Review: Garuda Indonesia A330neo Business Class (CGK-SIN)

Jyaga likes (4.5/5)

Garuda Indonesia flight details

Airline : Garuda Indonesia
Flight No : GA828
Departure City : Jakarta – Soekarno-Hatta (CGK)
Arrival City : Singapore – Changi (SIN)
Equipment : Airbus A330-900neo (PK-GHG)
Blocked Time : 1h45m
Seat No: 9K

Two weeks after flying back from Hong Kong, I again set off on my next portion of this trip to Singapore! Before figuring out my itinerary, I saw that Garuda Indonesia was flying their newest jet, the Airbus A330-900neo to Singapore. As I hadn’t flown Garuda’s version of these jets yet, I booked a flight without a second thought. Although I reviewed Garuda Indonesia’s Airbus A330 Business Class two years ago, that flight featured the airline’s oldest long-haul Business Class. On the other hand, this flight features the airline’s newest Business Class product.

Booking Garuda Indonesia Business Class

I booked this flight with Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue, which cost me a reasonable 15,000 miles and IDR 809,500 (~ USD 51, GBP 40). Sadly, Flying Blue has recently increased the redemption on these short hauls to 20,000 miles. Regardless, this is still an excellent price for the flight, which regularly goes for over IDR 8,900,000 (~ USD 559, GBP 445). Alternatively, you can also redeem this flight via GarudaMiles for 22,500 miles.


While the flight was scheduled to depart at 08.00 flight, I still arrived two and a half hours early at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Terminal 3. Being government-owned and the national carrier, it is no surprise that Garuda got its dibs to a choice check-in area near Gate 1. Specifically, the airline maintains an exclusive check-in area that takes up an entire row at Island A.

Kerbside at Terminal 3
Garuda Indonesia check-in desks

As I headed to the premium check-in counters, I was approached by a Garuda Indonesia ground agent. After confirming that I was flying in Business Class, he smiled and motioned for me to head to an empty check-in desk. I was then greeted by a friendly check-in agent, who processed my check-in. As I was waiting, I noticed that there was a seating area reserved for First Class passengers. However, given the airline’s skeleton First Class network, I’d imagine it doesn’t get much use nowadays.

Garuda Indonesia premium check-in
First Class seating area

After checking me in, she handed me my boarding pass in a thin Business Class-branded envelope along with a priority security channel voucher. The latter ended up being useless as the priority channel was yet to be used.


Having made my way through the security and immigration checkpoints, I headed down to get breakfast at the Garuda Indonesia Lounge. As I have written reviews on this lounge in the past, I won’t be doing so again. However, I have updated my last review to feature the latest pictures and information, which you can read here. Entry to this lounge comes standard with any Garuda Indonesia Business Class ticket or with SkyTeam Elite Plus status if you’re flying in Economy Class.

Garuda Indonesia Lounge in Jakarta

For many years, I considered this lounge to be the best at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (which isn’t saying a lot, by the way). However, it has since been eclipsed by the excellent and massive Saphire Plaza Premium Lounge, which opened in November 2022.


As the Garuda Indonesia Lounge was very crowded due to the holiday season, I ended up leaving to wander in the terminal and walk to the gate. Interestingly, the gate area was deserted when I got there, allowing me to do some work undisturbed.

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Terminal 3
Gate 7 in Terminal 3

While there, I also snapped some pictures of the gorgeous plane parked at the gate. Taking us to Singapore this time was PK-GHG, an Airbus A330-900neo delivered new to Garuda Indonesia in December 2019. The aircraft even featured a special ‘Wear a Mask’ livery, which was introduced during the days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

PK-GHG at the gate

About 20 minutes before our scheduled boarding time, the ground agents showed up to set up the gate. The gate area gradually became crowded, particularly five minutes before our printed boarding time of 07.30. At this time, I decided to line up at the Business Class line. Passengers requiring special assistance were preboarded at 07.30 before general boarding started three minutes later.

Gate 7 in Terminal 3

At the door, I was greeted by Djajeng, who took my boarding pass and walked me to my seat. She even offered to introduce the seat’s features all while Christmas music played in the background. Wow, I didn’t remember the service on Garuda Indonesia to be this good!

Garuda Indonesia A330neo Cabins

Introduced in late 2019, Garuda Indonesia’s Airbus A330-900neo features the airline’s latest Business Class and Economy Class products. Specifically, there are While it has been four years since the aircraft was delivered, the cabin remained pristine, owing to the plane’s infrequent use during the pandemic.

Business Class

Set between Doors 1 and 2 is the 24-seat Business Class cabin, featuring a 1-2-1 configuration spread between six rows. The seats are based on the Stelia Opal, which you’ll also find on Turkish Airlines, Air Calin, Air Senegal, and Uganda Airlines. As this is a next-generation product, it was no surprise that the cabin looked sleek and modern. Furthermore, gone are Garuda Indonesia’s deep-red Business Class seats, now replaced with an elegant dark blue upholstery.

Business Class cabin
Business Class cabin
Staggered window seats
Staggered centre seats

Given the cabin’s staggered configuration, the seats alternate between those closer to the aisle and those away from the aisle and shielded by the side table. Since the seats closer to the aisle do not feature any special features (like extra storage space), I would select the seats away from the aisle for more privacy.

Business Class cabin
Business Class cabin
Staggered window seats
Staggered window seats

Additionally, the centre seats on rows 6, 8, and 10 feature ‘honeymoon seats’, in which the two seats are very close to each other. These seats might be ideal if you’re travelling with your partner, as you are physically seated close, making it easy to talk without effort.

Honeymoon seats
Honeymoon seats

Finally, I’ll add that while the bulkhead window seats feature a side locker, they are labelled ‘for crew use only’. Because these seats are closer to the aisle and don’t feature meaningfully larger footwells, I wouldn’t select these seats either.

Bulkhead seats

Seat details

On this flight, I was seated at 9K, the fourth-row window seat on the right-hand side of the cabin. Unlike Cathay Pacific’s Business Class seat, these seats do not have a wing attached to the side of the aisle seats for added privacy. As such, I deliberately chose this seat to ensure the side table shielded me into my own cocoon.

My seat on this flight, 9K

While I don’t ordinarily like staggered configurations, I appreciate that the Stelia Opal seats come with a small storage cabinet on the side table. Given its big enough size for a phone, passport, and glasses, this would come in handy on a long flight. The side table is also where you’ll find the headphone jack, the USB port, a reading light, and the remote control.

Side table
Side table with cabinet open
Handheld remote control

Furthermore, the seat controls are embedded into the side table. These controls are highly intuitive, but since they aren’t actual buttons it wasn’t prone to being accidentally pushed. Like many seats nowadays, they also come with a ‘Do Not Disturb’ button for the crew.

Seat controls

Across from the seat is the high-definition 17-inch touchscreen monitor. While I found the monitor’s position to be a bit low, I loved that it was crisp and responsive. It was the same for the mobile phone-like remote control, on which you could display the flight map. I’ll add that the large and sturdy tray tables come out from beneath the entertainment screen.

Inflight Entertainment Monitor
Handheld remote control
Tray table

Under that is the roomy footwell, which has a padded ottoman which joins the seat in bed mode. Additionally, a shoe locker is conveniently placed under that. Finally, I’ll note that the cabin unfortunately lacks overhead air vents.

Overhead console

Economy Class

Behind the Business Class cabin is the massive Economy Class cabin with 277 seats with a 2-4-2 configuration. Divided between two cabins totalling 37 rows, the Economy Class cabin features seats in Garuda’s classic earthy brown tones mixed with those in a new and refreshing turquoise theme. Each seat also features a 32-inch seat pitch, as well as a next-generation 12-inch inflight entertainment monitor with USB charger outlets.

Economy Class cabin

Departure from Jakarta

As Business Class remained empty for some time, I kept taking pictures of the cabin and the seats. Ana, the purser on this flight, approached me to introduce herself, before politely asking about my photography. Her face lit up once I told her that I was excited to fly Garuda Indonesia’s A330neo for the first time. Seeing my excitement, she even offered to take a picture of me.

Pre-Departure Service

When I settled in my seat, Djajeng came and addressed me by my name before offering me a welcome beverage of Martebe (the airline’s signature drink of Passionfruit and Tamarillo juice) or orange juice. I decided on the former, later served with a hot towel and a pack of mixed nuts. She then offered blankets and to take my meal orders, having mentioned the available options. As boarding went underway, several automated announcements were played to welcome the passengers on board.

Pre-departure service

At 07.55, the doors were closed, with nine passengers and two deadheading pilots seated in Business Class. Ana soon came on the intercom to welcome us on this Garuda Indonesia flight to Singapore, which is codeshared with Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Bangkok Airways, and Vietnam Airlines. Funnily ‘Etihad Airways’ was replaced by ‘Emirates’ in the English announcement (hah!).

View of the apron

Pushback and Departure

Ana’s announcement was followed by Captain Indra, who went on the intercom to greet us before detailing our flight time of 1 hour and 17 minutes. Five minutes later, we began our pushback, during which time Garuda Indonesia’s creative safety video was played.

Safety video
Garuda Indonesia safety video

As we taxied to the runway, we passed by a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER, also headed to Singapore, as well as a Garuda Indonesia Boeing 777-300ER. At this time, the cabin crew turned on the deep purple mood lighting, reminding me of a Qatar Airways flight.

Traffic at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport
Traffic at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

Before long, we reached Runway 25R, parallel to Terminal 3, and we took off shortly after at 08.10. As we ascended into Jakarta’s smog-prone skies, I was surprised by how quiet the A330neo’s Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines are! It was as if we were gliding into the wind…

Takeoff from Jakarta
Takeoff from Jakarta
View after takeoff

Breakfast Service

About five minutes after takeoff, the seatbelt signs were switched off. This prompted the crew to start the inflight breakfast service. As the meal orders were already taken before departure, it didn’t take long for Djajeng to appear and hand deliver my breakfast. For reference, there were three meal choices – Nasi Goreng with Teriyaki Beef, Oriental Fried Rice with Chicken, or an Omelette. I went for the second option.

Business Class breakfast on Garuda Indonesia

The whole meal was served on an elegant-looking tray, with cut fresh fruits, strawberry yoghurt, and a small breadbasket accompanied by a ramekin of swirled butter. Water was served automatically with the meal of Oriental Fried Rice with Chicken.

Oriental Fried Rice with Chicken
Cut fresh fruits and strawberry yoghurt

Frankly, the meal was just alright. While I don’t need to comment on the fruits and the yoghurt, the fried rice tasted bland and was strangely kind of wet. The chewy chicken was not much better and seemed to be a cheap cut. While the pastries were flaky and buttery, they also tasted rather stale. Overall, a mediocre meal. For reference, the following is what the Omelette looks like.

Omelette with Potatoes and Chicken Sausage

What impressed me, however, was the service. Ana and Djajeng were very attentive, regularly passing by to check up on me (and the other passengers). Drink top-ups were also regularly offered, meaning that my glass was never empty. After the meal, Djajeng asked if I’d like anything else to drink. I finally relented and requested for champagne, which was poured at the seat. Garuda Indonesia serves Champagne Henriot Brut Soverain NV, which I found to be quite nice.



Throughout its history, Garuda Indonesia has never been competitive with its inflight entertainment offering. While slightly better than a few years ago, it unfortunately remains quite limited and lacklustre. In total, I counted 69 films loaded onto Garuda’s STARS Entertainment System. This included 24 Hollywood movies (none of them new), as well as 45 international movies (including 29 Indonesian titles). There were also a total of 36 television shows, most of them in Indonesian.

Garuda Indonesia Stars Entertainment
Garuda Indonesia Stars Entertainment

Noise-cancelling Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones were also provided, although they were merely alright. While not a great offering, I reckon it is better than none at all. In addition to the limited AVOD selection, the Airbus A330-900neo is also equipped with an inflight WiFi network. However, due to the short flight time, this was not turned on. Garuda Indonesia’s Colours inflight magazine was also present on this flight.

Literature pocket contents


Given the fairly new nature of the Airbus A330neo, it was to surprise to see the lavatory looking sleek and modern. While its size is identical to those of legacy Airbus A330s, I particularly liked the cool-looking mood lighting over the washbasin. Furthermore, I found the lavatories to be clean and well-kept throughout the flight. Very nice!

Front lavatory
Rear lavatory

In terms of amenities, Garuda Indonesia offers house-branded body lotion, mouthwash, and sanitising wipes. There is even a bottle of Garuda Indonesia Eau de Toilette! While a thoughtful offering, I can’t help but wonder who would be using this.

Lavatory amenities

Bed Mode

Having refreshed myself after the meal, I decided to try out the seat’s flatbed function. Like virtually all flatbed Business Class seats, there is a slight angle when the seat is fully reclined. While the space felt a bit tight, I liked that the footwell was large and roomy. This made the seat feel less constricting when fully reclined.

Seat in bed mode
Seat in bed mode

I also found the provided pillow to be large and firm, making it comfortable for sleep. Regardless, I do wish that Garuda Indonesia would provide a mattress pad of some sort as I found the seat’s padding to be a little too firm.


If anything stood out on this flight, it was the service. With purser Ana at the helm, I have nothing but great things to say about the service on my flight. As I illustrated in my review, the two flight attendants working on my aisle were very warm and polished. Both Ana and Djajeng always referred to me by my name and constantly checked on the cabin to see if we needed anything. While I take SkyTrax Awards with a grain of salt, Garuda Indonesia’s consecutive win for the World’s Best Airline Cabin Crew award lends them a lot of credibility.

Arrival in Singapore


Within 28 minutes before landing, Captain Indra announced our descent’s commencement and thanked us for flying Garuda Indonesia. At this time, Djajeng approached me to fill out a guest satisfaction questionnaire, which I hadn’t seen on a flight in a long time. I did so, commenting on the excellent service but mediocre food and entertainment. Interestingly, I actually got a reply from Garuda Indonesia a month later, who acknowledged my points and would forward them to the respective departments. Hmm…

View inflight
View on approach to Singapore

Anyways, the seatbelt signs were turned on 13 minutes before landing, prompting the crew to prepare the cabin for landing. As the cabin crew went through the cabin, they individually thanked each passenger for flying Garuda Indonesia. What a nice touch.

View over Batam, Indonesia on approach to Singapore
On approach to Singapore


We approached from the south, flying over the islands of Batam before passing the myriad of merchant ships anchored across from East Coast Beach. After flying past the Laguna Golf Club and Tanah Merah Country Club, Singapore Changi Airport soon came into view.

Tanah Merah Country Club
Singapore Changi Airport

We touched down smoothly on Runway 02L at 10.26, 19 minutes early. As we landed, I caught a glimpse of a rare visit by the Moroccan Government’s Boeing 747-400. It later turned out that my journey coincided with King Mohammed VI’s holiday in Singapore. We also passed by a Citilink Airbus A320-200, which had just flown in from Jakarta.

Landing at Changi Airport
Moroccan Government Boeing 747-400
Citilink A320-200
Landing in Singapore
Landing in Singapore

As we exited the runway and taxied towards our gate at Terminal 3, the crew played Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”, which is funny and odd to hear on a Garuda Indonesia flight.

Pacific Airways A320-200
Scoot Boeing 787 landing in Singapore

We soon arrived at our gate, parking next to a Malindo Air (Batik Air Malaysia) Boeing 737-800. After the doors were opened, I profusely thanked the crew before disembarking the beautiful Airbus A330-900neo.

Arrival at the gate
Malindo Air Boeing 737-800
PK-GHG in Singapore


I had a very enjoyable experience on this Garuda Indonesia Business Class flight from Jakarta to Singapore. Despite the disappointing inflight entertainment and the mediocre food, I was blown away by the excellent service from Ana and Djajeng. While I didn’t find the seat to be exceptional, it was near the same level as Singapore Airlines’ regional Business Class product. Overall I’d consider Garuda Indonesia Business Class one of the most comfortable ways to fly between Indonesia and Singapore. As such, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with them again in the future.

Read more from An Emerald Farewell here!

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