After flying on Thai Airways into Bali, I had a sneak peek at how a retired B737-200 is turning into a luxury private jet villa with amazing ocean views from the cliff. It should be opening later this year for a stay. Take a look inside:


It was a Sunday evening, so Bali Airport was very busy. After the dedicated Business Class section check-in, I visited the Garuda Indonesia domestic lounge which has 2 floors.

a building with a staircase and two floors
The lounge has a decent amount of Indonesian snacks and food on offer.
The lounge has a decent amount of Indonesian snacks and food on offer.
a trays of pastries on a table
Garuda Indonesia Lounge Satay
Garuda Indonesia Lounge Satay
Garuda has really warm hospitable ground crew
Garuda has a really warm hospitable ground crew

Flight GA417 Denpasar to Jakarta

My flight was operated by Garuda A330-300, PK-GPZ which celebrates the carrier's 74th anniversary. The livery is called Kembara Angaksa designed by @rainhard

a large white airplane with blue and white design on it
Warm welcome by Garuda Indonesia crew
Warm welcome by the Garuda Indonesia crew

Before boarding, there was an announcement about facing covering requirements.

This A330 has the super diamond 1-2-1 individual seats as some older Garuda Indonesia A330 still have 2-2-2 angle lie-flat seats.

a row of seats on an airplane
the inside of an airplane with seats and windows
a tv screen with a water bottle and a towel on a table

The flight was full with 289 passengers. We departed on time.

Despite the high fare Garuda is charging, the flight remains full and popular. I prefer flying on wide-body aircraft, all other airlines were using A320 or B737 narrowbody between Bali and Jakarta.

Our departure time coincided with the breaking fast time during Ramadan. An announcement was made and drinks were handed out immediately.

a woman wearing a mask and gloves holding a tray with drinks and beverages
fresh Mung Bean juice
fresh Mung Bean juice

After takeoff, dinner is served in both Business and Economy Classes.

a man and woman in a plane
a tray of food on a table
Dinner was served on a tray with salad, main course (beef black bean sauce), dessert and prawn cracker

I also observed the service in Economy Class which is quite impressive. For 90 minutes flight, you get a snack, drink and hot tray of food.

Garuda Indonesia Economy Class meal - Chicken Bintutu
Garuda Indonesia Economy Class meal - Chicken Bintutu
Garuda Indonesia Economy Class meal - Seafood Goreng (fried noodle)
Garuda Indonesia Economy Class meal - Seafood Goreng (fried noodles)

We landed on time in Jakarta with no significant weather issues.

Overall, it was a pleasant experience with Garuda Indonesia.

an airplane wing and city at night


Garuda Indonesia is well known to have some of the best cabin crew, which reflects Indonesian hospitality. The crew made me feel their warmth and ease during the flight.

Garuda is facing many legacy issues and undergoing restructuring. I met up with Garuda Indonesia CEO Irfan Setiaputra. During my video interview, I enquired about the future of Garuda Indonesia and how it can compete with other airlines.

The CEO was frank and said Garuda may not have the wide network or most modern fleet, but the airline is focusing on small things like treating passengers right. Find out more from the video.