Absolutely flawless? Yes, George Michael, I think so too.
Aircraft Type: A330-200
Class: Economy Class
Flight Time: 7:13
Best For: 5-star service between Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia
The Crowd: A mix of Chinese holiday goers connecting to Bali, as well as Indonesians returning home after a holiday in China
Routes: This route, and many others to Northeast Asia, form the bread and butter of Garuda’s widebody operation
Best Bits: It’s not a very full flight, so passengers can have at least 1 seat to themselves
Worst Bits: I did not manage to get a window seat
Garuda Indonesia A330-200 Economy Class Report
Over the past couple of days, I had grown to love Beijing a lot, so I was a little sad that I was leaving. GA891 departs at 0630hrs on some days, and is the first international departure out of Beijing-Capital International Airport’s Terminal 2. To get there, I assisted the help of the hotel to call a cab, and within 7 minutes, the cab had arrived to take me, one final time, to Beijing airport.
The cab driver, sensing I was foreign, took me for a ride along the Beijing-Harbin Expressway, 5th Ring and 2nd Airport Expressway. Fortunately, I called him out on his detour, and was charged just CNY 100 instead of the CNY 150 that the route had taken us on. The shortest route, via the 3rd Ring and Airport Expressway usually costs CNY 80, but I gave him the CNY 100 to settle things amicably.
On The Ground
Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 2 is a small and reasonably sized terminal, so it’s a relatively short walk from the check-in counters to the immigration counters and onwards to the gates. I admire the megastructures like Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Seoul Incheon and Hong Kong International Airport, but as far as real usability comes, the smaller the terminal, the happier I am. This was particularly prominent given that all my buffer time had been absorbed by the unnecessary long cab ride to the airport. I narrowly missed the cut-off check-in time.
There was a consequence, though. The system, I was told, had shut itself, so my seat requests couldn’t be acceeded to. I was advised that the flight was far from full, and I could reseat myself once aboard.
With not much time left, I couldn’t grab breakfast, and proceeded to the smoking lounge conveniently located beside the gate. As I stubbed my first cigarettes, boarding was called.
When I realized that I had 4 seats to myself (3 later inflight, because a Chinese lady left her husband’s side to give him more space), and the fact that I had approximately 33 to 34″ pitch, I was not going to move – it was an opportunity in a lifetime, and I was going to maximize it. So, I dropped my plans to move to a window seat to video document the flight, and just focused on comfort. I suspect it’s this freedom of space that alleviated any jet lag that might have developed.
I was famished by the time breakfast was served, so I was really looking forward to breakfast. Unlike the outbound flight, the overwhelming majority of the passengers gravitated to the Asian beef and egg dish, which means I had to settle for yet another intercontinental breakfast. Considering the quick turnover, I expected that the meal would be catered out of Jakarta, but it appears that the food was loaded in Beijing. There was a noticeable difference in the quality – particularly the omelette and sausage, they tasted as if they were cooked not too long ago. Fresh, I’d say.
2 hours before arrival, we were served a roast beef foccacia sandwich which was surprisingly delicious.
After that, several drink runs were conducted, and mineral water bottles were served before service was ended. We were left to our own devices, as I once again, stocked up on movies. There was X-Men: Days of Future Past, so I watched that, twice. What can I say? I love that film.
What can I say? Another flawless flight, Garuda Indonesia. If they keep this up, I might fly them next year to Australia.