Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 32 Posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 15677 times:
Long time no reports, haven’t had much time with a lot of trips and some issues back in Finland. Anyway, here’s another one, I don’t think this route has been covered before at airliners.net.
With about 30 sectors already booked on Air Asia for various trips, I was looking for a quick getaway from Angeles City. Only a few airlines serve Diosdado Macapagal International airport; the tiring road trip to MNL was out of the question for this trip. Air Asia offered a great fare to Kota Kinabalu, and the Le Meridien had cheap rates as well. So after a phone call to the Philippines, I quickly booked a trip for myself and the girlfriend.
09 September 2009
Clark Diosdado Macapagal International (CRK/RPLC) – Kota Kinabalu LCCT (BKI/WBKK)
Air Asia AK/AXM 6265
1540-1735 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 7B
Fare 9.90 EUR
So it was 9/9/09 and the flight had cost 9.90 EUR… What a coincidence. It was a quick 10-minute ride from the hotel to DMIA, certainly great compared to the tiring 2-4 hour journey to NAIA depending on Metro Manila traffic. After supporting the Philippine Tourism Authority with the PHP 1620 travel tax, we were quickly checked in by the friendly AK agent who didn’t bother checking the carry-on weight or other nonsense. I had invested 1 EUR each for pre-assigned seats, namely 7A and 7B.
Immigration and security were quick –flying out of CRK is such a refreshing change to MNL T1 especially. Although I must say flying Cebu Pacific out of NAIA 3 is not a too bad experience these days.
Plenty of seating at the renovated departure lounge. The Filipinos have a thing with their phones and sms…
9M-AHF arrived a few minutes early from Kota Kinabalu, and boarding started soon. I must say I really like Air Asia and their fares now that they offer assigned seating. What a change from the mad rush before.
DMIA terminal building, Spirit of Manila Airlines MD80 in the background
Boarding of course via stairs
Welcome aboard the world’s best – Air Asia uses that heavily in their marketing these days
I gave the window seat to my girlfriend – the load was very low at around 50%. This was in the middle of Ramadan though, must have had an effect. Standard buy on board service was offered, I decided not to have anything this time despite the hot meals being rather cheap at around 2 euros.
Cabin view – almost nobody at the “hot seats”, row 1-5
After an uneventful flight, we started descent into Kota Kinabalu after about 1.5 hours in the air
We landed on time and taxied to terminal 2, a carbon copy of Kuala Lumpur LCCT in seems. Air Asia’s expansion has been rather stunning – they have a massive operation in Kota Kinabalu as well. We were the first ones at immigration, and it took barely a minute to clear. Then hopped onto a taxi to the Le Meridien.
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
At 50 Euros per night this was a great deal given my SPG Platinum status. We were upgraded to a Royal Club suite with Royal Club lounge access obviously. This was already done online weeks before check-in which I found rather impressive. No complaints apart from a poor check-out experience that made us almost miss the return flight.
Living room sitting area
Minibar and stuff
Sofa in bedroom
Two flat screen TVs in the suite
Some pics around the city
11 September 2009
Kota Kinabalu LCCT (BKI/WBKK) – Clark Diosdado Macapagal International (CRK/RPLC)
Air Asia AK/AXM 6264
1320-1515 – On Time
Economy Class, Seat 6E
Fare 15.10 EUR
They claimed no working printer at check-out at Le Meridien-really unacceptable for a 5-star hotel and I was fuming after it took 15 minutes to check out. Thankfully we made it back to the airport before the closure of the counters – Air Asia can be rather harsh if you miss the cutoff time.
Checked baggage screening
Check-in counters at BKI LCCT
I did online check-in the day before, so they just had a look at passports and stamped the boarding passes
They must have more than 1 A320 at BKI these days
Immigration and security were very quick, and we were soon in the gate area. Somebody else taking pics too…
It’s Air Asia territory here at T2
I don’t know what it is with Air Asia and me – it’s 9M-AHF again to take us back to CRK. I always get the same reg on Indonesia Air Asia too…
A Malaysian Air Force plane and a Transmile B727F
Load was about 70%, and we had 6E and 6F this time. Really an excellent crew on this flight, very friendly and professional.
Legroom is of course LCC style, but fine for short hops around Asia
I decided to have some food this time – a hot dog and a can of Pepsi for about 2 Euros
It was an uneventful flight up to Clark, and I decided to buy some Air Asia stuff from their onboard sales. My girlfriend was not feeling too well for reasons I’d find out in a couple of days, and the crew couldn’t have been any nicer about it. A top notch experience for a ridiculously low fare.
We landed on time at DMIA, and being in the front, cleared immigration in no time at all. Took a car to Angeles City for PHP 300 and a nice short break to Malaysia was over.
Reifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1530 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 13356 times:
Actually I think this could be true I can't comment on the Filipinos, but the Singaporean have for sure more little electronic things (and more sophisticated) than we have over in Europe. Just take the MRT, they're all playing games or watching movies on their handhelds, and not just the younger ones... absolutely incredible
Back to the report. Thanks a lot for sharing. I flew Air Asia a few days ago from SIN to KUL and I must say that they have a solid product which don't looks "cheap" as the LCC's that we have in Europe (just thinking about Ryanair and Easyjet...). Plus they offer hot food for a very good fare, especially if booked before the flight it's not more than 2 EUR for a hot dish...
Airbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4378 posts, RR: 50
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 12835 times:
Thanks for the great little report on AirAsia. It's a great airline. Very good fares, and for us Europeans, unbeatable prices for onboard service. When will U2, FR etc. start to offer 'hot meals' for 2 Euro's
The report brought back little memories I have from BKI. I was there for about 2 hours, during a MH B772 flight NRT-KUL, making a stop at BKI. I couldn't leave the departure/transit lounge, but I really wanted to go outside to explore the island.
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
MillwallSean From Singapore, joined Apr 2008, 1387 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 12373 times:
I am actually taking this trip in mid february but BKI-CRK-BKI. 250 RM return a steal.
Got some work in the economic freezone for a couple of days. Since CRK is much closer to where I will be its great to have AirAsia flying.
First time that I will be staying in that part of the Philippines, any suggestions for hotels and good bars?
If your around lets meet up for a beer.
Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 5): With fares like this, you cannot say no & the service looks good, unlike some of their european friends!
Yeah, I hate FR, yet i think U2 is not too bad. And they just announced HEL-CDG and HEL-MAN.
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 6): Looks like you're back with your usual shenanigans - both on ground and in the (hotel) bedroom
Legend. I enjoy your reports too but I'm bad at replying...
Quoting KLASM83 (Reply 8): I don't think it's the Filipinos, but most of us young people today.
No. Simply no. You need to come here to see what the free texting etc does to these people... Filipinos live with their phones and SMS.
Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 13): Got some work in the economic freezone for a couple of days. Since CRK is much closer to where I will be its great to have AirAsia flying.
Will be here Feb 20 onwards. Hotels depend on your budget... ABC, Lewis Grand, Savannah are nice while Bangkok Hotel, Royal Amsterdam, Le Mirage and Euro Asia are cheaper. Must say the Holiday Inn was an overpriced dump when I stayed, though it has been renovated. Overall, you are not getting nice hotels here cheap I'm afraid. Please PM me about the bars, I think that should stay out of this forum...