Lounges at Soekarno-Hatta Airport Terminal 3

The international section of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is home to two airport lounges – the Garuda Indonesia Lounge and the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge. Prior to my late-night All Nippon Airways flight to Tokyo Haneda, I was able to visit both due to the interesting airline’s lounge service arrangement. As such, I have also reviewed both lounges in the past, which you can find here and here. In this post, I hope to make an objective comparison of both lounges.

Entry Requirements

Both lounges have mostly mutually exclusive entry requirements, with the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge being the default contract lounge for most non-SkyTeam airlines. However, Business Class passengers and elite frequent flyers on All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines have the unusual eligibility to enter either lounge. If you so desire, you could also visit both lounges before your ANA or JAL flight. In any case, the following list shows the entry eligibility for either lounge, correct at the time of writing.

Garuda Indonesia Lounge

First and Business Class Passengers on:

Economy Class Passengers (paid) on:

  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Citilink Indonesia (international flights)

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

First and Business Class Passengers on:

  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Oman Air
  • Qantas
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines

or Paid Access for USD54

By the convention of airlines contracted to the former, the Garuda Indonesia Lounge is the more exclusive of the two lounges. This also potentially makes the lounge quieter than the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge. Additionally, given the contract nature of Plaza Premium, it is possible to purchase access for USD54, which I think is a high sum for an Indonesian airport lounge.

Verdict: not applicable


Garuda Indonesia

The Garuda Indonesia Lounge is located on Terminal 3’s Mezzanine Floor, airside. After immigration, take the rightmost escalator down one floor to the Mezzanine food court and make a U-turn. This is where the elusive Garuda Indonesia First Class Lounge is located. From the First Class Lounge, turn left into the corridor where you’ll see large Garuda Indonesia signage.

Corridor to the Garuda Indonesia Lounge

The Garuda Indonesia Lounge is located close to Gates 8, 9, and 10, which usually serve widebody Garuda Indonesia flights, alongside the odd SkyTeam flights on KLM, China Eastern, and Saudia. This makes the lounge suitably located for these flights.

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

The Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge is located airside in the international section of Soekarno Hatta Airport’s Terminal 3. The lounge lies physically across from Gate 7, placed on the left-hand side when walking towards the end of the terminal. The entrance features a sizeable lobby with large signage, making it difficult to miss.

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge Jakarta Entrance
Entrance to the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Since most non-Garuda Indonesia flights depart from Gates 1 to 8, the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge is the most strategically located lounge for those flights. This is particularly the case for the many international widebody flights that depart from Gates 1A-4A.

Verdict: not applicable (tie)

Seating and Ambiance

Garuda Indonesia

The Garuda Indonesia Lounge is divided into two separate seating areas, each featuring rows of armchairs or sofa chairs. Most of the armchairs aren’t very comfortable due to their design that lacks proper padding. However, I did find the sofa chairs to be very comfortable and well-padded. Whilst the chairs are tightly packed next to each other, each row is irregularly separated by an ornate partition.

Sofa chairs in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge
Supplementary seating area

In addition, I also appreciate that there is an abundance of power outlets. These are located on the console tables next to each pair of chairs. Do note however that these are not universal power outlets.

Seats in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge

In addition to the normal sofa chairs, the lounge also has a limited number of recliners, two of which are hidden behind a wall. This is a nice offering from the Garuda Indonesia Lounge compared to the otherwise stiff armchairs.

Recliner chairs in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge
Recliners in the Relaxation Area

Furthermore, whilst bright, I particularly like the warm lighting of the Garuda Indonesia Lounge, which to me feels very inviting. Additionally, I’ve also found the Garuda Indonesia Lounge to be consistently quieter than the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge, which surely enhances the ambiance of the space.

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Unlike the Garuda Indonesia Lounge, the main Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge consists of one large room where all the seats are located. In the centre of this room are rows and rows of chairs facing each other. Whilst the chairs are relatively comfortable, I find them to be too close to each other to be comfortable. Additionally, given the lack of privacy screens combined with how packed this lounge gets, the ambiance definitely isn’t as nice as the Garuda Indonesia Lounge.

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge
Seats in the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

However, the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge does have the benefit of having these high-walled pod chairs, similar to the Solo chairs in the Cathay Pacific Lounges. The number of these chairs is limited, however, making it difficult to find empty ones during high-traffic hours.

Pod chairs in the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Verdict: Garuda Indonesia

Shower Facilities

Garuda Indonesia

The shower facilities in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge are located inside the toilet at the far end of the lounge. In the male toilet, there are two showers, both of which are ordinarily locked. To use the facility, you will have to ask for the shower room to be unlocked at the reception. Whilst the shower room looks clean, it is also quite spartan and does not feature an individual toilet.

Shower in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Whereas the Garuda Indonesia Lounge only features two shower rooms for each gender, the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge has a much larger dedicated shower suite facility. In addition to being manned by a shower attendant to ensure the cleanliness of the space, the shower suites are also brighter and better maintained than those in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge. Better yet, each shower suite is also equipped with a toilet.

Shower in the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Verdict: Saphire Plaza Premium


Garuda Indonesia

The Garuda Indonesia Lounge has its own password-protected WiFi network. However, I have consistently found the speeds to be terribly slow, so much so that loading Google would take several minutes. Funnily enough, there are hardly any signs or placards in the lounge that feature the WiFi network’s password. It’s almost as if Garuda does not want people using the network, without having to go to the reception and asking for the password.

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Much like the Garuda Indonesia Lounge, the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge has its own WiFi network separate from the airport’s network. During each of my visits to this lounge, I’ve found that the WiFi service is as fast or even faster than what is offered by the airport management in the terminal. It is no surprise then that the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge triumphs over the Garuda Indonesia Lounge’s unbearably slow network.

Verdict: Saphire Plaza Premium


Garuda Indonesia

I’ll go ahead and admit that the food in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge has long been a subject of my criticism. Although I’ve seen some improvement in the catering as of late, the offering still largely lags behind that offered by the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge. For one, I’ve consistently found the food to be lukewarm, with many items close to the point of being stale. Whilst there is a single ‘chef’ station, I haven’t found the selection to be much of an improvement either, being bland and lacking flavour. Worse yet, I’ve found that many of the dishes do not represent Indonesia’s rich cuisine heritage, which is a shame for a national flag carrier.

Food spread in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge
Hot dishes on offer
Pasta from the ‘chef station’

Sadly, the beverage selection isn’t much better, with cold drinks consistently consisting of just iced tea, orange fruit drink, and water, along with a couple of sodas. The coffee and espresso-based drinks come from a coffee machine and alcoholic drinks are limited to a choice of beer and red and white wine.

Coffee machine and soft drinks
The bar in the Garuda Indonesia Lounge

Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Compared to the Garuda Indonesia Lounge, all of the hot food on offer at the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge comes from a live kitchen station. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the food is restaurant quality, the fact that each hot dish is made to order ensures that the food tastes better and fresher. I also liked that many of these on the made-to-order menu feature local comfort foods like bakso and soto ayam.

Live kitchen station
Made-to-order bakso in the Plaza Premium Lounge

Better yet, the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge features barista-made coffee and espresso-based drinks, which taste aeons ahead of anything that comes out of a machine. Although the selection of alcoholic drinks isn’t much better, I do appreciate the marginally bigger variety of soft drinks in this lounge.

Espresso bar in the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge

Verdict: Saphire Plaza Premium


Overall, at a score of 3:1, the Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge is objectively Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s better Business Class lounge. Given its much superior food and drinks, mixed with the lounge’s better shower and internet facilities, it is difficult to say otherwise. Despite that, this verdict does not preclude Garuda Indonesia from having the better lounge at some point in the future. Given their superior seating and ambiance, it shouldn’t be difficult for the lounge to compete with Saphire should they make the necessary investments for their dining and internet.

Read more from this trip here!

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