Airline Review: Melbourne to Bali, Economy Class with Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia is one of the few airlines to offer a five-star, full-service flight from Australia to holiday hotspot Bali – and the first to win The World’s Best Cabin Crew from Skytrax for five consecutive years.

Direct flights to Bali depart Sydney, Melbourne and Perth five to seven times a week, while direct flights to Jakarta depart four to five times a week.

Luxury Escapes writer Anna Tabrah reviews the economy-class experience from Melbourne to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

I have a confession to make: I quite like flying long haul. Disconnecting from the internet, back-to-back movies and G&Ts no matter the time of day – what’s not to love? For me, the flight is part of the experience and something you sacrifice if travelling shorter distances or on budget airlines.

The six hours it takes to get from Melbourne to Bali are a bit of an awkward in between. Most airlines assume it’s short enough to skip the full service and entertainment. So, when I heard Garuda Indonesia was offering all the best bits of long-haul travel even in economy, I was excited. Here’s my breakdown of the journey.

Service: Upon boarding, friendly cabin crew greet passengers and point them in the direction of their seats. Maybe I’m just lucky, but it seems less of a manic rush than I’ve experienced on other airlines: could it be that Garuda Indonesia has worked out a boarding system that makes sense?
I don’t personally have much interaction with the crew beside the usual food service, but I notice them attending to other passengers’ requests quickly and efficiently and they’re generally very friendly.

Amenities: Each seat pocket has a small bottle of water and flight attendants hand out zipped pouches containing an eye mask, earplugs and socks. There’s the standard in-flight magazine and a catalogue offering a good selection of Duty-Free to purchase.

Food & Drink: Not long into our flight we’re offered a drink and a small packet of nuts. I have a G&T, of course. The main meal comes along soon after, consisting of a chicken curry with rice, a small salad, bread roll and a cake. The curry is pretty good for aeroplane food, but the roll is dry and strangely sweet. Overall, it’s a satisfying enough meal. A couple of hours before landing we get a mango ice cream bar, which is delicious and refreshing.

Comfort: I’m lucky enough to be fairly short, so leg space isn’t a huge issue for me. I feel relatively comfortable throughout, helped by the fact that I have a spare seat next to me so I can spread out my belongings. For economy class, it seems spacious, the seat reclines and there’s even a footrest.

Entertainment: There’s a solid selection of TV shows and movies on the in-flight entertainment programme, including a few recent releases. I’ve downloaded a show I’m bingeing on my iPad so stick with that but could easily have found something to enjoy on board.

Overall: I’ve been well fed, entertained and even managed to get a little nap in thanks to the eye mask and earplugs. Oh, and I’ve had my G&T. I can confirm that flying full service from Melbourne to Bali with Garuda Indonesia is well worth it!

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