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Air Asia X Review
NOTE: The seats on Air Asia X have now been replaced making flights as comfortable as any other low cost carrier. Budget airlines are a staple for any budget traveller. Last time I flew from Melbourne to Singapore I managed to get tickets with Emirates cheaper than the budgets were offering, the Emirates and a [...]
Wednesday February 3 2010
NOTE: The seats on Air Asia X have now been replaced making flights as comfortable as any other low cost carrier.
Budget airlines are a staple for any budget traveller. Last time I flew from Melbourne to Singapore I managed to get tickets with Emirates cheaper than the budgets were offering, the Emirates and a Jetstar flight on the same route boarded at gates opposite each other. The Jetstar flight was near full, Emirates about 30%, I was getting full service on a light plane at about $100 cheaper than the sardines on Jetstar. I’d done my research and it payed off and I wasn’t the only budget traveller with a smug look on my face that evening. This time though was high season I couldn’t find a deal as good or even a marginal one that might be worth paying a little extra for, I went for the cheapest seat I could find MEL-SIN or MEL-KUL, Air Asia MEL-KUL won out.
The aircraft they run on this route are Airbus A330s, on the outbound flight we got one of the newer ones with entertainment systems in the seats in front of you; on the return it was an older plane with only the portable players.
When booking my flights I did a little research and saw mention in some reviews that Air Asia that seats do not recline on these aircraft, others said that in fact they did. For some baffling reason Air Asia has opted for seats that do not recline, yes the seat moves forward giving some sort or increased comfort but it is hard to get it to stay there, the important bit though is that the backrest does not change its angle at all, you are stuck in that upright position the whole way. Many first time passengers don’t discover the seats do move until landing when they find themselves sliding forward under brakes.
The food is small and while it looks nice on the menu card once it gets to you it appears pretty unappetising. It is however still tasty for the most part and very cheap. While Malaysia is one of those countries that love Durian they know it stinks and they won’t serve it on an airplane, they will however serve equally stinky sardines, maybe it is just me but I don’t get that one either.
I’ve never seen bad service from flight attendants on any airline and Air Asia has been no exception.
Before the flight back to Melbourne I tried using their self check in stations, their in-flight magazine mentioned their new improved self check in systems that made checking in even easier and faster. It didn’t work, I hovered around watching others trying to use them as well, I didn’t see a single one without a confused or frustrated look on their face, if it works at all it must be only a small percentage who succeed.
One final nitpick is that on my return flight the service button on about 5 rows on my side of the aircraft did not work, along with the reading lights. Upon landing when the cabin lights are mostly out they remained on for these five rows, it didn’t bother me but I know it is a safety regulation that they are turned off, I do wonder how long this fault was there and how long it would be until it was repaired.
Air Asia has heaps of promotions and there are always good deals to be had but most of them are found in the Southeast Asia region and that is where Air Asia shines. As for their longer haul flights I’ll be avoiding them in the future, I just can’t get past the seats, if their short haul flights also had them it would make more sense but I just can’t figure out why they chose to limit their customers comfort on longer flights like that. Seats that don’t recline on any flight over two hours is a fail in my book. The seat situation is only on flights to Australia, short haul and other long haul flights do have reclining seats. I’ve heard a report that they will be replaced with reclining seats at some point this year.