Welcome to my trip report on Garada's CRJ-1000!
Flying the CRJ1000 is one of my priorities for this trip. Garuda is the only airline in Asia to operate this model and there are less than 50 CRJ-1000 flying worldwide. Garuda is probably the biggest operator of this type with 12 operating for the airline. I hope there won't be any last-minute equipment change an that would frustrating. The last thing I want is to fly on the more common type, the 737-800.
I have been on the CRJ-1000 once at the Singapore Air Show in 2012. I was fortunate to be able to board and have a first impression look at the inside of the aircraft. Brit Air was kind to send that plane over to showcase that aircraft to Garuda and other potential operators.
About Garuda's website
Garuda's website is managed by Amadeus. Website is pretty much basic but it does what it supposed to do. No problems with the booking. I purchased my ticket for this flight for around S$50, a bargain if you ask me! Do check the flights before you book. Not all Denpasar-Surabaya flights are operated by CRJ1000. My flight was GA341, a 10.25 departure from DPS to SUB. The funny part was I was arriving at SUB at 10.25 (1-hour difference).
On the day of departure
Bali International Airport was undergoing renovation so the photos you see below shows you the incomplete look of the terminal.
Do take note that flying with Garuda, you do not need to pay airport tax as its already included in the air ticket. I wonder when will that be included in other airlines. If you are flying on other airlines, do remember to leave some money for the tax. 150000 Rupiah for a person for international flights and 40000 Rupiah for domestic flights.
I feel like going for a chalet or a holiday resort, looks nothing like an airport.
Do take note that a lot of locals will ask you to take their taxi, avoid them and go to the taxi counter located just outside the arrival hall.
The new section of the airport. (Some parts were under construction at that time)
I made my way to the check-in counter. It looks incomplete as the terminal is undergoing renovation and is due to complete in the near future.
Anyway, I checked in confirming my seat, 37A.
Only to find that I got 29A which was not what I want. Only realized this when I was at the gate waiting.
I believe out of courtesy, the counter staff should have told me about the seat change but that doesn't matter. Later on, on the aircraft it turned out to be an almost empty plane, I got to choose where to seat just before the aircraft pushed back. I was assigned to 29A with another passenger beside me, but he moved then only I moved to the rear. More of that in my later part of the report.
Checking out the domestic departure hall.
The holding area consists of 2 gates, most of the folks were on another Garuda flight to Jakarta, GA405 on the same aircraft that I flew on, PK-GPJ.
At this point, I was feeling very excited! I was definitely going to fly the CRJ1000 and now we need to take the bus to our aircraft. The old way of boarding the aircraft, but one that I always enjoy!
Routing for this flight!
The airline had added the 'Explore Jet' titles on this beauty.
One of the features the Skyteam livery
Date: 18th February 2014
Delivered on: 25th March 2013
Aircraft leased from NAC
Engines: 2 X GE CF34-8C5A2
Seat: 29A then moved to 37A
Departure time: 1005
Push back: 1008
Take off: 1017
Arrival time: 1018
Schedule arrival time: 1015
Departure runway: 27
Arrival runway: 10
The bus took us past many aircraft before a CRJ1000 appeared in front of us. The brand new aircraft looks stunning in the airline's livery.
The cabin interior
J class seats
Legroom space seems tight for J class
Very comfortable leather seats with good legroom space. I was seated at 29A with another passenger. I wanted to move but waited for boarding to complete before moving. Once the door was closed, the passenger beside me moved to another seat, and I asked the crew whether I could move a few rows. "Yes, Sir. You may move behind. The rows behind are all empty, feel free to pick one." I chose my original seat - 37A.
The seat I was supposed to sit (29A) offered this view.
The crew had no problems with me taking cabin photos. They knew at once that I was an aviation enthusiast, as they had encountered quite a number not too long ago!
Feels like I am on a private jet! Very nice cabin interior.
You can see how low the ceiling is.
Notice a seat at the rear of the aircraft? That is a cabin crew's seat.
Looks pretty neat!
The toilet is very small, it was a tight fit for me.
See how small this toilet is, I had a hard time inside it.
Thanks to the wonderful crew for taking my photo.
It is great to have an almost empty flight and to explore the aircraft during flight. I am grateful to the cabin crew for being cordial and understanding.
What's inside the seat pocket?
I like this new version of GA's safety card, nicer than the previous version.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a snack box for such a short flight!
A cake and a hotdog with a small packet of drink. Some other airlines should take a look at this! I had nothing but praises for this airline so far on this trip. The airline had certainly made lots of improvement for the past few years and it deserved to be joining the Skyteam alliance on the 5th March.
There were 2 crew onboard this flight if I am not wrong. One was serving the front cabin and the other at the rear. A load of this flight was low so it was easy for the one at the rear to manage. Even though it was just 2 of them, but they were pretty nice and so were the flight crew whom I got to meet after the flight. More of them later in my trip report.
Some window shot photos! It was a perfect day for flying! Smooth weather all the way, can't ask for more.
This photo was taken at the last window seat, you won't get obstructed by the engine when you fly on the CRJ1000.
Flying in good weather makes it very enjoyable!
The old 737-400 was spotted along with its siblings.
We parked at Surabaya's terminal 2 remote bay. Before disembarking, I manage to get the green light to visit the cockpit. I had a brief but wonderful conversation with both flight crew.
My opinion on the CRJ1000
This is the T-tailed aircraft operates on short-haul routes with lesser capacity than the standard 737 and 320 aircraft. It can be deployed on low demand routes or routes with high frequency.
The cabin is fitted in 2-2 comfortable seating configuration and the fuselage is longer than the previous models, the -700 and -900. This model can carry up to 124 passengers depending on the airline's configuration. For Garuda, it is configured in 2-class. I find the interior to be comfortable but the ceiling to be low and cabin width quite narrow. However, the aircraft's interior is pleasant and the cabin noise is low, that is because the engines are located at the rear. I believe even sitting at the rear, it shouldn't be too loud. Overall, I enjoy this aircraft and will not hesitate to fly on it again.
On-ground service: 6/10
In-flight service: 8/10
In-flight snack: 9/10 (Unexpected and its good for such a short journey)
Cabin interior: 10/10
Aircraft cleanliness: 10/10
Aircraft experience: 7/10 (Cramp)
Seat comfort: 9/10
Overall rating: 73/90
The money spent on this flight is worth it. Every minute of the flight is enjoyable, partly because of the light load and the great set of crew. It's a different experience from what I had gotten after my first experience with this airline a couple of years back. I flew on GA's 737-800 to CGK and wasn't impressed with the in-flight service. Personally, I feel, you need to fly more times to gauge the airline's in-flight service. Just one flight is not enough to judge the airline.
Indonesian aviation has received a lot of scrutinies because of the poor safety record. As a result, some airlines were forced to shut down while others received the EU and the U.S ban list (that means they are not allowed to fly to Europe and the U.S). Fortunately for Garuda, they are no longer in the ban list and currently have flights to Europe. I hope to see Indonesian aviation doing well.
Hope you enjoy this trip report!