After a very pleasant and all too brief first experience of Garuda’s long haul Business Class product, we had to quickly collect our luggage and check in to our JAL flight to NRT.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I booked this flight knowing that the 777 often appears on this route and when it does, First Class is wide open.
On our last day at Bulung Daya I got an alert from JAL, the flight had been switched from the 788 to a 777. I checked BA for Avios availability and four seats were available.
However there was a slight problem. I had booked a US Airways award and US airways didn’t exist anymore. I spent an hour on hold to AAdvantage and managed to get through to a supervisor, only to find out that there was no way to change my award as I had already completed the outbound leg.
I wasn’t asking for a date, time or route change. I just wanted to be put in an F seat as I’d paid the miles for an F award. The supervisor said his hands were tied and the system wouldn’t allow it.
I hung up and called again when we got to Ubud, two escalations and almost as many hours later… the same answer. I gave it one final try on the second evening in Ubud and still no luck.
So, we didn’t get the dreamliner and we didn’t get First Class either. Although the person I spoke to on the final call was very sympathetic and put notes on the ticket for me.
When we got to the JL counters I headed straight for First and hoped for the best. The contract agent said that something seemed strange and called over the supervisor, the only person at the desks wearing a JL uniform.
He spent a good 20 minutes typing away and making phone calls but also couldn’t get us into F. He said he could see the notes on the reservation saying that we should be in F but he couldn’t make an F boarding pass come out.
At this point we only had 30 minutes until boarding so we took our J boarding passes and made our way to security. As a result of this whole process we had lost our seat assignment and been given two seats at random instead. The JL supervisor said he would do whatever he could to shuffle people around and said that the least he could do was to give us F lounge passes.
To be fair to the guy he went above and beyond, Japanese people tend to adhere stringently to protocol, so to even get the F lounge access was a surprise. Although this was by no means a world class facility…
Much like the domestic GA J lounge at DPS, this lounge doesn’t serve any alcohol other than beer. Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country though, I get it. What I don’t get, is the fact that there were no regular water bottles – instead there were only single serving water cups: the type that come with incredibly hard and thin straws which bounce off the plastic cover.
Overall: a sallow pit of despair. A deplorable attempt at a lounge. A blight on this Earth.