A few of months ago, I made a spur of the moment decision that I wanted take a short overseas trip for my birthday. James and I agreed to go to South Korea since neither of us have been before.
Spur of the moment trips are exciting! It gives you something to look forward to and the days that you are counting down to are short. However, the problem with this kind of trip is that the airfare can become quite expensive if you’re booking at the last minute. I searched high and low for the cheapest flights from Sydney to Seoul and found an AirAsia flight for about $450.00 return per person. $450.00 return! That’s basically unheard of! We considered the direct flight via Korea Air but it was $1,500.00 per person and that’s a big price difference for a random trip I wanted to take.
I know that AirAsia gets a bad rep and I was actually really scared to fly with them. So were other people who advised me to reconsider. I thought, how bad could it be? I started googling ways to survive a long haul AirAsia flight and to my dismay, I didn’t really find enough tips. So here I am to the rescue, giving you tips should you wish to proceed flying with AirAsia.
1. The airfare
You can book your flights via the AirAsia website or mobile app. I used the mobile app and it was a very straightforward process: you select your return destination, your dates, and how many people you’re travelling with, then you click next. On the next page, it gives you 3 different fare options: Low fare, Premium Flex and Premium Flatbed.
If your budget permits, feel free to choose Premium Flex or Premium Flatbed as you’ll get extra benefits. I chose the Low Fare option, which means there were no meals, no extra luggage and no entertainment. You can survive without these extras, just read on!
2. The seats
I’ve heard from friends who have flown with AirAsia that the seating arrangements are very cramped. They weren’t lying. However, you can get around this.
First, I highly suggest that you choose a seat within the Quiet Zone. This is the area in between “business class” aka the flatbeds and standard economy. It’s an extra $29.00 per person but it’s worth it compared to the standard seating arrangements – less noise and slightly less people. But don’t get fooled by their “Hot Seats”. These are the seats foumd in front of the aisle and costs $69.00 per person. Yes, you will get a bit more leg room but unless you’re a fairly small person I don’t think you’ll feel very comfortable. The seats looked pretty tight because you can’t lift the arm rest. Personally, I was claustrophobic just looking at it.
Secondly, you’ll receive an email from Optiontown approximately a week after you’ve booked your flights. Optiontown is in partnership with AirAsia X and they offer seat upgrades and flexibility options at a fairly low cost. So what that means is you can buy empty seats to help your flight become more comfortable. You pay for the cost upfront (from what I remember it was $19 per person for a row) and they’ll send you a confirmation of your seating arrangements between 1 to 3 days prior to your flight. If the flight is full and you don’t get your own row, they will refund the extra fee you’ve paid in full.
Food, extra baggage, entertainment – how important are they really? Well, to be honest they are very important. However if you’re planning to cut costs, these are the things you could forego.
There seems to be 2 flights out of Sydney everyday – one in the morning and one at night. We opted for the 9:40pm flight.
After we checked in, James and I had dinner at the airport so we didn’t really feel the need to eat in the plane. We did bring some snacks, just in case we woke up hungry. You can also buy food and snacks in the plane if you wanted to. You can pay by card or cash in any currency. Just be aware that if you pay by cash, they can only give you the RM equivalent as change.
When it comes to entertainment, we just tried to sleep so we didn’t really need it. We also filled our own tablet with movies and took it with us in case we got bored. A tablet can also be rented out to you if you need it.
Purchasing extra baggage… you don’t really need that! I forced myself to fit everything I needed in a carry on! It was tough but I managed. Have a read how I did it in this post.
Side note: these extras don’t actually cost that much to purchase but as I said previously if you want to cut costs, these are the little things you can let go of.
4. The cabin size
On our flight back to Sydney, we had a couple seated in front of us talking about how small the cabin was compared to Emirates A380. Don’t be that person!
Yes, everyone (this is subjective) loves flying with Emirates. I know I do! However, you have to remember that you’re in an AirAsia flight and you’re really getting what your $450.00 paid for. Don’t compare it to the bigger airlines because you’ll be disappointed. It’s really just an aeroplane that takes you from point A to point B and when you realise that, you won’t dislike the flight as much.
5. The stopover
If you’re not aware, AirAsia is the little sister to Malaysia Airlines. Wherever you want to go in Asia, you are guaranteed to have a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The flight from Sydney to KL is about 8.5 hours, then another 6 hours from KL to Seoul. So you bet that I’ve experienced as long haul as you can get with AirAsia!
You’ll land at KLIA2, which is the airport dedicated to all AirAsia planes. The airport itself is quite small however it has enough amenities to help you get through the next leg of your trip. They have a food court and a couple of lounges where you can chill out. I recommend the Sama Sama Express lounge. For about RM108 (AUD $32), you’ll get lounge access, meals, coffees, teas, juices, up to 3 glasses of wine/beer, and even ice cream! What a bargain!
Overall, my experience with AirAsia was pleasant enough. Would I fly with them again? I think so. Unless I find other better deals, of course!
Comment below if you’ve ever flown with AirAsia and let me know what your experience was like!
Thanks for reading guys! Until next time 👊🏽