AirAsia review: Kuala Lumpur to Sydney
Would I fly budget again for a 9.5-hour flight, just to save a couple of hundred dollars?
As someone who likes to save where I can, I've always preferred budget airlines for short-haul flights. However, for anything longer than four hours, I need to be flying with in-flight meals, entertainment and plenty of legroom.
On this trip, I was flying home from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney with friends who had already decided to fly with the budget-friendly AirAsia. Being someone who suffers from a severe case of FOMO through all aspects of life, I happily obliged with their choice of airline so I wouldn't have to fly alone... and that was my first mistake.
- Route: Kuala Lumpur to Sydney
- Duration: 9 hours, 30 minutes
- Flight number(s): D7 222
- Aircraft type: Airbus A330-300 (twin-jet) (A333)
- Date(s) travelled: 4 January 2020
- Class: Economy
- Frequent flyer program: Freedom Flyer Programme
- Points earned: 0
Monisha's AirAsia review
- Empty flight
- No blankets
- No entertainment
- Poor boarding process
What did I like?
- Schedule: Our flight was a well-timed red-eye flight, which meant we boarded in Kuala Lumpur at 11:15pm on a Saturday night and landed in Sydney on Sunday morning at 10:20am (25 minutes before schedule!). This allowed us to make the most of our last day in KL and have time to rest up on Sunday, just in time to get back to work feeling fresh for the new year on Monday morning.
- Food: We opted in for the "Vegetarian Value Pack meal", which ended up being a rather tasty Indian vegetable biryani. It was more than I expected on a budget airline.
- Empty flight: The plane we were on narrowed from three seats along the windows at the front down to two seats near the back. My friend and I opted to get comfy in a row with just two seats so we wouldn't have to worry about someone else sitting with us. My other friends chose to risk it and sit in a row with three seats but ended up having no one sitting next to them. This meant that they got to enjoy three seats between two people and lie down the whole way home. The staff were also quite relaxed about passengers changing seats without chatting to them. I liked this relaxed approach, but unfortunately, I didn't get to reap the benefits myself.
What didn't I like?
- Blankets: This should be a basic airplane traveller's RIGHT! These weren't provided for free and you had to pay $10 per person to rent a blanket.
- Entertainment: There was no in-flight entertainment so we had to make do with the offline downloaded movies on our phones. This would have been fine, however, the flight attendants kept telling us to put away our phones during taxi and take off/landing, which went for a long time.
- Boarding: The airport signage for our AirAsia flight changed from "Gate open" to "Final call" without the "Boarding" message in between. Thinking we were going to miss our flight, we sprinted through the airport, only to get there and realise that there was ample time left until take off, and the queue to board was still extremely long.
Would I use AirAsia again?
If it was a matter of saving hundreds of dollars, I would definitely consider it. However, if I only had to pay, say, an extra $200 to get a more full-service experience, then AirAsia would not be seeing me again any time soon.
Bonus tip for flying with AirAsia: They have electronic weighing systems at their baggage counters that won't give you a baggage tag until your bag weighs exactly 20kg or less. While other airlines I've flown with have generally been lenient if you have an extra kilo or two, AirAsia will be sure that you're not a gram over. Make sure to travel light or pack an extra duffle bag to take as carry-on for your holiday shopping.