Jakarta-based online ticket booking service Traveloka is set to hold its first online travel fair this week, offering discounted plane tickets and hotel deals to eager Indonesian customers. (Screenshot of www.traveloka.com)

Online Travel Agents Welcome Rule on Ticket Sales

BY :ARIENTHA PRIMANITA

FEBRUARY 03, 2015

Jakarta. Online merchants for plane tickets stand to benefit most from the government’s latest policy in closing ticket counter at airports,  a move that has drawn mixed reactions from the public.

Busyra Oryza, communications executive at popular travel site Traveloka.com,  welcomed the regulation that will make online bookings an alternative solution for passengers of domestic flights.

Busyra acknowledged the need for last- minute bookings for travelers who find themselves in emergency situations, which the site has already provided.

“We already have a feature that provides last-minute bookings for two airlines, Citilink and Sriwijaya Air,” he said.

The Internet boom that continues to grip Indonesia has spurred the birth of numerous online travel service providers, including Nusatrip.com and Pegipegi.com.

The Transportation Ministry issued a regulation on Dec. 31 instructing all airport terminals to remove their ticket counters by Feb. 15. The unusual decree is meant to keep order in Indonesia’s airports, said ministry spokesman Julius Adravida Barata.

“Our airports are overcrowded. If people arrive with tickets in hand, the terminals would be more orderly,” Julius said. “Crowds tend to attract criminals, so we want to make our airports safer.”

Julius acknowledged the objections raised by the public and assured airlines would still be allowed to sell their tickets outside airport terminals.

Chairman of the Indonesian Consumers Protection Foundation (YLKI) Tulus Abadi argued that the regulation missed its objective and instead “violates consumers’ rights as it will only hamper travelers’ efforts to buy airline tickets.”

As a result, unregulated “middlemen” in the form of online ticket vendors will multiply and make under-the-table dealings with airline employees, he said.

“Order” will always be an issue if airports continue to exceed its capacity, he added, pointing to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which was originally built to cater to 20 million passengers a year but currently serves 60 million.

Indonesia AirAsia spokeswoman Audrey Progastama Petriny conceded that  the new regulation would impact ticket sales, but the budget carrier will comply with government demands.

“Seventy percent of our tickets are sold  online, the remaining is sold through travel agents and ticket counters at the airport. [The airline] is currently considering various solutions to offer our passenger with regard to the rule,” she said.

GlobeAsia

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