Air Asia is the biggest low-cost carrier in Asia. While I’m usually not too much into low-cost airlines, Air Asia offered an incredibly cheap fare from Kuala Lumpur to Bali, so I decided to give it a shot and booked some premium add-ons.
In this airline review of Air Asia I’ll feature the “Big Seats”, which offer more legroom and are located in the front (and the exit row) of the plane. You’ll have to pay a surcharge for this as well as for pre-boarding, which I wanted to have to take some proper pictures.
It appeared that there was a premium bundle available including several services (food, pre-boarding, better seats, luggage), which wasn’t even very expensive (around 20 US-Dollar), so I booked it and sort-of enjoyed the Air Asia ‘Business Class’ in the process.
After visiting the Air Asia Lounge (which I’ll review later), I walked to my boarding gate and passed the security. The boarding process was quite efficient and pre-boarding went well.
Once on board, I was surprised how “normal” the cabin looked. While you would expect ads everywhere, the cabin is actually quite sleek with black leather seats and red covers for the seats with additional legroom. Besides that, Air Asia offers the typical 3-3 configuration with an average seat width.
The seat pitch is decent in the front rows, but very narrow in the “normal” seats. Thus, I’d recommend buying a seat with additional legroom. Before departure, I changed from the first to the second row and found the pitch to be quite bad even there, so that’s something you should be aware of.
Other than that, the seats are well maintained and comfortable. The only real difference to other carriers I’ve featured in airline reviews are the ads on the back of the seat and on the bins, which I didn’t find too annoying.
As you’d expect, catering is at an additional cost when flying Air Asia. As I had booked the premium package, a meal of choice was included. I pre-ordered ‘Nasi Kuning Manado’, which is a combination of rice and beef & potato stew.
While the way Air Asia serves the meal isn’t especially nice, the meal was surprisingly good and filling. To my surprise, I was just handed some water instead of having to choose a drink.
The menu for on-board sales didn’t look bad either. There were several food and drink options with affordable prices available. However, it’s worth noting that “affordable” is a judgement from an European perspective.
The on-board purchases are in-fact very expensive if you take into account how low the average GDP per person is in Malaysia. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t say that Air Asia is overpriced in this regard.
I won’t loose too many words on entertainment in this airline review. Why? Because there is not a lot to write about. To my surprise, Air Asia actually offers a board magazine, which is not extensive, but has some interesting content about the destinations of Air Asia.
Apart from that, there are no screens and there is no Wi-Fi. Nothing you wouldn’t expect from a Low-Cost-Carrier.
Taking the cheap fare (even including the premium package) into account, Air Asia pleasently surprised me. For a flight of three hours, the seats are comfotable enough, even though the seat pitch (even in row 2) is very tight. Other than that, the experience wasn’t any different to flying with a legacy carrier. The pre-ordered meal was in fact better than most other things I’ve eaten on an airplane yet. Another plus is that there is no annoying sales pusing or anything at Air Asia. I’d still recommend booking additional services like pre-boarding (due to the crazy boarding process in Malaysia) and a seat in the front of the cabin (as only few people pay extra for seats, so you’ve got better chances to have a row to yourself).