The Jakarta Post
Empty commercial airplane seats viewed from the rear (Shutterstock/Martin Chavez)
A Twitter hashtag that was apparently created to justify soaring airfares has sparked a backlash from social media users who find the online campaign inconsiderate.
The hashtag #TiketPesawatTidakMahal (AirfaresAreNotExpensive) went viral after social media influencer Rr. Mahayu Koesoemo posted a thread on her Twitter account @rrmahayukd under the #TiketPesawatTidakMahal hashtag. On her Twitter account, Mahayu argued that the airfare hike is logical as airlines have to cover their operational costs.
“All this time, airlines have sold tickets at low prices to attract consumers. As consumers, we grew to depend on low prices even though revenue from promo tickets cannot cover airlines’ actual expenses,” she tweeted on May 8.
Mahayu told The Jakarta Post that she initiated the hashtags with her friends who are working in the airline industry.
"I started this hashtag because I have plenty of friends who worked in the airline industry, and we had a conversation regarding this topic [airfare hike] before," she said on Saturday.
Many netizens disagreed with Mahayu’s argument and proceeded to rant under the hashtag in retaliation to her tweets.
One of the examples is Twitter user Rifi Fazrina, who said that social media influencers who promoted the hashtag did not know the reason why people complained about the airfare hike.
Those influencers who promoted #tiketpesawattidakmahal massively, mostly argue that we have to find another travel option. Don’t you think that we thought of that already?— Rifi Fazrina (@fifazrina) May 11, 2019
“Those influencers who promoted #TiketPesawatTidakMahal massively, mostly argue that we have to find another travel option. Don't you think that we thought of that already?” Rifi said on her account @fifazrina.
Another account belonging to Oky said the hashtag was out of depth and self-centered.
people who are on #TiketPesawatTidakMahal are totally out of depth. so self-centered and only put on their own shoes.— Oky Oktavian Asha (@okyoktavianasha) May 11, 2019
"People who are on #TiketPesawatTidakMahal are totally out of depth. So self-centered and only put on their own shoes," Oky said on his account @okyoktavianasha.
Despite the influx of angry tweets, some have responded to it with a joke.
“#TiketPesawatTidakMahal if you didn’t buy one,” Twitter user @kuybahagia tweeted on Sunday.
Read also: Lowering domestic airfares
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has faced public pressure to lower airfares after several budget airlines stopped special offers a few months ago, which lead to a sharp increase in domestic airfares.
On Thursday, Budi confirmed that the price ceiling would be lowered by 15 percent to make sure that airlines lower their fares.
“That [15 percent] is the range of the cut. We will finalize it and report it to the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister next Monday,” he said.
On Saturday, general secretary of the Indonesia National Air Carriers Association Tengku Burhanudin said airfares were not calculated based just on operational costs, but also tax and insurance fees.
“We have to include value-added tax, the passenger service charge and Jasa Raharja mandatory dues,” Tengku said as quoted by tempo.com.
Separately, secretary to the Coordinating Economic Minister Susiwjono Moegiarso said that the airfare hike was caused by duopoly since the airline industry is currently being controlled by Garuda Indonesia Group and Lion Air Group.
“If one of them raise the price, the other will follow suit,” Susiwijono said.