Back in November, I had the opportunity to compare the inflight products of the two airlines operating the route between Tokyo Haneda Airport and Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Airport. ANA, All Nippon Airways, and Garuda Indonesia each operate one roundtrip daily between the two national capitals. The two Skytrax-certified five star airlines both have extremely competitive Economy Class hardware and software services. In this article, I will be introducing the services flyers on this route should be looking forward to.
ANA and Garuda Indonesia codeshare on the HND-CGK route, all flights between Japan and Indonesia, along with certain Japanese and Indonesian domestic routes. Below is the schedule of both carriers’ daily HND-CGK flights.
NH855 GA9353 HND 1010 – CGK 1555 / NH856 GA9352 CGK 2135 – HND 0700 +1
Garuda Indonesia ガルーダ・インドネシア航空
GA875 NH5481 HND 1230 – CGK 1825 / GA874 NH5480 CGK 1325 – HND 2300
-BEST SCHEDULE: Both carriers are winners. The flight schedules are all business-traveler-friendly.
AIRCRAFT TYPE and ECONOMY CLASS CONFIGURATION
Both ANA and Garuda Indonesia operate the HND-CGK route with their flagship aircraft. While ANA deploys the 240-seat Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner (788), Garuda Indonesia deploys the 314-seat Boeing 777-300ER (77W). Economy Class onboard the latest regional ANA 788, used on intra-Asia routes, features a 3-3-3 9-abreast configuration. On the other hand, Garuda Indonesia’s 77W, configured for intercontinental routes, features a generous 3-3-3 9-abreast seating.
-BEST CABIN COMFORT: ANA. I believe that no one would disagree that the 787 is an incomparable aircraft when it comes to cabin comfort. With higher humidity,higher cabin pressure, better air filters, and larger windows (with various levels of tints), the 787 is truly an exceptional aircraft type.
-BEST SEAT COMFORT: Garuda Indonesia. Of course, the 787 is a next generation aircraft. Yet, when being configured for regional routes, the 787 cannot offer as much comfort as 777s designated for flying long-haul routes. Not to mention 9-abreast is narrower on the 787 than on the 777. Note that Garuda Indonesia uses the B/E Aerospace Spectrum seats while ANA uses the Zodiac 5751 seats.
Both ANA and Garuda Indonesia offer great varieties of in-flight entertainment. Passengers on both carriers can enjoy AVOD on PTVs, of which ANA uses the Panasonic eX3 system while Garuda Indonesia uses the eX2 system. There are also USB ports and universal power outlets on each and every seat for passengers to charge their devices.
-BEST PTV: Garuda Indonesia. While ANA uses a newer system than that of Garuda, the Garuda entertainment system is truly exceptional. Besides the typical AVOD offerings, Garuda’s PTV also features various rather special services, such as Live TV channels, E-Books, and religious channels.
Both carriers have rather decent headphones. It is noteworthy how ANA Economy Class seats feature a single earphone plug hole. With this feature, passengers can use their personal earphones on the plane or plug the plane earphones in personal music devices.
-BEST EARPHONES: ANA. The ANA earphone set is extremely comfortable to wear and cancels out most of the noice in the cabin.
Regarding in-flight connectivity, only Garuda Indonesia’s 777 offers Wi-Fi on board. However, during my flight with Garuda, the Wi-Fi service was not working. Whenever I clicked on the ‘Connect Now!’ button, a white screen appears, yet nothing happens.
-BEST IN-FLIGHT WI-FI: Garuda Indonesia. Well, there’s no way ANA can win in this category, as the carrier doesn’t offer Wi-Fi on the route. Garuda has the Panasonic Global Communications Suite (GCS) installed and offers eXConnect Ku-band connectivity in partnership with PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telekom Indonesia).
Airline magazines, in-flight entertainment guides, and duty free catalogues are offered onboard both ANA and Garuda Indonesia flights.
-BEST IN-FLIGHT MAGAZINE: Both carriers are winners. ANA and Garuda Indonesia both spend a lot of effort on publishing beautiful and informative in-flight magazines.
Both the ANA and Garuda pre-meal snack packs were extremely enjoyable. ANA provided passengers with packs of rice crackers while Garuda passed out bags of spiced nuts. The Garuda nuts were spiced in an authentic Southeast Asian style and tasted spectacular.
-BEST SNACK PACKS: Both carrier are winners. This is actually a rather subjective category. For me, I truly loved both snack packs.
During mealtime onboard ANA, I was given the choices of seafood curry and soba. Being a person who loves Japanese-style Western cooking, I chose seafood curry. I truly enjoyed the meal. The flavours were delightful and the side-dishes were all very appealing.
The Garuda flight to Tokyo had two types of Economy Class meal: Indonesian style and Japanese style. Rarely had Indonesian food before, I chose the Indonesian meal. The main dish, Beef Rendang with rice and string beans, was one of the best Economy Class meals I’ve had. I enjoyed every bit of the wonderfully spiced Rendang and finished the main course within a short while.
-BEST MAIN COURSE: Both carrier are winners. The seafood curry made by ANA and the beef Rendang made by Garuda Indonesia were both extremely tasteful and enjoyable.
-BEST MEAL SET: ANA. ANA’s side dishes, including the salad and the cake, were more delicious and enjoyable than the Garuda ones. I can see the effort the ANA catering company put into designing the meals.
Both airlines provide passengers with bottled water and pre-landing snacks and drinks. On the ANA flight to Jakarta, I recieved a chocolate-filled bread; on the Garuda flight to Tokyo, I received a calzone stuffed with meat. The calzone, like all the other food served by Garuda, was delicious. Yet, the ANA bread, icy cold and oddly flavoured, was quite a disappointment.
-BEST PRE-LANDING SNACK: Garuda Indonesia. What can I say? The flavour of the calzone really was decent.
Garuda Indonesia has a special service of handing out candies. Prior to landing, the flight attendants go around the cabin with a basket full of candies. It is each customer’s obligation to grab a handful of candies. Trust me, the crew will make sure that this obligation is fulfilled.
-BEST LAVATORY: ANA. The ANA 787 lavatory is truly one of a kind. It features ‘Washlet’, the famous Japanese toilet with water spray features for cleaning, magnifying mirrors, sensor toilet flush, easy-to-open toilet lids, beautiful blue lighting, and huge windows (only in certain lavatories). The Garuda 777 lavatory, though less fascinating than the ANA one, offers some services, such as toothbrushes, lotion, and stations for diaper changing, that the ANA 787 lavatory doesn’t offer.
EXTRA: TEXTURE DESIGNS
Some cabin designers, such as that of LIFT Strategic Design, pay a lot of attention on designing the textures and patterns of the seat covers, dividers and carpets. Garuda Indonesia’s 777 cabin designer is certainly one of them. Onboard Garuda’s 777, I couldn’t help noticing the cultural elements and colour combinations that were beautifully incorporated into the designing of the cabin.
Though less cultural than that of the Garuda 777, the texture and pattern designs inside ANA’s 787s showcase the best of contemporary Japanese style. ANA’s design team, combining simpleness and elegance, surely knows how to use the colour blue perfectly.
There really isn’t an overall winner as ANA and Garuda Indonesia are both truly exceptional carriers. Regarding ANA, I have flown with the carrier for many times and have always been amazed by the high standards of its services and product offerings. Regarding Garuda Indonesia, the flight from CGK-HND was my first flying experience with the carrier and left me extremely impressed. I was not surprised at all when I heard the news of the carrier earning the prestigious Skytrax 5-Star Ranking.
My suggestion to flyers traveling on this route is: experience one carrier on your way to the destination and switch on another carrier while flying back. ANA and Garuda Indonesia both present the best of their countries to the world. It is definitely worth it to experience different products while flying to and from your destination.