In my initial thoughts on Garuda Indonesia’s First Class Lounge in Jakarta, I focused on a few shortcomings. This review will help balance out what Garuda can improve upon with what it does well.
I opted for a 3pm pickup from my hotel, wanting to avoid some of the rush hour traffic returning to the airport. That proved to be a wise choice. Although the streets in central Jakarta were crowded, once we got on the highway traffic moved quickly. Unlike my Uber ride in, there was no accident.
Although I had pre-reserved a Mercedes E-Class, I ended up with a Toyota Alphard which was perfectly fine. Inside the van was sparkling water and a chilled towel.
As we pulled up to Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, two Garuda representatives, Nanda and Roni, stepped out to meet me. Roni grabbed my bag from the trunk and Nanda warmly greeted me and escorted me inside. This felt like how a secret service detail moves a dignitary – the pace was fast — and so I only have one exterior picture.
Inside the terminal we walked directly past the check-in desks and through a doorway marked first and business class.
We proceeded down the escalator and into the — vacant — first class lounge. I would have it to myself for the first few hours. Nanda took my passport and asked me to make myself comfortable and that she and Roni would take care of all check-in and immigration formalities.
Garuda Indonesia First Class Photo Tour
A lounge attendant came over with a tray a trio of canapés, a fruit plate, and a bottle of sparkling water. He also flipped on the baby grand piano, which began playing popular classic tunes.
When he saw I had removed my coat, he brought over a coat rack, which I thought was a nice touch.
Next, he presented a food and beverage menu and wondered if I wanted to eat–
I ordered nachos…I could not resist. Although they were missing jalapeños and guacamole, it was still a nice snack. The chips were also broken…
Garuda Indonesia First Class Showers
After the snack I asked to shower and was immediately escorted to one of the two shower rooms. The room itself was very elegant, with stonework throughout and nice L’Occitane amenities, but the hot water only lasted for five minutes. I do not need more than five minutes to shower, but I do when I shave as well so while I got the shaving done, it made for a lukewarm shower after.
When I returned to my cubicle, the (clearly finished) nachos were still sitting on my table. That is simply sloppy service. In fact, the nachos sat there for another two hours until a lounge boss in a suit came over to check on me and took it.
Garuda Indonesia First Class Lounge Jakarta Wi-Fi
Internet was painfully slow in the lounge — practically useless. I had intended to get loads of work done during the long lounge stay but ended up getting very little done. Not clearing the dishes or having hot water is one thing, but non-functioning interest was the ultimate annoyance.
A Dutch family showed up with a little three or four year old who ran wildly around the lounge. The little brat ended up flying in front of me on the journey to Amsterdam, but was much better behaved on board.
Garuda Indonesia First Class Lounge Jakarta “Spa”
Inside the lounge is a “reflexology” area which is essentially just two chairs in a small room. When I asked about it, I was told there is no service available “today”. The Premier Lounge (Priority Pass) upstairs has tremendous foot massages ($6/30 minutes) and much faster internet. I honestly wish I had just gone upstairs.
Garuda Indonesia First Class Lounge Jakarta Smoking Room
If you’re a smoker, the lounge has a private smoking room.
Garuda Indonesia First Class Lounge Dining
Dining was a mixed bag. I ordered a caesar salad with tagliatelle pasta which came out very nice, minus the spam beef on the side of the pasta. I appreciated the small portions and how aesthetically pleasing the plating was.
After dinner I ordered a cappuccino with a stroopwaffel. The waiter informed me there was no stroopwaffels. So I ordered red velvet cake. The waiter informed me there was no red velvet cake. So I ordered oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The waiter informed me there were no oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. So I finally asked him what was available and he brought me the following–
Two almond cookies with Carr crackers. An interesting dessert to say the least, but the cappuccino was nicely done.
It was not just me — the Dutch family ordered Japanese noodles with white fish and was told there was no fish.
Garuda either needs to update its menu or ensure that all items are properly stocked. I can understand, I suppose, why there is no guacamole when avocados are out of season, but no white fish? That is not first class service.
This is a fairly harsh review because I believe Garuda can easily improve on every single complaint mentioned above. These are all issues within its control and minor adjustments, especially the internet, will make a huge difference in future visits.
The Garuda First Class lounge is not on par with the great first class lounges in the world…yet, but was still a comfortable place with good food to wait for my flight.