Thursday, October 16, 2008

AIRASIA X - Low Cost Long Haul Airlines

I promised in one of my earlier Gold Coast post that I would do a separate post to share on my experience with AirAsia X as well as some tips to save money. I almost forgotten about it when friends and a colleague asked me what happened to the post. So here I am, searching and digging for the photos I took during my first flight with AirAsia X. For those who are not familiar, AirAsia X is an extension of AirAsia that serves the long haul segment; places more than 4 hours flying time from departing city.

When you purchase your tickets, the price indicated is only based on the value of your ticket as
well as the airport taxes and fuel surcharge. But once you fill up your details, you will be given an option to pre-book your meals, check-in baggage and pre-assigned seat.

A pr
ebook meal costs RM20 and you can choose either Malaysian, International, Vegetarian or Kid's meal. If you purchase it onboard, it would cost you RM25. But this is only applicable to the 4 types of meal I mentioned earlier. They still have the usual stuff like cup noodle, cup porridge, sandwiches and etc but I noted that for the same items they sell in AirAsia flight, the price in AirAsia X is more expensive.

Hubby and I ordered the Malaysian meal; Nasi Lemak and it came with a bottle of mineral water. The Pak Nasser Nasi Lemak that we had from our flight departing Kuala Lumpur was not too bad. Portion was huge and it came with fluffy piping hot coconut rice, sambal, chicken satay cubes, rendang chicken, cucumber, boiled egg and acar (Malay pickled salad). Peanuts and ikan bilis (anchovies) were served in a different container. Good move as when the rice is heated up, the peanut and ikan bilis would not lose its crispiness and crunchiness as compared to dumping it into the rice together. Now perhaps they should separate the cucumbers too as I find eating hot cucumber odd.

On my flight back to Kuala Lumpur, I was looking forward to my nasi lemak breakfast as we didn't have a chance to have any at the airport. However, I was so upset and disappointed with the nasi lemak, so upset until I forgot to take a picture. Anyway, it was unforgettable cos it was the worse nasi lemak I ever had in my life. Rice was soggy and the sambal tasted like Capsicum+Tomato+Onion Salsa. It was sour and bland, I wonder if the chef forgot to put any salt in it. And the chicken rendang, of well, I won't dwell further cos I knew definitely that was supplied from the caterer in Gold Coast. I had a few spoonful and ended up ordering MSG-laden Cup Porridge to warm my tummy. Same goes for Hubby too. I came back and made a complain to AirAsia and true enough, the nasi lemak was supplied by Aussie caterers. Gosh, I thought that was not a good excuse cos at least they have to ensure some quality in the food. Anyway, the staff advised me to try the western meal as the roast chicken and pasta are pretty good. I will let you know if that is true after my trip to Melbourne next year.

I admit it was my fault for not reading the prints correctly when I booked. The only thing I don't like about AirAsia is their 'free-seating' concept which resulted in
many people cutting queue during boarding. I thought AirAsia X was the same and so I ended up choosing the pre-assigned seat option by paying extra RM20 per person per way. So in total, we paid RM80 for having our seats pre-assigned. I only found out from Lyrical Lemongrass, who were on the same flight as I was, that she have been allocated a seat although she didn't pay for it. Later I found out that all seats are allocated upon checking-in. Unless you really have a seat that you are particularly fond of or you have preference for window seat (I do believe you can request when you check-in), then go ahead and pre-book it. Otherwise, save your RM20 to have a hearty meal when you reach your destination.

You pay for what you carry: 15kg for RM20, 20 kg at RM50 or 25 kg at RM100. Not sure how much to choose? Choose the lowest as you can always top up later!

In-Flight Entertainment
As for inflight entertainment, sadly, the answer is none. They don't have movies or games to entertain througout the 8 hours flight. Luckily I was fully equipped with MP3, GameBoy and 2 issues of Reader's Digest. Hubby had an even more brilliant idea. He brought along his laptop to watch DVDs but only found out later that his battery could not last 8 hours! LOL! Actually need not worry, they do have in-flight ePlayer for rental. It is a portable player with latest Hollywood movies and series. For RM35, I guess pretty reasonable price to pay to kill time.

Good news is that coming November 2008, AirAsiaX will be getting 25 new aircrafts and guess what?? It will be equipped with in-flight entertainment powered by Thales where we can watch and control a movie. Does it mean we can pause the movie for toilet break just like those in Malaysia's national carrier???? I do hope we will get personal screen in front of our seat as illustrated in their brochure.

During our dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in Gold Coast, the Italian owner came over to have a chat with us. When he learnt that we were holidaying Malaysians, he grew all excited and the first word he uttered was "AirAsia"! He was excited cos he told us it was advertised in their local paper that the airticket from GoldCoast to London via KL would only costs AUD1,000 when the route commence in 2009. He said at the current rate of AUD3,000 per ticket, it is rather difficult for him to visit his home country. So I guess it is true that AirAsia X is as "CHEAP AS CHOPSTICKS"!! The billboard below is taken outside Gold Coast airport.

If you ask me for one brand that do Malaysians proud, I would say definitely AIRASIA!


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

the nasi lemak i had on airasia last year too was the most horrible ever. it was just thick pureed sauce over rice! looked like vomit! wish i took a pic. too upset like u.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I didn't even get chicken rendang in my nasi lemak on my return trip. :-(

As for seats, you can request for the seat of your choice (i.e. window or aisle), so I really don't see the advantage of paying RM20 to pre-book a seat.

Good tips there, Precious Sista!

kat said...

Aiyah.. I aredi pre-book my seats to Perth next year (RM20x6=RM120). Did not want to risk having the entire family separated like how we were when we flew BA (luckily some kind souls agreed to swap seats with us).

For the meals, I pre-booked Msian meal for the KUL-PER leg while on the PER-KUL leg, I booked International meal. Made sense as I doubt nasi lemak from aussie would taste as good.

Hopefully when we fly in July 09 (yes, I made my booking veeeerrrryyyy early. In August 08 when they had the free tickets promo!), the in-flight entertainment would already be in place. 5 hours is a very long time for a kid who can't read.. :P

Thanks for such an informative write up! :)

Scud said...

Really thank you for these many information on Air Asia X..
But I'll be glad if someone could teach me step by step on how to book a tickets?
For e.g Japan?

CUMI & CIKI said...

wa.. how travel savvy! thx 4d tips:D

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

as much as i hate their service - remembers horror nightmare 6 hrs delayed, stuck in a cold freezing macau airport from 1am..

they r still the most affordable!

Borneo Falcon said...

I learn a lot about Air Asia X and their nasi lemak from you post. Never use Air Asia X before. These tips and advices will definitely be useful in my future trips.

J2Kfm said...

Are the Air Asia X's seats more spacious than the normal ones?
the 4 hours flight to Macau sitting in an upright position without the space to stretch my legs was tormenting.

never tried their meals, I'd rather smuggle some breads or biscuits. paying RM9 for a plate of horrible nasi lemak was like throwing money to the sea.
the Macau boy sitting next to me was complaining nonstop, comparing the experience to eating ... erm ... excrements. =P

Precious Pea said...

terri: Sad that quality not consistent but then again, i find their food so much better than MAS.
I love their 1901 Hot Dogs!

luscious sista: Grrr...and I tot i can book seats for you pulak..hahaha. the RM20 to have a nice latte and croissant in Gold Coast instead hor?

Kat: Haha...i also booked my ticket to Melbourne in July 2009. Couldn't resist the offer but it was done before my Gold Coast trip so I still ended up paying for the advance seat. Bummer! But i guess lyrical lemongrass already mentioned, you can requested for window/aisle seat so i guess as long as you check in early, no problem for sitting together. Oo..i also noticed the plane not empty, hence i see some occupying 4 seats in the middle and slept throughout the flight.

scud: Haha..for Japan you got to wait. They don't fly to Japan yet but i doubt it would be easy for us especially when it is so difficult to get their visa.

cumi & ciki: Most welcomed! :)

NJoe: Ahh..for 6 hours, why didn't you take a cab out to town for some warm crab porridge? Or to the casino for some heat and excitement? Hahaha. I got to say, from all my recent trips, no delay anymore. In fact, the last 3 trips I went, all ended up ahead of schedule.

borneo falcon: Well, with the airfare rocketing like crazy, I really appreciate AirAsia especially I foresee myself traveling between KL and Melbourne frequently starting next year. A ticket by MAS would be more than RM3k whereas I can get less than RM1k during AirAsia promo.

j2kfm: More spacious than their normal AirAsia aircraft but of course if you ask me, any flight more than 3 hours is torturing especially with no entertainment. But I got to say it was pretty alright as I managed to sleep quite well throughout the flight.

jason said...

I don't normally buy their meals cos so far, I only been to BKK with their flights which only took 2 hours. But longer flights... maybe will just have the instant noodle.

Thanks for the tips!

worldwindows said...

Thanks for the comment on AirAsiaX. This is new to me.

I have my fair share of using AirAsia though have not use the X flights as yet. Generally their service is consistent with regards to food, punctuality, queues, seating and with 100% new Airbuses it has gone another notch higher.

It is my practice that I don't queue and always the last to go in yet most of time get to choose an aisle seat with no middle seat occupant. I have all the shared armrest.

Times when I was delayed was inconsequential to the many on time (leeway of 1/2 hour) take-offs and arrivals.

I have experienced 1 mishandled baggage in over 100+ flights with them.

Try not to choose window seat. Choose it only if you are on a long flight (3 hrs onwards) and you do not want to be disturb by passengers going to the rest-rooms and you can sleep. The window seat is tighter and more claustrophobic because of the curvature of the cabin call makes one feel squeezed in.

All the planes are brand new Airbuses. No more 737 with very tight seat configuration. The worst was the flight to Clark on old seat configuration, 3hrs 55mins and having a window seat. It is a killer! I almost freak out as I felt hemmed in and was fidgeting after 2 1/2 hrs.

Tummythoz said...

TQ very much for the tip on the prebook seat charge. Err they provide blankets & pillows or are these on rental basis?

Precious Pea said...

jason: I also don't eat during my Bkk trip. Too short flight to feel hungry after all, i usually look forward to BKK street food the moment i dump my luggage in my hotel room. i so miss BKK.

worldwindows: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. But i seriously hope that AirAsia will consider assigning their seat cos I see some people really bad. 6 people travelling but hoarding 9 seats!! Ended up some couple/family have to sit separate.

tummythoz: They have comfort kit, dunno RM10 or RM15. I didn't see any blanket, next time i check.

ling239 said...

very informative, tks for sharing ^_^

Nic (KHKL) said...

great tips, precious pea! will take note of the details!

btw, how were the seats? comfy?

Precious Pea said...

ling239: My pleasure! :)

nic: Well, to me, no matter how comfy the seat is, any flights more than 3 hours is torturing. I managed to sleep though so i guess it wasn't that bad? BUt then again, if i can save 2k on the ticket, i don't really mind a bit of discomfort. Hehehe.

Big Boys Oven said...

wow this is truely a flying with airasia..... cool!

fatboybakes said...

i've always had good experiences with air asia...except once years ago, when they first started. i think you're right, its really a brand we can be proud of.

mimid3vils said...

Fortunately all my experience with AA was the good 1 :)

Precious Pea said...

bbo: To me, no AirAsia then sad sad life.

fbb: Agreed, they are getting better and better. Have you seen their magazine? Quite a lot of informative write-ups!

mimid3vils: Same here except only once when my flight to BKK was delayed by 2 hours. But AA quickly gave us buns and water for free.

Lianne said...

what a great tip ivy! i hope the fernandez fella reads this and will summon you to his office for some great threat! hehehe .. who knows eh

ai wei said...

i love this! thanks for all ur tips.

aiks... jz too bad for the nasi lemak on the way back. if not, it would be a perfect flight. ^^

Christy said...

Yeah..I must say that Air Asia has come an impressive way and their reputation has surpassed that of their predecessors!

They've really made flying affordable for everyone...:)

Thanks for your lovely sharing on your personal experience, it'd help a lot when I plan for a holiday with my family;)

Precious Pea said...

lianne: Hey, you should be back soon rite? Rite??

aiwei: Yalor..if only the nasilemak was good.

christy: True, AirAsia certainly getting better and better.

jam said...

Nice write up on AirAsia X. I am totally agree with you that AirAsia has changed the face of Malaysian airline industry.

Siti Khuzaimah said...

Hi, god info bout AirAsia-X. I do have experience travel with AirAsiaX last yr Per-KL, KL-Per. From Perth to KL, its was horrible & boring journey. The meals i got was nasi beriyani with beriyani lamb, but it totally not taste as nasi beriyani cos its was produced from aussie. Really cannot eat it. My husband got a broken seat, really not comfortable & can't change seat cos all seat almost full. No entertainment at all coz there no screen in front of our seat.

But journey back to Perth from KL really nice, got a nasi lemak & its really taste Msian cuisine. But i not get as same as ur get, no acar, chicke satay, peanut & ikan bilis, only sambal, chicken rendang, boiled egg & cucumber. But it still make my tummy full.

PaulK said...

Be careful with AirAsiaX.

Most recently, my wife and I were stranded in Abu Dhabi when AirAsiaX announced they were canceling service to/from Abu Dhabi in January this year. They didn’t notify us (their stranded passengers) until Feb 10th. Neither did they offer any accommodation nor answer our emails asking for help. We had to get back to Malaysia on our own. They won’t reimburse our additional expenses either.

They said they would refund the Abu Dhabi/Kuala Lumpur portion of our trip, but it will take them 30-50 days to process the refund. Such an attitude!

Watch out for these guys. If you are considering using AirAsiaX, It might be a good idea to develop a plan B... just in case.


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