Garuda Indonesia serving Japanese fast food HokBen in business class sparks debate online

A Twitter user who recently flew business class on Garuda Indonesia shared a photo of his inflight meal, a set from Jakarta-based Japanese fast food chain Hoka Hoka Bento or HokBen. Photo: Twitter/@ariasarlito
A Twitter user who recently flew business class on Garuda Indonesia shared a photo of his inflight meal, a set from Jakarta-based Japanese fast food chain Hoka Hoka Bento or HokBen. Photo: Twitter/@ariasarlito

It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for Indonesia flag carrier Garuda Indonesia recently, with the airline hitting heavy financial turbulence and not making it’s usual appearance in Skytrax’s 10 best airlines list this year. While Garuda did top a yearly ranking of airlines with the best on-time performance, the airline’s inflight service has recently received scathing criticism for serving fast food in business class.

Two days ago, a Twitter user named Aria Aditia Sarlito, who said he recently flew business class on Garuda Indonesia, shared a photo of his inflight meal: rice, fritters, and salad from Jakarta-based Japanese fast food chain Hoka Hoka Bento (also commonly known as HokBen), served using glassware for business class passengers.

“No wonder [Garuda Indonesia] dropped out from Top 10 Best Airlines, the inflight meal looks like this! Business Class fares are multiple times higher than Economy [Class] but the food is just the same, and we all know how much HokBen is!” Aria wrote in the tweet, mentioning Garuda Indonesia’s official Twitter accounts and tagging it as #sadfood.

The photo was reportedly taken on his Jakarta-Denpasar flight, but the exact date isn’t yet known. In the replies below the tweet, many netizens compared Garuda’s #sadfood with inflight meals in economy class from several of the world’s top airlines, but it’s a strained comparison since those were served on international flights.

Many agreed with Aria that Garuda deserved to be kicked out from the world’s top airlines ranking.

“This is why @IndonesiaGaruda shouldn’t have to act all fancy, such as launching Nusantara [Indonesian] menu in the beginning of this year, and now look at the [Business] class [menu]. They serve soggy Hokben, a IDR30 thousand meal,” the tweet above reads.

Some did try to defend Garuda though:

“As far as I know, the HokBen meal served in Garuda flights are the IDR50,000 ones and they’re delicious… so what’s the loss here,” the tweet read.

To which Aria replied that he definitely felt like he had suffered from having to pay more than IDR6.5 million (US$461) for return flights.

“Where’s the loss? Like, having bought business class tix with the price as it is on the web only to be served IDR50,000 worth of food? Think again”

Back in November of last year, Garuda Indonesia announced that they were collaborating with HokBen to have the fast food chain serve their meals on several domestic flights departing from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK), including to Aceh, Batam, Padang, Banjarmasin, Denpasar, Medan, Makassar, and Lombok, among others. The HokBen menu, which was served every Wednesday and Saturday during lunchtime, was supposed to end in January 30 but, judging from Aria’s tweet, it seems the airline has kept the collaboration going.

Do you think Garuda is being too cheap by serving HokBen in business class? Let us know your comments!

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Reader Interactions


  1. You should see what they serve in economy for flights less than 90 minutes. One bottle of water, 220ml; a bread, a small bag of peanuts, one wet napkins; and oh yes no drink service onboard. When you’re flying over one hour, not serving drinks or selling drinks, is just fucked up. If I go LCC, the price difference is at least 300K, but I have the ability to purchase food when I’m hungry, or drinks when I’m thirsty. There’s just no such option onboard Garuda Indonesia, a supposedly 5 star and full service airlines. They’ve been very irresponsive when complained to, and their upper management is just utter bull. After 40 flights with Garuda this year, I’d rather fly Citilink or Sriwijaya. At least I won’t have to be thirsty.

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