January 25, 2007

My maiden flight on Air Asia

As the title of this post suggests, despite having been around for five years, I've never boarded an Air Asia flight before. We took Air Asia for our family trip to Hanoi as we made the booking during one of Air Asia's promotion period. I've been warned that the low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) resembles a bus station and so, I had little expectations of the look and facilities at the airport. The first thing I noticed upon arrival was the sheer busyness of the airport, a huge difference compared to the quietness of KLIA.

Our check-in was quick and simple enough, save for the long queue at the check-in baggage screening machine. As we had time to kill, we proceeded to have some snacks at McDonald's, which was operating at full capacity. Finding an empty table was difficult, and I remember thinking that this must be one of McDonald's most profitable outlet, given that it is the only fast food outlet there and the inflated prices.

It was soon time for us to proceed to the boarding gate. We cleared immigration without any hassle but there were noticeably more counters for foreign passports than there were for Malaysian passports. The common waiting area at the boarding gate was a hive of activity and the noise level was not unlike that at a pasar malam. When it was time to board, the airport staff gave priority to those traveling with children and elderly passengers to board first. We boarded the much touted Airbus with its leather seat. A cabin crew noticed Yiu Yiu and offered me an infant seat belt for take off, which I thought was a nice gesture. The flight was uneventful and we touched down at Hanoi at the stipulated time.

The same can't be said for the return flight. Our flight was delayed and by the time we took off, it was already 1.5 hours behind schedule. Air Asia has a notorious reputation of delayed flight and here I am experiencing it first hand. The cabin crew had a busy time selling their snacks and beverages as many passengers didn't have their dinner before boarding. Their nasi lemak, croissant and sandwich were sold out in no time and instant noodles became an instant hit, pun intended.

Our maiden flight on Air Asia

On the return flight. Note the effect of the cold weather on Yiu Yiu's cheeks,

When the plane touched down at LCCT, there were three other international flights disembarking at the same time so you can imagine the chaotic situation at the arrival terminal. Not surprisingly, there was a long queue at the immigration but the officer at the line I was queuing was very considerate and instructed other passengers to give way to those traveling with children. Alas, time gained from the speedy immigration clearance was lost waiting for our luggage. There were only two luggage conveyors and both were not loading luggage from our flight. Signage was poor and our flight number was never displayed on the screen, resulting in us having to shift between the conveyors to locate our luggage. We finally got our luggage about an hour later.

So from my experience, Air Asia lived up to its reputation of having a warm and friendly cabin crew. I happened to be on the Airbus on both flights and the leather seat lends a really nice touch. The space between rows was pretty narrow though, and I can imagine that a big size Caucasian will have trouble fitting in. I also find the fact that the cabin crew comes around to collect garbage from passengers near the end of the flight rather interesting and innovative, as I'm sure this is a major factor in enhancing efficiency in turning around the aircraft. On the flip side, one out of two flight delays doesn’t make good statistics but I think the trick is to fly on earlier flights, as there will be less cumulative delay time compared to a later flight. The unloading of luggage also needs improvement, but I guess that's not really Air Asia's responsibility, or is it?

Anyway, in the spirit of Now Everyone Can Fly, we made some bookings again during the recent Air Asia promotion. Our next destination? Siem Reap. Angkor Wat, here I come...

7 comments:

jazzmint said...

hehe..there are no more 73 operating liao for malaysia, mostly airbus...at least it's cleaner hoh...

shooi said...

Hihi, Just to let u know that i have tagged u in a meme.

Btw, how much did u pay for YiuYiu's flight ticket. Any discount for infants <2?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I haven't been on AirAsia before. Now that i've read your views on it, I guess i should give it a try ya? Can I tag along to Angkor Wat too? =P

A Mom's Diary said...

Hehehe...Jazz, yeah, the planes are quite impressive. Do you get to fly free on Air Asia? Your hubby is a pilot there, right?

Shooi, Yiu Yiu's fare is only RM60 both ways, but the taxes and surcharges came up to about RM200. RM30 one way is the standard fare for infants <2 years. And there's no free flights for infants even during the Air Asia promo. All of us adults will fly for free but gotta pay Yiu Yiu's fare...hehehe...

Rabbit, if you can fit into my luggage, I'll take you along...LOL

Anonymous said...

Okie okie! I'll try to bend bend my body ya, see if i can fit into ur luggage. U bring bigger luggage box for the sake of me hiding in it lah. Haha!

Anonymous said...

Hi..i happen to browse your blog via "Just My Tot" (we are colleague).

How did Yiu Yiu cope with the air pressure?

Btw, I have a blog for my baby girl as well - chingern.blogspot.com

A Mom's Diary said...

chingern's mum - Yiu Yiu was ok with the ear pressure. I initially planned to breastfeed her during take-off and landing but she was too "kay poh" to stay at the breast. Anyhow, she was OK.