It's just a slim slip of blue paper, but it's worth more than its weight in gold to anyone who has struggled with the queues in Bali's Denpasar airport.
I'm talking about Garuda Indonesia's on-board immigration service which is enjoyed by all passengers on flights from Sydney to Denpasar.
Garuda says it's a world-first service that allows passengers to fast-track through immigration and avoid currency exchange and airport queues.
I say to anyone who has spent three hours standing in immigration queues in Denpasar's hot and steamy, poorly air-conditioned airport, (namely me), it's a goddess send.
So instead of standing in a long airport queue, I sat in my seat and had a quick chat to the uniformed immigration officer. He declined to be photographed issuing my clearance card. "Not authorised," he said.
This was just one of the bonuses of flying Garuda as I did on a recent flight to Bali. I liked that I had my own
9-inch touch screen to watch movies during the flight and a seat pitch that was a generous 84 cm in economy. This stacks up pretty well against the others as compared in this table from The Courier Mail.
I also found the airline food quite edible and that's saying a lot for airline food.
The downside was that I had to fly from Brisbane to Sydney for the flight but all that is going to change next August when the Brisbane to Jakarta and Denpasar route is reintroduced after a five year break.
Vice President for Garuda Indonesia Australia Bagus Y. Siregar says Australian travel to Indonesia is growing every year, with a 20 per cent increase in passenger numbers in the first half of this year on the same period in 2011. There's also seen a significant growth in demand in Queensland, particularly in the leisure sector.
“We’re very excited to be able to offer our Queensland customers the opportunity to fly direct to Indonesia on our Boeing 737-800 NextGen. Flights will operate six times per week from Brisbane via Denpasar to Jakarta, and cater to both the leisure and corporate market.”
Garuda Indonesia is the national airline of Indonesia. It is a full-service network carrier and serves 28 domestic and 18 international destinations. The airline’s main hubs in Indonesia are located in Jakarta and Denpasar.
Garuda currently offers a total of 35 flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to its two hubs in Jakarta and Denpasar.
In January, February and July 2012, Garuda Indonesia was recognised as ‘The Best International Airline’ by Roy Morgan and more recently as ‘The World's Best Regional Airline’ as well as ‘The Best Regional Airline in Asia’ by SkyTrax.
More about Bali -
Sheer luxury - that's the way to see Bali!
Cat poo coffee
Adventures in Ubud
Disclaimer: Ed+bk travelled to Bali for the ASTW annual conference in Lombok with an assisted fare from Garuda.