The story behind the rise of Asia’s leading budget airline is as dramatic as a rag to riches story.
AirAsia Malaysia was initially a loss making entity owned by one of the leading conglomerates in Malaysia, DRB-Hicom. In December 2001, the airline was sold to a former Time Warner executive Tony Fernandes for just a token sum of MYR 1 (US$0.30).
Today, AirAsia boasts a modern fleet of 105 aircrafts with another 122 aircrafts on order. The airline also flies to over 78 international and domestic destinations. It has been named by SkyTrax in 2009 and 2010 as the best low cost airline in the world.
Airasia - The Airfares
Naturally, as a budget airline, AirAsia offers one of the lowest airfares around for air travel in the Asia Pacific region.
To really consider whether the prices offered are value for money, you have to take into consideration factors like administrative fees, excess baggage charges, meal costs, fare classes and other costs like minimum required time to check in. From personal experiences, the fares offered for domestic flights are reasonable and the money saved, is more worthwhile spent on a decent nights accommodation at your destination.
AirAsia Malaysia regularly offers promotional fares and these fares are really cheap. They can even be free but of course there are administrative fees or airport taxes that have to be paid in order to redeem these free tickets.
AirAsia - The Services
For domestic services, the onboard service offered is quite decent. I have yet to encounter an unpleasant experience with any of the flight crew when flying on AirAsia Malaysia.
Of course, we have to have the right set of expectations when travelling on a budget airline as compared to a regular airline. The flight crew on this budget Malaysian airline, is geared towards a selling mode, for in-flight meals, pillows and blankets. Regular airlines, on the other hand offer these services as part of their fare. So if you have no expectation of a 5 star service on AirAsia, then you won’t feel disappointed when you get those pretty AirAsia air stewardesses rushing by trying to sell in-flight meals.
As for the quality of these meals, its airline food so what can you expect? But they are definitely cheaper than what you get at the airport’s cafeteria.
AirAsia – Complaints
Like all airlines they have their own fair share of complaints from disgruntled passengers.
Complaints range from delayed flights, lost baggage to rude flight attendants. By far the most common complaint is delayed flights. Having experienced some of these delays, I can say they are mostly minor in the range of 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
So if you are planning a time critical journey, make sure you make allowances for these possible delays.
As for lost baggage, some passengers have complained that they tend to be unresponsive in dealing with this aspect of their service. No doubt, all passengers want to be reunited with their lost baggage as soon as possible and maybe this is the reason why expectations run high for this area of service.
AirAsia - Safety Records
Apart from two runway skidding incidents, due to rainy weather, AirAsia Malaysia has an unblemished safety record.
Like most Asia Pacific airlines, they regard safety of prime importance. In addition, most of the aircrafts in AirAsia Malaysia fleet are quite new.