Choose a budget flight with Batik Air from Brisbane to Denpasar and save your money for a better holiday in Bali, that magical island known for it’s warm welcomes, rich culture and beautiful scenery. There’s something about the small Indonesian island of Bali that gets under your skin and it’s been a frequent holiday destination for me over many years.
Even though I live in Brisbane, Australia, close to some of the world’s best beaches at the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast and further north in the Whitsundays, my heart still jumps with joy when finally released from the aircraft, I smell the distinctive Bali aroma of clove cigarettes mixed with tropical warmth. It was my first overseas holiday over 30 years ago, and although so much has changed in Bali, the people are still warm and welcoming. This time I stayed at the very luxe Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua, which was a superb experience. It also allowed me to explore a part of the island that was new to me. I also was one of the first guests at Grand Mercure Bali Seminyak and enjoyed rooftop dining at Tribe Bali Kuta Beach.
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About Batik Air
Formerly known as Malindo Air, Batik Air is a Malaysian-based airline part of the Lion Air Group. It has been flying to Australia since 2017 and has a safety rating of 6/7. In comparison, Qantas, one of the world’s safest airlines, has a safety rating of 7.7.
The airline has a fleet that includes nine ATR 72-600, which hold 72 passengers, three Boeing 737-800 with a capacity of 162 passengers and 16 Boeing 737-8, which take up to 180 in a single class configuration.
Current Batik Air routes from Australia include Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to Denpasar, Bali and then onto Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur is the airline’s hub port, with multiple flights from around Malaysia and over to Singapore. Connecting northern flights will take you to Vietnam, Taipei, and Japan. Fly west, and destinations include Thailand, India, and Pakistan.
I flew with Batik Air from Brisbane to Denpasar in December 2022.
Brisbane to Denpasar Batik Air flight IMAGE ©Kerry Heaney
Batik Air Check In
This is a budget airline, so it is the first flight out with a 7 am departure. That means I’m at the airport at 4.30 am standing in a long queue behind people who got up earlier. The flight back is at another unattractive hour, leaving at midnight and arriving in Brisbane at 6 am.
Check-in is reasonably efficient and the staff friendly. I present a PDF of my ticket and passport and receive a boarding pass in return. Boarding is also smooth and efficiently handled by the same friendly staff.
The economy ticket comes with a 20 kg baggage allowance and 7 kg for carry-on. My cabin baggage was weighed at check-in, and I was careful to keep it under the 7 kg allowance. I’m surprised to see the size of some of the bags that have to be shoved into the overhead lockers. They look much heavier than 7 kg, but maybe there are just full of bean bag beans?
Batik Air aircraft interior IMAGE ©Kerry Heaney
I’m quite comfortable in my seat for the six-hour flight. It’s always a little longer going to Bali because of the strong headwinds. The journey home should only take about five hours. The seat configuration is three by three with a seat pitch of 32 inches, and there is a comfortable amount of room for my feet. I’m on the short side, but the larger men over the aisle seem reasonably happy.
There’s one fellow who looks a little too big for the seats, and the flight crew have thoughtfully given him the only free row on this nearly full flight.
There’s a toilet at the front and two at the back of the cabin. Both are very compact. Tiny, in fact. I don’t know how a large person could use it comfortably. There’s no soap when I visit, but it is well stocked with paper towels and toilet paper.
The cabin is quite cold, and I wish I had a thick blanket. They are available onboard, along with a pillow, for $10 and $5 MYR. You can use a credit card to pay onboard.
Batik Air onboard meal selections. IMAGE Kerry Heaney
There is no complimentary food on the flight. Instead, you can pre-purchase meals when you book or buy them onboard. There’s a wide range of Asian meals, including favourites such as Chicken and Lamb Biryani Chicken Rice and Thai Green Curry. There are vegetarian options too. Sandwiches and pizza are also available.
My ticket does not include food, but that’s available for purchase onboard. Instead, I self-cater with a quick whip around the supermarket the day before I fly.
I board with a punnet of blueberries, a ham and cheese sandwich, and some beetroot humus with biscuits. It is way too much food, but it was cheap enough, and I’m not sure what I’ll want to eat.
Seatbacks on this Batik Air flight included nothing but a tray table. IMAGE Kerry Heaney
Take your own. There’s nothing provided on this Batik Air flight. This is the time to load up your devices with movies, podcasts and e-books or plan a big sleep. You won’t find any options to keep your mind occupied except counting clouds through the window. There is an inflight magazine, but that will take you about three minutes to read.
Denpasar Airport. IMAGE Kerry Heaney
Arriving in Bali
Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar is very busy, and it can be a bit of a nightmare to get through and start your holiday. For this visit, my host organised Bali Fast Track on Arrival, which is a service that takes the ouch out of negotiating your arrival.
As soon as I stepped into the airport, there was a guide waiting for me. He took me on a fast walk through the airport, so fast I struggled to keep up after sitting for six hours, to get to the front of the queue. There was a bit of chatting with Immigration as they looked at my passport, and then I was whisked around the side ahead of the long queues. I was ushered to the Visa on Arrival processing point, where I purchased a Visa On Arrival. The cost is IDR 500,000 (ca. USD 35 / AUD 50) per person. You can pay with cash or card (no AMEX).
It all worked very when until baggage pick up, where I had to wait for about 20 minutes for my bag to arrive. Then it was onto the Customs baggage arrival check, and I was accompanied to my hotel transfer.
This is a great service when you want a hassle-free arrival. It’s particularly good for anyone unfamiliar with the airport or if you want to get to your destination quickly. Book it online for USD$39.83.
A Bali Fast Track departure service is also available, which can include pre-departure pickups and lounge access for additional fees. I managed the departure process easily on my own.
Denpasar to Brisbane Departure
You need to get to the airport about two and a half to three hours ahead of your departure time. Once again, the queues can be quite long, especially in the evening. An earlier arrival means you won’t spend as much time in queues.
Before heading to the airport, check that your flight is on time. Make sure to allow plenty of travel time to the airport, especially if you are travelling from Seminyak, Kuta and Legian. There is security at the airport entrance, then a queue to check in, a queue for airport security, a queue for immigration and security at the gate. Then most likely a bus to your aircraft. Have dinner at the airport before boarding the flight and you can go straight to sleep on board. It’s a six-hour flight, so make the most of the sleeping time. Once you pass immigration, walk through the airport past the first food section to Made’s Warung where I can recommend the chicken burger.
I like to hydrate heavily before a flight and drink plenty of water while flying. At the final gate before boarding, you will not be allowed to take water through, even if you bought at the airport. You have to buy water onboard so try to have some cash or a credit card on hand.
My Denpasar to Brisbane Bali flight left the airport at 9.40 pm – on time and arrived at 5.30 am. I enjoyed the economy version of a flatbed with three empty seats so I could stretch out. Two of my newly purchased sarongs became blankets for the night.
My flight was direct from Brisbane to Denpasar. The aircraft was on time (short delay on departure), and the seat was comfortable. It’s no frills, but the essentials are covered. For a six-hour flight, I am happy to organise food and entertainment.
Depending on when you travel and the inclusions you select, I found Batik Air flights from Brisbane to Denpasar return for under $670. If you can snag a cut-price fare on Batik Air, I think it represents reasonable value for money on an efficient service.
Bali is just one of the many places I’ve visited in Indonesia. One of the most memorable was a trip to Komodo Island, where I walked with Komodo dragons.