Booking Flights Within Indonesia

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Nov 16th, 2009, 06:11 PM
  #1
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Booking Flights Within Indonesia

Hey gang,

So what's the story with booking inter-Indonesia flights? Is it better to book in advance (something I always prefer to do, so I don't have to worry about availability) or with some of these lesser-known airlines like Merapati, etc. does it pay to go through a local agent or even your hotel for a better deal?

I know most of our flights on our upcoming trip will be covered by the big-hitters (either Garuda or Air Asia) and I can book with them now, but the Garuda flights (Denpasar to Yogya and back) actually seems a bit high for such a short flight ($225 R/T.) Just wondering if that's the norm for them or if we should try and either negotiate something through a local venue or wait a bit longer.
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Nov 16th, 2009, 09:31 PM
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Check Mandala Airlines, in the drop down menu, select english. The city Jogjakarta will be Yogya. You may even try Solo City.
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Nov 16th, 2009, 11:06 PM
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Lion air & Batvia Air too have flights to various destinations in Indo.Always found it impossible to book online.I've booked at counters.Be prepared for unscheduled delays & cancellations.
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Nov 16th, 2009, 11:24 PM
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US$225 Denpasar Yogya Denpasar sounds right to me. I'd go with Garuda and confirm it now. The price won't go down, but it may go up (even with a confirmed ticket). Another option is to ask your hotel/resort to make arrangements for you.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 03:41 AM
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One of the advantages of doing business in Indonesia is that I have a local partner who can book flights for me, and they seem to pay half of what you pay when you book overseas. I keep expecting the ladies at check-in to say "oh no, you got the local rate for this ticket, you can't use it" but that never happens.

Garuda used to also have a problem taking overseas credit cards on-line as well.

Have you made any local car/driver/guide arrangements? If so, then you might ask them to arrange the bookings. If not, then maybe dropping a line to a place like Bali Discovery might be worth a try.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 04:47 AM
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By comparison I was just quoted roundtrip Jakarta Denpasar at about $US290. Part of the problem is the dollar is weakening against the rupiah (and everything else except the renminbi).

Howabout you take the $225 x 2 and spend your first night chilling at Amanjiwo instead of starting off in Bali. Is that twisted logic or what?
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Nov 17th, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Yeah, I just noticed that thing on Garuda's site that says 'only accept credit cards issued by Indonesian banks.'

Glad you brought up the driver/car situaation, as that's one of the things I'm going to have to start looking into to. Do you recommend Bali Discovery for that, Michael?

marmot, haha...great idea! One problem: we still need to pay either way to fly in and out of Yogya somewhere (our FF tix are into DPS.) Smart thinking, though.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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I just try to do a booking with Expedia.com for a flight from DPS to JOG and it went through. The fare quoted is $224 and you can us your US plastic.

Hope this help.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 07:59 AM
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Great minds think alike. I already tried that, Pook. I keep getting the following message when I try to book on Expedia:

"We're Sorry; We Had A Problem With Your Selected Flights. One or more of the flights you have selected is not available. Please select alternate flights."

Those flights are definitely not sold out. So I was trying to get them through alternate means, but it seems that is not possible either.

Is this a sign of things to come as far as Indonesian travel goes? I'm starting to get the feeling it may be.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 02:42 PM
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Indonesia is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest place to get anything done. It's easy because someone will always help you and the rules are bendable. It's hard because no one knows what to do and the rules are incomprehensible.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 03:27 PM
  #11
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...I'm learning, marmot.

Well, I was able to find a bookable Garuda fare on Travelocity.

Would you recommend booking this now or waiting to try and book through a hotel or other local agency later on?
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Nov 17th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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If your reason for waiting is to see if the fare goes down, then I'd say book now. I wouldn't expect a major shift downward. If the exchange rates change dramatically (not in your favor) they'll add a surcharge, but I've never known Garuda to lower a rate.

If your reason for waiting is because you haven't finalized your itinerary, then wait as it's difficult to get refunds or to change routing.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 06:18 PM
  #13
 
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I asked the local guide service to get us a quote on the same route and we would reimbure them by having them charge our credit card. The rate they came back with was the same as on the Garuda site.They also tried Silk Air from Yogja to Singapore and the fare was also the same. So it may be on the more local airlines that reservations made in Indonesia may in fact be less expensive. But, based on everything I have heard I rather fly the larger firms despite garuda's lack of on-time departures or so I hear.
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Nov 17th, 2009, 08:20 PM
  #14
 
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I'd book now to be on the safe side. Dealing with Indonesia can be tricky, as you're discovering. I would recommend that you stick with Garuda, rather than have your knees in your chin for two hours. Lion and the others are really stingy with the legroom. Garuda is still tight, but better than the others. Get to the airport early and try to grab an exit row. That often works for me.

FWIW, Garuda is mostly on-time these days. I've had very few significant delays in the last few years.

Bali Discovery is a big agency. They're a safe choice. For just a car & driver, there's Putu who's recommended here. Golden Bird (the 'rental' arm of Blue Bird taxi) is very reliable and in most major cities. They have counters at the airports, but I would try to arrange in advance.

In addition to the big names (Agoda especially) I've used a number of the smaller local web sites to get good deals on the small hotels and villas, as well as some tour arrangements. I've used most of the ones listed on my site. Email me if you want specific recommendations.
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