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Garuda Indonesia vs Malaysia Airways – backpackerlee


The battle for the skies is hotting up in South East Asia as two heavyweights of the aviation business as commonly competing for a similar form of passengers. Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airways are equally structured firms, however which might lay declare to besting the opposite?

Airline Overview

Garuda Indonesia (GA) was based in August 1947 and is nationwide flag provider of Indonesia. It’s named after the Holy fowl of Hinduism, the Garuda. Skytrax charge Garuda Indonesia as one of many new 5 star airways within the enterprise, and since 2014, Garuda Indonesia has been a part of the SkyTeam alliance.

Malaysia Airways (MH) commenced operations on 1 Could, 1947. It’s the largest airline and flag provider of Malaysia. MH has been a part of the OneWorld airline alliance since 2013. Up to now few years, Malaysia Airways has been within the information for the tragic crashes of Flight MH370 and Flight MH17.


Garuda Indonesia has its major hub at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Worldwide Airport (CGK). This airport won’t win any awards for its entry from town, check-in expertise, or peak-time crowd management, but over the previous few years there was a marked enchancment at CGK with the opening of Terminal 3, which gives a significantly better departure expertise. In 2022, Terminal 4 is deliberate to open, which can hopefully additional alleviate the crowds at one of many busiest airports on the earth (and busiest of all within the southern hemisphere).

Malaysia Airways’ major hub is at Kuala Lumpur Worldwide Airport (KLIA), and it’s the place its lengthy haul worldwide flights depart. Smaller hubs are in Penang and Kota Kinabalu. KLIA is among the area’s higher airports, though there was points with safety up to now. So far as passengers are involved, the departure and transit experiences are superb, and Malaysia Airways has many lounges for its premium passengers to get pleasure from earlier than take-off. Airside, KLIA is comparatively spacious though at peak occasions it doesn’t at all times really feel that manner attributable to an already outdated design.


Garuda B777

Garuda Indonesia have a really giant and different fleet, however with 24 A330s on the books, that is thought-about their trademark medium-haul plane. Servicing an archipelago, GR clearly want loads of slender physique plane to make fast island-hops, and the majority of those planes are B737s, of which GR personal over 70! Garuda even have 10 B777 plane, that are used on trunk routes to Europe and (ultimately) past. It’s stunning that Garuda haven’t positioned any order for ‘trendy’ wide-body plane such because the B787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A350, however who is aware of what the long run could maintain?!

Malaysia Airways’ A380 huge fowl

Malaysia Airways have an all-Airbus fleet of wide-body plane, and an all-Boeing fleet of slender physique plane. In 2017, MH obtained the primary of their six ordered Airbus A350s, and have been flying the A380 “SuperJumbo” since 2012. The majority of the MH, nonetheless, is made up of 15 Airbus A330s, every fitted with a brand new enterprise class inside. A protracted-time flyer of the B777, MH now shops all of those plane (8 in complete) in a disused hangar in Kuala Lumpur, awaiting patrons from abroad.

Financial system Class

With Garuda Indonesia, your flight expertise in economic system class very a lot is determined by the form of plane on which you’re flying on that given day. There may be appreciable inconsistency in my expertise with the consolation values onboard with GA, at the least when evaluating its worldwide plane and home plane (even the identical plane mannequin, however with totally different inside catering to totally different markets).

Regardless of some uninformed misgivings from passengers earlier than experiencing for themselves, the overall consensus AFTER you’ve got flown with MH in economic system is a particularly constructive one. It’s true that the brand new A350 and even the A380 have impeccable requirements of presentation within the economic system cabin, though older plane such because the B777 and particularly the B737 narrow-body have outdated seats and leisure techniques. But when Malaysia Airways will get it proper, as they do with the newer in-flight merchandise on the A350, you’ll be able to safely say they’re a pleasure to fly with; even extremely lengthy haul flights from London to Kuala Lumpur can’t get boring.

Enterprise Class

Garuda’s Enterprise Class providing aboard the B777

Garuda Indonesia’s enterprise class is called Govt Class and on the B777 it’s located in the midst of the plane. Containing 42 flat-bed seats with 180degree recline means, it’s no shock that Garuda get superb opinions for this cabin. On their slender physique plane to fly round SE Asia and all through Indonesia, GA have a smaller Govt Class cabin with 12 reclining seats.

A380 Enterprise Class with MH

Malaysia Airways have their award-winning enterprise class on the entrance finish of the A330 with round 27 lay flat seats/beds, though these are thought-about fairly slender at solely 20″. There isn’t a firstclass on the MH A330 so enterprise class at all times appears to be totally booked with completely happy passengers. On the Airbus A380, MH has its enterprise class situated on the higher deck solely, in 2-2-2 formation.

First Class

With some airways relinquishing their firstclass cabins nowadays, it’s stunning that each Garuda Indonesia and Malaysia Airways stick with the high-end seats, at the least on their respective wide-body plane. MH have 8 open suites on the A380, whereas Garuda has spectacular firstclass seats on the older model of its B777 (newer variations would not have a firstclass cabin).

Cabin Crew

I’ve at all times been impressed the cabin crew of Garuda Indonesia. Even within the days when the airline was in a lot worse form than it’s now, its cabin crew at all times stood out and supplied an excellent instance of Indonesian hospitality and customer support. Now that requirements have risen, it may very well be forgiven that members of GA’s crew generally lapse however this isn’t usually the case. On short-haul flights, Garuda’s cabin crew present a easy service to enrich your fast technique of journey, but on longer journeys, the cabin crew present a extra fulsome (but by no means imposing) service to contribute to full meal providers, menu distribution, cleansing duties, buyer queries and so forth. – all with smiles on their faces.

Malaysia Airways has at all times been recognized to have had a really pleasant cabin crew, even relationship again to the times when it was the identical model as what we now know as Singapore Airways (earlier than independence). If there was a criticism of MH cabin crew it must be a considerably disinterested angle on short-haul regional flights and on hops throughout the South China Sea (to Taiwan and Hong Kong), however this appears to be extra of a company factor nowadays with Malaysia Airways, and I feel it’s as a lot to do with a common resignation that not as many individuals fly with them now in comparison with 10 years in the past as it’s with anything.


Whereas Malaysia Airways get a whole lot of issues proper, the one constant factor they get unsuitable, for my part, is the catering facet of issues. In-flight meals are getting worse and worse on Malaysia Airways, most likely attributable to funds cuts, and it actually exhibits. On some quick haul flights of lower than 5 hours, you now solely get served a bag of peanuts and a drink, moderately than a full meal! That mentioned, MH does take care of its economic system class passengers on lengthy haul flights, with at the least 1 (often 2 on flights to London) meal providers. In comparison with Malaysia Airways, Garuda actually excels with its meals. Whereas it’s not award-winning economic system class meals by any stretch of the creativeness, you continue to get supplied a pleasant number of meals – often closely spiced (except you select the boring Western choice!) – even for brief hops throughout the archipelago (for instance Jakarta to Bali).

In contrast to in its economic system class, no person makes jokes about Malaysia Airways’ enterprise class catering. Snacks, reminiscent of hen satay, are nicely cooked and well-presented, and the drinks are readily flowing. Full meals, obtainable on all flights, are served on china with chrome steel cutlery. It’s attainable to pre-order the meal when you’re shopping for tickets on-line on the time of reserving. But, one other feather within the cap of the Garuda is its excellence in its Govt Class meals. Usually tinged with greater than a touch of Asian affect, Garuda’s premium catering is a pleasure to savour, with among the finest presentation within the sky. An excellent number of wines enhances the gastronomic GA expertise.

General Flight Expertise

When travelling round SE Asia on full-service carriers, you’ll find fares less expensive with Malaysia Airways than you’ll with Garuda Indonesia. The primary motive for it is because Malaysia Airways has not dealt very nicely with the inflow of funds carriers, reminiscent of AirAsia, who’re “stealing” their yields. MH can’t cost as a lot as they used to as a result of travellers can simply select different choices. Garuda has not been affected by that predicament as a lot to date, and that’s the reason the fares for Garuda are often a little bit greater. Are they price the additional value in comparison with MH? I feel most individuals would say “sure!” – at the least for brief and medium-haul flights. On lengthy haul flights of over 7 hours, then it comes all the way down to your private desire; Malaysia Airways have the newer plane (the Airbus A350 is unbelievable) however by a whisker it should be mentioned that Garuda has a greater general flight expertise.

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