Airbus A330-200. This aircraft services the Melbourne and Sydney-Denpasar route as well as Melbourne to Jakarta.
Denpasar to Sydney
THE LOYALTY SCHEME
GarudaMiles, a member of global airline alliance SkyTeam. Passengers can earn frequent flyer points with airlines including Alitalia, Delta Airlines and China Southern.
Business, seat 11A. The plane has a two-section business class cabin with 18 seats, and 238 in economy. I'm seated by a window (which is great for night flights) to the rear of the cabin but cabin staff ask if I'd like to move further up front when a baby starts crying before take-off.
Just under six hours.
Daily departing Denpasar at 10.30pm and arriving at 7.25am, however we land almost 20 minutes early.
Flat bed seats are in a 2-2-2 layout and the cabin feels spacious, especially as it's not fully booked. The seats are 21 inches (53 centimetres) wide and with a 74-inch (104cm) pitch. The seats feel like cosy capsules and come with a privacy screen, dimmable reading light, and plenty of storage. The in-seat lumbar massage is wonderful. Good size pillows and velvet and cotton blankets feel luxurious.
Checked luggage is a generous 40 kilograms plus one carry-on bag up to seven kilograms and a laptop or handbag. There is also a complimentary sporting allowance of up to 23 kilograms for any sports gear including surfboards, golf clubs and bikes.
The airline was recently named a five-star airline by SkyTrax – one of only seven five-star airlines globally. It operates a fleet of around 130 aircraft, with an average age of 3.5 years old. The airline launched a massive fleet and rejuvenation program five years ago, doubling its aircraft and its route network. Modern A330s are known for their quiet cabins and business class is just that.
The inflight system is a touch-sensitive wide-screen. The movie choice has enough new releases to keep you interested while there's also a wide selection of TV shows, games and audio tracks and a children's entertainment section. Passengers are issued with noise cancelling headphones. You can plug in a USB stick with your own movies and there is a universal AC power point for laptop charging. Garuda Indonesia offers Wi-Fi across all classes (from $3.50 for 3MB). Airline magazine Colours has interesting articles in English and Indonesian.
Garuda Indonesia offers a separate check-in area for business class at Denpasar Airport. Check-in is smooth and there's virtually no wait. Cabin crew offer drinks (Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose), newspapers and hand out L'Occitane amenity kits. In 2014 Garuda won World's Best Cabin Crew in the SkyTrax World Airline Awards.
As it's late, a limited meal service is offered but I'm ravenous and the cabin crew orders me something from the snack menu. I opt for nasi goreng with fried marinated chicken: delicious if a little on the small side. Also on offer is sate beef and chicken sticks, Japanese hot udon noodle soup with prawn tempura, fresh fruit and nachos, chili and cheese. A cellar menu offers a compact selection of well thought out wines mostly from France.
Garuda Indonesia has worked hard to shake off its previous reputation, which, let's face it, wasn't the greatest. It's worth paying the extra for a business class seat, especially on the overnight leg and it's by far the most comfortable airline servicing the Australian-Bali route.
Reviewed by Sheriden Rhodes, who flew courtesy of Garuda Indonesia.