Whilst I am happy to go very light on encouraging the use of Merpati I flew to Bali with them recently and similar to previous flights on their MA60s it was comfortable and only significant event whilst aloft was a nice view out the window.
I can perceive the difference with the ATRs, however to be quite honest the subtleties would be missed by most and on a simple and pragmatic level.
It is a short flight, none of the aircraft on that route have got into any sort of serious trouble, one aircraft had a flat tire on the apron last year, and that was the only stand out log on aircraft incidents all year as far as I know. The cabin crew are fine, the aircraft feel new (no doubt because they are).
The issues with Merpati are reasonably recent documented issues of not getting it right systemically, and losing one of those MA60s in the far east of Indonesia.
No doubt that had some jarring effect upon Merpati and the Civil Aviation regulator was not kind to them.
They like to cancel some flights if they are not really sure they want to operate them. Better that then just mucking about for 12 hours+ like AirAsia have been doing on some domestic routes lately. At least they are sometimes quite up front, often telling people the day before and providing alternative arrangements.
The Forums seem to be burdened with stories of Garuda, Jetstar and Virgin dropping flights from schedules and chopping and changing the schedules and departure times on the routes to and from Australia like a butcher in a madhouse kitchen.
It must be understood the flight time on DPS-LOP is only 25-30 minutes.
If the daily operations are running behind they cannot pick up any time as may sometimes be done on route with longer air times.
Skimming 1 or 2 minutes off a 30 minute flight does not help much in catching up a delayed daily operating schedule, not one would even notice it.
Edited: 9:01 am, January 18, 2013