Flight test: Strictly business to Bali

17:00, Apr 12 2014
Garuda Indonesia
TO BALI: Garuda Indonesia was awarded the SkyTrax award in 2013 for best economy class.

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THE ROUTE: Melbourne to Denpasar.

THE PLANE: Airbus A330-300.

THE LOYALTY SCHEME: In March, the airline became the 20th member of global airline alliance SkyTeam. Passengers can earn frequent flyer points with airlines including KLM, China Southern and Air France.

UP THE BACK OR POINTY END? Business class, 5E.


TIME IN THE AIR: Six hours. On-time arrival, despite two delays of 10 minutes each before boarding.

THE SEAT STUFF: Seat pitch of 74 inches (187.9 centimetres) and width of 20.8 inches (53cm). Two areas of 2-2-2 layout for a total of 42 cloth seats reclining to an almost flat bed (165 degrees) in shell-like structures. There's a massage function available on the seat control panel.

BAGGAGE: Checked baggage of 40 kilograms plus one carry-on bag and one handbag. Surfer and golfer types should note that there is an additional allowance of up to 23kg for equipment.

COMFORT FACTOR: Adjustable reading light and nooks for shoes, glasses and tablet storage. Excellent noise-cancelling headphones, soft rug and pillow. A L'Occitane amenities kit includes socks and toothbrush.

THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT: There are 35 feature films, 10 channels of sitcoms and television, 48 music albums and 25 interactive games. The inflight magazine has a children's section, and from October passengers will be able to access live television from six stations, including CNN International and BBC World, on the entertainment screen. There are power jacks for Mac and PC to recharge your devices.

THE SERVICE: Timing is spot-on during meal service and I am never without bottled water delivered by courteous flight attendants. Noodles are served to other passengers outside the meal time, and when walking around the cabin I am encouraged to help myself to the snacks and drinks in the galley.

FEEDING TIME: A pretty Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose or juice to start. Wines include d'Arenberg The Stump Jump riesling from South Australia and Johnny Quarisa cabernet sauvignon. Canapes are served before lunch of either chicken breast or mushroom cannelloni.

I opt for the Indonesian-style prawns with steamed rice and beans in coconut milk. To finish, it's dark-chocolate pudding with honeycomb cream or fresh fruit. Caffeine addicts should note that Nescafe is the only coffee served, but there's a decent selection of teas, including peppermint and English breakfast.

ONE MORE THING: Business-class passengers get access to the Qantas Business Class Lounges from Australia before the flight.

THE VERDICT: In 2013, SkyTrax awarded the airline world's best economy class. Further forward, comfort is backed by attentive service. The 2007 ban on the airline flying over European Union airspace was lifted in 2009 in recognition of improved safety standards.

In September 2012, the airline received IOSA accreditation - compliance with global best-practice standards for flight operations, aircraft maintenance and safety management systems - for a further two years.

THE FREQUENCY: Once daily from Sydney and Melbourne to Denpasar.

Tested by Jane Reddy, who flew courtesy of Four Seasons, Bali.