By Roger Allnutt
The options for air travel out of Australia are increasing all the time with new entrants to the market appearing all the time.
In recent years many travellers have been taking the option of the low cost carriers and one of the leaders in this area is Malaysian based AirAsia. AirAsia X is AirAsia’s long-haul counterpart that focuses on flights which are of four hours or more in distance. AirAsia and AirAsia X are separate legal entities operating different business models, but utilize the same branding.
I flew with AirAsia X from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and then connected to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. The return flights were from Siem Reap to Sydney again via Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia X flies double daily to Kuala Lumpur from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth; seven times weekly from Gold Coast; and five times weekly from Adelaide.
From their hub at Kuala Lumpur AirAsia have connections to 85 Asian airports in 15 countries. When I was in Kuala Lumpur waiting for my flight to Phnom Penh I counted 80 separate AirAsia flights leaving between 6am and 10am – a remarkable network.
You can make your complete booking on their website www.airasia.com The fare is made up of a number of components – the basic fare, airport taxes and fees and a fee for checked baggage (up to 20kg). From the size of some of the carry-on luggage it was clear that many travellers try to avoid this fee. It is advisable to book as early as possible as the fare component of the price increases the closer you get to flight date.
Flights do not include meals in the fare but you can pre-order meals (at a very reasonable price) or buy on board. Films can be viewed by booking beforehand – the films are shown on a tablet. Drinks can be purchased on board.
There are other options that can be purchased. For example there is a small business class section (two rows) on most flights which offer flat beds – nice for an overnight flight. You can select your own seat and for a small extra fee choose a seat with extra leg room or in the so-called ‘quiet zone’ (no children)
Business travellers can enjoy further flexibility, convenience and comfort with a new Premium Flex service recently unveiled by AirAsia. The Premium Flex service offers guests the flexibility to change their flight up to two times with no change fee, complimentary 20kg baggage allowance, express boarding and express baggage and other perks.
In addition, AirAsia will be rolling out a range of Wi-Fi products including access to Instant Messaging, emails and content streaming for all passengers by the end of the year.
Check in was smooth and efficient, the staff friendly and competent. All four flights departed right on time. In fact the return flight to Sydney arrived about half an hour early (must have had a good tail wind).
I found the seats on the flights I was on were very comfortable with quite generous leg room. All flights were nearly full which shows the popularity of the airline as it was low season in Asia.
The delivery of the pre-ordered dinners on the overnight flights was slow and I would suggest that a review of the delivery procedure would lead to an improved, quicker service..
Author was a guest on AirAsia from Sydney to Cambodia