Much has been talked and wrote about the Malaysian budget airline AirAsia. Based out of Kuala Lumpur, the airline offers dirt-cheap fares across Southeast Asia. People either love or hate them. Here’s my review…
My recent AirAsia experience was on 26th January, 2016 from Kuala Lumpur to Malé. I left to the airport from the city a little early with my friends in their car, it was a smooth 45-minute trip to KLIA2, the new low cost terminal that replaced the old LCCT. AirAsia’s online check-in system is pretty nice and easy, but I had it done manually at the check-in counter fairly swiftly, allowing me time to grab one last cup of coffee with my friends at the airport before departure.
I actually had more checked luggage than my usual travel practice, in fact I didn’t pay for my checked luggage until 3 days before my departure from Kuala Lumpur and USD 14 for 20Kg checked luggage is a fair price for a budget carrier.
The overhead compartment space on flights I usually travel has not been very generous so I was rather amazed to find plenty of room for my overweight backpack. I also paid an extra USD 10 for a seat up front in the Quiet Zone which doesn’t allow children under the age of 12 – it also provided me a reasonable amount of legroom on the A320-200 aircraft. For starters, the seats were big and comfortable. I really had more room than I knew what to do with. While I’m not a big guy and usually have plenty of room, I found I had slightly more than normal in those seats.
It was a 4 hour and 15 minute flight and had sufficient time to sample the food onboard – AirAsia’s onboard meal menu revealed a multi-cultural Malaysian heritage with a choice of Nasi Lemak, Oriental Chicken Noodle, Vegetable and Chicken Biryani, Chicken Rice, Korean Beef Steak and more. As the passengers began ordering meals, the smell through the cabin made it even more tempting. I had my meal pre-ordered since many of the meals on the menu were highly subjected to availability. I had Uncle Chin’s Chicken Rice”, seasoned rice accompanied with roast chicken, secret chilli sauce of Uncle Chin, ginger and garlic sauce. Overall, it was one of the most delightful airline meals I have ever had. I usually don’t finish my meals on most flights, because by about halfway through, I get fed-up of the taste, but I devoured all of it.
A selection of tea and gourmet coffee including espresso and cappuccino were served by the cabin crew with barista skills.
There was no in-flight entertainment, but they have good staff and better service than the most other airlines. At the end of the day, we use companies because we not only like their products, but also their employees. I also think most passengers on our flight seemed happy enough with whatever they had loaded onto their various devices.
I was pleasingly astonished by the superiority of the in-flight magazine, Travel 3 Sixty. It was a well-balanced mix of high quality editorial, and content that covered health, leisure, lifestyle, in-depth travel stories focused on culture, and lots of beautiful photography throughout the pages. There were interesting interviews with real people and a fair absence of celebrity worship.
Overall, I would give this budget experience a big thumbs-up. A sufficient amount of leg room, a quiet and calm cabin on the flight with no rudeness. I have had the pleasure of flying AirAsia a few times – it’s a great bargain and a decent airline to fly, as long as you know what to expect. I would fly again and recommend to anyone. I have nothing to complain about, for the price I pay to fly on AirAsia.
Try AirAsia, if you’re considering flying on a budget in Asia. Flights with the lower fares are generally offered early in the mornings, the later flights are almost double the price of the ones offered in the morning. So keep an eye out for that.