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AirAsiaX Review: Cebu to Sydney via Kuala Lumpur

An unexpected flight after an airport shuts down.

Updated

A short getaway to Cebu in the Philippines transformed into a longer one after an accident at Manila Airport grounded flights to and from Manila for the evening leaving me stranded in Cebu.

And when I say me, I mean me and thousands of others. By the time it was announced that my flight home to Sydney was officially delayed, all flights on my carrier (Cebu Pacific) the next day were booked out forcing me to seek alternate arrangements.

The answer came with AirAsiaX who had available seats out of Cebu via Kuala Lumpur. With airports in chaos, I hopped on board with home in my sights.

AirAsiaX review details:

Route: Cebu to Sydney via Kuala Lumpur
Duration: 17 hours, 55 minutes
Flight Numbers: Z2 7112 (Cebu to Kuala Lumpur) and D7222 (Kuala Lumpur to Sydney)
Aircraft Type: A320 and A333
Dates Travelled: 18 August 2018
Class: Premium Flex
Frequent Flyer Program: AirAsia BIG Points
Points earned: 4,718

In short:

  • Quiet zones, which are a godsend after multiple flight delays.
  • Meals are substantially-portioned, well-priced and tasty for a budget airline.
  • Earned frequent flyer points.
  • Both flights were delayed.
  • Layover in Kuala Lumpur is six hours – a long break between flights but not long enough to visit the city.

What did I like?

  • Quiet zones: AirAsia is one of few airlines that offers a quiet zone, a small section behind business that is kid-free. While it doesn't restrict chatter between adults, to live up to its title it feels like an idyllic private area where you can rest easy knowing no child will wind up kicking your seat or stretching out into your personal space.
  • Substantial meals: Meals were above standard compared to other low-cost carriers I've been on and were extremely budget-friendly, starting from US$3.50 per meal.
  • AirAsia BIG Points: I earned a nice 4,718 points on my journey. While that won't get me anywhere from Sydney quite yet (Sydney to Kuala Lumpur requires 21,875 points) it's gotten me ⅕ of the way and I think that's pretty decent.

What didn’t I like?

  • Delays: Both legs in this journey were delayed. The first was due to a knock-on effect from Manila Airport’s night closure, forcing our flight out of Cebu to arrive two hours later than expected as it was originating from Manila. The second saw us board relatively on-time only to sit on the tarmac for almost an hour waiting for a final staff member to arrive due to a change of flight staff. Both times, communication regarding the situation was fairly consistent, but the multiple delays were tiring and I could have done with some smooth sailing on at least one flight.
  • Long layover times: From Cebu, AirAsia has two options to Sydney: the first has a six-hour layover in Kuala Lumpur, the second has a 15-hour one. We chose the former to get home as quickly as possible – but it's too short to head into the city for some extra exploration and feels uncomfortably long at an airport.
  • Crew friendliness: While I understand delays happen and can cause crew to become stressed, the ground staff were snappy when we approached them for updates. We asked to bump our travelling companion who was seated away from us up to an available seat in our row, and they were reluctant. They eventually agreed after multiple explanations.

Would I use AirAsia again?

While AirAsia wasn't my first choice of airlines from the Philippines, as a budget airline, it lives up to its name as one of the better options offering quality meals and comfortable amenities at fair prices. If I were heading anywhere on its network, with minimal layovers, I would consider them again.


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