Garuda: one of the best airlines in the world?

Garuda: one of the best airlines in the world?
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After nine "fatal events" since 1970, culminating in the 2007 Yogyakarta crash that killed 21 and injured many more, Indonesia's national carrier has refreshed its fleet and is now compliant with best-practice maintenance and safety standards. Garuda Indonesia has also overhauled its inflight service in a bid to become one of the best airlines in the world.

It must be doing something right - the carrier has come up as best international airline for January 2012 in a recent Roy Morgan survey of airlines.

It's the latest in a long list of accolades, so Sky Report decided to do our own survey to see if the punters actually agree with the press releases.

We took to social media to seek the opinions of recent Australian Garuda customers. And apart from some minor gripes about food, the mood was generally very positive.

Each of the respondents (we got about 10 via Twitter and SourceBottle - we're no Roy Morgan) said they had chosen Garuda on price. (One got Amsterdam-Sydney for $1000 return.) Several had not chosen at all - the choice was made by a travel partner. One respondent wasn't happy at the time, telling Sky Report he said to his wife: "Why did you book them? They fall out of the sky."

However, he was pleasantly surprised by the experience of flying with them.

None knew of Garuda's hard-targeted transformation drive, in play since 2008, but each had glowing things to say, ranging from "the smiling crew was amazing with our 13-month-old baby", to "the inflight entertainment was great". Some said the economy cabin appeared to be roomier than others in which they had flown.

To sum up, one of our respondents, who flew Garuda to Bali for a conference and "wouldn't have considered booking them myself", had this to say: "Overall, the experience was so good we've made a point to rave about it to anyone we know that travels to Bali. Their service had the effect of breaking the flight up so that when we arrived we felt fresh and relaxed. It certainly opened my eyes. Watch out Jetstar; I think Garuda is going to show you the value in treating passengers as people and not cattle." High praise indeed.

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