Ramadan and Orangutans

Last updated: March 7, 2015
Orangutan Toy

Ramadan isn’t the best time of year to fly to Pangkalan Bun.

Ramadan diagramRamadan (a.k.a. the fasting month, the holy month) is a period of 30 days where Muslims abstain from earthly needs from sunrise to sunset. In 2015, it goes from about 18 June to 16 July.

One consequence of Ramadan is that Muslims don’t travel as much, saving their money and energy for the end of Ramadan trip back to their hometowns – known locally as mudik – to celebrate Idul Fitri (the end of Ramadan, a.k.a. the Muslim Christmas).

Some airlines cut/reduce flights. The right thing to do would be to change the schedule in advance, and not sell tickets on flights that will later be cancelled/moved.

But the two airlines that fly to Pangkalan Bun – Trigana Air and Kal-Star – do not do this.

Instead, both airlines sell tickets for a normal schedule, then inform their passengers only a few days before departure that they will need to fly one day earlier or later. They avoid the financial compensation required for last-minute flight cancellation by calling it a reschedule.

Unfortunately, most passengers have already booked and paid for their boat tour of Tanjung Puting National Park, so their travel dates are not flexible. It is also a major problem for clients with a connecting flight on another airline the same day, because it needs to be rescheduled too, at the client’s expense.

To avoid disappointment and nasty surprises for clients, Mau Ke Mana will therefore include a warning with all flight quotes to/from Pangkalan Bun departing between 18 June and 22 July. Clients will also be discouraged from booking connecting flights on the same day as flights to/from Pangkalan Bun, especially international ones.

This is not a decision taken lightly.


In 2014, flights from Jakarta to Pangkalan Bun was the most popular route, surpassing flights between Bali and Labuan Bajo, near Komodo Island for the first time.

But as can be seen on the testimonials page, Mau Ke Mana puts their clients first, not sales.

4 Comments on “Ramadan and Orangutans”

  1. Chris Clifford says:

    We were planning on flying to Pangkalan Bun on 18th June for a klotok tour. We had thought of going from Surabaya. Would we have a better chance of the plane not being cancelled if we left a day or two earlier or if we left from Jakarta?

  2. Chris says:

    Hi Chris,

    > Would we have a better chance of the plane not being cancelled if we left a day or two earlier

    16th June yes, 17th June maybe. Often the first fasting day is like an unofficial public holiday for Muslims, to help them adjust to the new routine. Unfortunately, different groups start on different days because one group uses Maths and another uses lunar observations.

    > if we left from Jakarta?

    No, that doesn’t seem to make any difference. If flights to Jakarta operate that day, flights to Surabaya also operate.

  3. Chris Clifford says:

    If the airlines cancel a flight one day, are they less likely to cancel it the next day?

  4. Chris says:

    Hi Chris,

    It is less likely, yes.

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