New Zealanders ask the Indonesian Ambassador why they can’t book Indonesian domestic flights online.
Journalist and expert in Indonesian affairs (including romantic ones) Duncan Graham recently joined a small but enthusiastic audience for a speech by Indonesia’s Ambassador to New Zealand at the Havelock North Social Club in Napier.
Then the floor was open for questions. Surprisingly, the first wasn’t about the subjects that many often associate with Indonesia – e.g. religious intolerance, terrorism or natural disasters – but another topic:
Why is it so difficult to book internal flights in Indonesia using the Internet, asks a man keen to plan his own tour.
The ambassador replied:
Indonesians use travel agents and don’t trust Internet payments, while Kiwis are DIY (do it yourself) people.
The author commented it was:
A neat illustration of cultural differences.
- Almost all Indonesian airlines websites accept payment from Indonesian credit cards only, NOT foreign credit cards
The only major exception is AirAsia. However, its website is hosted in its parent company’s home country: Malaysia.
- Only 7% of Indonesians use any form of online banking or payment. Source
For example, the website of Indonesian budget airline Citilink accepts ATM payment, but recently dropped klikBCA, the website of Indonesia’s largest private bank.
The Kiwi (right) is a small bird found only in New Zealand that cannot fly. By contrast, Kiwis – an affectionate term for the people of New Zealand – can now fly in Indonesia. They can book flights via the online booking service Mau Ke Mana and pay with their Kiwi credit card via Paypal in New Zealand Dollars.
Indeed, in per capita sales – i.e. sales divided by number of residents – New Zealand is Mau Ke Mana’s third largest market, only trailing Indonesia’s nearest neighbours: Australia and Singapore.