As we rushed to pick up water bottles before we boarded the inaugural flight (April 23) of Garuda Airlines from Mumbai-Denpasar-Bali, a Garuda official gently told us, “You will get water in the flight. And, also milk tea in the morning. We have taken care to ensure that the taste of Indian travellers has been accommodated in our inflight services.”
His words matched with our experiences. There were decent vegetarian eating options, sweet buns and juice served by courteous flight attendants. Beer and wine too were offered. And, yes, next morning we were served milk tea/coffee.
But before we come to the landing of the aircraft at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, we must mention the entertainment options available in the flight — movies (check), music (check) — for both adults and kids. Another highlight is of course space, or enough space, despite travelling Economy class.
On our way back we made the most of creature comforts that come with travelling in Business class. A champagne flute or juice was offered on arrival. Soon after we settled in, we were served food, sweets, nuts and what not! We chomped on them as we flew over the archipelago with the sea glistening down below. Later as the aircraft climbed higher and higher, the sights outside the window changed — even a rainbow cannot pack in the colours of the skies as seen from that altitude! Soothing, mesmerising skies kept us comforted as we found it a little difficult to bid farewell to a wonderful host country and at the same time looked forward to landing at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai.
Bringing two countries closer
The flight introduced by Garuda can be your pick if you are travelling to Indonesia and further ahead to Australia.
Thanks to our shared cultural and now even political and economic interests, the relations between India and Indonesia are poised for a new breakthrough. Giving it a momentum of sorts is the introduction of the direct flight between Bali and Mumbai. The inflow of Indian tourists and hopefully the billion dollar wedding industry will cement the relations further.
Kishore Bukane, Sales Manager, Garuda Indonesia India, on how the Indian tourists will benefit from this service.
What’s the frequency of Garuda flight from Mumbai-Denpasar? It was mentioned that the frequency will go up to thrice a week.
Currently, Garuda Indonesia operates its direct flight two times a week (Monday and Thursday). Starting June 2, 2018, we will include Saturday operations as well.
Presuming that the flights to Denpasar/Bali are full, are we also getting an influx of Indonesian tourists to India?
We are starting to see a rise in the inbound tourists from Indonesia to India. Considering it has been only nine flights operated from inaugural date, it is a little too early to see a trend.
Can we know about the fare?
Our inaugural launch fare was Rs 22,956/- for Economy class and Rs 86,410/- for Business class. We also run periodic offers to ensure our fares are attractive.
How does the timing of the flight sets it apart from other airlines operating in the same region?
We depart India at 21:50 and reach just in time for breakfast at 07:55 next morning. This gives you the entire day to explore when you reach Bali. Also, early arrival helps you to connect to onward Indonesia destinations such as Jakarta, Bandung, Lombok, Jogjakarta, Labuan Bajo, Sumatra.
Garuda Indonesia also helps you to take flights to Australian cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
On return, we depart at 15:40 which means you can checkout from the hotel at the usual time, indulge in some last minute sightseeing or shopping and then head over to the airport.
If you are staying in Kuta or Nusa Dua area, the airport is barely a 30-minutes drive, and considering it is afternoon time, the traffic usually is light.
To summarise, arriving early in Bali helps you to explore Indonesia or connect to Australia, and have a packed yet comfortable itinerary, to make your holiday full of memories.
Tell us about the target projection for the financial year. How does Garuda expect to fare in India?
The demand to travel to Indonesia is increasing and we are well equipped to be able to serve passenger requests. Considering the convenience of the direct and India’s only non-stop flight between Mumbai and Bali, we are poised to take advantage of this growing surge. We cannot quote you the numbers at the moment though.
Is the airline also looking to start direct flights from other parts of the country, especially Delhi?
We are currently evaluating certain routes and hope to announce new additions as soon as they are ready.
Is there any data available of the travellers, especially about the number of passengers travelling from Pune?
We are seeing a steady traffic from Pune and other Maharashtra cities. We do see a fantastic participation from Pune-based travel agents and companies whenever there are travel roadshows and events in Pune. This clearly indicates that the residents are well read and open to travel to Indonesia and go further than just visit Bali or Jakarta.