Friday, February 10, 2006

My Review of Airasia vs Malaysia Airlines

We're going to LANGKAWI next weekend for our anniversary this year.. and we're looking forward to soem relaxing time.. plan for munchkins to spend a whole day at a spa there while I doze off by the beach.. yes I love dozing off on the beach.. under cool shade of coconut tree and the sea breeze.. that would do me more good than any spa..

but first we have to deal with flight and accomidation and I would like to use this opportunity to review 2 airlines that could fly you there. The world famous MAS (Malaysian Airlines) and local favourite AirAsia. This review is from my experience booking, boarding and flying the 2 airlines in the last years..

Round 1. Flight Booking
Air asia definately know what they're doing with the online booking system via web. The website is both fast and secure but what is mroe important is that the system is very userfriendly. You select the departure location and your destination, dates and you'll be presented with available flights AND TICKET PRICE.

The budget traveler in me loves this as I can adjust my traveling schedule to best meet my budget. Payment can be made online with credit cards and also maybank2u directly from the website which is very good to those who don't use credit cards.

Let's look at Flight Booking at Malaysia Airlines.. They started the online booking last year. Same intuitive interface, select your departure and arrival airports, dates and you will be presented with available flights ONLY. There's no indication of the ticket price so I have no idea which flight would save me more money. BAD BAD BAD!

Winner : AirAsia

I have the uncanny impression that the ticket prices are all the same for any flights on Malaysian Airlilnes. Ok sure, I selected the flight that I wanted and then only I could get the ticket price on the next screen. Which brings us to second part of our review.

2. The Money
OK here is where the most important part of this review is. My return ticket to Langkawi for 2 person on AirAsia comes up to RM159.96. I was lucky enough to found a very good price for the tickets at RM9.99/person/way plus taxes. I wasn't very sure that this was the best deal I could get until I checked on the price on Malaysian Airlines webpage. The same return trip for 2 person at same time frame would cost me a whopping RM 892.00.

Winner : AirAsia

3. Services
Next would be another important factor to consider. The quality of service. The experience factor and I will base this review on the following experiences that I had.

1. Flight from Kota Bharu to Subang Airport
(before all domestic flights moved to KLIA)
2. Return flight KLIA - Kuching Airport
3. Return flight KLIA - Kota Bharu

1. I took the flight on Malaysia Airlines from KB airport to Subang airport returning from my grandparent funeral. Services byt the cabin crew was of expected by a world class airline. The flight took about 45 minutes and it was too short to have any much experience. The seating arrangement is fixed with the seat number clearly stated in your boarding pass. I opted for the aisle seat due to I was flying alone and it was almost dark. We were served an orange cordial which tasted like vitamin C tablet. Strangely enough, nothign much for me to remember except for the terbulance we had in mid air. Hehehe I guess I was nervous because it has been a while since I last flew on a plane then.

2. Last year me and munchkins booked us return ticket to kuching for our anniversary. The return ticket was RM235.96 (I have this figure from my Airasia past travel information). It was free seating so everyone sort of rushed to get the best seats on the plane. It felt like I'm boarding a mini-bus but we only have ourselves to blame for that. I was glad to see that pregnant women, children and the elderlies were let boarded first before the rest of the passangers.

On AirAsia flights, you buy your baverages from the flight attandance. The price is a little higher from ground price but you get to choose. No vitamin C tablet water for me. I opted for a canned drink for both me and mucnhkins. About 10 minutes later the flight attandance came around again collecting any rubbish you had after finishing your drinks/ snacks.

3. Last holiday my family decided to spend the week in Kelantan. We're going to take that 8 hours drive up there but I had concern that it would be too much for my aging mother. I booked return flight for her to Kota Bharu and have her brother pick her up there so that the travel would be a short and pleasant one for her.The ticket price was RM200 for return flight for 1 pers0n due to the festive season.

The departure in KLIA was at 7:30am and we arrived at the checkin counter at 6:45, just minutes before the counter closes. If you have been to KLIA, you know that the walking distance from the immigration counter to the boarding gate is quite far. A normal person would take about 15 minutes of walking just to get there. I had concern that my mother would not make that walk in time before the boarding gate closes. I seeked help.

AirAsia counter had assistance service where their staff would bring elderly or disabled passangers in wheelchairs to the boarding gate. It's not free but I guess not everybody needs this kind of assistance. So I gladly pays RM12 (official rate from airasia) for the staff. My mother made it to the boarding gate with time to spare. She was pleased that I arranged that for her.

Winner : AirAsia simply because I get to choose what to drink on AirAsia flight.

Conclusion
I would have to say that AirAsia is doing a better job at serving domestic customers. I have never been on Malaysia Airlines international fights but I heard so much good comments of them. My somewhat limited domestic flight experience so far shows that AirAsia is cheaper, and in par with Malaysia Airlines domestic services.

Malaysia Airlines need to improve on their online booking services. AirAsia wins by allowing users to plan the best flight to pick for their budget.

Allowing passangers to choose what snacks and drinks to have during flight is another good step by air asia. People appreciate that kind of freedom even if it would cost them few extra ringgits.

Looks like we're flying on AirAsia again this year and this time to Langkawi. I'll write up some more review hoperully of my great experience holidaying in langkawi.

Good day everyone!

4 comments:

abu_harraz said...

I travelled with airasia frequently. All smooth sailing experience so far..More than 10 return flights to date.

MAS? during the days when I supported Kerteh folks...
More than 10 return flights but it's not me who paid.

Similar aircarft, similar seating arrangement, better girls in airasia. why bother to choose MAS?

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Airasia's disappointed passenger said...

AirAsia, delay, delay and delay.

If there is an award named 'best delay airline', I'm sure AirAsia will win for it.

Most of my travelling trips are using Malaysia Airlines. So far found no problem with it. MAS also delay but not as frequent as AirAsia.

AirAsia website showed that their ontime performance for August is 88%, so where is another 12%?

For me, both arrive SAFETY and ON TIME are most important.

I accept delay ONLY for safety reasons such as bad weather, aircraft problem. But, I STRONGLY NOT accept the reasons such as not enough passengers on board. Sometimes they just combine two flights into one flight.

Of course, delay 1 - 10 minutes is not a problem for me. If more than 10 minutes, sorry I will not accept that.

One user of online forum lowyat.net, stated that after he saw not much passengers on board, the staff told the passengers that the flight was delayed due to technical problem. I don't believe that the reason is true. If this is true, they should tell us what are the problems, and explain in very detailed. If not, then they are cheating us.

Althought I only flight one time with AirAsia, but my uncle ever experiencing cancellation of flight due to not enough passenger on board and he had to wait for 6 hours for the next flight.

They are offering RM200 voucher for any flight delayed more than 3 hours. So what? That is useless, except if they offer the voucher for any flight delayed more than 10 minutes.

My brother also ever experience the delays of AirAsia flights. One day, when I send my brother to the airport, AirAsia check in staffs were very rude.

I will ban AirAsia for the rest of my life. I will either choose Malaysia Airlines or Singapore Airlines, except if my destination only offered by AirAsia.

If I know that any travel agency use AirAsia for any travel package, I will not choose that package.

I know that MAS and other airlines are more expensive than AirAsia. But, if I am a budget traveler, I will choose either using non-AirAsia flight, or just cancel my trip and not traveling.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to Malaysia this week (it'll be international and domestic flights). I was considering to buy AirAsia tickets but I have second thoughts because of the following:

Please note that I tried AirAsia few times already (once each year and it is always int'l & domestic flights).

Issue #1: Time - Arrival from another country to KL is early 'noon and there's a domestic flight at late 'noon but AirAsia would not allow me to book for the late noon flight. They always want me to use the evening or next day flight. Why should I waste my time 5 to 7 hours... waiting for the next flight? Time is gold. So... MAS wins.

Issue #2: Not cheap, really - It cost the same actually, for some customers like me who is from another country... because I have to book for a 1 night hotel stay for the next flight (domestic) and this back and forth which means, 1 night hotel stay on arrival and departure to/from Malaysia. Or use a cab to move around KL for awhile or just stay in the aiport for the next 5 hours? Argh!
This means.. the cost of my 2 nights hotel stay and the boring time is the cost of MAS already so MAS wins again.

Issue #3: Delay - I experienced delays with AirAsia too! 2 out of 6 only was not delay and I would not like to experience another delay. I have flown using MAS, Thai Airways Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific and I have not experience a delay. I have tried Philippine Airlines too and boy, it's a great service by them. I can request for a meal during my reservation - a meal that not is on their menu but anything I wish!

This week's flight, I'll be using MAS. The price difference of airfare is RM500 (international and domestic flights) but I don't mind paying extra as long as I will arrive on time (and that RM500 will go to hotel stay anyway if I will use AirAsia and that is terrible), no waiting for the next flight (transit/connecting). Also, no need for me to check-out the baggage and check-in again for the next flight. And I have free meals and can choose my seat.

I love cheap airfare and it is why I have use AirAsia before but after experiencing all of the above 3 issues, I'm done with them (if to and from International flight). Maybe I will use AirAsia for domestic flights only but that's a "maybe" and "unsure".

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