Jakarta – In the latest of a string of incidents that reflect poorly on the airline, a Garuda Indonesia passenger has claimed that she and her family were "detained" by Garuda employees who accused her husband of insulting the airline.
Twitter user @jesswjk described the events on her Twitter account on Sunday night.
So udah banyak yang request gue untuk cerita pengalaman gue jadi penumpang GA404 kemarin, hari Sabtu 4 Januari. Let's see. Gue travel ke Bali dengan suami gue, 3 anak gue yang terakhir usia 5 bulan, dan 2 orang nannies. Kami duduk di section business class. – jessica (@jesswjk) January 5, 2020
She and her husband and three young children were flying business class on Garuda flight GA404 to Denpasar, Bali on Saturday.
"When we were about to land, [our flight] was held back for about 50 minutes while waiting for the runway to clear at Ngurah Rai [International Airport]," @jesswjk wrote.
At this point, anak gue yang besar pengen poop. Posisi memang sudah diperintahkan captain untuk pakai seat belt. Suami gue jalan sebentar ke aisle untuk minta izin bawa anak gue ke toilet. Pramugari menolak, karena alasan safety. – jessica (@jesswjk) January 5, 2020
At that point, with the captain having instructed passengers to put on their seatbelts, her eldest child asked to go to the bathroom. Her husband stood up to ask a flight attendant if he could take the child to the toilet, which the flight attendant said was not allowed for safety reasons.
"My husband complied and sat back down," @jesswjk continued. "My son started to complain about having a stomach ache [...] which made my husband panic and start to grumble (GRUMBLING TO ME! IN HIS SEAT!) about Garuda to me."
The flight eventually landed and everything seemed fine until the woman and her family got to the baggage lounge at Ngurah Rai International Airport.
She was met outside the lounge by the captain of the flight, a few flight attendants and Aviation Security (Avsec) officers.
"The captain said to Avsec: 'Detain all of these [people]!'" she wrote. "My husband asked again: 'What's the problem?""
She said the captain then asked her husband what he said during the flight and accused him of insulting Garuda and claimed that he was acting on behalf of Garuda's director of operations.
After being called over by the captain, the flight attendant said she heard the husband say: "Garuda is [expletive]."
"At this point I should have laughed. So fascist, should grumbling to your wife in your own seat be punishable?" @jesswjk continued.
She said she told the captain that she knew "Pak Chairul and Pak Chairal" – an apparent reference to business tycoon Chairul Tanjung and his brother Chairal, who is on Garuda's board of commissioners – and would call them about the incident, after which the captain walked away.
The ground crew were apologetic about the incident but refused to give the captain's name to @jesswjk. She asked them to write a statement about the incident, which they did.
Break dulu. Mau makan pork star. In the time being gue lampirkan surat keterangan dari Garuda kemaren, biar gak ada yg nuduh gue bohong. pic.twitter.com/0r0rRpm1c2 – jessica (@jesswjk) January 5, 2020
The statement said that the captain had asked that a passenger be detained because of suspected "swearing." The statement added that Avsec decided not to go through with the captain's request because the incident was just a case of "normal frustration".
Garuda did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
This incident was only the most recent in a string creating bad publicity for the beleaguered airline, the president director of which, Ari Askhara, was dismissed in December for allegedly smuggling Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts and Brompton folding bicycles. (kmt)