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7 things to consider when choosing an airline for your domestic flight in Indonesia

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Planning a trip around Indonesia can be challenging. Trains, buses, boats or planes – many options to choose from in the world’s biggest island country.

If you’re not only staying in Bali, you’ll probably board a domestic plane at one point. More than 10 domestic airlines operate in Indonesia and many routes are served at similar prices.

Choosing the right airline for your trip depends not only on the ticket price but on a few more factors such as your destination, how much time you have and how much luggage you bring with you.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the airlines flying to Sorong and 7 factors to consider before booking the next flight. 

1. Baggage Allowance

The most important thing – especially with domestic airlines – is the baggage allowance. If you’re travelling with cabin baggage only, you’ll be fine. But if you’re a diver or simply bring a lot of luggage with you, you want to make sure you’re not paying any extra fees for your checked baggage.

Garuda Indonesia and Batik Air include a baggage allowance of 30 kilos on a Business Class Ticket and 20 kilos on an Economy ticket. Additionally, Garuda Indonesia accepts Sports Equipment (max. 23 kilos) free of charge.

Sriwijaya Air allows Business Passengers to bring 25 kilos and Economy Travelers 15 kilos as their checked baggage. According to the latest online updates the airline allows a maximum of 10 kilos of Diving Gear. Be prepared to pay for excess baggage at the airport during Check-In – it may vary from IDR 50.000 up to IDR 150.000 per kilo.

Since the beginning of 2019 Lion Air no longer includes free baggage allowance for their passengers. Any baggage exceeding standard cabin weight (7 kilos) has to be paid for. Prepaid baggage can be purchased online not later than 6 hours before departure. Additional baggage can be purchased at the airport during Check-In.


From January 10, Sriwijaya Air increased the free baggage allowance for Economy Class to 20 kilos, except for a few connecting flights. The upgrade is the answer to customer requests that larger baggage allowances are needed.

Batik Air and Sriwijaya Air no longer accept any sports equipment free of charge. Any luggage that exceeds the maximum weight must be paid extra.

2. Layovers

This affects especially flights from Jakarta to Sorong.

Garuda Indonesia and Batik Air are the only airlines offering direct flights from Jakarta to Sorong.
Pay attention to the specified flight time when booking your flight! A direct flight shouldn’t take longer than 4 hours. Some flights are assigned as DIRECT but will have a layover in Makassar when the flight time is more than 5 hours.

All flights from Bali have a layover in Makassar.

3. Terminal Change in Jakarta

If you are connecting from an international flight in Jakarta, it might be worth checking your arrival and departure terminal. Soekarno-Hatta Airport Jakarta is a huge airport with 3 terminals. The new Airport Sky Train makes it easy to get from one to another but keeps it in mind if you’re on a tight schedule.

Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia’s International Airline, operates from Terminal 3, the biggest terminal of the airport.

Batik Air operates in Terminal 2. Lion Air uses both Terminals 1 and 2.

Sriwijaya Air operates in Terminal 2.

Once you’re at your terminal, always check your departing gate (not only in Jakarta!). Changes often happen last minute without any information. It happened to me more than once that I almost missed my flight that way!

4. Free Cancellation

Free Cancellation or changes in your flight schedule are always depending on the class of your ticket.

Read the notes when purchasing a ticket or get travel insurance that covers you for the worst case.

Check here for more details:

Garuda Indonesia:

Batik Air (Lion Air Group) / Lion Air:

Sriwijaya Air:

5. Reliability

Reliability – good question!

Remember, we’re in Indonesia and flight delays or cancellations can happen anytime with any airline.

I’ve had smooth flights with Lion Air without any delays. I’ve experienced Garuda Indonesia cancelling a flight after spending the whole day at the airport. I’ve had a delay and missed my international flight while flying with Sriwijaya Air.

The fact is: you never know! Better be safe than sorry and always plan so you have enough time between flights – especially when you have to catch an international flight!

6. Safety Records

Some Indonesian airlines are not well known for their safety records – but there is good news!

After completing a new safety audit in 2018 upgraded the following airlines to their highest level: Garuda Indonesia, Batik Air, and Lion Air.

Even better: Garuda Indonesia showed a record of no accidents since 2008.

As a result, the EU lifted the flight ban on all Indonesian airlines that was released in 2007.

More info here:

7. How about a bit of luxury?

Shorter flights are usually easy to handle but let’s be honest:

Who doesn’t like to have a bit of luxury during their flight?

Meals or snacks and drinks are served by all airlines except Lion Air. Most of Lion Air flights offer onboard purchase options. Keep in mind that on most domestic flights no alcohol is being served.

Flying overnight and needing a bit of comfort?
Blankets and pillows are offered on Batik Air and Garuda Indonesia flights. Sriwijaya Air hands them out on request and as long as stock lasts. Lion Air doesn’t offer any blankets or pillows.

Are you tired but can’t sleep?
Lucky you if you’re on a Batik Air flight. Usually, all of their planes do offer Inflight Entertainment. Depending on the aircraft, Garuda Indonesia sometimes offers Inflight-Entertainment too.

Read also 5 tips on how to survive a night flight!


In general, it’s difficult to say which airline is the best for your trip. Depending on your destination, your luggage, your time and some additional extras you’ll find different airlines to choose from.

This article gives you an idea about the major domestic airlines and important things to remember before booking your next flight.

Booking a domestic flight ticket for Indonesia can be challenging.
Check out Traveloka! After several years of comparing different booking websites, we strongly recommend them. They offer the best deals, great customer service, and – most importantly – are foreign credit card friendly!

Can you think of any other factors that could be considered before choosing an airline?

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash