Garuda Indonesia Business Class: JOG-CGK B737-800 Upgrade for $1
I was originally booked to visit Borobudur in January 2016, but due to a change in plans it was delayed. I finally made it to Borobudur earlier this year and after an amazing visit I wanted to grab an earlier flight back to Jakarta (CGK) from Yogyakarta (JOG). There isn’t much else to do in the immediate area as I stayed at the Manohara Resort which is located next to Borobudur. The sunrise tour was well worth the money! There were still 100+ people but much less than the crowd after sunrise. It was packed with over 2,000 people within 1 hour of opening.
After looking online and finding cheap Business Class tickets for an earlier flight, I decided to call Garuda Indonesia. The agent confirmed I can just pay the fare difference and there wouldn’t be any other fees as I was upgrading to Business Class. Excellent! I checked out of the hotel and hopped in a van to the airport which took around 90 minutes due to traffic. Upon checkin, the agent informed me that I have to go to the ticket office to pay the difference which was in a different building outside the terminal. I walked over to the office and explained I need to pay the fare difference. On the phone, I thought the agent mentioned it would be around IDR 100,000 (USD $7.50). I handed the agent my credit card and she asked if I had cash as the price was only IDR 16,500 (USD $1.24). Indeed I had cash and agreed it would be best to pay via cash and save them the credit card processing fee.
I was then able to check-in at the counter and proceeded to the Garuda Lounge which was located outside of security. It was a small lounge with limited food and drink options, but perfect as the flight was delayed. When the flight was ready to board I proceeded to the gate and went through security. I was the first passenger onboard and only 2 other Business Class passengers boarded the flight. It was a B737-800 yet an older configuration which was a first for me as all other Garuda flights have been operated by their new Sky Interior 737‘s. The short 1 hour flight included dinner which was spaghetti and meat sauce plus some fresh fruit. It was sufficient although the noodles were overcooked. Our flight crew made the flight pleasant and I would like to try out their Business Class on their 777-300ER on a long haul flight soon.
Conclusion: For USD $1.24, this was the cheapest Business Class upgrade I’ve paid for to date. It wasn’t the newest plane, but lounge access and being in Row 1 made it well worth it! Always check to see what your options are if you were to change flights or pay for an upgrade fee. Sometimes it will surprise you!