While some budget airlines receive huge numbers of passenger complaints because of their seemingly complete antipathy to passenger services, Ryanair seems to hold the record for that, the Malaysia-owned budget airline Air Asia is the very opposite. They realise that offering low fares is just part of the equation. No matter how cheap is a fare, passengers still demand a good level of service.
So, Air Asia, as well as trying to make a flight as pleasant as possible, continues to add services which only make the flight a more pleasant experience, and which help to solidify more passenger business.
One of the airline’s latest initiatives is to introduce the Quiet Zone on Air Asia X flight. Air Asia X is the airline’s long haul arm, for which flights typically last for three or more hours and are all international.
The Air Asia X fleet consists of Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The very front section, twelve large, lay down seats is a dedicated Premium Class, which is the airline’s version of business. The compartment immediately behind Premium, rows seven to fourteen, is a dedicated Quiet Zone. This means that children under 12 are not allowed to sit there. The Quiet Zone is targeted at adults who don’t wish to be distracted by badly behaved children. From my experience, and from chatting to other Quiet Zone passengers, it is also commonly used by business people who can’t purchase the very limited Premium seats. I found it to be an excellent environment to work in whilst flying, simply because there are few distractions.
There is no extra charge for Quiet Zone, except for the normal fee that is applied to all seats on the aircraft which passengers can reserve beforehand. Food and other services are exactly the same in the rest of the plane, that is, as is common with all budget airlines, if you want food or entertainment then you pay extra for it.
Prior to a recent flight between Perth and Kuala Lumpur, when I tried the Quiet Zone, it had been a couple of years since I had last flown Air Asia X, and I had forgotten just how much leg room that I had. I am big, and I really notice a small space, but my leg space was fine and I did not feel confined at all.
Air Asia has been voted as the world’s best budget airline in the annual Skytrax Awards, and I can truthfully say that it is the best budget airline that I have flown. Possibly because that, instead of treating its passengers like cattle, the airline attempts to make the flying experience as comfortable as possible. From my experience, I have found that Air Asia does, in fact, live up to its reputation.