We can fly with Garuda for about $AUD125 each way leaving only at night. The Lion Air flight is only $AUD30 each way leaving in the morning (more convenient for us).
I have read plenty of negative comments about Merapti and one or two negative reviews of Lion Air. I am tossing up between Garuda and Lion Air - both of their 'safety' track records are about the same it seems however Garuda is the only airline that is on the EU's 'safe airline' list which most other Indonesian airlines (including Lion Air) being blacklisted and deemed unsafe.
The other option is the fast boat (2-2.5 hours) but some posts recommended not doing this in March when the seas are pretty rough and necessarily safe. I tend to suffer seasickness when it gets rough..
Any advice would be most appreciated or any experiences doing either?