Garuda Airlines, The Business Class Experience

The good thing about a business trip is that it’s totally appropriate to travel business class.  Having never been to an international conference, this was my first business class experience.

Plenty of space

Plenty of space

The advantages of traveling business class don’t start when you’re ushered to your seat at the front of the plane, they start long before that.  There’s the express lane to avoid all that nasty queuing at baggage check-in, entry to the private lounge and express lanes through customs.

But our good fortune started even before that because can you believe, a few weeks before our departure, international company, Blacklane contacted me and asked if I would like to trial their limousine service the next time I needed to hire a car.

An early start

An early start

And I just knew when that would be!  I booked our travel from home to the airport through their website.  It wasn’t going to be a straightforward trip because we were leaving on the morning of a 10km fun run that Alfie was participating in.  When you book through Blacklane, there’s a box where you can give instructions to the driver.  I asked if it would be okay if on our way we had a slight detour so I could walk the little guy to the start of the race, give him a hug and a squeeze and wish him all the best.  The driver confirmed that would be okay.

Room for cripple sticks and all your luggage

Room for cripple sticks and all your luggage

So at 6.10am our driver arrived in a 7-seater Mercedes Viano and we packed it full of our luggage, the runner, Arabella and her cripple sticks, Archie who had just arrived home from work and hadn’t had any sleep, and one little Rosie who sat on my lap and didn’t dribble or shed in the car.  And looking at us, the driver didn’t even wince.

Very comfortable travel

Very comfortable travel

Chauffeur Jack drove us to the closest position to the start of the race and we all got out and asked him to wait while we took Alfie down to the starting position.  After hugs and kisses and best wishes, we ran back to the car.

Love free wifi

Love free wifi

The car was spotlessly clean with no odour; not even over-powering aftershave which is always a relief.  There were complimentary bottles of water as well as free wi-fi.  Our driver was clean, well-spoken and didn’t require directions.  We had a very pleasant trip that was smooth sailing and absolutely effortless from the booking to the arrival at the airport.  I can definitely recommend Blacklane to anyone needing a competent driver. 

Lounge

Sky Lounge

When we arrived at the airport we were ushered to the express lane to check our baggage so there was no horrendous zig-zagging of queuing.  We were given tickets to Sky Lounge, a recently opened lounge at Kingsford-Smith.

Bar

Bar

The lounge was pleasant in that it had some tables near the windows where you could sit in the sun so that was nice.  There was an adequate buffet however I wasn’t enormously hungry so just chose a mineral water and a few cheeses with crackers.  There is a TV room if you need to watch a show and also a room where you can recline in a massage chair.  Overall however, I did think the lounge was a little soulless with a cafeteria feel to it.

Reading material

Reading material

Again with business class, you have express boarding so once again, no horrendous queuing.  It was straight onto the plane where we were greeted with big smiles and offered a welcome drink along with a warm towel.  Being handed a hot towel and a glass of champagne did remind me of travel 25 years ago where even in economy, both were standard offerings. 

Billiecart Salmon Champagne

Billecart Salmon Champagne

I was given a window seat (yeah), with plenty of leg room and for once, one third of Drew wasn’t in my space.  There was a welcome toiletry pack with L’occitane products and I just love L’occitane.  I do find flights very drying so it was lovely to find a body lotion and lip balm and cooling eau de toilette.

Products

L’occitane Products

The stewards were mostly female and each dressed in matching outfits in slightly different rainbow shades.  They were all very attractive and whisper quiet as they went about their duties being very welcoming and attentive. 

The plane took off on time and I reclined in my seat and watched Jersey Boys.  A true story that’s definitely worth telling and how good are the songs!

Drinks were offered and I stuck with my Billecart Salmon Brut Rose.  I cannot resist a glass of pink sparkles.  It came with a warm little tart filled with antipasto ingredients.  The pastry was light and the antipasto very tasty. 

Glass of champagne with an antipasto tart

Glass of champagne with an antipasto tart

Lunch was served during the flight.  You could choose between either a set menu of a degustation of Indonesian cuisine or the Modern European Edge menu.  Drew chose the Indonesian and I chose to be modern.

The lunch arrived with pressed linen placemats and napkins and real china, glassware and cutlery, all so much better than the picnicware handed out in economy. 

Wines were available and we thought we’d try a wine not known to us.  We chose the 2013 Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay which obviously was from France.  It was a light and slightly fruity chardonnay that was very pleasant.

wine

Chardonnay

Drew’s meal started with a Padang style vegetable and potato salad with a butter potato sauce.  The vegetables were crunchy adding very good texture to the salad that had some lovely spices.  If you wanted additional heat, there was a dish of very (as in extremely) hot chilli sauce.

food

Vegetable and Potato Salad

My entree was an asparagus cream soup with asparagus spears.  The spears arrived in the bottom of a heated bowl and the soup was poured over the top.  The soup was amazing and my favourite dish of the meal.  The asparagus spears had been lightly cooked so they still were vibrantly green and full of crunch.  The soup was creamy and smooth and full of asparagus flavour. 

food

Asparagus Cream Soup

Drew’s next course was Indonesian clear chicken soup with sliced chicken breast and chilli paste.  The chewable ingredients arrived at the bottom of the bowl and the soup was poured over the top.  Drew really enjoyed this light soup that was full of spices and given an additional kick with a little of the chilli paste.

food

Clear Chicken Soup

There were three main course options in the European menu and I chose the Chargrilled Victorian beef tenderloin with peppercorn sauce and a capsicum tartlet.  The steak was more cooked than I would have liked however, it was extremely tender and not dry so with the generous serving of sauce, was very enjoyable.  I really liked the capsicum tartlete and the vegetables were well seasoned and not overcooked. 

food

Chargrilled Victorian Beef Tenderloin

Drew’s next course was marinated and grilled king prawns with jasmine rice, sautéed vegetables in gulai sauce and sambal.  The prawns were juicy and tender and Drew loved the spicy heat.

food

Marinated and Grilled King Prawns

For dessert I had a warm butterscotch and apple pudding with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream.  I loved the vanilla beans in the ice cream and the pudding was light and moist with lots of pieces of apple. 

food

Butterscotch and apple pudding

Drew’s dessert was a pandan panna cotta with blueberry coulis and coconut ice cream.  No complaints from Drew with this dessert.  He loved the pandan flavour and thought the coconut ice cream complimented it beautifully.  

Pandan

Pandan pana cotta

I also had a cheese plate with King Island double brie and a South Cape smoked cheddar.  We shared it and enjoyed the cheeses with the crackers and dried fruit. 

food

Cheese Platter

Then we were full!  And we reclined our chairs to stretch our stomachs and enjoy another movie from the excellent selection. 

food

Fruit platter

But then they offered us snacks.  And we didn’t need another thing but there’s not a lot else to do when you’re strapped in your seat watching movies so Drew ordered the fruit platter and I ordered the nachos with chilli and cheese.  Both were just fine.

fo0od

Nachos with chilli and cheese

Business class is quiet.  With fewer people and almost no children, it’s comparatively, a peaceful, spacious and serene flying experience. 

wine

A selection of bread rolls

The flight from Sydney to Denpasar is around six and a half hours.  We flew on an A330 airbus that is part of a new fleet of planes recently added to the Garuda fleet.  Compared with flying economy, this was a peaceful, serene experience with constant and consistent service from the cabin crew, spacious seats that fold down to a bed, a good selection of in-flight entertainment and a wonderful dining experience.  I would be happy to fly with Garuda Indonesia again. 

Hotly Spiced and crew traveled from home to Sydney Airport compliments of Blacklane.

Comments

  1. Sound like a wonderful start to your holidays…. I’ve only flown business class once and it was indeed wonderful… 🙂 Loving all the photos of your trip!
    Liz xx

  2. Lovely experience Charlie. Enjoy every second.

  3. There’s nothing quite like travelling Business Class, is there? I always feel so special when we do it. We are heading to Italy in a couple of months and I know I will appreciate the extra care, attention and legroom on that long haul.
    Then of course, there’s nothing quite like flying cattle class where I really do feel as if we are treated like livestock a lot of the time.

  4. Oh Myyyyy! What a wonderful way to travel, but I dont reckon I would be able to go back to economy after experiencing all that awesome. Woah…. Look at your food, so fancy, although that may just be that it is served on a plate. LOL!

  5. it sounds blissful flying business class. somehow hubby and i never seem to get picked for upgrading :(. we fly less and less these days as i just can’t take cattle class. i would like to be beamed up by Scotty (star trek).

  6. Sounds like that is the way to travel, how enjoyable!

  7. Sounds like luxury – I love the sound of that pudding. And your ride to the airport sounds great – I have had some terrible taxi drivers so appreciate a pleasant drive to the airport. It seems that there are lots of individual seats in the sky lounge as if people travelling are either solo travellers or don’t want to spend time together.

  8. An amazing post, and what a lovely start to your holidays, Charlie. Now tell me, lovely, are you actually going to take a break??!! : )

  9. It looks like a much more peaceful experience than any I’ve ever had when flying. Business class clearly makes a difference.

  10. Wow, what a glorious way to start your journey! Great photos, I just know you are going to have a wonderful vacation and am looking forward to reading all about.

  11. Sounds like a wonderful experience from every aspect.

  12. Amazing how things chance from economy to business class! Hw wonderful you were able to be treated to such wonderful food and drinks on your flight – awesome!
    Looking forward to the rest of your trip.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  13. Business class makes flying so much more enjoyable. I do find a lot of lounges have that soulless vibe to them. I don’t know why though.

  14. Nice to know that there are still some airlines that take creature comforts seriously. I have heard that not all business class are equal, but this sounds like a fine airline.

  15. Business class is brilliant, but what a nice service to get you to the airport! I can only imagine the hassle of trying to manage that trip without a competent and helpful driver (most taxi drivers would have charged exorbitantly I imagine).

  16. Such a lovely start to your holiday!!! Hope the rest of your trip is just as wonderful 🙂

  17. Experiencing flying like that is much more appealing than economy with three small kiddos. Much more!

  18. So very glad the flight over was enjoyable. Well, I would actually have chosen and enjoyed Drew’s menu but am glad you specified both 🙂 ! Picked up an incredible ‘fact’ from some news programme last night: first class supposedly may cost ten times as much as economy [still do not quite believe] these days!! Having been in business ex Australia at an earlier stage of life than you – in ‘those’ days there was just first and economy – and we did fly first always . . . .oh the food and incredible service . . . but proper beds were as yet unavailable 🙂 !! Do hope the kids all fine !!!!!

  19. I do agree with you, flying Business a Class is like flying any class used to be…oh where did those days go…(I guess the bonus is more accessible fares for the majority of travellers)….I recently also flew Business after many years at the back of the plane, I did enjoy it very much and your Garuda experience sounds equally as superb. Happy trip! X

  20. I AM SOOOO SPOILED – business and first class are my JAM! I have only traveled overseas in either class, however……… My most recent over seas trip was to New Zealand and Australia and I sat in the back of the bus. I was so nervous but hot damn, it was still awesome and I think I was just so excited to go visit down under! 😉

  21. Charlie, what a lovely experience and a relaxing one after your hectic departure week. I hope you had a brilliant holiday

  22. I’m so glad you got to have this fun experience. I remember my first business and first-class trips and I was very impressed with the difference. You don’t feel like cattle being herded when everyone else is on the plane and you’re called last to walk right on.

  23. I flew business class recently from Mexico to Europe, and omg what a difference? Would that I could always go that way, but I fear it is back to the cattle car next trip! How nice that you got to relax a bit after all you went through before leaving!

  24. I’m not the most eager traveler and don’t really like to fly. I must say that given the opportunity to travel in the style you’ve just described, and I’d be more than enthusiastic. What a grand experience. 🙂

  25. Oh my gosh, I am so envious! What a super luxury experience. I have only travelled business on short trips but would love to on one of our horribly long trips back to Italy. Maybe I should put out feelers.

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