Yesterday we decided to take a flight from Makassar in South-Sulawesi to Manado in North-Sulawesi. We were stuck in a hotel in Makassar, a noisy and dirty city we didn’t like, and did not want to spend Jace’s second birthday in a hotel room in a big city.
Because we decided to go to Manado last minute there were no direct flights anymore. We ended up flying wit Sriwijaya Air and had to fly via Ternate, Maluku province. Finding the tickets to get here wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
Booking a ticket on Sriwijaya Airlines, not as easy as it seems
If you want to pay with an international credit card, you HAVE to book your flight online or via a travel agent because the airline’s own call centers only accept Indonesian cards. Furthermore if you fly with one of the Indonesian domestic airlines (Sriwijaya, Lion Air) you can only take 20kg of checked luggage (with Wings it’s only 15kg). If you, like us, are traveling with more than 20kg of luggage your only option is to just show up at the airport with your excess luggage and hope they don’t charge too much. There’s no way to buy extra kg’s online.
Excess baggage fees for Sriwijaya Airlines
We spend a few hours looking for excess baggage fees for Sriwijaya but we couldn’t find any info, the same goes for other local airlines (Lion Air, Wings etc). Because the flight wasn’t too expensive we considered booking a ticket for Jace so we would have 20kg of check-in baggage for him and we would know how much it would cost us. This to avoid getting a huge bill in the airport. We read other people had to pay excessive amounts to bring extra kilo’s and we knew we had about 15kg too much. Some other airlines have the option to book a seat for your infant, but not Sriwijaya, kids up to 24 months HAVE to sit in your lap. We ended up just booking the two tickets and had not choice but to wait and see how much the excess baggage fee would be when we got to the airport.
The next morning we went to the airport wondering how much this part of our journey would cost us. We went to the check-in counter for Sriwijaya Air, put the bags on the scale and crossed our fingers. The scale said 55kg so we were 15kg overweight, exactly as we thought. When I asked how much this would be the guy told me it would be IDR28.000 (€1,82) for one kilo extra. So 15kg x IDR28.000 was IDR420.000 (€27,30). In the end, it was better we did it this way because an extra ticket for Jace would have been more! We didn’t want to wait a day longer and get a cheaper flight, because it was Jace’s birthday the next day. All in all, it was nice to have one more relatively ‘cheap’ flight (only two tickets instead of three).
Once we were checked in we went through the security check and had no problems bringing 2,5 liters of water, which surprised us, but obviously, we didn’t complain. We went to our gate and waited for our flight. Because all announcements were made in Bahasa Indonesia we couldn’t understand what was happening with our flight. After asking the ground crew a few times we learned that our flight was delayed and we had to wait some more. When we could finally board the plane we were in for quite a shock. This was a really old and bad maintained airplane. We have flown with a few low budget airlines in Asia but this was definitely the worst plane we have been in. But it was our only option to get to Manado, so we went.
We left an hour after our scheduled departure time. After a flight of about one hour and twenty minutes we arrived in Ternate, Maluku province with one of the roughest landings we’ve ever had. But we arrived safely. When we were about to land the crew asked me repeatedly to turn my seat in the upright position, but it turned out it was broken so the back wouldn’t come back up. Lucky for us, because after a check by one of the ground crew after we landed they assigned us other seats and we had a whole row to ourselves. So Jace had his own seat after all! 🙂 The second part of the flight was only thirty minutes in an half empty plane. We arrived safely in Manado!
We would not recommend Sriwijaya Airlines. We have not yet flown with Lion Air but they have the same routes and we will be looking at them for our flight out of Sulawesi.
Update: We have now flown with Lion Air too. Their planes are definitely better maintained and newer. Downside is that with Lion Air you don’t get anything to eat or drink and you can’t buy anything on the plane. Please remember to bring your own, especially when you travel with children! Even on Sriwijaya’s short flights they serve a snack and a drink. On both airlines the seats are very close together and if you’re a bit tall like me, you’ll not be very comfortable. But I guess that goes for all budget airlines. We still wouldn’t recommend Sriwijaya.