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Garuda Indonesia’s one-row economy option gets mixed response

Keshie Hernitaningtyas
Keshie Hernitaningtyas

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, February 5, 2019  /  04:30 pm
Garuda Indonesia’s one-row economy option gets mixed response

Although some customers have expressed enthusiasm about a new economy-class option, others are questioning how safe it is. (Shutterstock/File)

Garuda Indonesia announced on Tuesday a new class that allows passengers to “rest more comfortably” during the national flag carrier’s long-haul Jakarta-London-Denpasar flight.

“To make your whole flying experience even more convenient, we introduce you to our Economy Sleeping Comfort seats, suitable for those who want to rest more comfortably during a long-haul flight. For more info, check http://bit.ly/2t3HDiB,” reads the announcement, which was posted on the airline’s social media accounts.

Garuda Indonesia announced on Tuesday a new class that allows passengers to “rest more comfortably” during the national flag carrier’s long-haul Jakarta-London-Denpasar flight.Garuda Indonesia announced on Tuesday a new class that allows passengers to “rest more comfortably” during the national flag carrier’s long-haul Jakarta-London-Denpasar flight. (web.facebook.com/garudaindonesia/File)

Read also: Garuda Indonesia’s in-flight live music to return on Valentine’s Day

On the website, the Economy Sleeping Comfort (ESCort) seats were described as seats that allow passengers to lay down on “one row of seating in the Economy Class cabin with a specially selected mattress, pillow, duvet and blanket”. Other benefits provided are free baggage of up to 40 kilograms, a business class meal and amenity kit, priority baggage handling, a free US$5 Wi-Fi voucher and special mileage at 200 percent.

Meanwhile, the service provided for premium seat passengers in economy class cabin include more seat space as one adjacent seat would be cleared, as well as other benefits such as free baggage of up to 40 kg, a duvet, a business class meal and amenity kit, priority baggage handling, a free $5 Wi-Fi voucher and special mileage at 150 percent.

“OH YES PLEASE,” @awreceh commented on Instagram regarding the news.

“I think I need this for my weekend,” said @iyma.siradjuddin.

Although some customers expressed enthusiasm about the new option, others questioned how safe it was for one to sleep in such a position.

“Sorry, but to me personally, this is not a good idea: 1. Why not buy business class if you can afford to get three seats? If the price is equal to just one seat (no need to buy three seats), then that means the airplane is often empty? Is this not a good image for the company? 2. It doesn’t look too safe nor comfortable to sit/sleep in those seats. You can’t wear seatbelts properly, and it is not good for your back to sleep that way. It’s just not natural,” said @tmothi.

Alfan Efendi made a similar remark on Facebook, saying: “Is one allowed to sleep in economy like that? Would you be able to wear a seatbelt when sleeping like that in economy seats?”, to which an admin responded with, “We’re currently providing a comfortable and safe seating service in the special economy class for our route to London. Please click the provided link for further information.”

Garuda Indonesia spokesman M. Ikhsan Rosan told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the new service was a breakthrough for the airline and part of its effort to fulfill customer demand while staying competitive amid increasingly tight competition among carriers. “Garuda will continue to be creative and innovative to grab the market, especially for the London route,” he said via messaging service.

According to a statement sent to the Post on Tuesday, the services have been available for booking via all the airline’s direct channels, including its website, mobile app and call center, since Jan. 26 with around 24 seats available for ESCort priced at Rp 28 million (US$2,001) and up, and 30 seats available for premium economy, with prices starting at Rp 21 million.