Monday, April 13, 2009

All You Need to Know About AirAsia X

When I did my pre-trip research for Perth, I was trying to find out how Air Asia X would look like, the seats, the seating layout, the food offered on board etc. But to my dismay I couldn't find any, except one blog post which has no pictures to give a clearer view of the airplane. Just like every time before making a decision to try any eatery outlet, I'll do some reading on the place first on the internet. So, I expected there will be some bits of info and pictures on the internet about Air Asia X.

Sadly there was none to be found.

Well, I'm here to save the day! I'm going to do a post on Air Asia X to benefit those who are traveling by AAX for the first time and want to know if you're going to survive the long hours/long haul flight.

The Airbus plane's seating layout is 2-4-2, meaning 2 by the left window, 4 in the middle and another 2 by the right window. The older planes has a 2-3-2 layout. The walkway is extremely narrow, if you've taken the usual AK flights (domestic and overseas flight that is no more than 4 hours, ie. Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Bali etc), it's something similar even though the seats are 3-3.

Please let me quote from Walter who left a comment to correct me on my facts,
"AirAsiaX has 3 A330s, 2 is owned. 1 is leased. The two owned A330s have what we call the "sardine config". 2-4-2 leather seating, with seatback tv. The leased one has the 2-3-2 cushion seating (was an ex AirCanada plane), without personal tvs. But i heard the leased aircraft is fitted with sardine config now.

AirAsiaX does not operate any boeings at all. The flight used for KUL-PER is the Airbus A330."

Depending on aeroplanes, the seats do differ. For instance, when I was flying to Perth, I overheard from the speakers that we had the opportunity to fly the new Airbus, so the seats were lined with fabric rather than these so-called default black leather seats. I think the fabric seats were more comfortable but 'comfortable' by definition here actually means "better than the leather seats but you'll still suffer a backache nonetheless".

The black leather seats were horrible! First, the so-called reclining function is crap. It's not even reclining to start off with, rather the push of the button merely slides the seat by an inch and that's it. I was lucky to have all 3 seats by myself when I departed Perth but like I said, these black leather seats are horrible! I had a terrible bodyache during the flight. The fabric seats were better in terms of "recline" definition.

Don't even think about the 13 hours flight to London.

For the older planes, there's a screen behind every seat but don't be too happy if you're expecting movies/games/music to entertain you while you're suffering with the seats. Air Asia being Air Asia, "sells" these entertainment to you and it costs RM30. There are quite a number of movies to watch of course, but if you're scrooge, just bring your Ipod video or DVD portable player lah. Good thing with these screens though is that they provide information such as ETA, Time to Destination, the route map, and basically info about the journey.

Don't worry about the immigration cards that you're supposed to fill before entering a foreign country as the crew does go around distributing these cards. Oh and a note for those planning to enter Australia, there's an alternative to getting your Visas. Actually you can just apply it here. It only takes a few minutes to fill in the forms and pay AUD$20 and you're good to go. Don't panic when you see others having a Visa label in their passports because applying online means it's paperless and your info are already in the online database. I got quite panic when I saw everyone having a Visa sticker in their passport, for a moment I thought I wasn't gonna make it to Perth :-S

For meals, I pre-booked online and picked the International Meal- Big Bruce BBQ Chicken. It is RM15 if you pre-book online. The meal comes with a miniature 350ml Spritzer water (the bottle is really cute!!) and a bar of Kit Kat Chunky.

To be honest, the meal exceeded my expectation. It tasted pretty good and I love the potatoes!

When I went to Bangkok, I did not pre-book any meals thinking that it's just a 2 hour flight... but I was hungry during the flight and got the Roast Beef with Mushroom Sauce. It is at RM10, would probably cost RM8 if pre-book I guess. The picture looks pretty tempting eh?

AHAH! A case of "sample not looking like the real product" huh? Somehow the beef didn't roll out like it is supposed to be in the menu........ Hmmmmm.

Overall, my experience with Air Asia X is not too good. I won't recommend to anyone if you need to take a flight more than 3 hours. If budget is your main concern, then there's no other choice, but if it isn't, MAS or other alternative airlines would be the better choice. Oh a word of advice, always be early to check-in as the queue can get pretty long for popular destinations.

Another good news would be the new LCCT airport is more spacious and cleaner now, and if you're a Malaysian passport holder (provided your passport is embedded with chip) lookout for the passport machine so you can avoid the queues at the immigration counters!

Hope this bit of info and pictures helps :)
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