I’ve really enjoyed this holiday. I had a great time and I think Australia is just a brilliant visit. It has so much to offer and the people are really friendly. Just as long as you can ignore the fact that many of the world’s most dangerous animals live here…
I spend that last two days of my trip in St. Kilda, which is a suburb of Melbourne. I rather like the place. Parts of it are quite run down and overall it comes across as the Australian interpretation of the British seaside resort.
Oh yeah, and the weather was just brilliant!
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
My flight will be departing at 07h45, which is too early for me to catch the Skybus. The first service from St. Kilda doesn’t depart until 06h30, which is too late. So it’ll have to be a taxi this time, which will set you back about AUD80. I think this is rather steep for a journey of not even thirty minutes. But then again, I find that generally speaking the cost of living is quite expensive in Australia.
Garuda checks in on row F of the international terminal. There are two separate queues for Business Class and SkyPriority passengers.
In any case, passengers travelling in Garuda Business Class are entitled to use the priority lane for security. But that is hardly an issue this morning, given that the international terminal is really quiet.
Once I’m airside, I’m hoping to find a shop that sells Tim Tams, which are, in my view, Australia’s best contribution to the world. Tim Tams are these chocolate covered biscuits that taste absolutely divine. Just a piece of advice though: if you’re thinking of taking some of these delectable goodies home with you from your trip to Oz, get them at Woolworths in the city, where a packet will cost you around AUD3.80. If you buy them at the airport, it’ll cost you AUD6.80 for one packet of AUD5.- if you’re getting four packets.
They call it a bargain, I call it a rip off!
Garuda uses the Qantas Business Class lounge in Melbourne, which I already covered in a previous trip report pretty much a year ago when I flew Qatar Airways from Melbourne to Doha and then on to Frankfurt.
Apparently there was a delay on the inbound flight from Denpasar, so instead of 07h15, eventually boarding starts at 07h45. As a result, we depart thirty minutes late. However, the flight time is announced to be slightly over six hours, which is significantly less than the scheduled flight time, which is given as seven hours and five minutes.
There is a separate lane for SkyPriority passengers.
Garuda operates the A 330-300 in two different cabin configurations. Version 1 has 215 seats in Economy and 42 seats in Business Class, while version 2 has 239 seats in Economy and only 24 in Business Class.
The Business Class seat in the version 1 configuration is similar to the one Air France has on some of its aircraft. The width is 20.8 inches, and the pitch is 60 inches. The seat is comfortable enough. Of course, it’s not as private at the resvers herring bone configuration, but given that this is a day flight of only six hourse, I think it’s perfectly fine. The seats are in a traditional 2 + 2 + 2 configuration.
One draw back though, is that there is next to no storage space on this seat. But at least the seat next to me stays empty on today’s flight, so I can park my things there.
And just one final rant: the armrest in the middle, so between my seat and the neighbouring one, is higher up than the one on the window side, which is just feels awkward.
CREW & SERIVCE
But despite the seat, a good crew can go a long way to make up for all sorts of short comings. And this is where Garuda really shines, I think. No sooner have I taken my seat that a crew member approaches me, welcomes me by my name and takes my jacket to hang in the closet. She also brings me a cold, scented towel and a glass of orange juice.
There is a pillow and a blanket already at my seat. In addition, there are two English language newspapers, the amenity kit, the menus and a bottle of still water at the seat.
The amenity kit includes slippers.
The breakfast service begins with another glass of orange juice and a bowl of cashew nuts.
Then the tray arrives with the fruit, yoghurt and the pastries. I really like the presentation of the meal and the tray. The only things that is perhaps not so nice is that the yoghurt is still in its original plastic container.
Once I finish with the fruit, the plate is removed and I am brought a new set of cutlery for the main course. I’ve decided to go with the Western breakfast, which includes scrambled eggs that are freshly prepared on board, a veal sausage, mushrooms, tomato, potatoes and the Australian interpretation of baked beans.
The meal is good. Moreover, the portions are quite decent. The meal concludes with the coffee. And after that, I think I need to nap. It was an early start this morning.
SECOND (and THIRD) SERVICE
About two hours later I wake up again feeling hungry, so I order the noodle soup from the snack menu.
What I don’t realise, is that there is actually a second service on this flight, which is served about 90 minutes out of Jakarta. I go with the selection of satay, which tastes really good.
Eventually we start our descent. But the weather in the Jakarta is quite bad. And so we spend quite a while doing circuits in fairly rough conditions before eventually we are cleared for the approach. We land at 10h40, slightly behind schedule.
As we taxi in, we pass quite a few derelict aircraft is varying stages of repair or decay. A Boeing 747 that is being scrapped very nearly breaks my little heart. How can people do this…?
The new terminal is a vast improvement over thew old one. I kind of get the feeling though, that’s it’s not entirely finished yet, and there are closed off areas everywhere.
If you’re travelling on an EU passport, you’re probably going to need a vist for Indonesia. This can be obtained on arrival. You have to have USD35 in cash on you. Fortunately, the terminal is very quiet when I arrive, and so the whole procedure is easy and painless.
To be continued…