Thursday, August 20, 2009

Air Asia - Painting the Skies Red

Despite some shortcomings, I think overall Air Asia is doing a good job in ensuring 'everyone can fly'.

I've had a few poor experiences too, however so far nothing major that really upset me. Oh, except the delayed flight in Kuching last month, when the ground staff failed to communicate this to the passengers. Everyone was upset because it was really late. I am sure everyone has their own Air Asia horror story :). I'll save mine for another day.

Anyway, this 'young' airline certainly moves fast compared to MAS. I like it that they are forward-looking and responsive to the market and are always offering something new, be it destinations, flight frequency or sale prices.

Their website is better and more user friendly. Their aircraft are newer and more comfortable. MAS still has this dirty green or stripey multi-colour seat covers that look like they're from the 80's.

They monitor their On Time Performance monthly : July was 83%. Does MAS monitor theirs?

3Sixty is a good inflight magazine, can't say the same for Going Places, which is staid and boring most of the time. It reads like it's been written by, well, staid and boring people.

They are already issuing numbered seats on their flights, with the 'hot seats' offered online when you are making your booking. Standard seats are at RM5, while hot seats are at RM25, inclusive of Xpress boarding.

They've also introduced web check-in and kiosk check-in, both facility which I find are very convenient for the guest.

My feedback on the web check-in is that it is very hard to print out the boarding pass, I only managed to align the page correctly once. Thing is, you can try once and that's it. So, anyway I still had to present myself at the check-in counter and ask the airline staff to print my boarding pass, which on all occasions they happily did with smiling faces.

The kiosks save you time from queueing up, and are available at LCCT-KLIA, and in Penang Airport; I have not noticed it in other airports. Bear in mind that after you have printed out the boarding pass, you still need to have your travel document verified by presenting yourself (with IC/passport and boarding pass) at the Air Asia counter, No. 67 in LCCT if I remember correctly, and getting the boarding pass rubberstamped. Otherwise the airport police won't let you in the departure lounge. I asked the airline staff once, he told me that 'we try to make it as easy as possible for you, but the airport authority needs this process to be done for security reasons'.

Check-in via either method is quite a breeze especially if you only have hand luggage. I have not tried using it with check-in luggage yet.

I've also noticed that the menu has changed a few times in the past year. Yes, the food onboard is nothing to shout about really, well, at least it's your choice to pay for it or not.

On the whole, Air Asia staff on the ground and aboard the flight are also friendlier compared to the ones on our national carrier. Before the emergence of Air Asia, I remember having to go to the MAS Sales office in Karamunsing to buy tickets only to be served by sullen looking personnel who look like they'd rather be anywhere else but at work; either that or they're sitting on pineapples. The same goes for the ones at the airport. Terrible courtesy and lack of customer service skills is how I remember them, such poor ambassadors for the airline.

If it were not for Air Asia I don't think I would've been able to travel as much as I have and will be, and I'm looking forward to more exciting offers from the Red Airline.

More international destinations from KK would be great, pretty please?


  1. I love Air Asia, can't say the same about their call centre though!

  2. I remember this incident when I was flying AirAsia from KK to KL.

    The plane was full and when everyone had planted their butts on the seats and waiting for takeoff, the captain made an announcement that the plane's engine couldn't start and all passengers were required to leave the plane while the crew summoned the MAS fellas for assistance.

    So the whole load of us had to leave the plane, and you knowlah how terrible and slow it is when a full load of passengers try to get off an AirAsia flight. I'll always remember that incident!

  3. Hi Charl

    Never tried their call centre after hearing so many stories about it. I usually head to their airport counter or their KK Sales office :)

    Hi Julie
    That's a memorable one :)

  4. I am beginning to like Air Asia... It is cheap and it flies out from Changi International Airport. It also boasts more destinations than that of Tiger Airways and Jetstar.