Friday, June 12, 2009

Air Asia, The Sardine Can

This is the first time I was on Air Asia new Airbus 320. I have yet to find out how could millions of people voted them to be the best airline. Or is it just sales talk?!The exterior of the plane looks good. The staff are not too bad. But ...
... the nightmare starts instantly when ...
...I sat down!
I am rather tall at 5'9". On my way out to KL, I have a small bag with my big D3 camera. The first thing I noticed was that the bag can't go through the leg room. When I was seated, my knee was touching the seat in front. So I ended up putting my camera bag on my lap. But the space is so small that I felt like suffocating.
Note the following:
  1. Once you are seated, you cannot move out of your seat anymore without everyone in the row standing up because the leg space is only about 8 inches.
  2. You cannot put anything on the floor or on your lap as the space simply doesn't allow. Otherwise the journey will be miserable.
  3. My buttock ache due to a lack of blood circulation as the seat is so bad - hard and stiff
  4. Literally, I can't move after I was seated.
My recommendation is that you must put everything in the overhead compartment. If you are traveling long distant, you must make sure that you stand and walk around. Otherwise, you may suffer blood clog which can be fatal.
The last time when I took a bus from Kuching to Miri, I swear that I will never take another bus unless the leg room is made bigger. They have since changed. So for Air Asia, I will never get in that plane unless the ticket is really cheap. I don't mind paying more for more comfort and better chair.
So my vote for the worse airline is the Sardine Can Air Asia. Now I understand why the boss of Air Asia collapse at the LCCT after taking his own plane.
Oh, I forgot to mention that the pilot of the outward trip was so bad that the plane was not stable at all and I felt so giddy which I have never experienced in their competitor's plane, especially on a good weather.

Update:
I just came back from Kuching a few minutes ago. The leg room on MAS 737 is 12 inches and that on Air Asia is only 8 inches. It is true that all airlines have small leg room but Air Asia has to be the winner at 8 inches.
It is also true that larger MAS Airbus from Kuching to KL are also more spacious. Whatever it is, I hope that the London-KL sector has bigger leg room. Otherwise, Air Asia will be the last choice. Oh, unless it is very cheap and I can get the hot seat!
Having said all these, we have to vote Air Asia for "value-for-money". Like many comments here, it allows many to travel and also forces MAS to lower the fare. It is good for the consumer!

14 comments:

Borneo Falcon said...

I flew Air Asia many times. Like you my knee keep touching the front chair. Worse of all, LCCT in Sepang is such a boring and crowded place.

For bus, try to take MTC bus (brown colour). They offer spacious seat.

reanaclaire said...

though i m considered short, i find it uncomfortable too, i cannot cross my legs which i would love to.. so.. i can imagine how "torturous" for men as tall as u..
the other time i sat on the Eastern China Airlines, it was the same with airasia... i guess most budget planes are like this... no choice if we want to keep our budget.. hahaha...

Kong said...

Let's be fair. Whichever way you looked at it, Air Asia is a huge commercial success and proudly Malaysian's. It has allowed far more people the opportunities to fly and doing so more frequently.

Recently, I booked a both way fare from Sibu to KL and it only cost me RM80. In days gone pass, MAS charge me more than 10 times that amount. Since it is so cheap, I booked to go watch the hifi exhibition in July-09.

Kimberly said...

Airasia has cheaper fare most of the time hence, u pay for what u get? Hahaha..but sometime last minute booking, the fare can be the same as the competitor MAS! Though airasia is cheaper, i still prefer MAS. Airasia has these seats that i don't like & the pilot is so unpredictable (due to weather or maybe lack of pilot skills??). Sometime i have fear sitting on a plane again if the previous flight i've taken had too much turbulence. =.=

Anonymous said...

I have been onboard planes belongs to Airasia, SIA, MAS, Southern China Airlines, EVA, Continental etc. What I can say is it is always uncomfortable when you are sitting on economy seats. My knee is always touching the the front seat, regardless of the airline. It is not possible to pass the person sitting on aisle seat, unless the person is a kid or small size lady.

iriene said...

I have tried Air Asia maybe 6 yrs ago, short distance KL to Redang..it's okay I guess cos I am not tall, and sitting with family, in-out no problem. But my favourite airline is still Cathay Pacific. Haven't tried SIA though...Tks for sharing, it makes me think twice to book the cheaper/budget airlines.

flower said...

I can neither say it is the best nor worst airline. Just because the fare is cheap. That is why millions of people in our country can travel to various place. I have to comment that one has to walk a distance to reach the aircraft or terminal, terminal pack with passengers (like what you said "sardine") making oneself so uncomfortable and queuing for more than half and hour before boarding. This is why we call lost cost. haha

Vincent said...

just use it like how we use bus.. is an air-bus! it is good enough for as a student.

Cindy said...

We may just need to suffer A BIT for buying a cheaper air ticket!LOL

Flora said...

I just took MAS last night. It was horribly small (as i just took boeing 777-300 before that).The first thing I thought of was it was incredibly uncomfortable, no rooms for legs! I never had this problem when I took Air Asia last time anyway. Maybe taking the 777 before was the cause? The journey wasn't smooth at all. Lots of turbulent, all the way, made me wanted to throw up. The crews were not that good, even forgot to ask me what I want to eat. BAD!

FM Luder said...

I have it on good word not to fly with Air Asia! It may be cheap but worth paying an extra £100 for a more comfortable flight.

William said...

Flora: It is the 777 which is spoiling you... haha. 777 is spacious and stable.

Kong: I call this value for money. Anyone can go where it was prohibitive previously. Long distant buses starts off cheap with small leg rooms. Now, you don't find it anymore. But Air Asia maximise profit by putting in more seats - perhaps it is called win-win. Afterall, they are not a charity company.

Indeed most economy seat has small leg room for most airlines. I didn't pay too much attention last time probably because I was much younger and my bones were more flexible. Now, I felt pain everywhere if I am placed in a certain position for a prolonged period of time. MAS 737 leg room is 12 inches against 8 inches for Air Asia. It does help.

Thanks for all yor feedbacks.

Ian said...

You do have to give credit to AirAsia for their gung-ho entry into the airline business and procuring brand new Airbuses - and succeeding - when everyone and their grandmother says that airline businesses aren't profitable (especially MAS and their 18 year old domestic flight planes).

Other than that, for domestic flights lasting no more than 2 hours for the price of a meal at a fancy restaurant, I think it is a pretty OK tradeoff. I probably would not select AirAsia for international flights.

William said...

Ian, I concur with what you said!