Garuda Indonesia; the National Carrier

Garuda Indonesia has always been a great supporter of Bali hotels. Without it, tourism would not have evolved so fast and consistent as it did. In olden days, the only airline serving Bali and other islands was the national airlines. 

I know it for a very long time. The first time I heard the name I was working for a Swiss tour operator. I was sent to the Far East to accompany a group of tourists. We flew with Garuda from Hong Kong to Jakarta and further on to the magical island of Bali. This is more than 30 years ago, wow. A little bit lower on this page you can read my personal story; how I traveled with Garuda and even represented the company and Indonesia for many years. 

It always has been and still is today a full service airline. I guess the national airline should be the pride of the country. The service is very friendly and Asian inspired so is the name. The Garuda bird or eagle is a mythical plane or mode of transportation for the God Vishnu. Watch the Ramayana story in dance form either at a full moon ceremony at the central Javanese temples of Borobudur or Prambanan or the famous Ketchak dance in Bali to understand this.

Garuda used to imitate international service standards; and being on time was a huge challenge for many years. Today Indonesia and also Garuda understand the special value their own culture offers. On board guests are treated to the ‘Garuda Indonesia Experience’ which is specializing in showcasing Indonesia’s multicultural background through all five senses and they extend this service not just to the flight but also before guests step on board and after they have left the aircraft. They are truly providing a 5 star experience. 

This service of course also includes all the amenities and services international travelers are used to, punctuality, exquisitely prepared and presented food and drinks, comfortable seats with modern technology and Indonesian friendliness in service. 

Airlines and Hotels Need to Constantly Innovate

As much as the hotel industry has changed and adapted to guests demands; so have airlines. As today we have a vast hospitality industry with all kinds of rooms to rent, so do we have different classes of carriers to choose from. And you as a modern traveler can have the experience you want when you want it. 

Garuda Indonesia’s Improvements to Set Them Apart from Low Cost Competition:

- In the 1980 Garuda overhauled and restructured its operation. It saw the need for the Garuda Indonesia Training Center and redesigned the orange logo to a blue sleeker version.

- From being the national air carrier Garuda has evolved and modernized not only their planes and maintenance facilities, but also the ownership, it became a public company after the initial public offering in February 2011

- It is a Sky Team member, see more information here

- IATA member Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)

- Skytrax London has given Garuda Indonesia the following awards:

  • Best Regional Airlines in the World
  • Best Economy Class in the World
  • Best cabin crew in the World

How I got ‘Stuck’ with Garuda Indonesia 

I was on a Garuda flight to Bali to represent my company for the second time around; when a handsome gentlemen in a stylish suit and tie approached me with the following greeting. “Halo Monika, it is very nice to see you again.” I pretended to sleep, I did not remember this guy or where I met him. He continued: “Is Garuda service to your satisfaction, did you have your lunch? I would like to invite you for a little meeting, maybe in front where the seats are more comfortable? We could have coffee like the first time we met when Mr. Burhan Sales Manger Garuda in Bali introduced us.”

Oh now I remembered. And the whole ticket booking nightmare in the Bali office came back to me. I had already warned my head office that this was going to be a big problem. Of course I wanted to hear what he had to say. “I m replacing Mr. Burhan and I know Monika, that our reservation system is complicated. Here is my name card. When you come to the Garuda office, just ask for me, you do not have to wait in line, I will personally make sure that your groups arrive at their destinations.” 

He fulfilled his promise and not just to me but all tour operators got his help. I though, was invited into his personal office and was served Coca-Cola. My head office always wondered how come I was able to solve all our booking problems with Garuda no matter how impossible the request was. The name of this amazing Garuda sales manger was Toto Sugiarto, he became my husband and that is how I got to love and represent Garuda all over the world. 

Read about how to get to Bali and more details concerning what low cost carriers offer part one and part two.

The budget Tom put together for Bali also makes much sense for all Indonesia.

On this site you will find descriptions on many hotels; here some beyond Bali

Jakarta: Harris Suites FX Sudirman 

Jogjakarta: Green Host Hotel

Cirebon: Aston Hotel

Puncak, 2 hours south of the capital: Villa Tunas Alam Mutiara

Garuda Indonesia

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