, who is the chef and he will be happy to prepare your lunch for you"



I had also informed Shabeera that I had a connecting flight on KLM from Amsterdam to Abu Dhabi (on a separate ticket) and requested to have my baggage checked all the way through to Abu Dhabi. Naturally, she at least ensured that the effort to see to it was made.



Garuda's First Class Lounge

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The lounge itself was small (though very relative to the size of Garuda's First Class operations) but it was elegantly decorated and featured enough seating areas, lazy-boy type chairs, several personal TV stations, a full dining area, a smoking room, a bathroom (with showers), a private room, and a spa area. A little bit of everything with most of the fine touches thought through.

The centerpiece of the lounge, was the infamous black piano that was switched on upon my arrival to automatically chime tunes during my stay. Indeed a very classy touch.

And the best part was that I was the only one today!



The piano

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Seating area

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Private TV station

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lazy-boy type chairs

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Dining area

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I decided to make my home here for the next 12 hours

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As I made myself comfortable in my very own First Class lounge, Mas Erik approaches me and places a plate of fresh sliced fruit and a glass of sparkling water on my side table. He also hands me the lunch menu just in case I was hungry (and when am I not!).



"Mr. Hawi, this is our lunch menu. Please let me know whenever you are ready to order"
"Thank you"
"Would you like something to drink for now?"
"I'll have a glass of champagne please"
"Certainly. Please enjoy some fruit while I get your champagne"



Lunch Menu cover (sorry I somehow lost the pics of the inside!)

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Fresh fruit and sparkling water

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Champagne





I then transferred to the dining area -my very own dining area!- where my order for lunch was promptly taken. Modern Asian gourmet was the dining theme on the menu in this lounge, all with a modern Japanese flare. Wagyu beef seemed to be the specialty here, as it was offered in various forms on the different choices.



Starter: prawn mango salad

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Main course: Wagyu beef steak with mashed potato

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The portions were quite small, which in all honesty I did appreciate considering that I was going to be doing a lot of eating and lying around over the next day or so. The quality of the food was superb and the flavors all blended in together perfectly what with the champagne, the zesty prawn salad, and the perfectly tender steak. All in all, a great meal and I was satisfied!



And a much needed smoke in the smoking room after lunch

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Back at my confinement, Shabeera and Crew slowly march towards me with my documents (for a good hour, I actually forgot that my passport and ticket weren't with me). Apparently, Garuda was able to do the following:

- Issue my CGK-AMS boarding pass.
- I was already 'boarded' onto the flight as I was given just the boarding pass stub.
- My checked baggage was tagged all the way to AUH, via AMS.
- I was also issued my boarding pass on KLM from AMS-AUH. Something Garuda isn't even required to be responsible for since it was a separate KLM ticket.



Garuda First Class document pouch



10 hours prior, I am already boarded onto my flight

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And also checked in to my KLM AMS-AUH flight

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"Mr. Hawi, we wish to inform you that there will be a shift change now and my colleague Tika will take over my duty. She will be with you until you board your flight tonight"
"Thank you so much for all your help"



Group photo before the 'handover'

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A quick view of the dining room after lunch

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This is it for a while

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Things calmed down by then, and I relaxed in front of the TV watching local channels (I do this a lot whilst traveling, trying to make sense of what is going on without knowing the language). However, with everything calming down, this also meant that the staff somehow took a step back and did not make much of an appearance either. If I needed a drink for instance, I had to look around for a staff in order to ask for one. I do realize that not many passengers have a need to be in the lounge for 13 hours so I can understand if the staff was not used to this. But being a First Class product, I still thought they could pay a little more attention to this already fine product.

And whilst we are on the -very few- negatives, I somehow expected there to be a 'sleeping' room of some sort. I should have asked the First Class Call Center, but I just assumed there would be one hence, my deliberate 13 hour transit. While there is a private room -a homey room resembling a living area in an apartment- the lounge lacked a proper private confinement for sleeping. Again, this goes back to the fact that given the nature of Garuda's First Class operations, there may be no requirement to include a sleeping area but at the same time, this is First Class and the perk should be made available.

But in the end, I did manage a few hours of sound sleep and woke up in time for dinner as it was already evening time.



Dinner menu

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After I made my order for dinner, I again moved back to the dining area and waited for my food.


It's dinner time!

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Starter: Asian chicken salad

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Soup: wild mushroom soup

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Main course: Beef Wagyu rendang

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After another great meal -with no complaints- I lounged around for a little while longer before it was eventually time to shower and get ready for my flight.



The lounge at night

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Bathroom & shower

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Ice cold towels: very refreshing

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The usual shower amenities

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At 12:05am, Tika appeared on the rolling escalators and made her way towards me. I had forgotten about her all this while, when in fact her sole duty as my personal First Class Agent was to standby until I was handed over to the flight. I felt quite bad, because I really had no need to be here when she did because of me.



"Mr. Hawi, good evening. I hope you had a good rest"
"Yes I did, thank you"
"I wish to inform you that your flight is ready for boarding"
"I will assist you to the aircraft, and if you would please give me your boarding pass and your ticket"
"Sure"



And a final picture before boarding

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I gathered my belongings, then bid farewell to the lounge staff before heading out. Now it was time for the real thing; the flight!



BOARDING LIKE ROYALTY
Tika and I walked side by side casually chatting as we managed our way through the airport. Surprisingly, all she needed to do was show the officer a page on my passport and I beat the queue and walked right past immigration (apparently, my passport was also stamped 10 hours ago!). And after a quick security check, we arrived at gate E1.



Gate E1

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At the gate, a porter walked towards us and took my luggage, whilst all the staff smiled and wished me a pleasant flight as we passed by them. Pre-boarding announcements were already chiming in the gate area and passengers were getting ready to board; but not before I did!

As we walked into the gate area, we sailed through between all the other passengers, and for some reason all eyes were on this 'thing' that just strolled in with a black-uniformed agent walking next to it. I felt like a celebrity because everyone was looking. It actually made me feel a little nervous too.

But nevertheless, Garuda boards its First Class passengers first (including those waiting in the lounge), and makes everyone else wait until that has completed.

Moving closer towards the aircraft door, I begin to anticipate one of the most important parts of my travel experience; the boarding welcome. To me, it gives away the rest of the flight and I weigh a great amount of importance on it. But this is Garuda, and I have yet to have an 'unwelcome' welcome!

At Door 1L, Tika hands me over to the Oktobroto, who is the purser on our flight to Amsterdam this early morning. He quickly reaches his arm out to me to shake mine and welcomes me on board. And at that instant, three other crew members follow in line one by one to stand along his side.

"Mr. Hawi, welcome on board. My name is Oktobroto"
"I wish to introduce you to my team, and the four of us will be taking care of you"
"This is Udyanti, Hardati, and Anti"
"They will escort you to your seat, please enjoy your flight"
"Thank you. But may I please take a picture?"
"Of course you can"



Garuda's First Class boarding welcome

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By 12:20am, I was onboard.



CONTINUED BELOW
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1463
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:33 pm

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JAKARTA TO AMSTERDAM
CGK-AMS
Scheduled Departure: 00:55
Actual Departure: 00:45 (Pushback)

Scheduled Arrival: 09:40
Actual Arrival: 09:25 (Touchdown)



Welcome to First Class on Garuda Indonesia

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FIRST CLASS ALL THE WAY
Including the purser, 5 crew members were assigned to First Class, and this includes two Maître de Cabine's (though one of them was only auditing the service on this flight), and the inflight chef.

While 1D was the seat assigned on my boarding card, I knew I was the only passenger in First Class tonight hence, I requested to switch to my favorite seat 2A. Udyanti was instantly at my service and while she summoned the porter to stow away my luggage, she also assisted me to my seat. She, much like the rest of the crew did not stop smiling for one little moment.

"Mr. Hawi, we are so glad to have you on board today"
"How would you like me to address you?"
"You can call me Roni"
"Oh thank you Mr. Roni, it is my pleasure to serve you today"
"May we prepare your Suite 1A? Please give us a few moments"
"Please go ahead!"
"Thank you Mr. Roni"



THE SEAT
Once my Suite was ready, I made myself comfortable in my large confinement. It did not feel like a typical First Class Suite, but more of something alongside a hotel room. On my side compartment, both the wine list and the menu -both in leather jackets- were neatly placed on top of each other. Next to them was a boxed Amenity kit, which is another up-gage from the normal Amenity kits untidily handed out in plastic wraps. And finally at the very end of the side of compartment, was a small open box containing several newspapers and a writing kit. If this was a hotel room, then this would be the desk area!

The seat itself was quite hard in its seated position, but I cannot say it wasn't comfortable. Other suites I have been on were definitely softer, but of course nothing compares to the chunk-a-dunk old fashioned cradle seats in that area. And as for legroom, well I'd be shocked if it wasn't ample (which definitely was not the case).

Across from me, was the usual ottoman, which can be used for the legacy concept of dining with a fellow passenger, and under it can be used as the usual storage area. On the topic of storage, Garuda has kept the center overhead bins in First Class, which while they do not add to that extra space feeling in the cabin, I found them to be extremely useful as my luggage was stowed there rather than squeezed in any available spot within the Suite. The outcome? A little less spacey feeling in the cabin -which didn’t bother me- but a ton more space within my Suite. Excellent thought on Garuda's front.

And finally, a large 23.5" LCD screen faced me which was set up on a backdrop of a bright orange-colored panel. This created a burst of flavor amongst the otherwise earthly-toned cabin. All in all a perfect balance with not a touch of bling-bling.



The seat

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Leg space



Menu, amenity kit, and newspapers

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Storage area featuring a glass, bottled water, Headsets, and the IFE controller

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A second storage area which features the power-port

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A small closet for hanging your clothes





THE CABIN
Being the only First Class passenger tonight, the cabin was fully at my disposal. Moreover, the ambience was quite soothing given the dominating earthy tones that were selected in the design. Earthy tones, much unlike the bling-bling, can relax me instantly and prepare me for a very comfortable flight.

But of course, being an 8-suite cabin with high suite dividers, taking interesting pictures on board can be very challenging (this is where I prefer Economy Class over anything else, the pictures taken there with a fish-eye lens can be great!). But at least I tried.



The cabin

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PRE-DEPARTURE PAMPERING LIKE NEVER BEFORE
"Mr. Roni, while you make yourself comfortable, may I offer you something to drink?"
"May I have a glass of champagne please?"
"Certainly. Which would you like, we have 1999 Salmon Cuvee Nicholas-Francois, and we also have the Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose"
"And which would you recommend?"
"I would recommend the Salmon Cuvee, Mr. Roni"
"Then I will have that please"
"Most certainly"
"Please make yourself comfortable, and if you need anything please do not hesitate to let us know Mr. Roni"
"Thank You!"



A few moments later, Udyanti returned with a tray set up with a champagne flute, a hot towel, and a bowl of nuts. with the other hand, she had the champagne bottle, where the champagne pouring was performed in the typical professional manner. The bottle was showed to me, and after my nod (like I knew exactly what the hell it was anyways), she gently poured the champagne into the glass.



Champagne, hot towel, and nuts

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After serving my Champagne, Udyanti kneeled down to my level and continued with a friendly get-to-know conversing.

"Mr. Roni, we see that you have travelled so much around the world, and we find it so amazing"
"WoW! How did you know?"
"We try to know our customers as much as possible so we can provide a personalized service"
"Your final destination is Abu Dhabi, but you are flying such a long way to reach home"
"Yes, and I chose this route because Garuda is one of my favorite airlines and I wanted to sample your famous First Class product"
"Oh thank you so much Mr. Roni, I hope that we will meet your expectation"

She then proceeded to introduce me to the features of my suite, and informed me that supper will be served after takeoff and that the inflight chef will soon take my order. She also handed me a sleeper kit and offered to assist with hanging my clothes after I changed (but of course, that kit was going back home with me untouched).

All in all, I was so overwhelmed by the level of detail on this flight. Clearly, the First Class crew are quite senior and have been rigorously trained to offer standards I have never before seen on any other flight.



Newspapers & writing kit

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Amenity kit

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PJs and amenity kit contents

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Headsets

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Menu cover

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Wine list cover

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A few moments later, Anti was at my seat to offer me slippers. But of course, this in its own right, consists of another lavishly designed concept that was unique to me.

"Mr. Roni, I would like to offer you a pair of slippers so you can use during your flight"
"Thank You"
"Would you like me to put the slipper on for you?"

And she placed the slippers on a neat bright red cloth, took my shoes off and placed each on in a separate shoe bag, and slipped my slippers on my feet. WHERE DOES ALL THIS PAMPERING END?. Not only could I get used to it, but I think I want to live on this flight forever!



Very high quality slippers

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My shoes stowed in their shoe bags

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Totally blown away while sat my seat, and trying to take it all in

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Seconds were offered on my champagne -in which I gladly accepted- and again, that came with yet another bowl of macadamia nuts.



THE DEPARTURE FORMALITIES
At 12:40am,our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He advised us that we will soon be ready for departure after the final paperwork was complete, and that our flight time to Amsterdam today was to be 13 hours and 5 minutes.

After requesting all ground staff to leave the aircraft, the doors were closed and final preparations were conducted by the crew.



Shortly afterwards, the safety video was cranked up

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We pushed back at 12:45am, and the typical siren roar of the 777 engines vibrated the aircraft (and probably the immediate surrounding area outside as well). I absolutely love the sounds of those engines!



And the insane mood-lighting goes into full effect during taxi

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At 1:05am, we resounded the runway with full control and zapped through -for a slightly longer time than a normal flight- until we lifted off and commenced our nightly sky fly towards Amsterdam. Garuda at its absolute finest, with the champion 77W, and with its best product to date, so Amsterdam better be ready for this mighty king in 13 hours!



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ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1463
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:34 pm

IN-FLIGHT
As we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew was released to prepare for the service.



Cabin shots after takeoff

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Then suddenly, it was lights on

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As the aircraft was equipped with WiFi, Udyanti handed me a Garuda branded WiFi scratch card. With that code, I was able to access inflight internet connectivity for the entire flight, a perk that is offered absolutely free to First Class passengers. Fantastic!



WiFi card

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In anticipation that supper was to be served soon, I decided to browse through menu to see what was on offer.



Full menu



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Full wine list



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Then Freddy, the inflight chef appeared by my seat kneeling down to my level and introduced himself.

"Mr. Roni, welcome on board, my name is Freddy and I am your inflight chef"
"You have pre-ordered a Bloody Mary on this flight, and I just wish to inform you that we are now preparing it and it will be served to you shortly"
"May I also assist you with selecting your meal options?"
"Sure, what do recommend for me to have?"
"Actually, I see that you also pre-ordered Gado-Gado, and if you want an Indonesian taste, I recommend that you have that as your starter"
"Excellent, then I will go for that. And what about the main course?"
"If you wish to choose from the supper menu, I can offer the salmon which comes with a light herb sauce, but if you want something more authentic then we have the beef biryani or the kweetiaw with seafood and vegetables"
"Then I will go with the kweetiaw please"
"Certainly. And would you like to have any other drink with your main course?"
"For now I will stick with the Bloody Mary, but we will see later how it goes"
"Certainly Mr. Roni"



Then, after a short while, my Bloody Mary was served, and it came with various other 'Amuse Bouche' items, and that included Caviar! Again, Garuda takes it up half a notch higher and offers Caviar as an Amuse Bouche rather than your routine starter.

Even more so, the setup of everything was mind-blowing. My Bloody Mary was served in a carafe alongside my glass, and the caviar -complete with blinis and crème fraiche- was served in small glass bowl placed over a stylish wooden box. And finally, a bowl of krupuk -Southeast Asian crackers- was added to this mix, just for the hell of it.



My Bloody Mary plus plus

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FIRST CLASS DINING: SUPPER
Both Udyanti and Anti appeared by my seat to set my table up for dinner. Everything was brought on a tray, and the individual items were dressed on my table accordingly. The outcome was a setting at top-notch restaurant.

Fresh linen was placed on the table, and over it was a bowl of bread rolls, butter, butter knife, salt/pepper, and a wine glass.

"Mr. Roni, how was the Bloody Mary?"
"It was fantastic! thank you"
"I am so glad. Would you like me to serve you another one with your meal? Or maybe some wine?"
"I'll have another Bloody Mary please"
"Certainly. And I will be serving your Gado-Gado shortly"
"Thank You"



Table set-up for supper

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Bread

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Shortly afterwards, my Gado-Gado was served with a bowl or krupuk, and my second Bloody Mary. Forget "Book The Cook", I booked my very own whatever I wanted!



Starter: Gado-Gado

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Krupuk

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This was definitely the best Gado-Gado I have ever tried. While a major part of it being my favorite is because I am having it right here, but it did taste outstanding. This is perhaps my favorite salad as the softly boiled veggies go so well with the peanut sauce that they are dressed with. If you like peanut sauce, then I suggest you run to an Indonesian restaurant now and order this salad!

A short while later both Freddy and Udyanti returned to me to check on things.

"Mr. Roni, how was the Gado-Gado?"
"Delicious"
"Thank you Mr. Roni. Actually we are surprised you know Gado-Gado"
"Yes, I have had it many times before"
"We are glad you enjoyed it Mr. Roni. Would you like us to serve your main course now?"
"Yes please"



Main course: Kweetiaw

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With condiments: sambal etc

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The Kweetiaw was again of excellent quality. More or less it is like a 'Malindo' Pad Thai, and it was just what I was in the mood for at the time.

Once I was through, my table was cleared and Chef Freddy took my order for dessert. I was also offered dessert wine, in which I declined.



Apple Flan with whipped cream and strawberries

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The Apple flan was heavenly, and in fact I ended up ordering it again later on during the flight.

Once through, my table was cleared and I was set free into the rest of the flight. I declined multiple requests of coffee or tea as I wanted to try and get some sleep.



ANOTHER SUITE ONLY FOR SLEEPING
"Mr. Roni, would you like us to set your bed for you? Maybe you want to sleep?"
"Yes please, that would be great"
"Is it ok with you if we set your bed in the next suite? So you can have the suite next to you just for sleeping"



My bed

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Not complete without a cup of hot chocolate too! Very nice touch!

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Settling into my bed, it was time to snooze for a few hours. The bed was quite spacious, but the padding was a bit too hard. Nevertheless, I did manage to get a few hours of sound sleep; the best sleep I had so far during my entire trip. So that definitely says something!



In bed with Garuda First Class!



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ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1463
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:35 pm

CRUISE CONTROL
Waking up several hours later, I transferred from my 'bed suite' to my 'seat suite'. The cabin lights were still turned off by then, and it seemed like the rest of the fuselage behind me was fast asleep (who'd want to go back there and check if you're in First Class!).



Dark cabin

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A trip to the lavatory revealed -as expected- a spotless space packed with the usual amenities. Garuda -and most other Asian airlines- are notorious for fresh lavatories, so I wouldn’t have expected anything less.



Lavatory

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Back at my seat, both Udyanti and Anti approached me to check if I wanted anything.

"Mr. Roni .. did you sleep well?"
"Yes I did, thank you"
"Can we get you anything to drink? Or perhaps a snack from the In Between Fuel menu?"
"Actually, may I please have the Apple Flan, and some fresh fruit?"
"Certainly"
"Would you like us to serve you the fruit first Mr. Roni?"
"Actually, I'd like the flan first"
"Of course. And would you like something to drink too?"
"A glass of orange juice please"



Orange juice & hot towel

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Another serving of that flan!

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Followed by a plate of fresh fruit

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After my snack, Udyanti cleared my table and offered me coffee or tea.

"Mr. Roni, can I offer you some coffee or tea?"
"No I am fine thanks"
"But you should drink something. How about a traditional Indonesian hot drink?"
"Sure. I can't say no to your request! What is it?"
"It's a hot drink made from ginger, we call it Wedang Jahe"
"Sounds good to me!"



Wedang Jahe: a very pungent yet refreshing ginger tea

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Most of the remaining portion of the flight was spent chatting with the crew, whom at different points in time kept passing by to check if I needed anything. They were all taken away by my excessive traveling (the ground agents saw my stamp-flooded passport and must have relayed the information to them), and they really took to my living in the UAE (as with many Southeast Asians, all the crew on today's flight love Dubai!). Oktobroto (the purser) also asked me whether I enjoyed everything, and that he hoped that everything met my expectation. Boy did it ever!



Cabin shots

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Chef Freddy then appeared by my seat to take my breakfast order.

“Good morning Mr. Roni”
“Good morning”
“How are you finding everything so far?”
“Everything is great. Thanks to all of you”
“Most welcome. We are glad you enjoy”
“I will be serving breakfast before we land in Amsterdam. Would you be joining us for something to eat?”
“Sure”
“When would you like me to serve your breakfast?”
“Maybe about one hour and a half before arrival if that is suitable with you?”
“Of course it is. What would you like to have?”
“May I have an omelet please?”
“Certainly. May I recommend that you have some turkey bacon and baby potatoes with it?”
“Sure. And can I also get a side of zucchini please?”
“Sure. I will prepare it for you, and it will be served in about one hour from now”
“If you need anything else please do not hesitate to let me know”



IFE
In the meantime, I powered on what I almost always forget to do on most flights, the IFE! It’s a definite improvement over my previous flights as the system is very responsive, there actually is a moving map display, and the choice of movies and television programs is much better. Naturally, I opt for a local movie –with subtitles- to watch as the time passes me by. However throughout most of the flight, the amazing moving map was guiding me to Amsterdam.

At the time of this flight, I found it quite interesting that the route we took to Amsterdam was more southerly than I had assumed. In fact, it was he exact same route that was taken when this flight routed via Abu Dhabi (only today we flew right above it).



Garuda’s IFE: you can even choose a theme!

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IFE controller

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This isn’t part of the IFE, but this controller is used to adjust the seat recline

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Relaxing





FIRST CLASS DINING: BREAKFAST
Udyanti informed me that my breakfast is now being prepared by Chef Freddy, and that it will be served soon. Meanwhile Anti appeared to set my table.

My table was neatly set with linen, breakfast muffins/bread, preserves, salt/pepper, silverware, and a glass of water. Then my cooked-to-order omelet arrived and was served with a side of zucchini. Everything, as always was served with the warmest of smiles in typical Garuda fashion.



Selamat makan!

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Omelet

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Side of zucchini

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Bread & croissants

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Preserves, salt, pepper, and sambal

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The eggs were excellent. Not soggy, not too dry, and cooked to perfection. Even the turkey bacon –which normally never turns out as good as the real thing- was delicious and tender. Another great meal by onboard Chef Freddy!

“Mr. Roni did you enjoy your breakfast?”
“Yes it was excellent, thank you”
“You are most welcome. I will inform Chef Freddy that you had enjoyed it”
“May I get you some coffee or tea?”
“Actually, I could do with a cup of coffee please. But which do you recommend?”
“We are serving several kinds of Indonesian brews actually, but I recommend you have the Lintong, which is from Sumatra”
“Sure. I will have that then”



A nice cup of coffee to prep me up for my upcoming transit

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PRE-ARRIVAL
Whatever was remaining of the flight was uneventful, apart from the continued chats with the amazing crew. Even Chef Freddy was infatuated with the UAE, as he lived in Dubai for a short period a few years back. So to him, I was bringing back some –hopefully good- memories of his time there.



Passing Vienna, almost there!

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Cabin shots etc

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And of course, upon requesting the purser for a group photo, he promptly gathered his First Class colleagues and summed us all for “selfie” (I hate that word/concept).



A photo with the Garuda crew

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Very close!

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Then the entire First Class crew set appeared by my seat, handed me a gift bag containing a fresh set of slippers for me to keep, and thanked me for flying with Garuda Indonesia.

“Mr. Roni, we are so happy to serve you today”
“And we truly hope that you have enjoyed our service”
“We want to give you this gift to take home”
“It is a new pair of slippers so you can use at home”
“Thank you for flying Garuda Indonesia, and thank you so much for flying from Jakarta to Abu Dhabi via Amsterdam just to experience our First Class!”



My gift bag

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At 8:55am local time in Amsterdam, our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had commenced out initial descent towards Amsterdam Schiphol, and that we were expected to arrive within 30 minutes. This was followed by the usual cabin crew announcements, which were naturally made in Bahasa and English, and surprisingly in Dutch by an Indonesian crew!



Final cabin shots before landing

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FIRST CLASS ARRIVAL
We touched down at 9:25am, and this amazing flight had come to a complete end. The feeling of an amazing flight coming to an end is always sad, yet the bright side is that I will get to take this special memory with me forever (corny I know!).

As we taxied to the gate, I powered on my phone and I received an email from someone asking if I was on Garuda’s flight to AMS as he thought he recognized me. Well this is interesting I thought! And it turned out it was someone on my flight seated in Business Class that spotted me when I paraded my way through the gate with my mafia First Class body guards during boarding! Thank you Mr. Andrew!

Bidding farewell to the crew upon disembarkation, I was quite excited to be at Schiphol again! It is my favorite European airport –we go a long way back- and I was just so happy to be transiting through it again.

However, after seeing yet another white placard with my name printed on it right outside Door 1L, I was yet again taken by surprise! This First Class experience did not end at touchdown; there is more!!!

A friendly lady escorts me out of the aerobridge down the steps leading outside to a black car that is parked right next to the aircraft! Holy Cow, I am wide awake all over again at this point!



My limousine transfer!

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I was driven to a private lounge, where I was offered a light snack and some drinks, while the agents liaised with KLM staff on my check-in for my connecting KLM flight, and my handover to the KLM staff.

Everything was taken care of. My luggage was personally picked up from Garuda and transferred onto the KLM flight, and I was even moved to another window seat where they were able to block the adjacent aisle seat for me for more space. And finally, I was handed over to the extremely professional KLM staff who came and introduced themselves, offered to check one of my carry-ons in as checked baggage for free (and for less of a hassle for me as my carry on’s grow with airline ‘stuff’ as the trips moves forward), and I was finally escorted by car straight to my KLM A330 and even into the aircraft and right to my seat!

Yes it was too bad I couldn’t get to see the real Schiphol this time, but who cares at this stage when all that was going on!



In the ‘mystery’ lounge at Schiphol

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Some snacks were offered, but I was far too stuffed for anything

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My boarding pass was reissued

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Back into another car headed to my KLM aircraft

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Arriving at my KLM A330 bound for Abu Dhabi

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And escorted right to my seat onboard my KLM flight!

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C O N C L U S I O N
I had previously seen a ‘sneak preview’ of the First Class experience on Garuda, thanks to a quick meet-up with fellow a.netter –and hardcore Garuda goer- GASQKL at the Garuda Business Class lounge. He had just experienced it on his flights to and from Tokyo and was showing me some pictures that had my mind blowing miles and miles away. Of course, you may view his Trip Report here:

The First Class Experience With Garuda Indonesia (by GASQKL Sep 11 2013 in Trip Reports)

In all honesty, very few words can describe the level of detail that has been planned into this product. Garuda was sitting silent all this while and carefully observing the world’s best airlines as they moved along their daily First Class routines. When in the end, they adopted an absolute of all of them, and then some.

Perhaps the ground experience in the lounge may have lacked a few very minor details in my opinion (but nothing alarming at all), and there was more room for the staff to be a little more attentive at some points during my stay. But the overall product treats the First Class passenger like royalty, and not just like an average passenger traveling in a premium product.

The upper-class service onboard was –as always- expected, but the most amazing part of this journey was the arrival meet & assist. Similar to the level of attention I was given in Jakarta, this took it all to another level. If you are a First Class customer flying Garuda, then you really are taken care of until you reach home, regardless of what onwards ticket you may possess.

Garuda has knack to surprise the industry as it has grown from strength to strength, be it strategically, or even when it boils down to the onboard product and service. This momentum nowadays is rarely concluded successfully amongst almost most airlines, but at Garuda, I hope it will continue to carry on!

Thank you Garuda for the best First Class experience I have ever had! And probably the best First Class experience I will ever have too!



This concludes my Trip Report. I hope that you have enjoyed it; your comments are always welcome!



Thank You,
Roni
www.flyroni.aero



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THE END
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
gabrielchew
Posts: 3770
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:49 pm

Wow, I was certainly not expecting that! GA look amazing. Staff, catering, hardware, everything looked perfect. I'm just a little worried about the amount of food waste that must be generated to be able to offer that massive quantity of food. Super handling at both ends, but I can'tr help but feel they may have overdone it. Surely this is a loss making exercise (unless they normally fill the cabin with full F pax - something i'm fairly sure they don't). Still, looks wonderful!
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: AMS-RIX-BUD-VDA,ETH-TLV-FCO-LHR,STN-TXL-LCY,LTN-CPH-LTN,LGW-SZG,MUC-LHR
 
Longhornmaniac
Posts: 2976
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:33 pm

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:02 pm

Holy cow! I've just recently come back form a trip to SE Asia in CX F, and couldn't fathom a better experience. Roni, you, my friend, may have found it. I couldn't help but laugh at the lavishness (in a totally non-pretentious way) of it all at times.

This is truly a special experience, and I am utterly stunned that it was on GA, an airline that seems to have entirely reinvented itself. What an amazing experience, I am truly jealous!

Thanks for related it all to us in your standard spectacular way. The pictures, as always, tell a great story unto themselves. Your commentary just takes it to 11.

Wonderful report!

Cheers,
Cameron
Cheers,
Cameron
 
visualapproach
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:40 pm

Indonesian females are beautiful! Anyway, I digress.   What a fantastic trip report and excellent product. I am amazed at the quantity of food on that menu!
 
SaschaYHZ
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:09 am

Amazing report! I always enjoy your reports and also enjoy your pictures on Facebook. Keep up the good work!
 
yapple
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:44 am

Hi Roni,

Amazing report as usual with an incredible amount of details! Garuda looks fantastic once again; the service you encountered from start to end was just mind-blowing! Certainly one of, if not, the best first class report i've read.

Thanks for taking the time to write this super piece.

yapple
 
cx777fan
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:31 am

Wonderful report. GA First sounds truly spectacular. While reading your report I was comparing all that GA did right for you compared to all the shortcomings I had on a fairly recent EK first class flight. I also have an upcoming HKG-JFK trip on CX in first class. I'm almost preparing myself to be disappointed now that I know what is offered on Garuda compared to the Cathay experience. You are lucky to have had such a great flight. Good luck to GA filling their first class cabins too!!
 
caleb1
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:24 am

First of all Roni, welcome back. I have been looking forward to your next report for some time now. And speaking of your TR. WOW!!!! Garuda is absolutely amazing! If they can't make this route work, then no airline can. Their First Class service and attention to detail is astounding, bordering on unbelievable. This report was definitely worth the wait!
 
Carfield
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:13 am

Thanks for a detailed trip report! Garuda First Class is definitely one of the best, if not the most well-rounded, first class product in the world. The attention to details on the cabin products and inflight service has definitely surpassed Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. Both CX and SQ offer great inflight product, but when it comes to ground service, both airlines fail miserably and Garuda definitely notices the weakness of these two giants and learns well from TG. The personalized aspect of the ground service even surpasses Thai Airways, and the transfer at Jakarta seems so easy. But what really surprises me is the arrival experience too! I don't think any seasoned traveler will expect a transfer/lounge experience for a connecting passenger, not to mention a separate ticket. GA really makes the effort to coordinate with KL.

The in-flight meals look amazing and the amount of food offered is simply crazy.

It is time to save some $$$ for a Garuda F flight.

Thanks Roni for an amazing trip report!

Carfield
 
YYZatcboy
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:27 am

WOW! What a great hard and soft product. GA really stepped up their game!
DH1/3/4 MD11/88 L1011 A319/20/21/30/80 717 727 735/6/7/8/9 744 762/3 77E/W E40/75/90 CRJ/700/705 CC150
J/S DH8D 736/7/8
 
N178UA
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:24 am

Hi Roni!

Congratulations!

GA is spectacular in every way from your report. I can feel your love of GA from reading and browsing through the pictures.

What exactly is Gado Gado?  

And you must be the only person I knew of, rode on a Limo from First to Economy  

Sam
For more of myself and my flight reviews visit http://www.SamChui.com
 
lutfi
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:30 am

Wow, amazing product! But much be such a money loser for them
 
lychemsa
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:37 am

LOL

12 hours in this beautiful lounge. Better than a hotel room. You seem to be the only person there.

What are your F, C and Y rankings in general?

I know you fly a lot.

Thanks.

[Edited 2014-08-24 02:06:47]
 
ronerone
Topic Author
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:30 pm

Dear All,

Thank you for your comments! Always much appreciated  
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 5):
Wow, I was certainly not expecting that! GA look amazing. Staff, catering, hardware, everything looked perfect. I'm just a little worried about the amount of food waste that must be generated to be able to offer that massive quantity of food. Super handling at both ends, but I can'tr help but feel they may have overdone it. Surely this is a loss making exercise (unless they normally fill the cabin with full F pax - something i'm fairly sure they don't). Still, looks wonderful!

Hi Gabriel,

Thanks for stopping by.

I always wondered about airline food wastage in general. I know it is a little too much, and I wonder if there are any ways to control it.

I did notice that CX goes easy on the bread in J when the flight isn't full. They won't heat up a full bread basket, but instead try as much as possible to provide just what is asked for.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 6):
I couldn't help but laugh at the lavishness (in a totally non-pretentious way) of it all at times.

Hi Cameron,

I know the feeling. I myself laughed whenever i was struck with a little too much lavishness during this trip. hehe.

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 6):
Thanks for related it all to us in your standard spectacular way. The pictures, as always, tell a great story unto themselves. Your commentary just takes it to 11.

Thank you for reading! Glad you enjoyed it  
Quoting visualapproach (Reply 7):
What a fantastic trip report and excellent product.

Thanks visualapproach  
Quoting SaschaYHZ (Reply 8):
Amazing report! I always enjoy your reports and also enjoy your pictures on Facebook. Keep up the good work!

Glad you enjoyed it SaschaYHZ. Thanks for stopping by.

Quoting yapple (Reply 9):
Amazing report as usual with an incredible amount of details! Garuda looks fantastic once again; the service you encountered from start to end was just mind-blowing! Certainly one of, if not, the best first class report i've read.

Thanks for taking the time to write this super piece.

Thank you yapple   hope to see more of your TRs soon!

Quoting cx777fan (Reply 10):
I also have an upcoming HKG-JFK trip on CX in first class. I'm almost preparing myself to be disappointed now that I know what is offered on Garuda compared to the Cathay experience. You are lucky to have had such a great flight.

Hi cx777fan,

CX F will certainly not disappoint. CX is a special airline, with one of the strongest brands in the world.
Hope you will enjoy your CX F flight  
Quoting caleb1 (Reply 11):
First of all Roni, welcome back. I have been looking forward to your next report for some time now. And speaking of your TR. WOW!!!! Garuda is absolutely amazing! If they can't make this route work, then no airline can. Their First Class service and attention to detail is astounding, bordering on unbelievable. This report was definitely worth the wait!

Thanks for stopping by caleb1!

Quoting Carfield (Reply 12):
Garuda First Class is definitely one of the best, if not the most well-rounded, first class product in the world.

Hi Carfield,

I do not think anyone else will surpass this product in First Class. This is by far the biggest investment i have seen put into a product offering.

Quoting Carfield (Reply 12):
But what really surprises me is the arrival experience too! I don't think any seasoned traveler will expect a transfer/lounge experience for a connecting passenger, not to mention a separate ticket.

Yes. That took me by complete surprise. I wouldn't have been surprised if someone escorted me through the airport, but in a limo and to a lounge? Definitely was not even close to anticipating that!

Quoting Carfield (Reply 12):
GA really makes the effort to coordinate with KL.

And i owe this all to SkyTeam, which after this experience has tremendously grown on me as an alliance.

True that such coordination can happen within any alliance, but my experience happened to be with SkyTeam, and i will definitely not forget it  
Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 13):
WOW! What a great hard and soft product. GA really stepped up their game!

Glad you enjoyed it YYZatcboy.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 14):
Congratulations!

Thanks Sam!  
Quoting N178UA (Reply 14):
What exactly is Gado Gado?

Haha .. It is a salad with peanut sauce. More or less the Satay of salads!

Quoting lutfi (Reply 15):
Wow, amazing product! But much be such a money loser for them

Hi lutfi,

Thanks for stopping by! Well time will only tell. But at least i am told that their F cabin goes out full to and from Jeddah as many families tend to book it all up.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 16):
12 hours in this beautiful lounge. Better than a hotel room. You seem to be the only person there.

Hi Lychemsa,

Yes, that was the best part. The whole experience -both on and off the ground- was just me and only me.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 16):
What are your F, C and Y rankings in general?

Well i like to fly in all three classes to be honest. Most of my time I am in J, sometimes in F and occasionally in Y. But i do enjoy all three quite the same.


Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
9V-SPJ
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:57 pm

Great trip report and amazing service from GA. I hope the local Indonesian elite learn about the service from their national carrier... seems like it surpasses SQ in a lot of areas!

9V-SPJ
 
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hirofumi
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 6:26 pm

Thanks for a great report, and proving that the "real" First Class product truly exists in the airline world! The service seems to so personal to maximum and though I don't fly on First Class it looks like it is THE best product overall than any other airlines! Once again thanks for sharing such a wonderful product!
 
akhmad
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:41 pm

Selamat malam, temanku Roni,

Now, I really understand why you had no words of Garuda First Class. It was so indescribably, remarkably, jaw-dropping experience! I am so glad that you are the one who convey these wonderful feelings to us! 


Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
It’s finally here! Garuda non-stop to Amsterdam, and for the first time ever!

Who else can better cover the route the most premium way than you?   


Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
But after several subsequent calls, I was informed that the proper ingredients of the Bloody Mary are not widely available in Indonesia but that they are working on confirming my request.

Seriously? Garuda must have gone for the best ingredients as the regular ones except the vodka are available for sale at supermarkets for instance.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
And my third and final request, was to be greeted on arrival from my Malindo flight from Kuala Lumpur -some 13 hours prior to my Amsterdam departure- and escorted to the lounge. And of course, my third request was again confirmed.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was instead greeted by a group of four First Class Agents that were there to attend only to me. One was Shabeera, who was my personal First Class agent, the other two were Rama and Mufti who were there to attend to my luggage (one each for carry on, and checked baggage), and the last one was Chahia whose sole purpose was to handle my documentation and related procedures such as immigration, checking in for my connecting flight, and what have you.

Impressive!  Wow!


Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I wish to introduce to Mas Erik who is the lounge manager

Was he really called that way? ‘Mas’ is casual male salutation.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
lazy-boy type chairs

Did you get any tarmac view?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Fresh fruit and sparkling water

What kind of sauce did you have with the fruit? Was it spicy?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Apparently, Garuda was able to do the following:

- Issue my CGK-AMS boarding pass.
- I was already 'boarded' onto the flight as I was given just the boarding pass stub.
- My checked baggage was tagged all the way to AUH, via AMS.
- I was also issued my boarding pass on KLM from AMS-AUH. Something Garuda isn't even required to be responsible for since it was a separate KLM ticket.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I beat the queue and walked right past immigration (apparently, my passport was also stamped 10 hours ago!).
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Udyanti was instantly at my service and while she summoned the porter to stow away my luggage, she also assisted me to my seat. She, much like the rest of the crew did not stop smiling for one little moment.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
“Mr. Roni, we are so happy to serve you today”
“And we truly hope that you have enjoyed our service”
“We want to give you this gift to take home”
“It is a new pair of slippers so you can use at home”
“Thank you for flying Garuda Indonesia, and thank you so much for flying from Jakarta to Abu Dhabi via Amsterdam just to experience our First Class!”

So amazing!   


Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Group photo before the 'handover'
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
And a final picture before boarding
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Garuda's First Class boarding welcome
Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
A photo with the Garuda crew

So sweet!   


Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
However, with everything calming down, this also meant that the staff somehow took a step back and did not make much of an appearance either.

Ouch! There is still room for improvement.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Beef Wagyu rendang

OMG! You just had the most premium beef rendang ever!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I felt like a celebrity because everyone was looking.

You are a celebrity, remember?   


Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
The outcome? A little less spacey feeling in the cabin -which didn’t bother me- but a ton more space within my Suite. Excellent thought on Garuda's front.

Smart design!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Storage area featuring a glass, bottled water, Headsets, and the IFE controller

A real glass in the compartment!  Wow!


Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
taking interesting pictures on board can be very challenging (this is where I prefer Economy Class over anything else, the pictures taken there with a fish-eye lens can be great!).

You can’t have anything, teman!  


Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Amenity kit

Oh wow!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
And she placed the slippers on a neat bright red cloth, took my shoes off and placed each on in a separate shoe bag, and slipped my slippers on my feet. WHERE DOES ALL THIS PAMPERING END?. Not only could I get used to it, but I think I want to live on this flight forever!

That is a truly KERATON treatment! You were just a Javanese royal!  Wow!


Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
Full menu

OMG, I might end up ordering anything!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
My Bloody Mary was served in a carafe alongside my glass, and the caviar -complete with blinis and crème fraiche- was served in small glass bowl placed over a stylish wooden box. And finally, a bowl of krupuk -Southeast Asian crackers- was added to this mix, just for the hell of it.

What an ultimate indulgence!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
Starter: Gado-Gado

Very nice set up!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
If you like peanut sauce, then I suggest you run to an Indonesian restaurant now and order this salad!

Or make your own with homemade peanut sauce.   


Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
In bed with Garuda First Class!

No Madonna?   


Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
"A glass of orange juice please"

No Martebe?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
"It's a hot drink made from ginger, we call it Wedang Jahe"

Oh, how I miss Wedang Jahe...


Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
Boy did it ever!

  


Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
for “selfie” (I hate that word/concept)

That’s what SWISS’ Maître de Cabine also said when I asked him for a picture.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
and surprisingly in Dutch by an Indonesian crew!

See? Dutch is not that difficult? 


Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
In the ‘mystery’ lounge at Schiphol

Where is it?   



Terima kasih banyak! Thank you so much for sharing. I was looking forward to reading this experience. Too bad we had to miss each other by several hours.


Salam hangat,
Suryo  

[Edited 2014-08-24 12:42:40]

Friends forever
 
767747
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:32 pm

Another great report, Roni! I felt like I was traveling along with you at all stages of the flight.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
But not without FIRST CLASS; a surprise that had taken the entire industry by surprise. During a trend where airlines are ditching their loss-making First Class products, Garuda shakes thing up a little and brings theirs back to life!

It is definitely surprising to hear Garuda re-introducing a First product. Hopefully it will be able to last, in light of many other airlines focusing more on keeping costs low. With that being said, their product looks incredible. This is truly "First Class" service.

Matthew
I love to fly!
 
9w748capt
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:11 am

Holy hell - what an insane experience! Just over the top in every way. She took your shoes off and with her own hands placed the slippers on your feet? What. the.

WOW!!! You know the thing is though - is this really sustainable? I mean I'm glad you got to experience this GA F, but with GA struggling financially, how long can they keep this up?

Still, what an unbelievable experience. Thank you so much for sharing.

Quoting visualapproach (Reply 7):

Indonesian females are beautiful!

You don't say! My goodness!
 
User avatar
sultanils
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:57 am

Hey Roni, thank you for this one, it’s jaw dropping-amazing stuff, in every single way. I can’t believe GA will keep this level of service up - don’t get me wrong, I hope they do! I will be on the tag-on flight AMS-LGW in 2 weeks of now, which will start in Sept. Although this will be a short ride in Y, I expect a lot, thanks to you  

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
sw733
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:15 pm

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I felt like a celebrity because everyone was looking

A few weeks ago, I had a late inbound in LAX on AA and missed my connection. An AA "special ops" woman met me at the gate and escorted me to the Qantas desk to deal with my re-booked flight. I felt like an all start, having an escort off the plane in Los Angeles.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
and after my nod (like I knew exactly what the hell it was anyways),

Jokes on you, they slapped a fancy label over a bottle of $5 sparking wine  
 
AT
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:03 pm

Wow. Looks absolutely wonderful. Glad to see Garuda doing so well.

Interesting that they have a full set of overhead bins in F- even in the middle section. Isn't that a waste of weight ? Or do they use it to store other inflight materials?
 
lutfi
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:12 am

Quoting AT (Reply 25):
Wow. Looks absolutely wonderful. Glad to see Garuda doing so well.

Interesting that they have a full set of overhead bins in F- even in the middle section. Isn't that a waste of weight ? Or do they use it to store other inflight materials

Not sure I would describe having only one passenger in first class (so a 12.5% load factor) is "doing so well"!
 
AeroWesty
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:13 am

What a lovely report on what looks like a marvelous service. Well done! I like the idea of a whole carafe of Bloody Marys.

And gosh, I haven’t seen a player grand piano in ages. When I was young we had a Knabe baby grand that had been converted from a player to a standard piano.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
(the ground agents saw my stamp-flooded passport and must have relayed the information to them)

It sounds like they may have even googled you.
International Homo of Mystery
 
GASQKL
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:09 am

Hi Roni,

Thank you for this great report and for reminding me how wonderful GA F is. I am glad to learn that the service has not dropped a bit since my F experience with them back in September 2013. From reading your report, it seems GA has even managed to bring it a notch up again with its lounge offering and the arrival arrangement at AMS. The on-board product and service seem flawless just like I remembered it myself. I believe GA has managed to bring back the romance of flying F again to the industry. Well done, GA! I have been craving for my next F experience with GA since my flight with them last year.
 
krisworldB777
Posts: 556
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:39 pm

W-O-W! I'm so mesmerised that I'm posting for the first time in years.

Great report on what appears to be an absolutely magnificent product. It's completely changed my perception of Garuda and I hope they manage to successfully carve out a niche in this very difficult segment. Sadly I do have my doubts, but it's reports like yours that will help them gain traction.

Anyone who has flown SQ in F or R recently will attest that they're nowhere near offering this depth of quality or attention to detail. The service too, at least in my experience, pales in comparison. Total opulence and excess!
 
AT
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:27 pm

Quoting lutfi (Reply 26):
Quoting AT (Reply 25):
Wow. Looks absolutely wonderful. Glad to see Garuda doing so well.

Interesting that they have a full set of overhead bins in F- even in the middle section. Isn't that a waste of weight ? Or do they use it to store other inflight materials

Not sure I would describe having only one passenger in first class (so a 12.5% load factor) is "doing so well"!

I was referring more to the quality of the inflight product, but good point!

would they be better off just having offering two class service?

Someone suggested on a different thread that Thai-Malaysia-Garuda should join into a single airline network like the LAN group in South America and offer a simplified product that serves as a mid level between the proliferating low cost carriers on the one hand and the high-end ones on the other (SQ, CX)... What are people's thoughts?
 
Ryanair!!!
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:21 am

Wow, I mean wow... WOW!!!! I'm just speechless. Their quantam-whatever program has worked wonders and it shows. I know there are nay sayers out there but sometimes, you need a leap of faith. I once read a saying which went something like... you set out to do something not thinking what could go wrong, but what could go right! Garuda is an fine example of that. Yeah there were initial boo-boos with the tarmac strength to accommodate the 777's full weight etc. But look at them now! Bloody hell! You're gonna make me wanna hop over to Melbourne to fly them to Singapore! Pity they're not in one world... yes, my star alliance is being shelved for the moment. Things we do, slave to alliances. Its Quannas for me now.

Once again, very impressive product.

Cheers
Ryan
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
 
ronerone
Topic Author
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:01 pm

Quoting 9V-SPJ (Reply 18):
Great trip report and amazing service from GA. I hope the local Indonesian elite learn about the service from their national carrier... seems like it surpasses SQ in a lot of areas!

Thanks 9V-SPJ!

It surpasses everything in most areas. First Class will never be the same on any other airline for me I think  
Quoting hirofumi (Reply 19):
Thanks for a great report, and proving that the "real" First Class product truly exists in the airline world! The service seems to so personal to maximum and though I don't fly on First Class it looks like it is THE best product overall than any other airlines! Once again thanks for sharing such a wonderful product!

Thank you hirofumi.

Glad you enjoyed it  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Now, I really understand why you had no words of Garuda First Class. It was so indescribably, remarkably, jaw-dropping experience! I am so glad that you are the one who convey these wonderful feelings to us! 

Now you know what I mean pak Suryo!   .. I almost couldn't speak for a whole day after that flight!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Seriously? Garuda must have gone for the best ingredients as the regular ones except the vodka are available for sale at supermarkets for instance.

This is what I was wondering. I did have BMs before on Garuda (AMS-DXB & AUH-AMS). But perhaps they may have tried to source the recipe word for word (maybe they even tried to find Bloody Mary mix). The taste was perfect. Not a flaw!  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Was he really called that way? ‘Mas’ is casual male salutation.

Actually they introduced him to me as Eric .. But they kept addressing him as Mas Eric .. so i did the same  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Did you get any tarmac view?

Only a side view of one gate and a lot of that green area surrounding the gates. I saw half an SV 777.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
What kind of sauce did you have with the fruit? Was it spicy?

It was actually a sweet seamy dipping sauce.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
OMG! You just had the most premium beef rendang ever!

It was so good too!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
A real glass in the compartment!  

Yes! But what got me was the napkin placed under it! That's how insane the attention to detail was!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
No Madonna?

Who wants Madonna when there is Garuda? heheheh

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Where is it?

No idea! All i know is that it overlooked a set of check-in counters!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
Terima kasih banyak! Thank you so much for sharing. I was looking forward to reading this experience. Too bad we had to miss each other by several hours.

Thank you for your comments pak Suryo!

Too bad we missed each other in Amsterdam, but hopefully next time! Maybe when you fly Etihad? It's so overdue for you to try them! They fly to Amsterdam, and to Jakarta so you have no excuse  
Quoting 767747 (Reply 21):
Another great report, Roni! I felt like I was traveling along with you at all stages of the flight.

Many thanks Matthew  
Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 22):
Holy hell - what an insane experience!

Hi 9w748capt,

Insane just about sums it  
Quoting sultanils (Reply 23):
Hey Roni, thank you for this one, it’s jaw dropping-amazing stuff, in every single way. I can’t believe GA will keep this level of service up - don’t get me wrong, I hope they do! I will be on the tag-on flight AMS-LGW in 2 weeks of now, which will start in Sept. Although this will be a short ride in Y, I expect a lot, thanks to you  

Thanks Sultanils  

AMS-LGW will be the most interesting 5th Freedom. Very eclectic combination of airline, aircraft, and route! Hope you will enjoy it! Garuda will not disappoint!

Quoting sw733 (Reply 24):
okes on you, they slapped a fancy label over a bottle of $5 sparking wine  

Hi sw733,

So long as there's bubbles and some form of alcohol in that bottle, i wouldn't tell the difference  
Quoting AT (Reply 25):

Wow. Looks absolutely wonderful. Glad to see Garuda doing so well.

Interesting that they have a full set of overhead bins in F- even in the middle section. Isn't that a waste of weight ? Or do they use it to store other inflight materials?

Thanks AT. Glad you enjoyed it.

Not sure if it was a waste of weight per se, but the middle section overheads proved to be really useful. I stowed my luggage there, and my suite was far less 'congested' as a result.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 27):
I like the idea of a whole carafe of Bloody Marys.

Hi Aerowesty,

Yes, the carafe made for the perfect BM!

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 27):
It sounds like they may have even googled you.

Possible! They even managed to find out where i work!!!!

Quoting GASQKL (Reply 28):
Hi Roni,

Thank you for this great report and for reminding me how wonderful GA F is. I am glad to learn that the service has not dropped a bit since my F experience with them back in September 2013. From reading your report, it seems GA has even managed to bring it a notch up again with its lounge offering and the arrival arrangement at AMS. The on-board product and service seem flawless just like I remembered it myself. I believe GA has managed to bring back the romance of flying F again to the industry. Well done, GA! I have been craving for my next F experience with GA since my flight with them last year.

Hi GASQKL,

Thank you for getting my attention all on this amazing product! And thank you for showing me those pictures in the lounge, and for posting your trip report.

Like i said before, First Class will never be the same again on any other airline for me  
Quoting krisworldB777 (Reply 29):
W-O-W! I'm so mesmerised that I'm posting for the first time in years.

Welcome back krisworldB777!

Quoting krisworldB777 (Reply 29):
Great report on what appears to be an absolutely magnificent product. It's completely changed my perception of Garuda and I hope they manage to successfully carve out a niche in this very difficult segment. Sadly I do have my doubts, but it's reports like yours that will help them gain traction.

I also hope GA keeps this momentum up!

Quoting krisworldB777 (Reply 29):
Anyone who has flown SQ in F or R recently will attest that they're nowhere near offering this depth of quality or attention to detail. The service too, at least in my experience, pales in comparison. Total opulence and excess!

Cathay Pacific as my favourite airline does not come close to any of this in F. Neither does TG (and probably SQ too!).

Quoting AT (Reply 30):
Someone suggested on a different thread that Thai-Malaysia-Garuda should join into a single airline network like the LAN group in South America and offer a simplified product that serves as a mid level between the proliferating low cost carriers on the one hand and the high-end ones on the other (SQ, CX)... What are people's thoughts?

Well maybe in another 10 years or so, it may certainly be the time for collaboration in Asia. Much like Europe at the moment, and how it was in the US a few years back.

When LCCs properly catch up with the Asian legacies, then the same will happen to Asia as it did in Europe and the US. LCCs have destroyed the likes of MH, and are currently slowly feasting on SQ. And TG seems to get nibbled at too, but they seem to survive anything. CX will follow suit if Jetstar is allowed to establish in HKG. So perhaps it will happen!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 31):
Their quantam-whatever program has worked wonders and it shows. I know there are nay sayers out there but sometimes, you need a leap of faith. I once read a saying which went something like... you set out to do something not thinking what could go wrong, but what could go right! Garuda is an fine example of that. Yeah there were initial boo-boos with the tarmac strength to accommodate the 777's full weight etc. But look at them now! Bloody hell!

Hi Ryan,

Couldn't agree more!

From an airline known for its poor maintenance once upon a time .. to THIS! I don't know of any other airline that has done it so successfully like this before!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 31):
You're gonna make me wanna hop over to Melbourne to fly them to Singapore! Pity they're not in one world... yes, my star alliance is being shelved for the moment. Things we do, slave to alliances. Its Quannas for me now.

Dim Sim on Qantas?  

Thank you all for your comments!

Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
harim
Posts: 153
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:30 pm

Great trip report - thank you!
 
okapi
Posts: 161
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:33 am

Hi Roni. I'm usually not a huge fan of F-class reports as most airlines tend to emulate the ME3 nowadays. I must admit though, Garuda goes way beyond the concept. Not just the food and drinks; I'm talking about that very personal service with email and escort to the seniority and seriousness of their crew. Truly impressive.
A while back, everybody criticized AF and KL for not allowing MH in Skyteam. I must admit GA has gone such a long way to become a truly respectable airline. I hope to try them at some point.
I remember their DC10s in my childhood at ORY airport...
Thanks for sharing!
 
akhmad
Posts: 2498
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:50 am

Quoting ronerone (Reply 32):
I almost couldn't speak for a whole day after that flight!

I can imagine it.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 32):
The taste was perfect. Not a flaw!  

Are you saying that it was the best Bloody Mary ever?   


Quoting ronerone (Reply 32):
so i did the same   

I assume you let them call you Bapak as well?  


Quoting ronerone (Reply 32):
Who wants Madonna when there is Garuda? heheheh

  


Quoting ronerone (Reply 32):
but hopefully next time! Maybe when you fly Etihad? It's so overdue for you to try them! They fly to Amsterdam, and to Jakarta so you have no excuse   

I know! But, let try the Emirates A380 first.  
Friends forever
 
jetwet1
Posts: 1952
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:47 am

Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 6):
I couldn't help but laugh at the lavishness (in a totally non-pretentious way) of it all at times.

That was my thought as well, it really does look to me like they have taken the understated first class of BA, thrown in the service of SQ, added the personal touch of Thai, the hardware of Emirates, mixed it up and come up with this product.

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 22):
You know the thing is though - is this really sustainable? I mean I'm glad you got to experience this GA F, but with GA struggling financially, how long can they keep this up?

I hope so, the wife wants to go to Bali next year, looking at this trip report and the one by GASQKL, I can see us flying LAS-LGW-AMS-JKT-DPS, certainly the long way to go, but seriously, I can't think of a better way to get there, and after checking out the pricing, I really can't think that it can be beat.
 
Flightsimboy
Posts: 1496
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:21 pm

Roni,

This has got to be your best experience ever! I can tell just by the vibe in this report. Congratulations to Garuda on this fine product. And thank you for bringing it to us here!!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
My first request wasn't too creative because I was taken by surprise. I asked for a Bloody Mary which at first was assumed to be a standard offer that can be whipped up on any flight. But after several subsequent calls, I was informed that the proper ingredients of the Bloody Mary are not widely available in Indonesia but that they are working on confirming my request.

I am beginning to believe there is a Roni Hawi approved Bloody Mary out there, to appear in bar lists as such lol

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
My Meet & Assist was promptly at the gate waiting for my arrival. But whilst I only expected one person, I was instead greeted by a group of four First Class Agents that were there to attend only to me. One was Shabeera, who was my personal First Class agent, the other two were Rama and Mufti who were there to attend to my luggage (one each for carry on, and checked baggage), and the last one was Chahia whose sole purpose was to handle my documentation and related procedures such as immigration, checking in for my connecting flight, and what have you.

Firstly I love their black outfits, very mafia as you put it, and in your case you were the Godfather (though a very Hawaiian inspired one, with the floral shirt lol). Secondly the ground crews look like TV celebrities out of a local Indonesian Soap Opera (not sure if they have those lol). And then to be paraded everywhere with them, no wonder you had people looking at you.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The centerpiece of the lounge, was the infamous black piano that was switched on upon my arrival to automatically chime tunes during my stay. Indeed a very classy touch.

Even a piano to your beck and call, did you order it to play your favourite tunes?

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Dining area

Love those Indonesian prints on the wall, and the light earthy wood colours.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
And whilst we are on the -very few- negatives, I somehow expected there to be a 'sleeping' room of some sort. I should have asked the First Class Call Center, but I just assumed there would be one hence, my deliberate 13 hour transit. While there is a private room -a homey room resembling a living area in an apartment- the lounge lacked a proper private confinement for sleeping. Again, this goes back to the fact that given the nature of Garuda's First Class operations, there may be no requirement to include a sleeping area but at the same time, this is First Class and the perk should be made available.

I guess they don't have the transit hotel like they do in Dubai, Singapore or Zurich. I stayed at one in Zurich in 1996 but not sure if they still have one there

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Pre-boarding announcements were already chiming in the gate area and passengers were getting ready to board; but not before I did!

As we walked into the gate area, we sailed through between all the other passengers, and for some reason all eyes were on this 'thing' that just strolled in with a black-uniformed agent walking next to it. I felt like a celebrity because everyone was looking. It actually made me feel a little nervous too.

But nevertheless, Garuda boards its First Class passengers first (including those waiting in the lounge), and makes everyone else wait until that has completed.

Like I said, it must have surely drawn attention. And for the entire aircraft to wait till you have boarded first, just incredible.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
While 1D was the seat assigned on my boarding card, I knew I was the only passenger in First Class tonight hence, I requested to switch to my favorite seat 2A. Udyanti was instantly at my service and while she summoned the porter to stow away my luggage, she also assisted me to my seat. She, much like the rest of the crew did not stop smiling for one little moment.

"Mr. Hawi, we are so glad to have you on board today"
"How would you like me to address you?"
"You can call me Roni"
"Oh thank you Mr. Roni, it is my pleasure to serve you today"
"May we prepare your Suite 1A? Please give us a few moments"
"Please go ahead!"
"Thank you Mr. Roni"

So was it 1A or 2A  .

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
with the other hand, she had the champagne bottle, where the champagne pouring was performed in the typical professional manner. The bottle was showed to me, and after my nod (like I knew exactly what the hell it was anyways), she gently poured the champagne into the glass.

This is exactly what happened on my Etihad upgrade. The fantastic French FA was being all "Downton Abbey butler" on me lol

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
A few moments later, Anti was at my seat to offer me slippers. But of course, this in its own right, consists of another lavishly designed concept that was unique to me.

"Mr. Roni, I would like to offer you a pair of slippers so you can use during your flight"
"Thank You"
"Would you like me to put the slipper on for you?"

And she placed the slippers on a neat bright red cloth, took my shoes off and placed each on in a separate shoe bag, and slipped my slippers on my feet. WHERE DOES ALL THIS PAMPERING END?. Not only could I get used to it, but I think I want to live on this flight forever!
Quoting akhmad (Reply 20):
That is a truly KERATON treatment! You were just a Javanese royal!  

OKAY!! this has got to be the highlight of travelling First Class. Which other airline in the world takes your shoes off and puts a pair of slippers on your feet.

Suryo glad for confirming this is an Indonesian tradition,set for royalty  .

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
We pushed back at 12:45am, and the typical siren roar of the 777 engines vibrated the aircraft (and probably the immediate surrounding area outside as well). I absolutely love the sounds of those engines!

Those 777 engines when making those tight turns at Pearson to line up for Rwy 23, sound like those creatures out of Jurassic Park, such shrill shrieking sounds lol

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
"Excellent, then I will go for that. And what about the main course?"
"If you wish to choose from the supper menu, I can offer the salmon which comes with a light herb sauce, but if you want something more authentic then we have the beef biryani or the kweetiaw with seafood and vegetables"
"Then I will go with the kweetiaw please"

Since when is Beef Biryani (with raita) an Indonesian authentic dish?

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Not complete without a cup of hot chocolate too! Very nice touch!

Hmm so Qantas and Etihad Airways....always lull you into sleep after one of those.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
Garuda’s IFE: you can even choose a theme!

Glad to see they use the same IFE moving maps as Etihad Airways and Air Canada

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
A friendly lady escorts me out of the aerobridge down the steps leading outside to a black car that is parked right next to the aircraft! Holy Cow, I am wide awake all over again at this point!

And I am sure you had to pinch yourself to really awake yourself lol.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Everything was taken care of. My luggage was personally picked up from Garuda and transferred onto the KLM flight, and I was even moved to another window seat where they were able to block the adjacent aisle seat for me for more space. And finally, I was handed over to the extremely professional KLM staff who came and introduced themselves, offered to check one of my carry-ons in as checked baggage for free (and for less of a hassle for me as my carry on’s grow with airline ‘stuff’ as the trips moves forward), and I was finally escorted by car straight to my KLM A330 and even into the aircraft and right to my seat!

Fantastic that the service on the ground both at the start and the end, complimented the entire service in the air. Usually after being pampered on board most are thrown back to reality the moment they leave the aircraft, and then become one with the masses again.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
And escorted right to my seat onboard my KLM flight!

OUCH! That must have really hurt (and I don't mean the seat) after that entire experience in the air. But then you were flying with KLM who have the reputation of having some of the best crews out there  .

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
This was followed by the usual cabin crew announcements, which were naturally made in Bahasa and English, and surprisingly in Dutch by an Indonesian crew!

I guess Indonesia being a former Dutch colony, I would think speaking Dutch would come naturally to a few  . Just like speaking French for some Vietnamese, or Portugese for some Goans in India  .
 
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TS-IOR
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:23 am

This is air transport at its best. Thank you for sharing with us such a magnificent experience of flying.
 
ronerone
Topic Author
Posts: 1463
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:03 pm

Quoting harim (Reply 33):
Great trip report - thank you!

Dear Harim,

Thank you for stopping by   glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting okapi (Reply 34):
Hi Roni. I'm usually not a huge fan of F-class reports as most airlines tend to emulate the ME3 nowadays. I must admit though, Garuda goes way beyond the concept. Not just the food and drinks; I'm talking about that very personal service with email and escort to the seniority and seriousness of their crew. Truly impressive.

Hi okpapi,

Very true. GA definitely took it up a few notches higher than all the rest. I hope they can maintain it because it is truly an excellent product.

Quoting okapi (Reply 34):
A while back, everybody criticized AF and KL for not allowing MH in Skyteam. I must admit GA has gone such a long way to become a truly respectable airline.

I think the natural forces have placed each airline in the right place. MH is enjoying Oneworld while Garuda is right at home with SkyTeam!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 35):
Are you saying that it was the best Bloody Mary ever?

Was definitely out there with the best!!!  
Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 36):
That was my thought as well, it really does look to me like they have taken the understated first class of BA, thrown in the service of SQ, added the personal touch of Thai, the hardware of Emirates, mixed it up and come up with this product.

Hi jetwet1,

All that and a little more for sure   hehe

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
This has got to be your best experience ever! I can tell just by the vibe in this report. Congratulations to Garuda on this fine product. And thank you for bringing it to us here!!

Hi FlightSim!

Thanks for stopping by. Yes, this definitely is my best experience this year so far! And my best First Class experience ever  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
I am beginning to believe there is a Roni Hawi approved Bloody Mary out there, to appear in bar lists as such lol

haha .. But it should only be served on a plane! (i rarely drink Bloody Mary on the ground!)

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
Firstly I love their black outfits, very mafia as you put it, and in your case you were the Godfather (though a very Hawaiian inspired one, with the floral shirt lol). Secondly the ground crews look like TV celebrities out of a local Indonesian Soap Opera (not sure if they have those lol). And then to be paraded everywhere with them, no wonder you had people looking at you.

LOL. The whole scene felt like it was right from a movie!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
did you order it to play your favourite tunes?

It was auto-looping several tunes.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
So was it 1A or 2A

Well spotted! 2A for me please  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
Those 777 engines when making those tight turns at Pearson to line up for Rwy 23, sound like those creatures out of Jurassic Park, such shrill shrieking sounds lol

I love the 777 sounds!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
Since when is Beef Biryani (with raita) an Indonesian authentic dish?

I am sure Indonesia has it's Biryani version (i think?!). I'd assume it is much like the Malaysian version.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
Hmm so Qantas and Etihad Airways....always lull you into sleep after one of those.

The EY one is amazing. And it always comes on a nice stylish tray with a small plate of something sweet on the side. Very classy  
Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 37):
Usually after being pampered on board most are thrown back to reality the moment they leave the aircraft, and then become one with the masses again.

That's exactly the setting i got myself into! Not knowing that there still was a little more to come!

Quoting IOR" class="quote" target="_blank">TS-IOR (Reply 38):
This is air transport at its best. Thank you for sharing with us such a magnificent experience of flying.

Thank you TS-IOR  


Regards,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
reifel
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:24 pm

Hi Roni,

thanks so much for sharing. I'm just speechless by the great service that GA gave you and it must have been a fantastic flight having all this cabin for you. And yes, aparently you are for some guys some kind of "celebrity"  

I must have imagine what a turndown it must have been arriving from your First Class flight, being sent by limousine to KLM and board your eco flight  
 
julio777
Posts: 38
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:15 pm

Hi Roni

What a great service, i am still yet to experience GA first class, really enjoy the trip report. As an airline enthusiast and at the same time an audi enthusiast...the combination of GA first class and an Audi A8 at the end really make me speachless. Great pictures as well from you, thank you ...!!!

I do hope they will maintain the first class service to Ams. For my company with the head office in The Netherlands, GA is now the preffered airline to Ams...now i need to make a reason for a meeting in the head office  

Cheers
 
ojas
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:01 am

WOW WOW WOW what an amazing product .... a brilliant TR ... felt like reading a natgeo documentary on Garuda.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Join me on Garuda's absolute finest: FIRST CLASS from Jakarta to Amsterdam on the B777-300ER.

Seems like your new found love (or lust?)

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
My first request wasn't too creative because I was taken by surprise. I asked for a Bloody Mary which at first was assumed to be a standard offer that can be whipped up on any flight. But after several subsequent calls, I was informed that the proper ingredients of the Bloody Mary are not widely available in Indonesia but that they are working on confirming my request.

Your research on bloody mary must have gone to a new level ..... maybe if you were in college you could have done a thesis on Bloody Mary in the Air

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was also asked if I wanted 'anything' specific on board

Wow that's an open invitation to all sort of fantasies :P

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
My Meet & Assist was promptly at the gate waiting for my arrival. But whilst I only expected one person, I was instead greeted by a group of four First Class Agents that were there to attend only to me.

In a typical Bollywood movie there would have been a song and dance sequence upon your arrival.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Once my Suite was ready, I made myself comfortable in my large confinement. It did not feel like a typical First Class Suite, but more of something alongside a hotel room.

Nice, who needs Etihad residence then?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
And she placed the slippers on a neat bright red cloth, took my shoes off and placed each on in a separate shoe bag, and slipped my slippers on my feet. WHERE DOES ALL THIS PAMPERING END?. Not only could I get used to it, but I think I want to live on this flight forever!

I'm sure they would have showered and shampooed you if there was a shower on board.

Once again a brilliant TR .... looking forward for more.

Thanks for sharing.
Great leaders don't tell you what to do ... they show you how it's done!
 
The777Man
Posts: 5947
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:40 am

Hi Roni!

Amazing report with amazing pictures !

Service in Garuda First on the 77W seems to be second to none on ANY airline. WOW! Absolutely incredible the attention to detail and service you received.

I had a very good flight with them in Y about a year ago.

Thanks for posting !

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
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dirktraveller
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RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:05 pm

Hi Roni,

An amazing report with spectacular photos, it feels like I've traveled with you all the way in GA F class to AMS!

I've been wondering how would a GA F class service looks like on its flagship route. Admittedly I was pretty skeptical when GA introduced F class product back then, whether they will ever match all the existing F class product offered by other companies, but gladly I was proven wrong.

This particular product was not just of high standard, it was flawless! All the way from ground service, crew attitude, meal service, hard product, and other aspects of the flight, it was a show well done by Garuda.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was also asked if I wanted 'anything' specific on board. And they really meant it! You can more or less ask the world of them, and they will see to it.

Wow that was one impressive service! I've saw airlines offering advance meal selection to their F class passengers, but a special division to cater to 'any' F class passenger request, this got to be the first time I've ever heard about it.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
"Mr. Roni, we see that you have travelled so much around the world, and we find it so amazing"
"WoW! How did you know?"

Impressive! The crew did really make the effort to know and be more personalized in their service.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I was driven to a private lounge, where I was offered a light snack and some drinks, while the agents liaised with KLM staff on my check-in for my connecting KLM flight, and my handover to the KLM staff.

I would have thought all the royalty-like treatment did not stop once you disembark.. I was impressed that they made the effort in ensuring you made it to your KLM connection smoothly.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
And probably the best First Class experience I will ever have too!

Wow, if you said so.. I would have to say congratulations to GA for being able to top the list of premium products you've ever flown so far hehehe.   .

And as of now I am still in awe with what they offered in your F class experience.. thanks very much for sharing this one with us, Roni!  .

Best Regards,
Dirktraveller
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: The Evolution Of GA 88: Garuda First Class CGK-AMS

Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:37 pm

Yo Roni!

This was an excellent report, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the product, not least since I am due to fly Y/J with them in January from LGW, so it will be great to get an experience of that beautiful service you seemed to have recieved.

I infact echo Gabriel's concern about the wastage of a product that has only 1 customer in 24 hours. To have all that food ready and prepared in the lounge must result in a tremendous waste.

The uptake of the First class product makes me think this may be a flash in the pan for GA. I think it is safe to say the Anet community are right behind their transformation from phoenix out of the flames, and they continue to get more attention and coverage.

A thoroughly enjoyable report, with excellent photos.

I have started ordering bloody marys on board now. A good bench mark! Tell me again, what has been your top 4 bloody marys in the sky?

Best,,

Luke
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