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Monday, August 14, 2017

How to buy and fly on Air Asia

When Air Asia first burst into the local airline industry around 2001, with , it was considered a godsend gift to Malaysians.

Air travel which once were a luxury became available for your average Malaysians.  Air Asia's arrival also meant that it would be less financially burdening for my parents to send me to study in university in Penang.

Over the years, I've flown countless flights with Air Asia. Along the way, I've missed quite a number of flights too.

When I began to work, I also took on the role of assisting my family to book flight tickets with Air Asia.

So let me just share some of the things that I learn about flying with Air Asia.  Hope that it would at least help you in flying with the airline.

Ticket Booking
First thing first, do register for a membership. It helps that you have a membership, to keep track of your booking and to update the booking, if necessary.

Filling the Form
It is not necessary for us to fill up all the columns when booking your tickets.

In fact, you don't even need to fill up your MyKad number of passport number. You just need your date of birth.

Very often, people book what luggages they plan to carry.

If you are planning to fly in a distant future, I would suggest you not to buy the luggage in advance. Buy your luggage about a week before you fly.

So what, when you can upgrade the luggage before flying? Well, I learnt this the hard way, helping my relatives booking tickets. Many times, they would ask me to buy only 15kg, only to decide to buy 30kg or even 40kg later.

I noticed that when you buy a new luggage, your old luggage allowance will no longer appear. Gone. Kaput.

Alternatively, if you are travelling in a group, and there are members in your group without luggage, get the person's permission to book luggage under the person's name.

Recently, my in-laws find that the luggage allowance was not sufficient (booked only 15kg when they needed 20kg). I noticed that upgrading luggage to 20kg cost around RM30. But if I buy another 15kg luggage for my mum-in-law who didn't have a luggage allowance, it only cost me another RM4 to RM5.

Best part? I upgraded the luggage option after they had checked in.

If you are travelling alone, seating arrangement is usually very low in the to-do list.  In fact, I almost never buy seats when I fly.

Be warn though. If you're flying during festival seasons, do not skimp on the money. I learnt this lesson the hard way.

When I was checking in on my flight during my CNY 2016 leave, the system would not let me check in.

Bad experience, but at least I get to travel in Business Class.

Worried, I tried going to airport early on my flight day. But I was still too late. The flight was full and they flew off, with me missing my flight. I had to buy a business class seat with MAS as all flights were fully booked for about a week.

To ensure you can check in your flight, you need to buy seats. The prebooked seats will guarantee you a place on the plane, provided you did not turn up late.

Missing Your Flight? 
Sometimes, you'll find that you would still miss your flight despite your best effort basis. Once, I arrived at the airport just to see my flight flying off.  My bad, and no point to throw a tantrum.  Remember, whenever you get angry, just remind yourself that you're an adult.

Luckily, I had checked in beforehand. So when I approached the customer service counter, the counter staffs helpfully informed me that I can just change my flight time instead of buying a new ticket, which is cheaper.

Check Your Temper
Remember I mentioned that I was bumped off my flight earlier?

I was not the only person that was bumped off. But I was the most patient. Or rather a bout of sinusitis made me lethargic. So I kept my peace.

A fellow passenger didn't control his anger and slammed the door to Air Asia office. Inside, a couple of tough-looking Air Asia ground crew were resting and the disgruntled passenger managed to piss them off.

The passenger tried to show that he was wronged by Air Asia and argue his way, but seeing the 2 ground crew were tougher than him, he quickly chickened out, especially when he was the interloper and the ground crew correctly threatened to call airport security.

Meanwhile, another ground crew was handling me professionally, even when she was sick with fever. Managed to establish a rapport with her and in turn became sympathetic of her.

Flying with Air Asia
Thanks to the Wright brothers, we get to fly. And thanks to Tony Fernandez, now everyone can fly.

This by no means is an endorsement of flying with Air Asia. I still prefer MAS. Since many people will still be flying Air Asia, hopefully what I've shared can help others.

All screenshots and photos are for illustration purpose.  No screenshot evidence available.  You'll know what I say above when you cross path with them. 

Good luck & Godspeed. 

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