Ever since Citilink announced their new dining experiences program, I was eager to try it out. It’s a service that includes a refreshment, choice of some fantastic main meal dishes as well as sides. Also, coffee and tea, extra miles for Garuda Indonesia, free seat assignment, Priority boarding, Airport assistance on departure and arrival, and two flight insurance policies. For the price paid (USD$40), it’s exceptional value!

The Citilink dining experiences program differs on Domestic and International flights. On domestic flights, there is a choice of up to 10 hot meal options, five desserts and one salad. On international flights, main meal options include up to 14 selections from Indonesian, Asian and Western options. Here’s a look at some of the possibilities.

If you’re flying Citilink, I highly recommend that you try this upgrade product.

My experience began the morning of my departure, and I was contacted via email to meet my airport concierge, who would usher me through the airport to my gate. We met outside the terminal, and she escorted me through airport security and to my gate.

My only gripe with this was that we met early, and I breezed through security with her assistance and was at my gate about 90 mins before departure. I ended up leaving the gate area after she left and spent time at a cafe. The dining experiences program offers priority boarding, so when it was time to board, I was collected by a ground staff member and taken to the aircraft.

As soon as I sat down, I was greeted by the purser, who welcomed me and introduced herself. Fifteen mins after takeoff, I was presented with the meal that I had chosen online. She even went to the trouble of explaining all the dishes to me. Here’s the Beef Rendang with Egg Balado and Kapau as well as the chicken salad.

The tray consisted of my meals served on proper china with real cutlery. It also featured a note with some packaged chocolates. The beef rendang was delicious, I couldn’t believe how tasty the meal was, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The salad was crisp, fresh and tangy.

I finished my meal about 20 minutes later, and the crew took my tray away.

I also pre-ordered a standard meal to see what the difference was between the meals. My Mie Goreng Jawa cost only USD$3.60 and included a bottle of water and mango pudding.

While I was quite full from the previous meal, I did sample this dish, and it was a winner. The noodle and chicken dish topped with a sunny side up egg was delicious. The mango pudding wasn’t too sweet as well.

In addition to the Dining Experiences and Pre Order meals that you can select, there is also a wide range of meal choices that can be purchased during your flight. Here’s a look at the inflight buy onboard menu.

Once we landed in Bali, I was met by a member of the ground team and whisked away by bus to the terminal and escorted through the airport.

For a budget airline experience, this was probably one of the best on ground and inflight experiences. Inflight service was excellent, and the staff made such a big deal about their dining experiences passengers. It was a pleasure to fly the airline, and if I’m ever in Indonesia again, I would gladly take advantage of this offer.