Darwin Blog


Flying Home Brand
Sunday, 23 March, 2008, 12:30 pm
Filed under: Travel

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I have a policy of not flying home brand, which essentially is flying a low budget carrier/ airline.

I broke this rule last year when we flew from Denpasar to Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia.  I have to say they are cheap and everything is available on line – www.airasia.com

Air Asia is a budget airline and seems to be going great guns.  Owned by Tony Fernandes, who rose to prominence by turning AirAsia, a fledgling government-linked commercial airline, into a highly successful public-listed company. Fernandes was also instrumental in lobbying the then-Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in mid-2003, to propose the idea of open skies agreements with neighbouring Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. As a result, these nations have granted landing rights to AirAsia and other discount carriers (Wikipedia).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Fernandes

Air Asia planes apparently have a 20 minute turnaround on the ground and that we did witness.  The planes are new, well maintained and clean.  The staff are great and fun – we laughed a lot on our flight just by their antics and our fellow passengers.  There is no allocated seating, but that didn’t seem to be an issue as everyone appeared to have a favourite place in the plane and no one was disappointed.  We got three seats together with no issue.

Air Asia’s motto, is “Now everyone can fly”, which I don’t really agree with as it became very evident when we landed, both in Denpasar and Kuala Lumpur, that most passengers have no idea about the rules and etiquette of flying.  But, yes, cheaper fares have allowed more of the world to travel and see new places, including us.  Bear in mind that we were travelling during Ramandan and Hari Raya – traditionally very busy times for travel in Muslim countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia.

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We loved the on board magazine, Travel3Sixty, which has many recommendations of things to try and do when visiting a number of locations that Air Asia flies to.  Apparently no recommendation goes into the magazine without Tony personally trying it out himself and agreeing with the promotion of it in the magazine.  We love the “inbox” section which is letters from passengers that have been on Air Asia and the various circumstances that required assistance and saw them to write in, especially the letter about the Indonesian maid who didn’t want to go home, hence became pyscho when boarding the plane and ended up in a mental hospital – way too funny!  They print the letters as received – priceless and great entertainment.  The magazine does a great job of promoting Malaysia and things to do when there.

Tony, seems to be a hands on man, is all over the magazine being photographed with staff, Malaysian dignitaries, launching planes etc etc – he has a good reputation by all counts.  Air Asia X now flies to the Gold Coast and we are seriously thinking of going via the old Coast later this year on route to Malaysia.

Totally recommend flying Air Asia and upon arriving in Malaysia, they have their own Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) with duty free shopping, eatries, shops and a number of transport options into the city and various towns.  The airport, for interests sake, is about a two hour drive from the CBD.

One thing to do as a tourist is to avoid travelling towards the end of Ramandan and during Hari Raya – the waiting in queues can be a bit much to handle – the queues look a lot like how Malaysians/ Indonesians drive – a bit all over the place, but there is definitely some order to it all.  Beware, they do charge for excess luggage, so be very mindful about the weight of your shopping goodies.

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1 Comment so far
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Air Asia is a great airline…..except as you indicate the excess issue. Monitored fiercely! Which is ok for intra Asia short visits but a real nuisance if using a regular carrier with a 20kg baggage allowance out of Australia

Comment by Peter H




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