Finally! A Non-Torment Way to Book Indonesia Domestic Flights Online

I have gone on the record that Indonesia is my least favorite country to travel, however that my last visit was cathartic and I was feeling better. Then I started planning this next trip and it all came back. There is really no excuse for a major country with a massive tourist industry to not function on the most basic tasks of travel. Yes, those fly in, plop yourself at Bali resort, then fly out trips are great. Traveling the country is vastly different, an experience where you almost want to give in to one rickshaw/tuk tuk driver just to keep the others from hassling you as you walk down the street.

(Note: to be clear, I am speaking specifically to the travel experience from a number of trips around the country. Entirely different to consider are the people of the country, living in the country, doing business in it, etc. I certainly enjoy hanging out with Indonesian friends removed from the travel hustle. I am only saying it is my least favorite country for the travel experience.)

This trip is only to cross off my final two Indonesia stops for Travelers Century Club: Maluku and West Papua. First I battled Air France for award tickets on Garuda. That sometimes works, sometimes not. It seems Garuda’s routing rules for published fares are extremely limited. Much of what Air France sees as connecting itineraries in fact cannot be booked with Garuda itself as paid tickets.

I moved on to buying paid tickets. Credit card fraud in Indonesia must be massive. Try booking anything Indonesia online and your credit card company is sure to block. I had Citi block my cards 5 times before they allowed me to transact. Then, of course, Indonesian airlines and OTAs routinely block foreign cards and may not bother to tell you it is a hopeless effort. It is confusing because they splash MasterCard and Visa logos everywhere, but that is only relevant for local cards and perhaps those issued from some Asian countries.

Here’s a summary:

  • Garuda Indonesia website accepts foreign cards
  • Air Asia website accepts foreign cards
  • Sriwijaya will take the reservation on hold, then you need to contact their customer service to process the transaction
  • Lion Air website rejects foreign cards and tells you nothing
  • Most international OTAs do not list Indonesia flights, those that do have a huge markup
  • Tiket blocks foreign cards unless you whitelist a card by sending unsecure photos of your passport and card (you only find this out through support chat)

tiket-card-whitelist

  • traveloka blocks foreign cards and a ticket is opened that you might hear back in 24 hours

traveloka-declined

  • nusatrip accepts foreign cards without hassle – whaaaat? The prices are in line with the airlines and OTAs, too!

nusatrip-reservation-successful-1And again!

nusatrip-reservation-successful-2Hurray for nusatrip!

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chauzer
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Wow, thank you!! We’ve been trying the past for trying to book a lion air flight and tried all the different things above. Finally nusa trip worked!

Doug Swalen
Guest
Doug Swalen

I’m booked to Indo at the end of the month…headed to West Papua too. I learned from the last time that Garuda was the lowest hassle option but even they can be trouble. Last time they kept shortening the layover I had in Bali as I flew to Bali from Labuan Bajo and then out to Lombok. This year Garuda really messed things up. They inverted my flights from Sorong-Bali so that the flight from Sorong to Manado left AFTER the flight from Manado to Bali. That sent me into scramble mode looking for a way back. I ended up… Read more »

Boris Minevich
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Boris Minevich

@ Becky, do not be put off by all the negativity. My biggest warning regarding Indonesia would be long bus rides as the roads even in Bali and Java are very bad and travel is free slow. Think of it as 15-30km/hour slow on bumpy roads. If you can tolerate that or avoid the road travel entirely that country ( outside of Bali and parts of Java) can provide you with some of the most memorable travel experiences you can ever have. Sulawesi, Flores, Raja Ampat, Maluku, even parts of Sumatra all have unique natural and cultural attractions. And some… Read more »

Boris Minevich
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Boris Minevich

Stefan, where in Maluku are you going? Ambon only? Banda ( Spice) Islands are beautiful, but there was no air service there back in 2015 ( maybe still), the only way to get there was 8 hours Pelni boat ride twice/month. Ambon is as dump as any Indonesian town. And where in Raja Ampat are you going? I did similar trip in January of 2015 visiting Maluku ( Banda Ai) for 5 days and Raja Ampat (Kri) for 8 days. For some reson I had no problem at all booking Fflying Blue award ticket Bangkok-Jakarta-Makassar-Jayapura-Sorong open jaw Ambon-Jakarta-Taipei for 20,000… Read more »

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[…] A “non-torment way” to book Indonesian domestic flights online […]

Rupert
Guest

@Becky, Indonesia is not as bad as it sounds.
If you are looking for cultural wonders, Yogyakarta is my favorite city in Indonesia. Garuda and AirAsia fly there, so tickets are easy to book; plenty of good and inexpensive hotels (agoda is great for hotels in Indo); people are friendly and I had no issues with taxis or touts (rare, but true!)
You can check out why you should visit Yogya here: http://dreamtravelonpoints.com/2016/01/explore-historic-temples-without-the-crowds-yogyakarta-indonesia/

Becky
Guest

For a long time, Indonesia was the #1 country I wanted to visit in Asia, for it’s amazing and varied natural and cultural wonders. I’ve put it off, time and time again, because you and others have warned me of the hassles, annoyances, and frustrations that come with it. I keep hoping that in just one more year they’ll get their act together. At some point, I will just have to dive in!

Rick b
Guest
Rick b

Btw why are you going to Maluku or West Papua? Unless you’re going diving get ready for a word of hurt getting around there on the ground. Those are the kinds of places where you better of getting on a dive cruise straight from the airport.

Rick b
Guest
Rick b

Congratulations, you’ve discovered the matrix lol. I’ve been doing this for several years out of necessity to get to scuba diving spots. Most dive shops will tell you about it or help with the booking.

Sometimes nusatrip will fail to accept a card and many “direct” flights really have a stopover that’s not revealed so it takes some experience.

Just remember a flight is always going to be delayed and gates will Likely change without any visible announcement until last minute so always be alert at the airport and keep asking the gate staff repeatedly. Lol

Anne
Guest

I love travelling around Indonesia but did not enjoy missing our return flights from Singapore becausecheck authorities had decided to close the airport in Bali and just not tell us. We turned up for our Lion Air flight to find the airport deserted because of a G20 summit and we had never been informed.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Brings back memories of Indonesia budget travel 10 years ago. What a thrill–a tricky, patience-draining, exhausting thrill!

brian
Guest
brian

I’ve had very good luck just googling a random Indonesian travel agency and having them book my LCC tickets that couldn’t be paid for online with a US credit card.

It does take a few e-mails, but they can quickly put the flights(s) on hold and give you a day to pay via Paypal.

Mel
Guest

+1