Air Asia Best Budget Airline

Air Asia X A330 landing SYDThe Malaysian budget airline Air Asia, which includes its long haul affiliate Air Asia X, has been named as the World’s Best Low Cost Airline in the Skytrax World Airline Survey, which surveys passengers for their views on airlines. Apparently, about 19 million passengers vote in the survey, which is a reasonably sized sample.

Air Asia has also been named as the best Low Cost Airline in Asia, in that same survey, for the fourth consecutive year.

You don’t win these types of awards unless you are good. I’ve flown Air Asia a few times and, compared to other low cost airlines which I have also flown, I would agree that it is a good airline.

Air Asia is slightly different from most other low cost airlines in that if gives passengers a choice. For a low fare you can sit in the main cabin which typically has shorter leg space than on most full service carriers, or, on an Air Asia X long haul flight, you can pay extra and fly in their version of premium economy. For this service you enjoy a much larger seat, which converts a flat bed. When you choose this option you also enjoy priority check in, baggage allowance, complimentary meals and the ability to change flights without penalty.

I have booked both sections of the aircraft at different times and whilst the ordinary seats can be a tight fit, the seats are comfortable. For about the cost of a typical economy fare on a full service airline you can enjoy the flat bed seat so, to my mind, it does represent good value.

Air Asia has a few divisions, and regional operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan. The airlines has a young fleet of aircraft is the largest low cost carrier in Asia, offering passengers a choice of about 150 routes to 80 different destinations in 20 countries through the Asia Pacific regions.

The airline is continuing to expand, although it has ceased some of its long haul flights particularly to London and Paris.

Part of the reason for its success is that on board service is friendly and efficient; plus the airline has a good on-time record. It is best to book flights online as that is less time consuming that going to the Air Asia sales offices, particularly in Kuala Lumpur, where queues can be quite long.

As with most low cost airlines there are extra fees for services such as luggage, meals and seat choice, which is in line with every other low cost carrier. However, from my experience, flying with Air Asia has a better experience than I’ve had flying with other low cost carriers in the Asia Pacific.

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