My recent experiences flying internationally with AirAsia and why they are a comfortable, efficient low-cost airline I trust.
Late last year you may have spotted thanks to my Instagram (find a bunch of those posts with #IWgoestoMalaysia) that Mario and I headed on a trip to Penang with AirAsia. I honestly had meant to share more about the trip at the time but somehow here I am. Better late then never…
After a sad couple of months for me personally, I was ready to immerse myself in a new place and spend some time in a tropical climate. In this post, I am sharing a little about our AirAsia flight experiences and will have more on what to see, do, where to eat and stay in Penang to come. This was the second trip I’d taken with AirAsia (read about the first here), for me they have been excellent service, quick trips that are both affordable and low fuss.
Being a low-cost airline, AirAsia is an option for you to fly to a host of Asian destinations without fuss while saving a little for your trip. Flight deals come up all the time and can be an excellent way to go on a short adventure without breaking the bank. In fact, the flights are regularly cheaper for me to fly internationally with AirAsia than they are to fly home to Adelaide (the closest Australian city from Perth).
To fly from Perth to Kuala Lumpur is about five and a half hours, roughly the same time it takes to fly to Sydney. Of course, you can always explore a little then hop another flight out to Europe etc, since there are so many options. Personally, a few days in Penang was just what we were after. I’ll go more into our trip in an upcoming post, but we were keen for sun, good food and a short break to recharge.
CHECK-IN AND BEING ON TIME
If I can, I always like to self-check-in early to make sure I am good to go once at the airport. You can self-check-in online, via the AirAsia mobile app, at the check-in kiosks and of course, if you need help, there is also a check-in desk.
Leaving at 7 am, we made sure to be there early to avoid traffic on the roads and drop off our suitcases. It may seem crazy but I tend to prefer early morning flights. If I am flying out later in the day, I can never predict traffic, which can lead to me feeling a little stressed. I’ve narrowly missed a flight twice, purely because of traffic and congested airport security. I still remember that horrible feeling, it is never a good way to get on a plane. Even if you are a regular flyer, stress does not help with anxiety and you never know when it might hit you. It is much better to check-in online, be early and give yourself time to grab a bottle of water and comfortably board your flight. The baggage-drop counters are quick, open three hours before the flight and close an hour before boarding.
WHAT TO EXPECT FLYING WITH AIRASIA
On the flight over to KL, Mario and I had seats towards the back of the plane in our own two-seater row. It was a little noisy due to families with babies but nothing my noise-canceling headphones couldn’t cancel out. The advantages of the back of the plane are the close proximity to restrooms and a little more room if you want to stand up and stretch your legs. The seats are similar to any that you get on a low-cost airline domestically in Australia. I’ve flown with Jetstar all across Australia and to Singapore, I’d say the seats are comparable to AirAsia.
UPGRADING TO QUIET-ZONE
On our flight home, since we were to be flying from KL at midnight and arriving in Perth at 5:30 am, Mario and I decided to pay the extra and upgrade our seats to the Quiet Zone. The Quiet Zone is located toward to front of the plane (so you can disembark quicker), just behind the business class seat rows. The lights are dimmed, food is served quicker and no guests under 10 are allowed, so it’s definitely quieter. I am so glad we paid the difference to upgrade. Since the seats weren’t full, the lovely staff ended up keeping an eye out for a spare row for us and Mario and I ended up getting a row to ourselves. Sleeping as much as we could, or at least having the option to stretch out, made a huge difference. Landing back in Perth, the flight felt much shorter and we were both more rested. If I am able to in future, I would definitely book my flights to be seated in the Quiet Zone.
While you may not have in-flight entertainment provided, you can pre-book to use one of the AirAsia Entertainment tablets. Personally, I prefer to load up my iPad or notebook with a movie or tv series (or both!), take a book and have a good plane playlist of songs to listen too. If I am honest, I end up finding most airlines with entertainment have films I have seen or am not interested in, so I tend not to get so excited by them anyway.
AirAsia offers hot meals which you can either purchase onboard or pre-purchase online. You don’t have to order at the same time that you make your flight booking but can log back in when you are checking in online and do it then. My tip is that you save by pre-purchasing and you ensure that you will get your meal.
On our return flight, we decided to pre-order a Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak meal. A coconut rice dish served with Pak Nasser’s chili sambal and chicken rendang, fried anchovies, crunchy groundnuts and half of a hard-boiled egg. We had eaten so much good food in Penang and this was a nice way to finish off the trip food-wise. I might have a weakness for coconut rice.
I know a lot of Perth people in general fly with them to Bali often but AirAsia offer flights to so many cool Asian destinations, there is so much to see! While I have yet to visit Bali myself, I love to share some of the other alternative holiday and cultural spots with you where I can. If you missed my incredible trip last time to Langkawi, click here and add it to your bucket list.
I have on my wishlist to travel to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Japan asap. The list is longer of course, but these are either trips we have in the works to some extent or have been planning for a while. The cool thing is that even a short week or two exploring one of these destinations is achievable. AirAsia has so many good flight specials and connecting flights to smaller airports you really can go all over.
Below is a sneak preview of our Penang stay. Our hotel was even in the AirAsia in-flight magazine which I took as a good sign. I’m thinking since I have so many travel posts to share with you in my draft file, that I will take on during ‘Travel Tuesdays’ with a new travel post each week. Stay tuned.
If you missed any of our previous travel stories, find some of our favourites below:
Morocco Diary Entry Day One: Chefchaouen
Morocco Travel Diary Day Three: Fez
Milan: What to do on a day trip