GARUDA: Increased frequencies between Australia and Bali
The Indonesian airline Garuda is upping its services to Australia. Starting in April, Services between both Sydney and Melbourne will be increased. And then, in June, services to the leisure destination Bali will move to 5 days a week, and then daily from 6 July.
This represents a return to something closer to the pre-pandemic services of Garuda to Australia. Travelling on the Garuda A330s on this Skyteam member, especially in Business with lie-flat beds, represents a much better alternative to Qantas and Virgin’s recliner seats. That is especially true on the return to Australia flight from Bali, which all fly later in the evening.
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The Aircraft A330
Garuda runs about four different configurations of these aircraft. So, it may be a bit of a lottery as to what model and configuration you get. When I flew back in 2016, it was an older configuration with Business Class in a 2-2-2 format, with true window seats without direct aisle access. Garuda does run some panes with a more contemporary reverse herringbone business class in a 1-2-1 configuration.
The flights to Jakarta
Garuda will be servicing both Sydney and Melbourne with Airbus A330s. The exact configuration is unknown. Flights to both capitals from Jakarta will be boosted from three weekly to four days a week from 6 April:
- GA713 from Sydney 11:45 am, arrives Jakarta 4:30 pm.
- GA 712 from Jakarta 10:55 pm, arrives Sydney at 9:45 am +1 day.
- GA717 from Melbourne 4:30 pm, arrives Jakarta at 7:45 pm.
- GA716 from Jakarta 1:55 am, arrives Melbourne at 12:15 pm
The flights to Bali
There will be a staged increase in flights to five days per week from 17 June, followed by an increase to daily flights forom 6 July 2024.
- GA715 from Sydney 10 am arrives Denpasar 2:35 pm.
- GA714 from Denpasar 11:25 pm, arrives Sydney 7:10 am +1 day
- GA719 from Melbourne 7 am, arrives Denpasar, Bali 11:05 am.
- GA718 from Bali 10:05 pm, arrives Melbourne 5:30 am t+1 day
Just remember that Daylight Saving affects departure and arrival times. In Melbourne and Sydney, daylight saving ends on 7 April and resumes on 6 October 2024.
I love a flop-and-drop trip to Bali. However, I hate the flight timings. Getting to Bali, is OK, there are a range of flight times available most of whch get you to Denpasar in the afternoon or early evening. It’s the return leg that is problematic. All flights leave in the late evening or extremely early morning, returning to Australia to the east coast early morning. Given that it is a roughly 6-hour flight, unless you forego dinner and breakfast, the most sleep you can get is maybe 5 hours. Impossible in economy for most, but possible in Business Class – if you get a lie-flat bed. So you always return to Australia a bit groggy. I have an imperfect solution. . .
Back in September 2016, I travelled to Bali on Garuda, completing the outward leg in Economy and the return leg to Sydney in Business Class, lying flat. It was the best Bali trip I had taken in years. I slept more than 4 hours on the return flight, which was just over 6 hours.
It is difficult to purchase this fare online since you would have to do it as two different trips, where you would get slugged for the one-way premium both ways. I booked my fare using a travel agent, so the fare was on one PNR but in two different classes – economy on the daytime flight out and Business on the return overnight flight. It was also much cheaper than flying both ways in Business.