777MAS From Malaysia, joined Sep 2003, 198 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 8 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3642 times:
I never thought the day would come when I would say what the heading of this post says, but yes, for the first time ever, AK not only was on time, but was ahead of schedule!
Sandakan (SDK) to Johor Bahru (JHB)
2nd December 2006
ETD/ETA: 1600 - 1845 (2 hrs 45 mins)
Distance: approx 1,650 km
Fare paid: MYR 29.99 + 65.00 surcharges/taxes
My trip was to Singapore (with wife and 3-yr old daughter), via JHB, and was a spur of the moment thing - when we saw AK advertise fares of RM29.99 one way, we couldn't resist it.... so, on 21 April 2006, some 7 months ahead, we made that booking......
As our 3-year old daughter was with us, we were given "priority boarding" status, and a certain area of the departure lounge was set aside for this. Fully appreciated being able to be among the first to board, for the subsequent competition for overhead stowage space was to become intense indeed.....
At 1515, the plane arrived, 10 mins ahead of schedule. Boarded at around 1530, and would have departed at 1545 (15 mins ahead of schedule) had we not been kept waiting by 3 pax (as advised by their announcement) who took their time. Eventually, only saw 1 of them making his way from the ramp to the tarmac - the other 2? Left behind eventually, I think. I suppose AK's reputation for delays (nay, "retimed') made them think the flight won't leave so soon...... So the doors closed at 1555, and we left on time. The flight was quite full.
Just before commencing inflight sales of food/drinks, they made clear their "policy" of no outside food/drinks. Not that anyone is going to comply. Around this time, a FA made two trips to the cockpit, each time bringing on a tray a (turkey) ham and cheese croissant. The 2nd time she emerged from the cockpit, I saw in her hand some money - what - the pilots have to pay for it??? But why should I be surprised?
They began the sales starting from the rear of the cabin. By the time the cart arrived ( I was sitting a bit forward of the middle of the cabin, around where the front of the engines are) they had run out of croissants (cost: MYR6), so I settled for nasi lemak (for MYR7 - or was it 6??) - quite tasty.
Another cart later on made its way down the aisle, this time with Manchester United and other Air Asia merchandise - not much demand here, I think....
Around 1750, I had this feeling we were quite close to Johor/Singapore, and looking out of the window, saw we had landfall - what seemed to be islands to the left of the plane - not too sure where, though. We were supposed to have another 50 mins to go.
Around 1800, we could see the northeastern parts of Singapore as the plane flew in an almost western direction - Changi Airport's 3rd runway on land that had been (further) reclaimed from the sea, Pulau Ubin; then what must surely be Seletar Airport's runway; there was another runway visible between Changi and Seletar, maybe Paya Lebar? Also could see the "tiny" embankment that caused the Seletar River to become the Seletar Reservoir.....
Plane then banked to the right as we head to Senai Airport, and we landed at 1815, 25 mins ahead of schedule!! Finally, Air Asia rocks!!
Johor Bahru (JHB) to Sandakan (SDK)
12th December 2006
ETD/ETA: 1255 - 1535 (2 hrs 40 mins)
Distance: approx 1,650 km
Fare paid: MYR 29.99 + 65.00 surcharges/taxes
Aircraft: B737-300 again! (Where's the A320?!?!?!)
From Suntec City to Senai Airport, it took just a bit over 1 hour via the Second Link at Tuas - my brother, who was driving, said there's no traffic jam there, and the Customs/Immigration checks there seem to be more lax compared to the Causeway.
There were 2 check in counters for the Sandakan flight, but a third counter, which was supposed to serve flights to Sibu (SBW) but happened to be free, agreed to take us. Unlike Malaysia Airlines, here we were told cabin baggage is limited to 7 kg per piece, and were also asked to have them weighed - one of them needed to be "lightened" as a result. Tip: keep your cabin baggage out of the sight of the check in staff ...... pretend you don't have anything substantial.
Maybe we found our time at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf so fulfilling, that we proceeded to the Departure Hall around 1225, half an hour before ETD. Around 1235, as we made our way to the gate, we were horrified to see a queue - boarding had commenced, and despite having "priority boarding" status, we were virtually last in that queue!
So, when we entered from the rear, the sight of a rather full cabin caused some despair - a FA very helpfully "bumped off" one smaller piece from the overhead stowage compartment so that my maximum-size-allowed one could fit in - she then went round asking the pax "is this yours?" Settled into a seat that's the 3rd last row - my wife and daughter were in the row in front of me.
Safety briefing is similar to that on Malaysia Airlines, except that here, they warn you that the lifejacket is property of Air Asia, must not be removed, etc. (can't recall if they threaten you with prosecution in court if you decide you want to keep one....)
Took off on time, at 1255. Once again, the sales of food/drinks started from the rear of the cabin, and this time I got that croissant. Those who ordered nasi lemak had to wait for it to be heated.
Around 1440, we passed by the southern side of Labuan (LBU), and I thought we must be flying pretty fast, because where we are now, there should be another 30 mins to go! Sure enough, we landed at 1515 - the landing announcement went on to (triumphantly) inform us that we had arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule!
Inflight service: N/A, since you have to pay for it. Bonus point, though, for the "priority boarding" for elderly and those with little kids - no need for "kiasu" queuing!!
Value for money: 10/10 - MYR29.99 one way!! Plus flight ahead of schedule!
In short, Air Asia ROCKS!!!!! (for now, at least!)
Ryanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4782 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 3 days ago) and read 3100 times:
Hmm... Believe it or not, I will fly Air Asia later this year for a trip to BKK. Although I have been strongly advised against it, I thought I should experience it for myself to see what they are really like. At least I can tell myself "I have done it". And of course the fares are cheap. Hahahahaha...
I was never one for trying to find my way from Senai to Singapore using the public buses, I find it too confusing. Did you have someone pick you up from JHB? I have done that journey a few times but I always had the MAS Bus to ferry me back home. Air Asia pax are NOT ALLOWED to use that mode of transport, unfortunately.
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
CX777Fan From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 304 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2952 times:
Thanks for the report. I'll be flying Air Asia Thailand in a few weeks. nice to have kind of an idea what to expect - assuming the Thai wing is much the same as in Malaysia.
Quoting 777MAS (Thread starter): Just before commencing inflight sales of food/drinks, they made clear their "policy" of no outside food/drinks.
This totally amazes me! How do they police this?? Do they have checks as pax are boarding or FAs running down the aisle to snatch a non Air Asia bottle of water from one's hands as one is about to take a sip?
777MAS From Malaysia, joined Sep 2003, 198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 12 hours ago) and read 2868 times:
Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 3): I was never one for trying to find my way from Senai to Singapore using the public buses, I find it too confusing. Did you have someone pick you up from JHB? I have done that journey a few times but I always had the MAS Bus to ferry me back home. Air Asia pax are NOT ALLOWED to use that mode of transport, unfortunately.
Someone picked me up from Senai - so I can't answer this one. As for the MAS coach, you'll be in luck if you happen to stumble upon a discarded MAS boarding pass.... the anti-littering laws this side of the Causeway aren't strongly enforced...
Quoting CX777Fan (Reply 5): How do they police this?? Do they have checks as pax are boarding or FAs running down the aisle to snatch a non Air Asia bottle of water from one's hands as one is about to take a sip?
Nope. i don't see how they can police this, either. Policies of "no-tolerance" usually invite defiance, and I'd be darned if I allow myself to pay MYR4 for a lousy half litre bottle of mineral water!!!