Hey Mr, want to buy an airline ticket?

I did not pre-book connecting tickets from Denpasar to Surabaya as I wanted go get “first available”, preferably within 30 mins. The only way to do that was to wait and see what time the flight actually arrives, then dash for the ticket counter.

The Garuda ticketing office was closed due to computer problems, so that left the smaller regional airlines. I was dismayed when all of them were fully booked. Hearing my misfortune, my previously unknown best friend says “I can help you Mr. I have tickets.”

To say I was suspicious would be an understatement. Long story short: scalpers buy lots of cheap seats then hang around the ticket windows waiting for travellers like me to arrive.

Unbelievably, the airlines collude with them and re-issue the boarding passes. On top of that they held the flight for 30 minutes while this “deal” was in progress.

The local name for this kind of whealer-dealer is “macalam” – somewhere between criminal and legit. A lot of business gets done by macalams in Indonesia.

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