Well, it was bound to happen. When they asked me what kind of berries I wanted, I just assumed every aspect of the Garuda experience would blow me away. The first class lounge did not.
I will compare Garuda to the best lounges of the world, for it is only fair to the carrier that has one of the best first class products in the world.
Garuda Ground Services
It all started so promising. A black executive van picked me up from my hotel and made great time to the airport. A wonderful staff of two were waiting to greet me and escorted me directly into the first class lounge. Then things went downhill, relatively speaking of course.
Garuda’s first class lounge is one level below the business class lounge. It is spacious for the limited number of first class flights each day and offers à la carte dining.
Problem #1 – The internet was incredibly slow
This is HUGE in my book. I would have just stayed at the Hyatt and worked in the Grand Club for four more hours had I known the internet would be so unusably slow. This wasn’t the sort of problem where it worked intermittently with spurts of fast speeds and spurts of lag: it just crawled the entire six hours I was in the lounge. This reduced my productivity tremendously. It seems to be a problem throughout the airport as the Priority Pass lounges I visited during my last trip were the same.
I concede many first class passengers probably do not care about internet, but I certainly do and it placed a huge stress point on my visit.
Problem #2 – The à la carte menu lacked three items I ordered
When I arrived into the lounge I was not very hungry, but I noticed a “Nachos & Cinnamon Tortilla” snack (tossed with guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese cream, jalapeños) that sounded promising.
I ordered it, but when it arrived there was no guacamole or jalapeños. Most of the chips were broken as well. A waiter informed me that there was no avocados or jalapeños available. Fine, but take it off the menu then…
Later on I asked for a stroopwaffel with cappuccino, since stroopwaffels are specifically listed on the menu. There were none.
Then I asked for red velvet cookies, which were on the menu. There were none.
Oatmeal chocolate chip? Nope, though it was on the menu.
Finally I said what do you have and the waiter brought me a plate of Carr crackers with two almond cookies.
Problem #3 – Just a few minutes of hot water in the shower
Some people shower in the morning, some at night — I like to shower before going to bed. So prior to my flight I asked to use the shower. The shower rooms are very nice but after just a few minutes the hot water was gone and remained lukewarm for about five more minutes until I just gave up.
As I said above, this is all relative and I had a great meal in the lounge and found the amenities quite nice overall, but there is no doubt that it fell short of expectations. I’ll publish a full lounge review as part of the trip report coming up soon.
Garuda has a great first class product — really great — but if it wants to be the best of the best it does have some areas to improve on its flagship lounge.