Lion Air Invocation Card. Indonesia, March 2013.

Say Your Prayers on Lion Air (bis)

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

The Indonesian airline Lion Air has something unique. In the seat pocket, with the safety instructions, there is a booklet of special prayers for the flight.

Invocation Card

It can be surprising. The Indonesian low-cost company Lion Air may be modernizing and upgrading its fleets with brand new aircrafts, but it continues to provide its passengers with a booklet in the seat pocket that seems to me to come from another age. Entitled Doa-Doa Perjalanan / Invocation Card, it contains prayers, for all religions.

Comforting for some, surely... But praying for a favorable sky, for the aircraft to fly well and for the crew to get safely the plane and all its passengers to their destination, I doubt that all this will have any impact on the flight. Anyway, it can't hurt...

Lion Air Invocation Card. Indonesia, March 2013.
Lion Air Invocation Card. Indonesia, March 2013.
Lion Air Invocation Card. Indonesia, March 2013.

I had already talked about it on this blog, during my very first trip to Sulawesi in 2007:

→ Effective Prayers on Lion Air

Each time, I am amused to discover this prayer booklet. It doesn't prevent me from respecting the beliefs of others, whatever they may be, as long as no one imposes any of them on me.

Lion Air, the rising airline

With Air Asia, Lion Air is the airline that I have taken most often, for my travels in the huge Indonesian archipelago.

Lion Air. Jakarta airport. Java, Indonesia. March 2013.
Air Lion aircraft at Jakarta airport. Java, Indonesia, March 2013.

Lion Air is beginning to seriously compete with Air Asia in Indonesia, both in terms of prices and routes (as of June 2013, they had 36 destinations and 226 daily flights on their website).

The airline has grown significantly in recent years and continues to expand and renew its fleet (notably by purchasing Airbus aircrafts to France).

Lion Air Routes. March 2013.

During my March 2013 trip to Indonesiaso I flew on Lion Air again, like almost every time I've been there! On the way there, to join Halmahera (Jakarta-Ternate flight), then to join Sulawesi (Ternate-Manado flight), where my final destination was the island of Bangka.

But... the blacklist?

I have often been asked... At the time I published this article (2013), all Indonesian airlines were blacklisted, except Garuda (the national airline) and Air Asia Indonesia (the Malaysian lowcost airline that stretches across Asia). But in a few years, fortunately, things have changed for the better. I've made two updates recently:

UPDATE 2018 : On June 14, 2018, ALL Indonesian companies were removed from the EU blacklist. You can consult the list directly on the website of the French government here → June 2018: the black list of airlines banned in the EU, as well as on the website of the European Commission → Air safety: press release.

UPDATE 2017 : Lion Air is no longer blacklisted by companies banned by the European Union (the complete list is available in PDF to download on the website of the European Commission). This post was first published in 2013 and since then, safety has improved, in the Indonesian skies! Commercial passenger airlines that comply with EU safety standards now include :
→ Garuda Indonesia and its low-cost subsidiary Citilink
→ Air Asia Indonesia

→ Lion Air and its subsidiary Batik Air

When I travel in Indonesia, I try as much as possible to fly on the most reputable airlines. But to get to some parts of the archipelago, you don't always have the choice, Garuda doesn't fly everywhere. So yes, I have flown in the past with companies that were blacklisted.

I add to the passage this link from Slatevery interesting, signed in 2013 by the "Breton-Indonesian" journalist Gurvan KristanadjajaThis report provides a good summary of Lion Air's development and the aviation market in Indonesia:
→ Indonesia, The Country of Low-Cost Airlines

Batavia, which was one of the few not to be blacklisted, went bankrupt early 2013 I had to take one of their flights, precisely, for this March 2013 trip... Too bad for me, I had already bought my ticket. With the "bangkrut" , all I could do was to forget it and purchase another air ticket. Only Lion Air operated the connection at the day and time that suited me, so I had to choose, once again, a flight with a prayer booklet included.

Too bad for Lion Air that there was this failed landing in Bali, in April 2013. I confess, I shuddered in retrospect, on my flight back from Indonesia... But according to the testimony of a French passenger, row 26 brings good luck

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018 : a Lion Air aircraft crashed at sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta on October 29, 2018. It's creepy... He had 189 people on board. Lion Air had previously experienced only one fatal accident in 2004, when an MD-82 crashed on landing in Solo City, Java, killing 25 of the 163 people on board, according to the airline safety network. of the Flight Safety Foundation.

In any case, my Ternate-Manado flight went perfectly well. I was a bit sad to leave Weda, but Bangka didn't disappoint me... More in the next post!


  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

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  1. What a hint for a small detail, there are 200 million Muslims in Indonesia and this invocation card is not for the few French and arrogant French who will take from time to time one of the 200 a320 that lion air has just ordered to my former employer for the modest sum of $ 18 billion.

    Even when they travel the French seem to be definitely vaccinated against humility and that's also why I don't plan to go back to live in France after two months spent in Indonesia... to good ears / byebye! 😈

    1. @Yannick: why so much annoyance?

      This "Invocation Card" reflects a reality of Indonesia, namely the coexistence of different confessions across the archipelago (Muslims and Christians for the most represented, and, to a lesser extent, Buddhists , Hindus, Confucianists). Lion Air has taken this into account in this booklet of prayers (taking over officially recognized religions by the state), which I find rather interesting.

      This card is a "small detail", certainly, but a detail for the least original, all the same. I do not know any other company that combines religion and aeronautics ... (But there may be others in the world?) In short, it's just aspect that makes me smile, without arrogance or cynicism and in respect of all beliefs.

      As I flew again on this company during my last stay, this "detail" of the prayer booklet simply served as a starting point, here, to evoke the dazzling development of Lion Air in Indonesia. Development that is not at all a detail, in my humble opinion, for who wants to move in the archipelago, whether it is French travelers, foreign or Indonesian.


    1. @Lilynomade: yes, for my part, I never had to complain about Lion Air. I'm not an aviation safety specialist, and I know there was this incident in Bali recently (which luckily did not kill people), but Lion Air is the company going up to Indonesia and can assume that their vigilance regarding aircraft safety will go in the same direction.

      Have a good trip! 🙂

  2. "I do not know of any other company that combines religion and aeronautics ..."
    From memory, the late Batavia used to broadcast a prayer before take-off 😮 . Not just the booklet, but the whole thing, with recorded tape... it didn't necessarily bring them luck. (another proof that God doesn't exist would say a convinced atheist like my apple 😈 ... very very very useful this smiley face with two little goat horns...)

    I also remember a local company that used to broadcast a Christian prayer, but I can no longer safely put a name to it. Maybe LAM, the Mozambique company... which must be 10 times less sure than LionAir, btw. 🙄

    On the other hand, we are making a lot of hot air with the Bali incident, but we could put this into perspective by recalling the olé olé landing in Toronto in 2005 of a certain flight of a certain European national airline. They didn't do better than LionAir seems to me... 😕

    1. @ Ludovic / Luko: I took Batavia once or twice in the past, and I do not remember this recorded prayer ... It must have escaped me. Thanks for the mention of other companies, interesting ... : Mrgreen: (I like that smiley face too 😆 )

      For the rest, yes, I relativize, too ... For Toronto, I did not remember this incident, I guess you're talking about this:
      I also keep in mind the tragic fate of the passengers boarded on the Air France 447 Rio-Paris 2009 flight ...

  3. very interesting this article, even if the first reaction at the sight of a prayer booklet in a plane would be rather the escape in my case (I want to get off!!!!! 😮 ), it is rather funny in fact, a small fatalistic side, the divine will.....

    1. @Laurence: yes, very Asian, this "fatalistic" side ... Me on the contrary, as I often flew on Lion Air, I have a feeling of familiarity almost reassuring, when I find this famous book of prayers available ...

  4. Yeah, me too, I'd rather get this prayer book off the plane ... unless I know that the airline is blacklisted in that case, I think I'd be so scared that I'd concentrate on this book rather than on the trip and hope to find faith! Anyway, it's not always bad, the proof is that you're still here to tell us this funny detail! 😡

    1. @Ollie: As I explained, almost all airlines are blacklisted in Indonesia. Depending on where you want to go in this huge archipelago, you do not necessarily have the choice of the company.

      If there is no connection available with Garuda or Air Asia (which are off the blacklist), you must resign yourself to flying with another company (or not to fly at all and give up the destination). In general, I try to choose "the least worst" ...

      Lion Air progresses. Maybe she will come out one day from this famous blacklist?

  5. Oh ah ... as you said Corinne, a little prayer can not hurt (it can even become a marketing gimmick).
    You have to know how to live dangerously. D

  6. By default all Indonesian companies are blacklisted in the EU unless they take an EU-authorized expert who conducts an audit and makes a certification. The EU does not trust the Indonesian DGAC. An error in your text: AiIrAsia Indonesia is not on it. The AirAsia group flies to Europe (the AirAsiaX affiliate, which is Malaysian and soon ThaiAirAsia X) and is very concerned about its reputation and therefore pays the listener. Liuonair did not care about this list, since they do not fly in the EU. They are now known worldwide with their orders, and it is possible that they decide to let money go to an auditor.
    As for prayer, it also existed on Merpati or Sempati 20 years ago and may still exist, but not on Garuda. And we do not see it either in Malaysia, very muslim country. The muezzin on takeoff on Jazeera Airways (low-cost Kuwait) had also surprised me.

    So, I find Yannick a bit aggressive. And when I recounted like you the Merpati prayer card, it made the Singaporeans, the Thais and the Malaysians that I know laugh. Not only arrogant and atheistic little Frenchmen ...

    1. @Jeff: Air Asia is the company on which I have probably flown the most... And I even tested Air Asia X during the ephemeral Paris-KL flight in 2011... 😉
      But read again: I wrote that Air Asia (and Garuda) were not on the blacklist.

      Thank you for your testimony regarding prayers about other companies twenty years ago. We can actually smile, without showing any respect to others or to their religion.

    2. And yes Corinne in each country there are small traditions ....
      Anyway must stay zen and when we travel we adapt to the condition of the country otherwise we stay nicely at home ............
      And then the country is so pretty, the people friendly and communicative that the problems of displacement are missing for my part.

      It is true that this booklet inside the flights was the first time I saw this especially as I work for Air France!

      But good in Brazil is "Meu Deus" for everything and nothing.

      It is certain that security standards are not the same between emerging countries and the major Western countries ............... .. it is besides us who created all these protective norms.

      Looking forward to reading you.

  7. Hello Corinne, these comments are no longer news, since Lion Air is no longer blacklisted since 2017, like many other Indonesian companies. I have to leave with a friend in October and take a flight between Bali and Flores, no conflicting information on the subject. Regarding the famous booklet is rather anecdotic and touching something else, it does not concern me because I'm agnostic, so ...
    Good luck and I too am a diver and have traveled the world on my two sailboats. I am no longer veiled but earthly because I like to be a little old ...