Beware the departure taxTravellers departing on international flights have to pay a Passenger Service Charge (departure tax) in Rupiah, so be sure to stash away enough to pay it. The amount varies by airport, but can be as much as IDR200,000 (approximately USD 17) in the airports in Bali (DPS) or Jakarta (CGK). Starting Sep 2012, the airport tax in Indonesia will to be included in ticket price for Garuda airlines flights. Other airlines may decide to follow the lead of Garuda but it should be understood this is an initiative of the individual airlines rather than a broadly mandated change of policy by either the individual airport operators or the Indonesian department of transport.
Update: Since 1 October 2014 Garuda Indonesia has officially separated airport tax in the price of its tickets. In the two years since the inclusion of airport tax in its ticket, the carrier had claimed to have lost IDR2.2 billion each month since the inclusion of airport tax had created a perception that the airline’s ticket price is relatively more expensive compared to its competitors'.
Update : Effective from 1 March 2015, Passenger Service Charge already included on ticket on All airlines in Indonesia.
The three main international airports are Soekarno-Hatta (CGK) at Tangerang, Banten, near Jakarta, Ngurah Rai (DPS) at Denpasar, Bali and Juanda (SUB) at Surabaya, East Java. There are however many cities which have air links with Singapore and Malaysia which can be interesting and convenient entry points into Indonesia.
Garuda Indonesia (http://www.garuda-indonesia.com), the Indonesian 'flag' airline operates to Asian destinations including China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, Australian cities, Middle Eastern destinations such Saudi Arabia and Dubai in the UAE and has recommenced services to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The airline also has extensive code sharing agreements and this assists in providing quite good flight frequencies from airports in countries nearby to Indonesia. While its fleet still has some tatty aircraft, its safety record has improved dramatically. Improvements include a significant fleet upgrade programme utilizing 55 newer Boeing 737-800NG series and 14 Airbus A330 aircraft for higher capacity routes with further of both those types on order. They also have new Boeing 777-300ER series aircraft on order. While banned from the EU for a while, the ban was lifted in 2009 and they have made direct flights to Europe via Dubai in middle east since third quarter of 2010. Garuda Indonesia has outlined various plans to commence flights to major world hubs such as London, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Moscow and Los Angeles using the new Boeing 777 in 2015. Garuda has previously operated to several of these destinations.
Travel to Indonesia from America costs around USD1,000. As travel from most of Europe or anywhere in the USA will take over 20h, many flights stop in Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei or Singapore before arriving in Jakarta. Sydney, though, is just 6-8h away.
The cost of flying to Indonesia from within the Southeast Asia and Pacific region has gone down a lot with the advent of low cost carriers or LCC. A similar and important development has been the offering of reasonably priced one-way fares departing Indonesia and the development of online booking and payment systems. The acceptance of non-Indonesian issued credit cards by the online booking systems of Garuda and Lion air only occurred as recently as the beginning of 2011.
Among the LCC carriers providing services to Indonesia are AirAsia, which has excellent coverage of Indonesia from its hubs in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta (Indonesia Air Asia), as well as Singaporean competitors Tiger Airways/Tiger Mandala, Jetstar Asia/Valuair and SilkAir. SilkAir is actually a full-service, full-fare regional airline, but they often have very good promotions if you book in advance.
Indonesian carrier LionAir (http://www.lionair.co.id) provides flights international flights between Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur-Surabaya, Penang and Medan and between Hi Chi Minh City, Singapore and Jakarta, and is often the cheapest option (cheaper than AirAsia and others). Australia and New Zealand are also serviced by LCC airlines including Jetstar (http://www.jetstar.com/id/en/index.aspx) sharing the Jetstar Asia network, Virgin Australia (http://www.virginaustralia.com/), Indonesia AIr Asia (http://www.airasia.co.id). It is worthy of note that Lion Air has engaged in a massive fleet upgrade program buying a large number of Boeing 737-900ER series and ATR72-500 series turbo props. The steady replacement of their previously rather clunky old fleet of very well used Boeing and MD aircraft is revitalising Indonesia's 2nd largest carrier. Lion air currently operate 62 new 737-900ERs with 133 more 737-900ERs, 7 of the 737-800NG series and 201 Boeing 737 MAX 9 on order. Lion Air have announced plans to position themselves as a major regional airline when sufficient aircraft are delivered.
The only Medium service airline in Indonesia, Sriwijaya Air (http://www.sriwijayaair.co.id) also had some limited regional routes from Penang to Medan and Dili to Denpasar. They also had some flights to Ipoh, Kuala Terengganu(from Medan), Chongqing, Ningbo, Nanjing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Wenzhou(from Denpasar) but only as seasonal charter flight(but some routes to China reported to be regularly operating soon). They also ever flying to Singapore from Jakarta, unfortunately they ceased this route from 2013. Even their aircraft is quite old(737-300,400,500), but their aircrafts seems to be good maintained and there is no any notable incident in last 5 years. Recently Sriwijaya Air also adds some newer 737-800NG and 737-900ER to fleet to replace their ageing 737-300 and 737-400.