Hi all. Time for another (sigh) review. Air Asia would be the carrier to get me from South East Asia to India, after my SCOOT flight was cancelled when they decided to stop flying the route. I needed quickly to find another option, and so it was I rerouted to Kuala Lumpur and then took Air Asia for the final flight which I think was around five hours.
Thankfully they were easy and cheap to book. The initial ticket was $66AUD and then there were around $40 worth of extras, which were food and baggage and the ability to choose my seat. In fact I accidently ordered a meal as getting one as part of my package so potentially I spent $6 – $10 extra which I didn’t need to spend. Still, it wasn’t a massive cost and it did the job.
I flew through and then out of KLIA2, the low-cost carrier terminal which is a little way from the main KLIA terminals, reached by a short train journey. I wrote a pretty scathing report on it many years ago now (which for whatever reason became my most read post ever) but this time I had no real issues.
The food court is pretty decent with loads of options, the air conditioning seems a lot more effective and the toilets were clean and well maintained. It was very very busy, and the queue to get through security to the gates (there’s the shopping/food section in the middle and then you pass through security to get to your desired gate) looked really long. However, it was moving which in the end made all the difference and it only took around 15 minutes to pass through.
The check-in was kind of interesting, you arrive in the busiest departure hall imaginable from the train and it almost feels like you’re still outside. To check in it took a little while considering there weren’t many people in the line. This seems to be the norm these days, people are taking a very long time to get checked in.
Often it will be because they have too much hand luggage. The war on hand luggage is a strange one. Sometimes they will let anybody and everybody on with as much as they like, other times they become really strict about it. This inconsistency makes passengers pretty irate. I personally get annoyed at people with bags larger than my check in bags that pretty much stop the compartments closing. You see people with 3 or 4 bags sometimes too. You get to your seat too late, there is no overhead room for your bag.
One guy in line had two bags, one just regulation size, the other way over. They told him he couldn’t take it on board, but he insisted that they always let him on board with it. It was clearly too big and he was only supposed to have one. 7kg. That’s all you get on budget airlines. They usually will allow a laptop bag as well. They staff held firm, he was concerned about his chips – he had loads of packets of chips and didn’t want them to get crushed. In the end, it went into checked baggage.
The plane was an Airbus 330. In economy, 9 seats across in total – 3 – 3 – 3. I was lucky enough to have no-one next to me in my window seat. Or in the aisle. So plenty of room plus the legroom was much more than on SCOOT. And I got to sit in my requested seat, something denied to me by SCOOT as well.
We were stuck on the tarmac for an extra 40 ish minutes. The rain was bucketing down and lightning was going off frequently. Not exactly the weather you want to take off in. We were all seated and ready to go 10 minutes early, but with the weather I’m guess not all runways were viable and they have to space planes out more.
How do I rate Air Asia? That’s a difficult one. I’ve flown Jetstar, Tiger, SCOOT and Air Asia in terms of budget airlines, and I honestly can say I’ve had the least difficulties with Air Asia. They do what they do well. However, I do feel there are still question marks hanging over safety where they are concerned. Which is why I did initially book with them.
I also flown, out of those four airlines, on Air Asia most frequently and can’t remember a significant delay. The 40-minute delay on the tarmac at KL was not their fault. I would certainly fly them again. The price difference is probably worth the hassle. But I do concede it’s much more likely there will be issues on Air Asia rather than a full-fare airline. Still, as long as you get from A to B safely, other issues are just… issues? May the Journey Never End!