Low cost airline of the year three times in row, does say something.
Set up by Tony Fernandes in Januray 2002 and now grown to serve (on our inspection date) 65 destinations in 35 countries from a main base in Kuala Lumpur. Hubs are also at Chiang Mai for Air Asia Thailand and at Medan for Air Asia Indonesia. The fleet is made up of mostly A320s.
We like Air Asia. All our test flights have been on time. Service each time has been very good and we often wonder why pay all that extra for a full service airline. The only difference is that you pay for food and the seats are a bit closer on Air Asia than on the full service operators.
Check in is easy. You are encouraged to use web check in and that seems to work well. Bag drop always has a small queue but not unbearable.
Boarding is always calm and efficient and they treat you as customers not always the case with the low cost airlines.
There is no TV screen on Air Asia but we hear that a system is being considered. That would be a plus on the Air Asia X flights.
The inflight magazine is always a good read.
Air Asia X operates out of Australia and Europe and uses a larger A330. Economy seats are better than on Air Asia aircraft and have more leg room and recline. For an extra charge Air Asia X has fully flat seats which are the first completely flat seats for a low coast airline.
For some flights, transit is possible in Kuala Lumpur without the need to check in again. That we have found a real advantage.
The low cost terminal at KL is separate from the main airport which is very grand. The low cost area is much less so but very functional. Not a place you want to linger too long. Connections into the city are very good with a fleet of buses that operate to the main station in KL with high frequency and low cost.
Bookings are easy on the Air Asia web site. Do take care that you pay the fare you thought you were going to, as extras easily appear on your bill. We have paid for insurance more than once when we did not need it. The tip is to make a note of the fare at the outset and check that is what you pay at the end. If not then something will have been added on such as insurance, seat section or baggage.
Overall we like Air Asia. The low fares have transformed travel in our region. The service and efficiency we fully appreciate. This is a low cost airline we are happy to travel with.
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