Our First Class Long Haul Flight Experience With Garuda Indonesia! Part 3/3

In the last part of this trilogy of Garuda Indonesia first class flight experience, you will see the focus of this post moving away from the hospitality of the in-flight experience.The highlights of this post will be on:
  • the first class escort and lounge services at London Heathrow Airport
  • the in-flight meals and experience on board the London to Jakarta GA87 flight (LHR-CGK)
  • the continuation of the escort and lounge services at Jakarta Soekarno Hatta Airport
  • the in-flight meals and experience on board the connecting flight from Jakarta to Singapore GA822 (CGK-SIN)

Before you start, I will urge you to check out these 2 posts for a complete picture of our flight experience.
Aloha with the every-so-friendly first class cabin service crew

Our first class escort and lounge services at London Heathrow Airport

Having learnt from our past experience of missing our flight in London due to labour strikes on the trains towards Gatwick Airport (Read more about this experience at this blog post), we decided to proceed to the airport from the city centre 3 hours before our flight depart. This would give us ample time for VAT tax refund, shopping and enjoying the lounge facilities. 

Checking in was super smooth because there was no need to queue for a first class counter. The friendly lady in red is our escort. I shall call her Mdm Red because I forgot her name. She was already waiting for us when we are checking in our baggage. We wonder how much it cost for Garuda to arrange for an escort to care for us during our check in at London Heathrow Airport. 


One big tip for VAT tax refund at London Heathrow Airport: Although the website writes that the queuing time is approximately 30 minutes, expect at least 1.5 hours worth of queuing time in order for you to complete the procedures BEFORE check in. You can opt for an Fast Track service ( which means you can jump the queue) but that would cost 10 pounds processing fee per receipt.

There is a much faster way though, just less than 5 minutes. However, this will require you to hand carry your purchased items and do the tax refund via the customs officer within the departure hall after customs clearance. 

Since the VAT tax refund queue was ridiculously long and I may ended up missing my flight if I were to wait, I decided to hand carry my purchased item so I could do it after check in. I relate our challenges to Mdm Red and that's when we found out that there could be arrangements for first class passengers to have their tax refunds settled on time. This could mean either she queue on our behalf while we rest at the lounge or she could negotiate with the customs officer for a faster track at no extra charge. Yup, that's right. But since we only have that one item and are intending to receive the tax refund via credit card, we just got her to lead the way in bringing us to the respective counters.

We were led to the No.1 lounge inside Heathrow airport and then into a private club room by Mdm Red. Only first class passengers use this private space, away from the common area. 

The usual cost of entering this lounge is £40 per adult and £18 per child (aged 2-11 years old) if entry is purchased at the lounge.


The privacy of having our own space.

Starting it off with a champagne

Unlike the one at Changi airport, the lounge at Heathrow airport had service attendants who will serve food and drinks from a separate menu, exclusive to the first class passengers. We decided to try out their risottos. The portions ain't super big, which leaves some room for more feasting to come when we board the plane.

Fish risotto

Chicken risotto. I think it taste like porridge

Besides food and drinks, the lounge had children friendly facilities, a cinema, simple buffet table and a spa and massage services. My favourite would be their shower facilities! Since we are going on a night flight, having a shower before going boarding made me feel so fresh. The shower room is a hotel suite standard shower room with L'Occitaine shower amenities. Love it~~!!





Children's play area inside the lounge


London to Jakarta GA87 flight (LHR-CGK)

For this return flight, Mr OOPS seat selection is at 2K, a window seat.


If you are keen to know about the seat, welcome drinks, headphones, it's pretty much the same as our previous flight on Singapore to Amsterdam GA88 flight.

Once again, the delicious caviar~ SEDAP~

So what's so special inside this first class amenity kit? The most outstanding items are the Hermes's perfumed body lotion (40ml) and moisturizing face emulsion (15ml). The scent from the body lotion and emulsion is refreshing and had a minty yet citrus scent. These 2 are the perfect solutions on long haul flights whereby our skin gets super dehydrated. It gets absorbed into the skin so easily! *my new favourite* The other items had no specific brands labelled on it. But all stated Garuda's First Class. I'm most amused to see the wooden massage hair brush. It's of such good quality that I'm still using it to brush my hair! This is super thoughtful as our hair always gets messy after sleeping. A bonus point for travel-holics because it is palm sized! The blackout blindfold and earplugs can ensure a good night sleep without disturbance!


One of the best joys of first class is the fine dining experience. Let's start it off with some wine tasting experience.

The Billecart Salmon Brut Rose champagne from France
A sweet champagne with a pretty pink colour.

L'Andrea wine from Italy's Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio
A strong red which was too overpowering for me, non-regular drinker~

A taste of "Baby GAM", Mitolo's Jester Shiraz 2014 from Australia
Definitely a red which I love

One of the best companions to red wine, OLIVES and CHEESE!!

Shortly after take off, it was DINNER time. Let's just say the last thing you can feel in a first class cabin is HUNGER. Hehe.






What's after dinner? BED TIME!!!! I'm missing my comfortable bed, a bed which I experience no jerks while onboard the plane!


Halfway into the flight, I started to crave for SUPPER. I requested for instant noodles, the best comfort food ever. It amazed me when my instant noodles is cooked so professionally!


Welcoming sunrise on the plane

Now, let's move on to BREAKFAST~!!!!! It's such a joy for us to have breakfast together with Mrs OOPS.




Scrambled egg set

French Toast set

The beautiful sunny side up


Before alighting, I was served with a snack~ the skewers delight. Basically it is satay of different flavours. It's so interesting since it is served with the traditional ketupat. Just disappointed that it does not have enough sauce.


It is with great happiness that we reached Jakarta safely! The view from above is just amazing. Look at the beautiful rivers!


Lounge Services At Jakarta Soekarno Hatta Airport For Connecting Flight To Singapore

The lounge is decent with a decent spread of food and comfortable seats. It has free WIFI! The lounge gave us a good view of the sunset and arriving planes.

Since Jakarta is Garuda Indonesia's homeground, we were expecting a more luxurious airport lounge.. maybe something comparable to the one at London Heathrow airport? Have to admit we were a little disappointed when we were there.






Flight experience on connecting flight from Jakarta to Singapore GA822 (CGK-SIN)

Just when we thought that the first class experience ends the moment we reach Jakarta, we were surprised that it continues even from our return flight to Singapore from Jakarta.We had 2 crew to pick us up from the lounge and lead us directly to our plane.


After clearing security checks, we went onboard a private bus that fetches only both of us and the 2 service crew to the plane. Meanwhile we saw the rest of the passengers squeezing onto another bus. It's not an unfamiliar sight since we would usually be squeezing in those buses too. LOL. 

Due to rainy weather, we were sheltered with umbrellas to our plane. The crew also helped us to take this photo after we told them we want a photo with the plane. (Usually you will be asked to faster board the plane and keep your camera.
Onboard the Jakarta to Singapore flight~! Mrs OOPS is on business class. Clearly the seats are very different from the long haul flights as it is a different aircraft. No 180 degrees reclining seats. It's just a wider than usual kind of seat. The in-flight entertainment also had lesser and older movies as compared to LHR-CGK flight.

One thing similar is the champagne that would be served the moment you board the plane. Sedap!


In-flight meal for business class GA822.

Maybe we had this flight right after such an epic first class experience, so this experience only felt okay but not great. But honestly, it was decent and comparable to our favourite homebrand, Singapore Airlines.

Afterthoughts:

Let's just say we are totally pampered after this flight experience. Prior to this, we have always seen an airplane as just a transportation tool that ferry us from one country to another. Things have changed! We saw how the flight itself is a 'tour' on its own. I guess from reading our post, you can tell that the experience is definitely a mind blowing one. 

It is no wonder why the airline charges high for such extra premium seats. The amount of manpower, space in the plane, type of service and food and even the pre and post flight service all plays a part. I have to say the more lasting impressions would be the awesome hospitality by the service crew. They were super polite and patient with all our requests. Looks like Garuda Airlines is all ready to prove themselves worthy for luxury travellers.

Personally we are aware that this first class experience is a luxury which we will not splurge on given our income and priorities in life. But now the tables are turned! This 90% discount for miles redemption experience earned our trust in Garuda Airlines. It motivated us to work harder towards our miles redemption because we see the value in doing so!

I also want to leave one special shoutout to The Milelion . Because if not for his blog post that announced about the 90% Off Miles Redemption, we will never be able to experience this epic experience at such an affordable rate of SGD$2000. (Read more about it at our previous blog entry: Our 90% Off Miles Redemption For Garuda First Class, Business Class and Economy Class Tickets, Confirmed!THANKYOU!

That's all folks.
Mr OOPS

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