Garuda Indonesia has finally upgraded its Jakarta-London route to a non-stop service, although cost-cutting measures could see the airline abandon first class on its flagship Boeing 777-300ER jets which ply the route.
The SkyTeam member previously flew the Jakarta-London leg via Singapore, but as of October 31 deep-sixed that stopover to commence direct flights running three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays:
- GA86 departs Jakarta at 12.05pm to reach London Heathrow at 8pm
- GA87 leaves London at 9.55pm to arrive into Jakarta at 6.55pm the following day
Connections from Australia, however, leave much to be desired: for example, Garuda's flight from Sydney arrives at 3pm, a few hours after the flight to London has already left, so you're in for an overnight stay at Jakarta – which could mean spending several hours each way in the infamous airport-city traffic snarl.
The Boeing 777-300ER contains eight first class suites, which are the only first class offering in Garuda’s fleet.
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 suite gets a 23 inch video screen, 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 that's perfect for the long overnight leg from Jakarta to London.
At the not-so-pointy end of the plane are 38 ‘Executive Class’ business class seats in a staggered layout.
From tip to tail, Garuda’s Boeing 777-300ER boasts wireless Internet and live TV including English Premier League matches.
However, Nikkei Asian Review reports that Garuda could ditch first class in an effort to stem losses.
Having already withdrawn first class from flights to Tokyo, Nikkei Asian Review suggests that "while Garuda plans to keep first class on other routes, such as those between Indonesia and Europe, for the time being, the company is also considering a plan to eliminate the top-end seats entirely and use the space they occupy for more profitable business class seats instead."