Garuda Indonesia will begin its long-awaited Boeing 777-300ER Jakarta-London flights on September 8, albeit with a stop-over in Amsterdam.
The airline's direct Jakarta-Amsterdam service, which took wing this weekend, bypasses Garuda's previous fuel stop at Abu Dhabi due to the extended range of the Boeing 777-300ER jet compared to the Airbus A330s which previously plied the route.
Garuda says that Amsterdam is now the airline's hub "for Europe and beyond."
"The opportunities presented by the established SkyTeam hub at Amsterdam are too significant to pass up, as it will be an alternative gateway for passengers who wish to travel beyond Europe" explains Garuda Indonesia CEO Emirsyah Satar.
Amsterdam is home port to Garuda's SkyTeam partner KLM, with connections to the UK and Europe.
However, as of September 8, Garuda's Boeing 777-300ER will continue from Amsterdam through to London's Gatwick airport, and then return to Amsterdam for the final long leg home to Jakarta.
It's a far cry from Garuda's previous plans to tap into the Kangaroo Route between Sydney and London via Jakarta, which was meant to showcase the new flagship Boeing 777-300ER fleet and mark another step in the airline's efforts to present itself as "a global player" in the words of CEO Satar.
This shuffle also saw the promised Boeing 777-300ER upgrade for Sydney-Jakarta axed, with that route now remaining on an Airbus A330.
At least Garuda's Boeing 777-300ER will make the Jakarta-Amsterdam-London flight more comfortable than its older Airbus A330, especially for those in the new first class cabin with a chef on call.
There are eight first class suites.
The suites are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout – the middle pair have a slide-up screen for privacy if you're flying solo, but it also makes for a good companion arrangement when you're travelling with a friend.
Each seat gets a 23 inch screen with full video-on-demand.
You’ll also find a personal wardrobe for each passenger...
... and ample storage space in a concealed compartment under the armrest.
The wide seats recline into a fully flat bed.
At the not-so-pointy end of the plane are 38 ‘Executive Class’ business class seats.
These are a more familiar design – they’re the staggered Solstys model from EADS Sogerma, which we most recently saw on Thai Airway’s new Airbus A380.
Down the back of the bus are 268 economy seats in a 3-3-3 layout.
From tip to tail, Garuda’s Boeing 777-300ER boasts wireless Internet and live TV including English Premier League matches.
This video from Garuda presents the highlights of its Boeing 777-300ER passenger experience.
Garuda Indonesia also plans to add new direct routes to Manila and Mumbai this year.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.