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BETTER THAN FREE airline seats

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Posted by BruceMoon on 7/8/2009 at 19:08


I've received an announcement in my email inbox from AirAsia that it plans to sell 3,000,000 seats at what it describes as:

Be prepared for the BIGGEST Sale of the year! Brace yourself for something even better than FREE SEATS.

It says the sale begins on 10 Aug, 00:00 (GMT +8).

You've been alerted. Get your credit card ready.


#1 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by Lawoat on 7/8/2009 at 20:13

Better then free?? Does that mean they will actually give you money ;-)

#2 Lawoat has been a member since 29/6/2009. Posts: 59

Posted by BruceMoon on 7/8/2009 at 20:18

That'd be great wouldn't it.

#3 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by SBE on 7/8/2009 at 21:33

It's always been a mystery to me how Air Asia makes enough profit to function. Last year I flew the KL - Manado route 3 times and the plane was never more than half full. That's a four hour flight and I paid under $50 US each time.

How do they manage to do it?

#4 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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Posted by BruceMoon on 9/8/2009 at 21:08

What a bums roar that was...

I stayed up to try and grab a bargain.

Aint none.

For any AirAsiaX legs.

So, what was the big deal?

They've adopted market feedback and give a final 'all you pay' price when you go looking at sectors / dates / flights.

While the change to the search engine is welcomed, the hoopla is a big drag.



#5 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by busylizzy on 10/8/2009 at 07:56

Yes, I agree, very disappointing. The sale only seems to cover domestic flights, and the travel period is 11 Jan-31 July 2010(too far out for me, at this stage.

Still - good deals I guess, if they happen to suit.

#6 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by busylizzy on 12/8/2009 at 03:58

I just received an email that they are now including International flights in the sale. Travel is still Jan-Jul next year.

#7 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by SBE on 12/8/2009 at 04:55

Yes I know. I just booked a RETURN flight to Manado in March ... for the princely sum of 83 ringgit! That's under $24 US.

Do you think Air Asia is on the verge of bankruptcy because I don't know how they can cover fuel costs.

#8 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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Posted by BruceMoon on 12/8/2009 at 06:41


The stuff I've read is that they are one of the few airlines actually making money (at the moment). A newspaper report recently said over the past 6 months, Singapore Airlines is down 63% on average on previous year...that Asians seek bargains over carrier allegiance.

I saw Lisa's comment above, checked my inbox, and yes, I got a return to London for June/July '10 for a great price.


#9 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by cdnexplorer on 19/8/2009 at 16:08

I caught the sale on AirAsia - they had it listed for booking between August 13-16 for travel between January 31-July 31 of 2010. There were some unreal deals:

Round trip from KL to Manila - $75 CDN
Round trip from KL to Bali - $45 CDN
Round trip from KL to Hong Kong - $55 CDN
One way from Phuket to KL - $35 CDN
One way from KL to Bangkok - $15 CDN

I've checked back and most of the same flights are being offered at very similar, if not identical, prices.

For people worried about flying with 'no frill' airlines, it's important to do some research before booking. I looked into AirAsia, and fortunately they have a good track record (minus one incident on a landing, resulting in 2 minor injuries). Many of these budget airlines do not follow the same maintenance standards as their higher-rated counterparts (Thai Air for example), and many have poor track records. Much of this can be attributed to lax controls imposed by the countries which the operate out of.

You wonder how AirAsia makes money? They pay their staff much less, have fewer staff available, and provide no 'extras', such as drinks or meals. I've heard good things from friends flying with the airline, but I'm not expecting top-notch service. Just want to get from point A to point B.

#10 cdnexplorer has been a member since 19/8/2009. Posts: 28

Posted by SBE on 19/8/2009 at 16:50

I've flown with them a lot and for a budget airline they are excellent, WAY WAY better than budget airlines in Europe like Ryan Air.

However, I see the ad for that big sale is still there on TF and that sale was supposed to end on the 16th. Also I got another alert in my in box announcing another sale for flights before Xmas on the 17th.

Also they have an offer on from August 20th for the new KL-Abu Dhabi for 99RM. That's roughly 990B, 20 euros. Abu Dhabi is a major hub for middle Eastern Carriers like Etihad so that means people like me who don't live in the UK should be able to get a connecting flight anywhere in Europe soon and get to SE Asia cheaper and more easily.

If they get the paperwork sorted that is. They are selling tickets but it sounds like there are still a few things to iron out.

"Advance booking required
- Fares not available during embargo period
- First flight effective from 23 November 2009 and is subject to regulatory approvals. "

Also, although they loudly announce the fact that they are opening new routes they don't tell you when they are pulling routes. What usually happens is that when you try to book a flight you get a message that says something like "This flight is probably full, please try another date". When you do try you get the same message... on every flight after a certain date. Then after a while, the flight no longer appears on the scroll menu.

I noticed the other day that the BKK-Ranong route seems to have evaporated ... which I find strange because that flight was always full (during high season anyway) and never very cheap compared to other routes. In fact I'd been expecting them to up the frequency from 3 flights a week because of the demand! Strange.

I got the "this flight is probably full" message when I tried to book a flight back from Makassar a month or so back. Then the option suddenly came back and was available during the Big Sale. I find that somewhat suspicious because every time I've flown that particular route on Air Asia the plane has been practically empty. A friend mentioned the other day that his flight from Makassar had been cancelled and everyone put on an earlier flight ... 2 DAYS earlier. Even so, he said there were only about 40 passengers on the plane.

Air Asia is a strictly point to point carrier. This means that if they zap a flight or a route you may be left with connecting flights that you can't use (or get reimbursed for). This includes connecting Air Asia flights.

Something people should bear in mind if they plan their trip around cheap Air Asia flights.

#11 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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Posted by KathleenO on 1/10/2009 at 20:43

Wow, those are some great asia airline deals. Too bad I live in South America. It will cost me a fortune just to get over there!

#12 KathleenO has been a member since 1/10/2009. Posts: 1

Posted by Caripito on 1/10/2009 at 22:03

I flew from Ibarra, Equador to Cali, Colombia two years ago and it cost me U$100.00.
Due to the weather in Vietnam I am going to go south to Maylasia from HCMC and then come up through Thailand.
Getting back to Vietnam from the north in April/May 2010.
Thanks to all of you who provided me with this great information on air travel in SEA.
A big help in making my plans.

#13 Caripito has been a member since 6/9/2009. Location: United States. Posts: 31

Posted by pfk98 on 9/3/2010 at 13:41

AirAsiaX... be careful.

Most recently, my wife and I were stranded in Abu Dhabi when AirAsiaX announced they were canceling service to/from Abu Dhabi in January this year. They didn’t notify us, their stranded passengers, until Feb 10th. Neither did they offer any accommodation nor answer our emails asking for help. We had to get back to Malaysia on our own. They won’t reimburse our additional expenses either.

They said they would refund the Abu Dhabi/Kuala Lumpur portion of our trip, but it will take them 30-50 days to process the refund. Such an attitude!

Watch out for these guys. If you are considering using AirAsiaX, It might be a good idea to develop a plan B... just in case.

#14 pfk98 has been a member since 18/12/2008. Posts: 5

Posted by SBE on 13/3/2010 at 11:19

It's not just Air Asia X you need to be careful about!! Read their terms and conditions very very carefully before booking because there is NO GUARANTEE you will actually get the flight you booked and you won’t get any compensation for them for f*cking up all your holiday plans.

The KL-Manado flight I mentioned in a previous post here got cancelled too.

-Like the previous poster I didn’t get notified about a route cancellation until just before I was due to fly. They waited until I’d already booked connecting Air Asia flights to and from Thailand and because the Manado-KL flight was scheduled to arrive around midnight I also booked a night at the Tune Hotel. Two days after booking the hotel I get notified that the Manado flight has been cancelled. Furthermore the price for the room mysteriously almost doubled from the original quote as soon as I entered my name and passport number. Coincidence??
-Like the previous poster they say it’ll take at least 45 days to get reimbursed for my cancelled flight …
-Like the previous poster I will not be reimbursed for my connecting flights or my hotel booking. No compensation for the inconvenience either.
This year I booked a total of 13 flights with Air Asia. Five of these got rescheduled to different times and two got cancelled. That is not a good record.
I was due to fly to Manado on March 6th. in mid January I got notified that the connecting flight from BKK had been rescheduled to arrive AFTER the Manado flight had already left! I called them and explained why I needed an earlier flight. They gave me one ... but failed to inform me then that I wouldn’t be going to Manado anyway due to the route being axed in February. When I did get notified I phoned their call center and mentioned another flight in April that I could no longer use. They told me that flight was being rescheduled too (by more than 3 hours). I have still received no notification about this and the Air Asia booking site still shows that flight as available at the original time I booked. It seems to be official Air Asia policy to keep customers in the dark for as long as possible.
Air Asia knows its flight schedules 6 months in advance so why all the secrecy about schedule changes? How come they heavily publicize new routes getting on their website but NEVER mention route closures?
I think it’s a deliberate scam by Air Asia. Here’s how it works.
1. Big promotional sales with ridiculously cheap fares for flights that have to be paid for months in advance….ie Air Asia gets an interest–free loan from you for flights that may or may not actually exist.

2. They hang onto your money for as long as possible. Although they debit your bank account immediately when you book a flight, it takes months for them to reimburse clients.

3. They have a “no reimbursement” policy for any connecting Air Asia flights. Instead they give you a “shell credit” which must be used within 3 months. Because you only get a couple of weeks warning, any alternative flights you buy will be far more expensive than the ones you originally bought. If you don’t use up the credit within 3 months Air Asia just pockets the money.

4. Many Air Asia flights arrive very late at night and depart very early morning at KL. This encourages people to stay at the Tune Hotel at their terminal in KL. Tune Hotel is part of the Air Asia group. Tune Hotel do not give out reimbursements either. Like Air Asia, they issue a “shell credit” which has to be used within a certain time limit. Furthermore you have to pay a cancellation fee … even though the cancellation is entirely Air Asia’s fault.

Like the previous poster said, watch out with these guys.

#15 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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Posted by pfk98 on 13/3/2010 at 15:49


My KL/Abu Dhabi trip departed KL on Jan 25. The return from Abu Dhabi was to be on March 1. I strongly suspect AirAsiaX had decided to vacate the market prior to my departure. If they knew the return portion of my ticket could never be used, why didn't the check-in agent in KL tell me?

A travel forum ( posting had this to say,

"Incidentally, I had learnt about the route closure (Abu Dhabi) on Twitter around Jan 25th, and Azran himself (AirAsiaX CEO) made a public announcement in Singapore on Jan 28th. That's why I'm surprised that as a passenger who had booked a ticket wasn't informed earlier."

Farm animals get more respect than AirAsiaX passengers.

#16 pfk98 has been a member since 18/12/2008. Posts: 5

Posted by SBE on 13/3/2010 at 20:04

Here's one of the emails I received from Air Asia on February 15th (ie just 10 days before they zapped the route entirely and less than 3 weeks before my flight)

Dear Valued Guest,

AirAsia regrets to advise that our flight AK432,depart from KUALA LUMPUR-Lcct (KUL) to MANADO (MDC) Effective on 25THFeb2010 to 30th Oct2010 departure 12.50pm(1250hours) unfortunately been TOTALLY CANCELLED.

Should you require further assistance, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our Call Centre at 03-21719222/9333 or logon to our website at and select Manage My Booking.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding on the matter.

Yours sincerely,

AirAsia Bhd

I checked "manage my booking" and that was no help whatsoever. All they'd done was delete the flights in question from it. Blank spaces. Make sure you keep copies of so called "confirmed" bookings because there will be no record of your original booking in the "manage my booking" section of their website. When they reschedule flights the same thing happens.

The phone number they supplied is Malaysian I think ... you'll notice there is no country code given. In any case it didn't work when I called from Thailand. Not vry helpful for overseas customers is it?

An email sent via their website didn't even get acknowledged never mind replied to so I wouldn't bother trying that if you have any similar problems.

yes they treat their customers like cattle, but as I said before, I think there's more to it than that. I think these very late notifications about flight cancellations are part of a deliberate scam by Air Asia.

Eventually word will get out that flights, especially those booked in advance during their big promotional sales are not honoured when the time comes to fly. Confirmed bookings are not "confirmed" at all.

Their reputation as the world's best budget airline is at risk but maybe they don't care ... because they've more or less smothered the competition now, haven't they? That's their end game methinks and once they have a monopoly I doubt if the prices will be quite as low as they are now.

#17 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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Posted by swag on 14/3/2010 at 09:54

Hi SBE, that is pretty disturbing reading. Personally myself I haven't had such issues.Then again I haven't booked 13 times in the last year. The last time I used AirAsiaX in november it was pretty seamless.Do you think the advertising of routes and timetables to less than popular destinations gives them the corporate appearance of being the all destinations in se asia business model. I have oftened wandered about routes and prices. For instance I am waiting on a sale price on a flight from KL-Hanoi for early june at the moment. Currently Malaysian airlines has a price of 200 ringitts cheaper than AirAsia and has been the case for weeks. Not sure what the answer is to all this but obviously frustrating from a personal point of view.On a positive note did you complete your o/w diving ticket on Koh Tao?

#18 swag has been a member since 28/3/2007. Location: Australia. Posts: 331

Posted by SBE on 14/3/2010 at 11:39

Hi swag

Yes did the OW course a couple of weeks ago. Will be posting a report soon. Having slight technical hitches posting on TF right now but the boss is on my case! ;-)

As for Air Asia...those promotional fares in the big sale in August last year had to be booked for the period Jan-July this year. They zapped the Manado route in February so nearly all the people who booked that flight during the promotional sale will be in the same position as me. I remember seeing dirt cheap flights on obscure routes in Borneo they no longer exist either! People who bought those will almost certainly have paid for connecting flights too.

When I asked if I could rebook the flight for October (the email says the flights have been cancelled till then), the guy in the call centre said they didn't know the flight schedules more than 6 months in advance.

This means those big promotional sales are often selling tickets for flights that haven't yet been programmed...

#19 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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Posted by busylizzy on 14/3/2010 at 14:51

Hey SBE!

I also had my KL - Manado flight cancelled. I loved the part in the email from AA: "Should you require further assistance, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate..." What? Of COURSE I would have questions or concerns! Good grief! No mention of refunds in the email either. You would assume refunds are automatic, but you apparently need to go through the hassle of contacting them for it.

I emailed them via the website and did get a reply within a few days. I said that I expected a refund, and ALSO wanted a refund on my return Makassar to KL flight. I also say that I wanted the refund on my credit card, not via vouchers (as I knew that I wouldn't have opportunity to use them before expiring).

They replied to say that the refund would take up to 30 days; it was there within a week or so.

Like SBE, I bought the tickets dirt-cheap during their big sale last year. The fortunate thing for me is that I had a change of plans and wasn't going to use the tickets in the end. So getting my money back was a bonus. It worked out for me OK, but for anyone, like SBE, who had counted on using those tickets, their dealing with this is atrocious. I couldn't believe the email when it arrived!

#20 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by SBE on 14/3/2010 at 18:13

Hi Lisa

Lucky you, I got notification that I'd be reimbursed for the cancelled flight within 48 days ....not including Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays!

You got a REFUND for the Makassar flight? Has that route been axed too? They told me they would only refund the cancelled flights and that they couldn't reimburse my connecting flights or my Tune Hotel booking. They kindly offered to give me a shell credit for my connecting flights... very generous of them ...till you read the small print that is.


-A "shell credit" has to be used within 3 months

-A shell credit cannot be used for booking online. It has to be done via their call centers ie it'll cost a bloody fortune in phone charges if you have to rebook flights from abroad

-A shell credit cannot be used to pay for promotional fares, excess baggage charges, wheelchairs etc.

It's a total ripoff!!

More details here.

#21 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,020
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