Indonesia Ends Over-The-Counter Airline Sales

There are those moments where it’s awfully convenient to have the chance to buy airline tickets over the counter at the airport. That convenience is further emphasized when venturing to another country. Yet one recent development in a Southeast Asian nation may eliminate that convenience for domestic and international travelers alike.

Indonesia’s Tourist Ministry has decreed that there will be a nationwide ban on buying airline tickets over the counter at all airports. The ban was slated to take effect yesterday, but Tourism Ministry head, Ignatius Jonan, has granted a three month stay of the ban’s implementation to allow all airlines and the management at airports to be in line with the new rules. Once fully in effect, airline tickets would only be available for sale online, with established travel agencies off-site or at other places that offer them as options. The move is designed to be a deterrent against over-crowding at the airports and more importantly, against predatory ticket scalpers.

The Indonesian Consumers Foundation have raised protests against the ban, feeling that this would hurt those passengers who need this ticket purchase option available in case of emergencies. However, there is some public support expressed for this move. Ministry head Jonan has also asked all airlines to convert their ticket counters into customer service counters as part of the new initiative, in addition to creating more ticket vending machines on site at airports. A spokesperson for the Ministry, Julius Andravida, went on record about the three month delay, saying “In the next three months, airlines will still be able to sell their tickets at all airports, but they have to make sure they are not linked to any ticket scalpers. If we find out they’re involved in illegal activities, that same day they need to move out.’ To further bring home the point, Jonan has remarked that any airport director that doesn’t comply with these rules by the halfway point of the year will be dismissed.

In response to the decree, major airlines look to be in concurrence with the new rules. Garuda Indonesia, a prime national airline carrier, has stated that since they gain only fifteen percent of their profits from sales over the counter, it won’t affect their business overall. Angkusa Pura 2, a major airport management company, is promising to phase out ticket counters at 13 airports within the country by the end of May.