ronerone
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In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:40 pm

WELCOME TO WHAT COULD BE THE ONLY REVIEW ON THIS ROUTE





airasia x announces launch of sale…
Why Abu Dhabi? Destination attractiveness, strong underserved demand, connectivity all over Middle-East, and committed airport partnership

Azran Osman Rani’s Status on Twitter – August 19th 2009 @ 04:41


Following industry rumours and press speculation surrounding AirAsia X's first destination in the Middle East, the carrier today confirmed its commitment to Abu Dhabi at a press conference in the UAE capital. The inaugural flight will touch down in Abu Dhabi on November 23 at 01:30, and depart for the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur again at 02:55 the same day…

Arabian Aerospace Online News Service - August 19th 2009


We are ecstatic with our first long haul route into the Middle East from Kuala Lumpur. This clearly indicates that our expansion plans are on track, which represents our determination in providing truly low fares on our long-haul, low fare services across the globe. We believe our low fares will help to stimulate and trigger new travel demand, and will help to boost tourism potential on both ends. This is part of our overall strategy in expanding into the Middle East. We see an untapped market which has strong economic potential for the route. Abu Dhabi is the largest city in UAE, with a population of 2 million – in which more than 80% of the populations are frequent traveling expatriates. Therefore, we see an increasing trend of UAE travelers flying to Malaysia for holidays; tapping into a very lucrative market.

Azran Osman Rani - August 19th 2009 (Arabian Aerospace)


airasia x inaugurates flights…
Abu Dhabi has long been on our network radar and we are very proud to liberalise the market to the world. The demand for the route has been steady with 60% of the load coming from the UAE. This is indeed a clear testament that AirAsia’s low fares have empowered people to fly. Likewise, we are excited to play a key role in promoting Abu Dhabi’s beautiful city and people to the rest of the world. We have been promoting Abu Dhabi aggressively to Malaysians, across the ASEAN region and even beyond to destinations such as China, Australia and United Kingdom. In fact we have also included Abu Dhabi in our recent promotional campaign, cross selling the market to other destinations.

Azran Osman Rani – November 24th 2009 (Shephard)


airasia x drops the ball…
AirAsia X will pull out of Abu Dhabi after just three months in operation, a setback for the fledging carrier’s long-haul, low-cost business plan in the region. The surprise withdrawal, which is effective on February 21, came just hours before the capital’s airport operator revealed record traffic figures last year…

The National – January 31st 2009


We don’t have the right aircraft. These are challenging times for the industry. Airlines are trying to fight to survive and unfortunately we have to make these tough decisions and hopefully we’ll have a better, more efficient aircraft and bit more scale to do perhaps a minimum daily service and be able to come back stronger, but the environment is making it a bit too tough.

Azran Osman Rani – January 31st 2010 (The National)



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ronerone
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:41 pm

Flight Status




I N T R O D U C T I O N
On the first few hours after posting this report, flight D7 2402 makes its last journey to Abu Dhabi from Kuala Lumpur. From the airline’s website, the returning flight did not even show as operating, let alone fully booked or even available for sale. Unsure of the exact reason, one possibility could be an indication of a ferry flight that will carry the remaining deadheading crew back to Kuala Lumpur, and resulting in the disappearance of any AirAsia X brand in the region. Hence, this chimes the ending rhythms of a story I suddenly concluded as strange and inadequate.

It was only two years ago when AirAsia X casually squeezed in the usual ‘seeking to expand into the Middle East’ sentence in one of its countless press releases. Just like the general public, this airline couldn’t be blamed for not knowing much about Abu Dhabi, when the typical Dubai chatter was happening only an hour away. Soon enough however, that mindset became a last season’s affair.

It was a relationship that was purely built from scratch, and was one that wasn’t just based on the exchange of simple numbers, trends, statistics, and figures. In fact, those numbers were not even the main event. Even at one point, the airline in its ever so sarcastic and joking manner, would say things like “please man, no more numbers, we have seen enough!”

It was a very laid back encounter with AirAsia X. Sure enough, it was definitely about showing the true opportunities and the multi-million dollar projects that are transforming Abu Dhabi into the global leader. But it also involved dinners at Burger King, and drinks at the seediest bars at times. This is what this airline is about, and the term ‘down to earth’ cannot describe it enough!

AirAsia X was absolutely impressed with Abu Dhabi and immediately believed in the opportunity to make it work as their first Middle Eastern gateway. As a result, 5 weekly flights to the UAE capital were inaugurated in November 2009, and a huge bash was put together to celebrate this trend-setting event.

What happened afterwards was what defied all the normal expectations and left everyone in complete shock. Only weeks ago, the airline suddenly announced a temporary suspension of the route due to lack of availability of an appropriate aircraft. They immediately concluded that they will return to Abu Dhabi soon, with a vengeance, and with better aircraft.

But what about the strong-standing relationship? And the genuine hopes and beliefs in the Abu Dhabi market? Was that just hype to spark up the media? But why send an aircraft here if it was only marketing fluff? So many questions and very little answers resulted in gloomy moods of confusion and frustration all over town.

Today the market conditions are still very vague, and perhaps AirAsia needs to hold its horses a little until signs of global improvement begin to show. By then, they should return.

As for now, I share with you my flying experience with AirAsia X from Abu Dhabi, brought to you with a little bit of sadness and lots of hope for another future! Consider it a symbolic tribute to an airline that made it happen for me during my career! They are really something!

In a blink of an eye, this is AirAsia X’s turnaround at Abu Dhabi…


WELCOME TO MY 21st TRIP REPORT
This TR will cover the following flights on my ‘self-connecting’ trip to Bangkok on the AirAsia brand:
  • A) Abu Dhabi – Kuala Lumpur; in XL Class on AirAsia X (A343)
  • B) Kuala Lumpur – Bangkok; on AirAsia (A320)
  • C) Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur; on Thai AirAsia (A320)
  • D) Kuala Lumpur – Abu Dhabi; in Economy Class on AirAsia X (A343)
B A C K G R O U N D
I have absolutely no justification for this trip.

When AirAsia X announced Abu Dhabi services in August, they inaugurated the ticket sales with a super promotion of 99 AED ($27 USD) for a one-way fare from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, and similarly MYR 99 ($27 USD) for the return segment.

I have never come across the opportunity to use such a promotion before, and I thought what the heck? why not purchase a ticket and see what this is all about. I had no solid intentions to fly, and was under the mindset that if I couldn’t make it, then so be it.

AirAsia certainly makes a huge fanfare when releasing such promotions, and the ads continue to fill their websites even months after these fares have sold out. However, the trick is to subscribe to their newsletters and closely watch for new promotions. In my case, there was no newsletter required as I was in the midst of it all.

On the day of the launch, I logged on to the AirAsia website, and began my search for flights. Funny enough, barely any of the dates offered this promotion, but I was adamant enough to keep searching for the right combination of out and inbound travel days. It took a good 30 minutes to secure two days that resulted in a two day trip to Kuala Lumpur.

On AirAsia, you practically pay for everything you want. Similarly for this AirAsia X flight, I decided to go on a shopping spree and bought the following add-ons:
  • A) Comfort Kit (56 AED = $15 USD)
  • B) Malaysian Meal (22 AED = $6 USD),
  • C) Advanced Seat Request (110 AED = $30USD)


The total price after selecting everything except for the checked-baggage fee, including taxes resulted in 386 AED ($105 USD) for a total roundtrip ticket between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur. How ridiculously cheap is that?

As time drew closer to the day of my intended travels, it became more evident that there was a public holiday that would fall on the same days, which meant I was definitely traveling.

AirAsia is technically a point-to-point airline however, they heavily promote their self-connect possibility to the public whereby passengers peruse the airline’s point-to-point network to voluntarily connect to wherever possible. So since it was probably the only time I would be flying AirAsia, I thought to step it up a notch and experience this self-connecting concept by slapping on a tag ticket between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. So much for not wanting to travel!

To add icing on the cake, I was also given a free upgrade to XL Class on both my AirAsia X flights, with compliments of the AirAsia team! That was very nice indeed, but when traveling LCC, one needs to go purely LCC, and XL Class was not on my list!


O U T B O U N D
At 10:20pm, I left my apartment in Downtown Burj Dubai (or Burj Khalifa now) and drove towards Abu Dhabi. Arriving the airport at midnight, I parked my car at the new Terminal 3 car park which was recently opened. Although this car park is designated for T3 passengers, it is relatively easy to navigate between Terminals 1, 1A, and 3 from there.


New Terminal 3 Car Park at Abu Dhabi International Airport




I arrived Terminal 1A at 12:10am, where AirAsia X normally operates from. There was a crowd predominantly from the Indian Subcontinent that formed outside the terminal’s entrance however, there was no queue to go inside. Presumably, these passengers were awaiting the Air India Express Milk-Run that was operating several hours after my flight.


Terminal 1A at AUH




Proceeding through the typical pre-check-in security I arrived at the check-in hall which was fully designated for the AirAsia X flight at that time of night. As a minimum, the airline requires 5 check-in counters to process their passengers and on that night, all seemed to have been used quite adequately.


AirAsia X Check-in Counters at AUH




Check-in Information




There was a long queue and it was moving rather slowly; something I was expecting given that this was the 3rd flight to operate since the inaugural. A quick passenger profiling scan revealed most of the passengers were UAE expatriates, most of which were from the Indian Subcontinent, a few Caucasian families, and a surprising number of Malaysians (Malays, Chinese, and also Indians). The Malaysian population in the UAE is very small, and most reside in Dubai but it seems that the AirAsia magnet worked to lure them here.


In Queue for Check-in




At my turn for check-in, I was processed rather quickly because I had no baggage to check. I asked the friendly, but frustrated agent what was taking so long at the counters and she claimed that the passengers had absolutely no knowledge of having to pay for every checked baggage and a lot of time was required between a quick briefing on the AirAsia concept, and for passengers to make their way to the excess baggage counter to pay for the luggage fees.

Truly AUH and the region may need to reach the learning curve when it comes to pure LCC-type of operations, but I also think that the airline should have been receptive to this, and should have found ways to educate its passengers prior to their arrival at the airport.


My Boarding Pass to Kuala Lumpur




Unique Stickers on my Boarding Card Indicating my Meal & Comfort Kit Purchase




At 12:40am I proceeded to immigration, which took a mere 5 minutes to get me airside. The flight tonight was operating from Gate 8, which is located in Terminal 1. Once you reach airside at Terminal 1A, it is relatively easy to go one level up and arrive at Terminal 1. Since the operation was still in ‘inaugural mode’ the AirAsia X flight was accommodated during the first week of operation and was given a contact gate as necessary.


FIDS




At the main satellite area at Terminal 1, I went for my usual stroll when I decided to settle for a cup of hot tea at the coffee shop next to the lower-level duty free shops.


My LCC cup of Tea!




At around 1:30am the inbound flight from Kuala Lumpur had landed, and the passengers and crew were eventually released into the terminal.


Deplaning Passengers from Kuala Lumpur




AirAsia X Crew that Operated D72402 from KUL






At 2AM I Proceeded Inside Gate 08




Gate Information




Passing through security, I was inside the holding area at 2:05am, where a small crowd of passengers had already formed.


Inside the Holding Area




The Raiders Plane in Abu Dhabi!




At 2:10am a boarding call was made for all passengers with children, and those that required additional assistance. This was followed by boarding calls according to row numbers, and beginning from the back of the aircraft. As an XL passenger, I was allowed to board at anytime.


AirAsia X Flight 2403 With Service to Kuala Lumpur is Now Ready for Boarding




Approaching the ground staff at the gate, my boarding pass was zipped off, and I was wished a pleasant flight before proceeding down the aerobridge. Arriving at Door 2L of the aircraft, I was greeted by two AirAsia X girls, dressed in their typical fiery red outfits, with an LCC version of “Hi, welcome on board!” By ‘LCC’ I mean no act, no frequent flier to pretend we recognize, and just pure hearty, casual, friendly, and very informal.


By 2:25am I was on board.


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ronerone
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:43 pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AirAsia X Flight Information:

SCR
/D7/28NOV
W09
28NOV
AUH
KD72403 24NOV27MAR 1200567 286343 AUHAUH0255 1355KULKUL J
GI BRGDS

Actual Departure Time: 03:03 (Pushback)
Actual Arrival Time: 13:55 (Touchdown)

Registration: 9M-XAC
Condition: 10.7 years old, delivered to AirAsia X in June 2009 and previously owned by Air Canada

Remarks: NIL

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Turning left as I stepped inside the aircraft, I immediately arrived at my section of the cabin where I felt like I was slapped across the face with that ugly ash-colored theme.

The aircraft interior seemed reasonably well looked after, and the aircraft was clean, however the cabin ambience was very cold and uninviting. But of course this isn’t AirAsia’s style, although I was certainly relieved I didn’t fly Air Canada back then!


The Cabin








The seat was your typical older generation premium recliner, which offered the usual cozy-type of comfort. The seat itself was quite comfortable, however the coloring on certain areas of the seat had paled into something more yellow. I wasn’t sure if that was part of the actual color scheme or whether the seat was just worn out. All in all though, it did the job!


The Seat






Leg Space




Several moments later, a large group of passengers flocked into the Business Class cabin and instantly made themselves at home. I recognized a few faces from the AirAsia X inaugural event a few days prior, and realized that this group was the remainder of the airline’s marketing team that was sent over to Abu Dhabi for promotional purposes. They were given an upgrade on board as a thank you for their hard efforts while in Abu Dhabi.


The AirAsia Marketing Team Gradually Occupying the Cabin






One of the AirAsia girls made her round across the cabin to distribute the pre-ordered Comfort Kits.

“Excuse me sir? Did you book your Comfort Kit online?”
“Yes”
“May I see your boarding pass?”


My Comfort Kit




The kit included a blanket, eyeshades, and a blow-up neck pillow, that are all yours to keep. What made this kit amazing was the fact that it was factory fresh, and not laundered or pre-used.

The doors were closed at 3am, and the cabin crew made a departure announcement to welcome us on board. We were also informed that our flight time for tonight was estimated to be 6 hours and 39 minutes. At 3:03am we pushed back, and a manual safety demonstration was performed.


Moments Before Pushback




Safety Demo




After our relatively short taxi, we took off at 3:18am and began our low-cost long-haul journey to Kuala Lumpur through the darkness of the Arabian skies.

Reaching cruise mode, the seatbelt sign was switched off and the crew began their service preparations, which commenced with the distribution of landing cards, and followed by the buy on-board trolley service.


Food & Beverage for Sale




AirAsia’s version of the buy on-board concept is known as ‘Snack Attack.’ An extensive booklet is located in each seat-pocket and includes a variety on food & drink items for sale, in addition to a wide range of AirAsia branded souvenirs.


Snack Attack Menu




















I had pre-ordered the Malaysian meal option at the time of booking, and for tonight’s flight, Nasi Lemak was on offer, which is a very tasty traditional Malaysian dish.

I was quite surprised with the very small meal portion, as previous Trip Reports showed a rather decent quantity. Furthermore, the Nasi Lemak looked a little on the generic side, and did not include the typical dried anchovies (yes I don’t like fish, but I don’t mind these) and peanut condiments that usually come with it. Nevertheless, it was tasty.


My Meal








The Usual Lavatory Visit Followed After the Meal Service






I later returned to my seat, reclined it to its almost lie-flat position and fell asleep. The passenger seated in front of me also reclined his seat, and the top of his seat covered my feet and reached below my knees. I found this to be a little odd, because if I was to raise my feet a little, they would have easily been all over his face (what on earth was Air Canada thinking?).


Seat Recline




Waking up to Daylight an Hour Before Arrival




A Quick Visit to Economy Class






AirAsia’s Marketing Team Filming a Short Scene




At 1:30pm Malaysian local time, our captain made an announcement to inform us that we had begun our initial descent towards Kuala Lumpur International Airport. We were expected to land exactly on time at 1:55pm.

The seatbelt sign was switched on and the cabin crew made their final preparations before taking their seats for landing.


Cabin Before Landing




Approach Scenes






Touchdown at 1:55PM




We docked at a remote stand at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), where the aircraft eventually powered out, and the seatbelt sign was switched off.


Preparing to Disembark




As the doors were opened, we were released from the aircraft. I proceeded down the aisle, and thanked the crew for their efforts before exiting the aircraft.

All in all, it was an interesting first flight on AirAsia X. The crew, while slightly on the friendly side, did not seem too bothered. After hearing a lot about AirAsia X, I had expected a little more from them, so hopefully things will be different on my following flights.


The Raiders Bird at KUL




At KLIA’s LCCT, there is direct passenger access between the aircraft and the terminal building hence, doing away with bussing of passengers. This is an aviator’s dream come true as you can see all the raw action in its purest form, right in front of your eyes.

There are many opportunities for snapping photos, and I would highly encourage it, although I was kindly told not to take any pictures one time when I got caught.


One More Picture of 9M-XAC





The LCCT, while very basic, seemed very efficient at the same time. There was a huge queue at immigration however the wait was no more than 10 minutes till I was cleared to go landside.

My passport was stamped and I was free for the next 6 hours till my ‘self-connecting’ flight to Bangkok.


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ronerone
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:45 pm

During my transit, I caught up with Mr. Airpearl for what seemed to be the ritual on-airport meeting. We even managed to squeeze in a quick drive to the runway, and caught one arriving movement. Out of all airlines, it had to be a Cathay Pacific B744 arriving from Hong Kong; just for me!

Back at the LCCT, there is quite a decent range of F&B, and retail options located landside just outside the terminal. From coffee shops, to convenience stores, restaurants and the like, one could easily spend several hours in ‘self-connecting’ transit without a problem. In fact, I found the atmosphere to be more pleasant than KLIA’s main terminal, but perhaps that is because the LCCT was so much more crowded.

Fast forwarding to 4:30pm, I proceeded to find the check-in counter that was allocated for my Bangkok flight. Counters S13 to S24 were common-use desks for all passengers traveling on the AirAsia brand to Singapore, Phuket, Krabi, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Vientiane.


AirAsia Common-Use Check-In Counters






The lack of frills on Low-Cost Airlines can sometimes make for more efficiency. This seemed very evident during the AirAsia check-in process. Long queues were everywhere, but lines moved relatively quickly. At my turn for check-in, the agent was friendly, and welcoming, yet straight to the point and without any unnecessary tangents. Within seconds my ‘boarding paper’ was printed and I was good to go.


My Boarding Paper to Bangkok




The immigration & security process was as smooth as can be thanks to the friendly staff. This is probably the biggest advantage of traveling through many Asian airports, and perhaps a major reason why I prefer to stick to this part of the world for my holidays.

I was airside again at 5:20pm. In this part of the terminal, a few retail shops were available which included, duty free shops, restaurants, and strangely, a Plaza Premium Lounge! The remaining floor-space was smartly used for more than adequate seating spread all throughout the main departures hall, and flowing right into the gate areas.


Right After Immigration & Security




Duty Free




FIDS




Enough Seating for Everyone








After my quick walk-around, I arrived at gate T18 at 5:30pm. They had not called for the Bangkok flight by then, so I waited outside the holding area for 30 minutes.


Gate T18




At 6:10pm, a long queue formed at the entrance of the gate, as they began to let Bangkok-bound passengers inside. I joined the queue, and waited my turn to go inside.


Long Queue at Gate T18




The friendly agents scanned my boarding paper, and I was eventually inside the holding area at 6:15pm.


Inside the Holding Area




Gate Information




Boarding was Announced at 6:40PM




The walk towards the aircraft is what makes this terminal so charming. After exiting the building, common pathways, located along outside of the terminal direct all passengers to walk all the way to the aircraft. Along the way, not only can you catch the goings-on of the LCCT, but also the bigger boys located on the other side of the airport. Simply amazing!


The Same CX B744 (B-HOS) that Welcomed me to KUL




Tiger Airways A320 (9V-TAF)




Arriving at Our Aircraft








Boarding the aircraft was through steps located at the front and the back doors of the aircraft. Since I was seated on the very last row, I proceeded up the steps that lead to the back door of the aircraft.

This time around, the crew on this flight were your typical sexy, young, and groovy AirAsia crew that we all hear about. Dressed in tight red outfits that squeezed the contour out of their figures, two of those gorgeous ladies welcomed on board as I stepped inside the aircraft.


By 6:55pm I was on board.



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ronerone
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:46 pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AirAsia Flight Information:

SCR
/AK/28NOV
W09
28NOV
KUL
KAK750 25OCT27MAR 1234567 180320 KULKUL1845 1950BKKBKK J
GI BRGDS

Actual Departure Time: 19:00 (Pushback)
Actual Arrival Time: 19:55 (Touchdown)

Registration: 9M-AFK
Condition: 3.42 years old, delivered to AirAsia in September 2006

Remarks: NIL

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The doors almost immediately closed after I boarded, and this was quickly followed by departure announcements and the last-minute crew rush to prepare for takeoff. It is no joke with AirAsia, and although they may not be so punctual, but when boarding is complete, it’s simply done!


The Seat






I hate to be rushed, but I had no choice this time around as the plane was getting ready for pushback. I quickly stowed my things and took a seat, clicked my seatbelt, and relaxed.

The black leather seat was very comfortable however, legroom was definitely an issue. I was glad it was a short flight and that no one was seated in front of me expecting to recline his or her seat.


The Cabin








We pushed back at 7pm, while an announcement was made to welcome us on board and inform us of our short flight time of 2 hours and 5 minutes.


This Was Followed by a Manual Safety Demonstration




Taxiing to the runway, we held short for a few moments before taking off at 7pm and beginning our journey towards Thailand.


During Climb




Reaching cruise, the seatbelt sign was switched off, and the crew were released to prepare for the “Snack Attack” service. This commenced with the distribution of Comfort Kits (I pre-ordered one for this flight too!), followed by pre-ordered meals the usual trolley service; it’s as simple as that!


Leg Space: Oops! I Almost Forgot to Take This Picture




Snack Attack to BKK






I had pre-ordered the Malaysian Indian meal online, and on this flight, Bukhara Biryani was on offer. An excellent meal to say the least, it was spiced differently to a biryani from the Indian Subcontinent. This time around, a small tub of water was included with my meal, which I later found out is supposed to be the norm (not sure why that didn’t happen on my outbound flight from AUH).


Bukhara Biryani






After the meal service, the crew made their rounds to collect empty plates and cups.

I went to the galley for a quick chat with the crew. They were very friendly, although a little reserved. When I asked to take their picture, one of them instantly agreed, but retracted after her colleague refused because she was shy.


A Visit to the Lavatory Followed




The remainder of the flight was uneventful and at 6:30pm Bangkok local time, we had reached the top of descent. Our captain made an announcement to inform us that we were expected to land within 30 minutes, and requested the crew to prepare for arrival.


9M-AFK touched down at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 7:55pm, only 5 minutes behind schedule.


Preparing to Disembark After Docking at the Gate




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ronerone
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:48 pm

B A N G K O K
I came down with the worst flu I have ever had whilst in Bangkok. In all honesty, I could have had Swine Flu without even knowing it. From fevers to shivers, body-aches and nausea, you name it, I felt it!

Thankfully my stay was only for two days, and deep down inside I could not wait to go back home. Apart from going out for food and medicine, I spent most of my time in my hotel room; right where I should belong because a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok deserves every second of it.

Not only is it the ‘Peninsula Hong Kong’ of Bangkok, but it is one of the world’s best hotels and certainly deserves the high ratings it receives from everyone! Here are some pictures …







Hotel Entrance




Hotel Lobby




Standard Room




Bed




Desk




Fruit




Bathroom




Bath Tub



Shower




Amenities




Green Tea at the Terrace




The View from the Terrace





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ronerone
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:50 pm

O U T B O U N D
I checked out of the hotel at 8:30am, and took a taxi to the airport which got me to Suvarnabhumi at 9:45am. After a quick inspection of the curbside area, I proceeded inside for check-in.


Entrance 2 Leading to AirAsia’s Check-in Counters






FIDS




At 9:45am, I stood in the queue leading to AirAsia’s International check-in counters. A ground agent was kind enough to inform me that I could proceed to the less crowded neighboring domestic counters if I wished to.

As I made my way to the domestic counters, another agent told me to return back to the International counters since I was traveling on a non-domestic flight. This resulted in a little back and forth between two sets of counters as the two agents had their differing views of the policy. I gave up and blew the whistle with a ‘but she said I can’t check-in from the domestic counter’ in an effort to resolve this silly issue. They exchanged a few words of discussion in Thai, and I was eventually allowed to proceed to the domestic counters one final time.


AirAsia Check-in Counters at BKK








At my turn, I was processed fairly quickly. My boarding paper was issued and I was all set to go by 10am.


My Boarding Paper to Kuala Lumpur




Immigration & Security Followed




By 10:30am I was airside. Looking around, I was reminded of my first days experiencing this unique airport in the past. I was quite impressed with its design at first but the more I travel through Suvarnabhumi, the more I feel a certain ‘blah’ to it. Perhaps it is the stark contrast between the dark metal structures and the gleaming light passing through them that creates a very neutral feeling that is neither warm & fuzzy, nor is it cold & unbothered. Perhaps I was just too ill to be traveling that even at that point in time, aviation in general was not doing it for me!

After the usual stroll, I decided on a sit-down at a coffee shop for a hot cup of tea.


On Display in the Terminal




Where I Had My Cup of Tea






At 11:20am, I made my way to Gate F2. The aircraft was already at the gate however, the holding area was still relatively empty at that time.


Gate F2




My Ride to KUL




The Holding Area




I was inside the holding area at 11:30am, and pre-boarding was announced about five minutes later. This time around, boarding was called according to row numbers.


Boarding




When my row was called, I proceeded towards the gate, and through the aerobridge.


Through the Aerobridge






Arriving at Door 1L of the aircraft, I was welcomed by the Thai AirAsia girls in the usual traditional Thai manner.


By 11:45am I was on board.


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ronerone
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2004 4:56 pm

RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:52 pm

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Thai AirAsia Flight Information:

SCR
/FD/30NOV
W09
30NOV
BKK
KFD3573 25OCT27MAR 1234567 180320 BKKBKK1205 1510KULKUL J
GI BRGDS

Actual Departure Time: 12:00 (Pushback)
Actual Arrival Time: 15:00 (Touchdown)

Registration: HS-ABE
Condition: 1.75 years old, delivered to Thai AirAsia in May 2008

Remarks: NIL

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This segment is almost identical to the outbound sector from KUL. As such, the pictures will suffice for narration, and brief comments will be made as necessary


The Seat




Leg Space




Passengers Boarding




Thai AirAsia Cabin Crew




Before Pushback




Pushback occurred at noon, five minutes ahead of schedule. I found this to be quite impressive considering the flight was 100% full. During our taxi, I managed to spot some interesting sights along the way.


Mahan Air B744 (EP-MNC)




Transaero B742 (VP-BQH)




Mahan Air A310 (EX-35004)




At 12:10pm we took off and began our 2 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur.


Snack Attack to KUL




My Pre-Ordered Uncle Chin’s Famous Chicken & Rice






This Chinese-Malaysian dish was my absolute favorite one out of all the AirAsia meals. The chicken was so tender and flavorful, and it went really well with the plain rice. It was fantastic!


On Approach








Touchdown at 3PM




The Raiders Bird: Arrived from AUH, and soon to STN




The serene atmosphere is always quite calming during the final stages of the taxi to the gate after arrival. It almost always feels like you are traveling alone, as everyone is so quiet drowning in silence perhaps as they begin to entertain new thoughts of the destination ahead …


...Until This




Before landing, I had felt my fever shoot up again, in addition to another marathon round of shivers and nausea. It was the absolute worst timing for this to happen, in view of the upcoming body temperature scan on arrival at the LCCT. In my most desperate efforts to cover my illness and pass the test, I took about 4 or 5 Tylenol pills.

At the LCCT, I braved the storm and walked through the thermal scan looking ever so innocently and never like I was incubating a blood-boiling fever inside me. No beeps, no alerts, and no yells to call me back, so I must have passed with success! What a relief!



CONTINUED BELOW
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:53 pm

While in Transit




The transit was a little on the rough side as I had about seven hours till my next flight departed to Abu Dhabi. I was also out of energy to explore anything and all I wanted was to get some sleep anywhere. I settled for a meal at Old Town White Coffee (great food!) first, and then proceeded to the neighboring Starbucks afterwards, where the atmosphere was quiet. Grabbing a seat on the couch, and leaning my head on the glass window, I fell asleep until 7pm.


My Transit Crib




Promoting Dubai Through Abu Dhabi




Landside at LCCT




FIDS




At 7:30pm, I proceeded towards the check-in counters. A queue had already formed at the counters, but was typically moving fairly quickly. Since I was booked in XL Class, I approached the respective counter allocated to it, but with a request to be downgraded to Economy.

It took the very confused agent some time to understand that this was what I wanted; after all, it wouldn’t be surprising if this strange request was a first for him. The flight was wide-open and so I was accommodated without a hassle.


AirAsia X Check-in Counters for AUH








My Boarding Paper




Reaching airside at 8pm, I bumped into several colleagues of mine who had also exercised the AirAsia X Abu Dhabi promotion. Coincidentally, one of my colleagues was seated next to me on the flight.


I got Bored of Tea, so I Went for a Cup of Cappuccino




At 8:50pm, I left the coffee shop for a quick walk-around before heading towards the gate. A quick glance at the FIDS along the way revealed that the Abu Dhabi flight had unfortunately been infected with the ‘New Gate’ virus that seems to have infested the entire KLIA boundary. Our gate has been changed from T14 to T16.


Arriving at the gate, my boarding paper was scanned and the friendly agent wished me a pleasant flight before allowing me to proceed. By 9:10pm I was inside the holding area.


Inside the Holding Area




Boarding was announced at 9:45pm, and after a short walk towards the aircraft, I proceeded up the steps that lead me to Door 1L of the aircraft, where two pretty young AirAsia X girls were standing.

“Hi sir, welcome on board!”


By 9:50pm I was on board.


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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:54 pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AirAsia X Flight Information:

SCR
/D7/30NOV
W09
30NOV
BKK
KD72402 24NOV27MAR 1004567 286343 KULKUL2200 01301AUHAUH J
GI BRGDS

Actual Departure Time: 22:20 (Pushback)
Actual Arrival Time: 01:40+1 (Touchdown)

Registration: 9M-XAB
Condition: 10.7 years old, delivered to AirAsia X in February 2009 and previously owned by Air Canada

Remarks: NIL

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The crew on this flight seemed a little more enthusiastic. I was greeted by every one of them that appeared along the pathway to my seat, and one of the them even offered to help me with stowing my things in the overhead compartment.

While the cold ash-colored Air Canada theme also dominated the interiors of this aircraft, it didn’t seem too bad in the Economy Class cabin. However, I much prefer the slick design of the AirAsia X seats on their A333’s.


The Seat






Leg Space




The seat was also quite comfortable, and the legroom was excellent. One advantageous aspect about flying the ex-Air Canada A340 with AirAsia X is the fact that one could enjoy legacy frill leftovers such as decent legroom, footrests, and typical seat configurations while flying on a low-cost airline.


The Cabin








At 10pm, our captain made an announcement to welcome us on board. He also advised us of our routing to Abu Dhabi, and that our flight time for tonight was 7 hours and 30 minutes. He also informed us of a slight delay to our departure, as we waited for the catering to be loaded onto the aircraft. For this flight, the catering for both KUL-AUH and AUH-KUL sectors is loaded at KUL, so presumably this could have been the cause of the delay?

This was followed by a cabin crew announcement and also a manual safety demonstration, before finally pushing back at 10:20pm. As the 4 hairdryers spooled up, we commenced our taxi to the runway, and at 10:35pm we finally took off and began our journey towards Abu Dhabi.


Snack Attack Service After Reaching Cruise




I had pre-ordered the Malaysian Meal online, and Nasi Lemak was on offer again, This time around it looked more authentic, and came with the right condiments. Unfortunately however, my taste buds were knocked out from the flu and I was unable to taste any flavor.


Nasi Lemak






My Friend Chose the Western Meal




And We Shared a Chicken Satay Amongst us




After the meal service, portable IFE players were passed around, and for a fee, I rented one solely for the purpose of documenting it in this report. Similar to the devices used by OpenSkies, this IFE player features a basic selection of movies, shows, music, and games. Nothing much caught my attention apart from the usual comedy shows.


Portable IFE










I fell asleep throughout the remainder of the flight, only to wake up two hours prior to landing when a second Snack Attack service commenced.


Cabin During Second Service




I Bought Myself a Cup of Tea With Milk




And Watched Everybody Loves Raymond




We reached top of descent at 1:05am UAE local time, and our captain informed us that we were expected to land in 30 minutes. The seatbelt sign was switched on, and the crew made their final preparations before landing.

We touched down at Abu Dhabi International Airport at 1:40am, bringing my AirAsia experience to an end. After a short taxi, we docked at a remote stand, which was a clear indication that the inaugural mode for AirAsia had come to an end. It was time for the airline to face the real world at Abu Dhabi, but evidently, they chickened out of that idea.


C O N C L U S I O N
I was quite impressed with the AirAsia brand, and perhaps more so with AirAsia rather than AirAsia X. However, overall the aircraft were reasonably clean, the crew were friendly and efficient, and the price was very cheap. In fact, I got great value for the price that I paid (although sometimes, D7’s fares aren’t that cheap).

My major gripe was with the quantity of the meals. I believe that AirAsia could add more to the meals for that price as it can easily buy you a feast in Malaysia for example. Otherwise the food was very tasty.

This was definitely a unique experience for me, one that many of you seem surprised I opted to try. However, we all have to face it, as this is the new way to travel and this concept will only gain more momentum from this point onwards.

I would certainly use AirAsia as an option to travel for the future. However, now that the airline is suspending the Abu Dhabi route, my chances may seem slightly slim. As I stated earlier, I am quite saddened at the sudden suspension, but I am also hopeful to see AirAsia X in Abu Dhabi again. They are an excellent airline company that offers a pure product that is designed to make everyone capable of traveling anywhere and everywhere!


Goodies




This concludes my Trip Report. Thank you for reading, and I hope that you have enjoyed it. Your comments are always welcome and greatly appreciated.


Regards,
Roni



E Q U I P M E N T
Camera:
Canon 50D

Lenses:
- Canon 15mm Fisheye
- Canon 17-85mm


PREVIOUS WORK
SriLankan Airlines: The Treasure Of Serendib! (by Ronerone Jan 9 2010 in Trip Reports)
Beijing Swire!: Cathay Pacific & Dragonair DXB-PEK (by Ronerone Dec 11 2009 in Trip Reports)
OpenSkies From British Airways: A New Era's End? (by Ronerone Oct 14 2009 in Trip Reports)
Revealing An Underdog: Royal Brunei Business Class (by Ronerone Sep 3 2009 in Trip Reports)
The Singapore Airlines Cliché (by Ronerone Jul 27 2009 in Trip Reports)
A380: Qantas Proper To SIN City (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
Welcome To Terminal 3: Etihad Airways AUH-SYD (by Ronerone Jul 6 2009 in Trip Reports)
5th Freedom Of The Air: Kenya Airways HKG-BKK-HKG (by Ronerone Mar 31 2009 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Pacific: First Class On The Legacy Milk-Run (by Ronerone Jan 26 2009 in Trip Reports)
Inspirations On A Narrowbody: Etihad To Amman (by Ronerone Nov 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Malaysia Boleh!: On The Malaysian Airline System (by Ronerone Oct 28 2008 in Trip Reports)
Pearls & Diamonds: Inspired By Etihad Airways (by Ronerone Sep 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
The Future Has Arrived: EK A380 Inaugural Flights (by Ronerone Aug 4 2008 in Trip Reports)
Syrian Special Performance, Featuring Sam Chui (by Ronerone May 23 2008 in Trip Reports)
This Is Royal Jordanian! (by Ronerone Apr 12 2008 in Trip Reports)
Ultra-Competitive, Ultra-Long Haul: EY Vs EK (by Ronerone Mar 21 2008 in Trip Reports)
Suvarnabhumi, The Etihad Way! (by Ronerone Jan 18 2008 in Trip Reports)
Cathay Delight: A Trip To Asia's World City (by Ronerone Oct 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 2 PixVidz (by Ronerone Jul 5 2007 in Trip Reports)
Etihad: Pearl 2 AMM, Coral Right Back Pt 1 PixVids (by Ronerone Jul 4 2007 in Trip Reports)
CX: JFK-HKG-DXB In Y A346/772 (Lots Of Pics/Vids) (by Ronerone Aug 28 2006 in Trip Reports)


F L I C K R
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jy-rwh79/collections/72157623421200736/


F A C E B O O K
R. Wadei Hawi
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:14 pm

Hi Roni,

superb report with countless great pictures - a real pleasure to read! Good to see you got both A340s.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
B A C K G R O U N D
I have absolutely no justification for this trip.

Testing some new carriers is always a good reason.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
When AirAsia X announced Abu Dhabi services in August, they inaugurated the ticket sales with a super promotion of 99 AED ($27 USD) for a one-way fare from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, and similarly MYR 99 ($27 USD) for the return segment.

Wow, unbelievable. I would have quickly booked that, too.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
* A) Comfort Kit (56 AED = $15 USD)
* B) Malaysian Meal (22 AED = $6 USD),
* C) Advanced Seat Request (110 AED = $30USD)


Quite reasonable.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Registration: 9M-XAC
Condition: 10.7 years old, delivered to AirAsia X in June 2009 and previously owned by Air Canada
Quoting ronerone (Reply 7):
Before landing, I had felt my fever shoot up again, in addition to another marathon round of shivers and nausea. It was the absolute worst timing for this to happen, in view of the upcoming body temperature scan on arrival at the LCCT. In my most desperate efforts to cover my illness and pass the test, I took about 4 or 5 Tylenol pills.

At the LCCT, I braved the storm and walked through the thermal scan looking ever so innocently and never like I was incubating a blood-boiling fever inside me. No beeps, no alerts, and no yells to call me back, so I must have passed with success! What a relief!

Indeed, what a bad situation!


PH
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:15 pm

Hi Roni,

What a nice surprise to know you being on flyabout again.  

Great impressions of KL LCCT! Now I know what to expect when I go through this terminal myself this summer. Since you have greatly captured the interior, I think I can minimize my pics by then.   

I look forward to my own flight with AirAsia.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
To add icing on the cake, I was also given a free upgrade to XL Class on both my AirAsia X flights, with compliments of the AirAsia team!

What a lucky guy! Perhaps AirAsia had noticed your contributions on A.net. Hence the upgrade.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
AirAsia’s Marketing Team Filming a Short Scene

Can I get to see you in one of their promotional video?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok

Breathtaking!  Wow!

I hope you are getting better now. Thanks for all your efforts to get this lovely report posted. I really enjoyed it.

Cheers,
Suryo

[Edited 2010-02-20 07:18:24]
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:40 pm

Roni, as usual a great trip report. And those fares were insanely low. The female FA uniforms seem to match Kingfisher's (and so do the Oomph status too) while the guys seem to match Jetstar. I know the purpose of your trip was to have an LCC experience, but looks like riding up front is inevitable at some point of your trip, even when not expected!!

I've been on AC aircraft in that scheme, and the colours look awful here, almost like the jet had gone through a volcanic ash eruption and it had somehow infiltrated the inside of the aircraft, finally settling on the seats  Wow!


PS: I'm not sure if you knew what was on the starboard side of the A340 you flew on  
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:45 pm

Hi Roni!

interesting to see you flying Eco  Maybe because you're a victim of that fly... LOL.

D7 looks interesting, and for the fare you paid... WOW! I don't like the seats, but I guess they do fine. You can enjoy good space on a longhaul for a reasonable fare with this airline, but without the catering etc. I thought about D7 coming to AMS someday. They might get good business here, the Dutch are always looking for a bargain, and traffic to Southeast Asia is big from AMS and will feed well on their flights to Indonesia too.

Regards,
Eric
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:01 pm

Hello Roni

Another great report but that is usual from you.
Never thought you will be flying Y on LCC.
Hope you are feeling much better now, with high temperature and flu you should not have taken that flight back for your own and other passengers health.

Also taking 5 or 6 Tylenols at once is a bad idea you could destroy your liver. We would not like that at all (we is all A. Netters who enjoy your trip reports).

I start to miss those red shoes.
Again thank you for a wonderful report.
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:30 pm

Hey Roni,

What can I say! This is an excellent report, in the usual Roni-style, but there's the added tinge of melancholy accompanying us on this journey: entirely appropriate on the day of D7's last flight into AUH. I must say your snagging this ticket when you did was fortuitous too - when you flew this route, you weren't to know D7 would just two months or so later decide to pull the plug. Although I'm sure you're sad to see them pull out so soon, at least you're having a one of a kind trip report!   Well done, my friend.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
On the first few hours after posting this report, flight D7 2402 makes its last journey to Abu Dhabi from Kuala Lumpur.

Over the Nicobars, in the Bay of Bengal as I write I would guess...

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
But what about the strong-standing relationship? And the genuine hopes and beliefs in the Abu Dhabi market? Was that just hype to spark up the media? But why send an aircraft here if it was only marketing fluff? So many questions and very little answers resulted in gloomy moods of confusion and frustration all over town.

I wonder if the story would have panned out differently if D7 managed to get Gulf investors buy into the idea of some kind of operation out of AUH, operating a "virtual" or even real hub there? I suspect getting the new India routes (especially BOM, DEL) earlier than expected may have also changed the perspective somewhat.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The total price after selecting everything except for the checked-baggage fee, including taxes resulted in 386 AED ($105 USD) for a total roundtrip ticket between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur. How ridiculously cheap is that?

Wow, yes, that doesn't buy very much else at all in Dubai!





This type of boarding card is very rare for any AirAsia operation! I hope you've kept the stub safe.


Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
I was quite surprised with the very small meal portion, as previous Trip Reports showed a rather decent quantity

Yes the food seems to have shrunk significantly since the inaugural D7 flight I took! This seems to be a very Malaysian trick: keep the prices stable but reduce the offering.




Wow this is a gorgeous picture of your favorite airline. The light after that thunderstorm is great.


Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
a stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok deserves every second of it

LCC and Mandarin Oriental? What a balanced life you lead! hahaha

Thanks again Roni for this excellent report. Look forward to your next report as you try new and wonderful airlines. Wonder where?  

Regards,
airpearl
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:21 pm

Good evening Roni. Yet another excellent report, a truly enjoyable read with some breathtaking pictures. Interesting to see you not using your fisheye too much in this report, always nice with some change.

AirAsia X is an airline, that isn't much covered in this forum (well, some reports i.e Ryanair!!!). Interesting to see them keeping the old AC interior on their A343. Those seat covers are indeed hideous looking, they look very 90'ish, and not much suited for an asian airline. Are they going to configurate the A340-300's with the same interior as the A333 fleet, anytime soon?

You're a lucky man Roni, you always get upgraded for some reason  
The XL class looked pretty nice, and those recliners looked like being a pretty good condition, well except for the seat-covers, obviously. A bit surprised to see them having BoB for J class too. I thought they were served complimentary food and drinks. The quantity of the meals did look pretty poor. Most of the meals looked nice and tasty, except for that chineese chicken. To me it looked pretty shabby, but you described as pretty tasty. But what do I know 

You really made this report look very LCC ish, i.e in real Roni spirit, not featuring a single bloody mary. Instead it seemed like you've replaced them with tea and coffee, I found that pretty comic actually  

The hotel in Bangkok looked very nice and luxurious. The standard room looked more like a suite to me... Wonder how a suite would look them. Are the hotels cheap in BKK?

Thanks for sharing!
//Jonas
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:34 pm

Loni... Salam and ... err... Shukran (??) for this wonderful report. I believe you, me and 9MMAR are the only ones who have had the pleasure of TR-ing Air Asia X thus far with so much detail. Oops... and Airpearl too.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
B A C K G R O U N D
I have absolutely no justification for this trip.

Since when do we need justification to fly when the bug bites? Have great fares, will travel!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Truly AUH and the region may need to reach the learning curve when it comes to pure LCC-type of operations, but I also think that the airline should have been receptive to this, and should have found ways to educate its passengers prior to their arrival at the airport.

If only some people took time to understand the concept of LCC travel. Not many can grasp the loss of certain frills which they have so previously taken for granted.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The aircraft interior seemed reasonably well looked after, and the aircraft was clean, however the cabin ambience was very cold and uninviting. But of course this isn’t AirAsia’s style, although I was certainly relieved I didn’t fly Air Canada back then!

In all fairness, the cradle style seats are IMO very comfortable. You know me, I NEVER fall asleep in planes but I have dozed off on such a cradle seat before on an overnight hauler to down under rather cozily.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I found this to be a little odd, because if I was to raise my feet a little, they would have easily been all over his face (what on earth was Air Canada thinking?).

Looks like you have not caught on to the fact that Canadians have a serious feet fetish.   

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
I was airside again at 5:20pm. In this part of the terminal, a few retail shops were available which included, duty free shops, restaurants, and strangely, a Plaza Premium Lounge! The remaining floor-space was smartly used for more than adequate seating spread all throughout the main departures hall, and flowing right into the gate areas.

I am so glad to see the renovations for LCCT has been completed. It was absolute chaos during my last trip there.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
Since I was booked in XL Class, I approached the respective counter allocated to it, but with a request to be downgraded to Economy.

It took the very confused agent some time to understand that this was what I wanted; after all, it wouldn’t be surprising if this strange request was a first for him.

Ok, now with this I too would have been utterly gobsmacked. Why would you, in that present state would want to be downgraded from a more comfortable ride? Was your masochistic streak in you manifesting that evening? With your nose all clogged and drippy? It sure looks like we both were sick and away from home at the same time, me in JKT and you in KL / BKK. It is indeed a shiity feeling to fly with flu.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
A quick glance at the FIDS along the way revealed that the Abu Dhabi flight had unfortunately been infected with the ‘New Gate’ virus that seems to have infested the entire KLIA boundary. Our gate has been changed from T14 to T16.

This "new gate virus" in KLIA Main Terminal, I would understand because the gate would physically lead you directly to the aircraft (and of course proves that the gate allocators are bored). But in LCCT? Everyone uses a common pathway after exiting the "boarding gate" so I fail to see the rationale behind allocating a "new gate" in LCCT. Then again, this is Malaysia. Sometimes it is best not to question because mostly you won't arrive at any conclusion.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
I believe that AirAsia could add more to the meals for that price as it can easily buy you a feast in Malaysia for example. Otherwise the food was very tasty.

After flying on ALL the LCCs which operate out of SIN (I am not known as Queen Bee of LCC for nothing...), Air Asia has the lowest selling price for the BOB service and this alone is note worthy. So will I be going back to Air Asia? Sure, why not?
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:26 pm

Ahlein Roni,

Congratulations on experiencing Air Asia X's short-lived AUH-KUL run. I had initially been very excited at the thought of exotic three-day weekend breaks in Malaysia and Thailand but sadly that wasn't to be...oh well, I take consolation in the fact that life is full of surprises and unexpected opportunities. It was very saddening that Air Asia X suspended AUH that soon, after all that hype.
Glad you had a great time-and your report was as usual very comprehensive, with a great intro and excellent photographmanship (I invented that word right now).
Thanks,
Omar/DG
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:11 pm

Hi there Roni!

Well, well... All I can say is lucky you! This trip report is definitely something special! The amazing detail, excellent pictures and rarity of this route all add up to an amazing TR.

Well done, I think you have out-done yourself with the pictures this time. Really amazing quality!

I really enjoyed reading this TR - it reminded me of South East Asia and the joys of travelling there. Really nice to see. Thank you for all your efforts!

I still hope we can finally meet up some time! I think I will pass through AUH soon at this rate.

Take care,

Globetraveller
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:20 am

Hello, a great report up to your usual standard. I really think you should be reviewing for Business Traveller magazine or something.
That is a shame being sick when travelling - nothing worse than that, I know how frustrating it can be. No idea how you lasted some 7 hours at the LCCT on your way back! 3 hours for me was torture enough, especially as landside is not air conditioned.

Looks like your meals came without any "desert" - when I flew D7 I got a mars bar with my meal and water. Have D7 already cut costs with meals?
What frustrates me about them is if you want to buy anything from the food cart they only take cash - no plastic. And any change is only given in MYR - useless if you're heading to other ports. I really think they are missing out on more revenue by not allowing credit card sales.
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:45 am

HI Roni!!

Another good job here!

It's very unusual read a LCC trip report from you, but it's more unusual don't have a bloody mary picture!!

If you a have another long transit in this airport and you want to have a little nap, there is a low cost hotel in front of the terminal, it very cheap and they rent rooms for hours.


Regards,

Benito
bedo
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:23 am

Very nice pictures and great to read! chris

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
To add icing on the cake, I was also given a free upgrade to XL Class on both my AirAsia X flights,

Nice! AirAsia re-named since their product from "XL SEATS" to "Premium Seats".

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
portable IFE players were passed around, and for a fee,

Are PTV's AVOD for free in PREMIUM CLASS? Judging from this pictures it seems so:

http://www.airasia.com/site/my/en/page.jsp?reference=aaxXL_desc

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
In fact, I got great value for the price that I paid (although sometimes, D7’s fares aren’t that cheap).
Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
Since I was booked in XL Class, I approached the respective counter allocated to it, but with a request to be downgraded to Economy. It took the very confused agent some time to understand that this was what I wanted

Well, I checked STN-KUL today -as I need to go to SEA in autumn- Economy Promo will be 84GBP PLUS Tax, their new fancy Premium Seat will be 725GBP PLUS Tax- a difference of 641GBP for only some inches more legroom. Ridiculous!   
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:51 am

WOW! O.K. SOOO many questions.....so many comments...

But before I start let me say excellent (as usual) trip report! I hope you are feeling better and are all recovered from whatever it is you had...traveling while sick is the worst feeling!

-WHY does an LCC based in Malaysia have a plane painted in a scheme for an AMERICAN sports team? Am I missing something? I know you said the plane was originally an Air Canada plane...but Air Canada wouldn't have planes painted for American sports teams either!

-Do they REALLY sell Krispy Kreme donuts? Did you notice anyone buying them? Are Krispy Kreme donuts popular in the UAE or Malaysia? Personally I find them NASTY.... Krispy Kreme donuts are one of those things in America that you either love them or hate them! In fact Krispy Kreme vs Dunkin Donuts is very much the same sort of rivalry as Coke vs. Pepsi... In the U.S. it is very geographically based...the northern parts tend to be Dunkin Donut people, and the southern part tends to be pro Krispy Kreme...oh and the western part (Settle, California, etc..) is too health conscious to eat too many donuts! I could go on and on about it....

-Did you really expect that the comfort kit that you paid for would have pre-used items? This brings up an interesting issue...on the full service airlines that you fly, are the blankets and pillows in sealed plastic bags, or just folded and re-used between flights?

-How far of a walk is it from the LCCT out to the actual aircraft? From your pictures it looked like quite a distance AND required you to go AROUND the aircraft! I've never seen this before, maybe because there is a bigger worry of lawsuits where I fly...but it is always short, and well controlled, where you can walk if you board the plane by stairs.

-How was the battery life on the portable video players? I've read reviews complaining that the battery life is normally not enough to last the whole trip.

-Do you think the "self connecting" concept works well for AirAsia and AirAsia X? Do you know what their policy is if you "misconnect"? I've been told that with the LCCs in Europe, if you book your own "self connect" routing, unless you leave a REALLY long layover, like 4+ hours, than if you miss the second flight because the first is late, even if it is MX, that you are out of luck and have to pay a fee/fine to catch a different flight for your second leg. So in your case had the first flight from AUH been late...would Air Asia have charged you something to take a different flight to BKK?

-Have you flown the gulf based LCCs (FlyDubai, AirArabia, Jazeera, etc...) How do they compare to AirAsia?

Oh, and I completely understand "slumming it" on AirAsia and even downgrading yourself on the return. Once saw that staff of a local high end french restaurant come into my friend's pizza place after work. I asked them if the restaurant didn't feed them when they worked....and the reply was "You can only eat so much duck confit...sometimes you just want a slice of pizza!"

Thanks again for the excellent trip report!
 
Econojetter
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:05 am

Roni, thank you for trying out the service and reporting. Excellent write-up.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
And the genuine hopes and beliefs in the Abu Dhabi market? Was that just hype to spark up the media? But why send an aircraft here if it was only marketing fluff? So many questions and very little answers resulted in gloomy moods of confusion and frustration all over town.

I guess the AirAsia group has decided that they will move quickly to take advantage of opportunities, and that unfortunately also means disrupting or abandoning operations with relatively short notice to redeploy resources to markets with higher potential. D7 may well come back to AUH again (see what they have done with Tianjin). Perhaps they operate with the rationale that customers will return if they price the flights attractively enough if/when they reinstate them. However, leave customers in a lurch often enough, and the group will acquire a bad reputation.
By the way, did you have a chance to track the airline's load factors over the short period of service?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
C) Advanced Seat Request (110 AED = $30USD)

That comes across pretty steep for a seat request on an LCC. With the 2-4-2 layout on the ex-AC aircraft, few seats if any are to be avoided. I suppose a seat request is worth more on a 3-3-3 configured aircraft; but of course the average passenger is not informed about which layout to expect.


The AC old business legroom is generous.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
This is an aviator’s dream come true as you can see all the raw action in its purest form, right in front of your eyes.

Yes indeed, this is one of the fun parts of flying with AK out of the LCCT. You get the noise, the smell, the heat, in addition to a better view of the aircraft.


The LCCT at KUL is starting to look decent; in this view it looks just like any (older) international air terminal. It's been a while since I have gone through it.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
The black leather seat was very comfortable however, legroom was definitely an issue.

Yup, that's what happens when you squeeze 180 seats onto an A320. I did BKI-KUL on AK and decided that I would try to avoid such tight seating on flights longer than that.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 7):
incubating a blood-boiling fever inside me. No beeps, no alerts, and no yells to call me back, so I must have passed with success! What a relief!

It's a terrible stress to add to the already poor condition you were in. But, this being Malaysia, it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that the set-up was not actually working and was there for show.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
Since I was booked in XL Class, I approached the respective counter allocated to it, but with a request to be downgraded to Economy.

What dedication... voluntary downgrade in order to experience true LCC flying, given that you were already feeling unwell.


What's with the extended outer armrest on the aisle seat? It looks as though it would impede access to/from the aisle to such a point that it could be a safety issue.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
Cabin During Second Service

Looks like it was quite empty on this KUL-AUH flight.
 
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NZ107
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:59 am

Hi Roni,

I think you have an idea of what I was going to say in this slot so I'll leave it to you to figure out  

What a special flight to travel on, especially now that they ceased flying to AUH. One interesting journey! The photos are making me want to fly the A340 more and I think I have a window of opportunity to catch 2 of them during my Easter break (AR A342/LA A343 (Yeah, A342 is probably higher in priority) and EK A345 before it goes from AKL).

I've just had a refresher flick through Ryan's D7 A330 experience to find out that the product changes quite a lot between the A330 and A340. Too bad the A340s don't have any inbuilt IFE. But being a LCC, it definitely looked like a good way of getting someone to their desired destination and primarily on time. So cheap for a long flight! I kinda wish they made their way down here quicker. About time those airfares dropped again.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
To add icing on the cake, I was also given a free upgrade to XL Class on both my AirAsia X flights

Lucky! How did you score that?

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The passenger seated in front of me also reclined his seat, and the top of his seat covered my feet and reached below my knees. I found this to be a little odd, because if I was to raise my feet a little, they would have easily been all over his face (what on earth was Air Canada thinking?).

Interesting. Reminds me of my Business Class seats sitting right next to me although they're a bit older and don't recline quite as far as those AC ones!


A very interesting layout airside at KUL LCCT!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Leg Space: Oops! I Almost Forgot to Take This Picture

How could you!  
Looks very tight..

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I came down with the worst flu I have ever had whilst in Bangkok. In all honesty, I could have had Swine Flu without even knowing it. From fevers to shivers, body-aches and nausea, you name it, I felt it!

That's no good.. Maybe a return to BKK sometime? EY?


The hotel looks nice. Interesting to see that you use the domestic terminal at BKK for an international flight..

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
However, I much prefer the slick design of the AirAsia X seats on their A333’s.

I concur. Interesting to point out that some of the armrests are unmovable and others are.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
They are an excellent airline company that offers a pure product that is designed to make everyone capable of traveling anywhere and everywhere!

Indeed, I hope I can try them out sometime too!

Thanks for the wonderful TR!


Regards,
Nicholas
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:39 pm

Hi Roni,

Very nice TR & pictures thanks for sharing -shame you were ill whilst away, never good at all especially when away from home.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
When AirAsia X announced Abu Dhabi services in August, they inaugurated the ticket sales with a super promotion of 99 AED ($27 USD) for a one-way fare from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, and similarly MYR 99 ($27 USD) for the return segment.

- What an amazing price!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The total price after selecting everything except for the checked-baggage fee, including taxes resulted in 386 AED ($105 USD) for a total roundtrip ticket between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur. How ridiculously cheap is that?

- Not $27 but still a steal.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I was also given a free upgrade to XL Class on both my AirAsia X flights, with compliments of the AirAsia team! That was very nice indeed, but when traveling LCC, one needs to go purely LCC, and XL Class was not on my list!

- Roni, this is almost long haul, you can't travel Y!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I immediately arrived at my section of the cabin where I felt like I was slapped across the face with that ugly ash-colored theme.

The aircraft interior seemed reasonably well looked after, and the aircraft was clean, however the cabin ambience was very cold and uninviting. But of course this isn%u2019t AirAsia%u2019s style, although I was certainly relieved I didn%u2019t fly Air Canada back then!

- Yes, not sure what AC was thinking, is very grim.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I was quite surprised with the very small meal portion, as previous Trip Reports showed a rather decent quantity

- True, this looks very small.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
It took the very confused agent some time to understand that this was what I wanted; after all, it wouldn’t be surprising if this strange request was a first for him

- I bet it was!

Thanks for that, might be a while before you get a chance to fly them again unless they return with the A330-300 in the near future, perhaps not likely though.

Best Wishes from Hui.

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
ojas
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:52 pm

Hi Roni,

Brilliant once again!!! Excellent TR and as usual good pictures.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
The passenger seated in front of me also reclined his seat, and the top of his seat covered my feet and reached below my knees. I found this to be a little odd, because if I was to raise my feet a little, they would have easily been all over his face (what on earth was Air Canada thinking?).

That's bad, maybe time for some refurbishment?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
During my transit, I caught up with Mr. Airpearl for what seemed to be the ritual on-airport meeting. We even managed to squeeze in a quick drive to the runway,

Thanks for the extensive information passed out in these 2 sentences.   

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
At my turn for check-in, the agent was friendly, and welcoming, yet straight to the point and without any unnecessary tangents.

I say that is much better than fluttering of eyes and going for those unnecessary small talks.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
The black leather seat was very comfortable however, legroom was definitely an issue. I was glad it was a short flight and that no one was seated in front of me expecting to recline his or her seat.

I cannot believe I slept on that seat for 2 hours between BKK and SIN.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
Bukhara Biryani

yummy.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
I came down with the worst flu I have ever had whilst in Bangkok. In all honesty, I could have had Swine Flu without even knowing it. From fevers to shivers, body-aches and nausea, you name it, I felt it!

Trust me flying when ill can be as nasty; opposite to how much we enjoy flying when healthy.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 6):
AirAsia Check-in Counters at BKK

De ja Vu. My first Air Asia flight and was cheked-in there learned some new concepts about no frills.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 7):
At the LCCT, I braved the storm and walked through the thermal scan looking ever so innocently and never like I was incubating a blood-boiling fever inside me. No beeps, no alerts, and no yells to call me back, so I must have passed with success! What a relief!

Hmm, good for you.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
Since I was booked in XL Class, I approached the respective counter allocated to it, but with a request to be downgraded to Economy.

Why????

Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
I got Bored of Tea, so I Went for a Cup of Cappuccino

Maafi suleimani ( or haleem) Habibi?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
I rented one solely for the purpose of documenting it in this report.

Wow, thanks for that.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
I got great value for the price that I paid (although sometimes, D7’s fares aren’t that cheap).

That's the important part. Hopefully they do well to BOM, DEL ( as it is Air Asia X we are talking about).
Great leaders don't tell you what to do ... they show you how it's done!
 
C8fromONT
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:11 pm

What's up with a Raiders plane in Asia? Did I miss a memo or something?
 
morcegoa330
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:13 pm

Hi Roni.

Thank you for another great trip report! I really enjoyed reading it.
Congratulations!

Cheers.
There's no place like around the world
 
SR 103
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:17 am

As usual, fantastic trip report Roni.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
The kit included a blanket, eyeshades, and a blow-up neck pillow, that are all yours to keep. What made this kit amazing was the fact that it was factory fresh, and not laundered or pre-used.

That looks like a very nice kit, even if you had to pay for it.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
I was quite surprised with the very small meal portion,

That really does look like a small portion, especially for long haul. I got more food flying in coach this past weekend on a 3 hour domestic flight in the US!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 3):
Out of all airlines, it had to be a Cathay Pacific B744 arriving from Hong Kong; just for me!

I can just picture you jumping up and down and pointing like a five year old.   

Quoting ronerone (Reply 4):
I had pre-ordered the Malaysian Indian meal online, and on this flight, Bukhara Biryani was on offer.

You and your Indian food!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 5):
Not only is it the "Peninsula Hong Kong" of Bangkok, but it is one of the world's best hotels and certainly deserves the high ratings it receives from everyone! Here are some pictures

So you go from a long haul LCC to one of the most luxorious hotels in the world, priceless! However I agree with you, Mandarin Orientals really are in a class of their own. However when in Asia, you will never catch me in anything other than a Shangri-La!  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 7):
This Chinese-Malaysian dish was my absolute favorite one out of all the AirAsia meals. The chicken was so tender and flavorful, and it went really well with the plain rice. It was fantastic!

That looks like a very simple but tasty dish. Is that the sauce in a plastic zip lock bag in the first picture?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
I approached the respective counter allocated to it, but with a request to be downgraded to Economy.

The look on the agents face must have been priceless. I once tried to get my Elite upgraded downgraded in order to sit with my friend in economy. It ended with me spending 30 minutes at the podium with a senior gate agent fumbling on the keyboard like a new hire trainee. I ended up asking the person onboard the aircraft in 14A if they would like to switch to 2A free of charge. I nearly got trampled in the process as she ran past me to claim her wide comfy chair up front.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 9):
They are an excellent airline company that offers a pure product that is designed to make everyone capable of traveling anywhere and everywhere!

You know, the last two LCC's I flew were Frontier and Virgin America. Its interesting to note that I paid very little (well more than you ...) yet I still recieved more in terms of service than I do with 95% of the major carriers in the United States! Air Asia X looks like a very competitive product and hopefully they return to Abu Dhabi as I know how hard you guys worked to get them there in the first place.

Looking forward to more as always.
 
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OA260
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:53 am

Hey Roni,
Great report as always.Some fab photos. Sorry you got sick, its not nice when your away.

Those A340's have done the rounds lol... I remember flying BWIA LHR-BGI when they leased them to BW. The AC Interiors were the same as those also.

Great fares for that journey.

A nice report to read before I head to the swimming pool to get some sun  

Regards

Philip
 
thaia345
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:33 am

Hey Roni

Another great set of interesting reports from u. Glad to know that you are still keeping up al lthe travels and great TR's. Looking forward to meeting up with u one day. Still got to make that elusive trip to Dubai huh! My silly travel season will soon begin next week, so look out for for a whole load of TR's from me soon.

Take care and keep up the TR's!!

Herbert
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:02 pm

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 12):
The female FA uniforms seem to match Kingfisher's (and so do the Oomph status too)

Oh my.....I need to go take a cold shower !!! If anything, I'd fly this airline just to check out those gorgeous hostesses !
A most impressive trip report. Really enjoyed reading it.
 
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Topic Author
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:02 pm

Dear All,

Sorry for the ultra-late response!

Thank you all for your wonderful comments  

Hi PlaneHunter:

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 10):
superb report with countless great pictures - a real pleasure to read! Good to see you got both A340s.

Yes i am glad i got both 340's too. As much as the Raider's plane was lovely, i would have been pissed off had it also been deployed on the way back!  

Hi Suryo:

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
What a nice surprise to know you being on flyabout again.

Hopefully, i will always be on the flyabout  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
I look forward to my own flight with AirAsia.

And we look forward to that too!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
Can I get to see you in one of their promotional video?

Haha, i hope im not in any of their videos!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 11):
Thanks for all your efforts to get this lovely report posted. I really enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading!

Hi Flightsimboy:

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 12):
I know the purpose of your trip was to have an LCC experience, but looks like riding up front is inevitable at some point of your trip, even when not expected!!

Haha. I myself even found weird to request downgrade!

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 12):
I've been on AC aircraft in that scheme, and the colours look awful here, almost like the jet had gone through a volcanic ash eruption and it had somehow infiltrated the inside of the aircraft, finally settling on the seats

Economy Class 'looked' nicer, altho it was showing decades of age!

Hi Airbuseric:

Quoting airbuseric (Reply 13):
interesting to see you flying Eco Maybe because you're a victim of that fly... LOL.

I have more YCL flying coming up very soon  
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 13):
I thought about D7 coming to AMS someday. They might get good business here, the Dutch are always looking for a bargain, and traffic to Southeast Asia is big from AMS and will feed well on their flights to Indonesia too.

Indeed!

Although KLM is focusing more on the CGK segment, D7 could really give MH a sweet run on this route!

Hi SOBHI:

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 14):
Another great report but that is usual from you

Thank you for reading.

I hope things are ok on your side?

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 14):
I start to miss those red shoes

More red shoes featured here soon!

Hi Airpearl:

Quoting airpearl (Reply 15):
I must say your snagging this ticket when you did was fortuitous too - when you flew this route, you weren't to know D7 would just two months or so later decide to pull the plug. Although I'm sure you're sad to see them pull out so soon, at least you're having a one of a kind trip report! Well done, my friend.

So true!

At least the procrastination on the TR write-up ended up with some value this time!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 15):
I suspect getting the new India routes (especially BOM, DEL) earlier than expected may have also changed the perspective somewhat.

Definitely had an influence!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 15):
LCC and Mandarin Oriental? What a balanced life you lead! hahaha

LOL. I had to splurge somewhere along the way!

Quoting airpearl (Reply 15):
Thanks again Roni for this excellent report. Look forward to your next report as you try new and wonderful airlines. Wonder where?

Glad you enjoyed my friend.

I also wonder where im going too  

Hi Mr. Casablancas:

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
Interesting to see you not using your fisheye too much in this report, always nice with some change.

I used the 15mm one this time. Less dramatic, and yes perhaps for a more LCC type of TR haha

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
Are they going to configurate the A340-300's with the same interior as the A333 fleet, anytime soon?

I doubt it. I think the 340's will go once they have aircrarft capable of doing LHR (A350's etc).

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
except for that chineese chicken. To me it looked pretty shabby, but you described as pretty tasty. But what do I know

Trust me, it was the best one! very tasty!  
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
You really made this report look very LCC ish, i.e in real Roni spirit, not featuring a single bloody mary. Instead it seemed like you've replaced them with tea and coffee, I found that pretty comic actually

Haha .. Bloody Mary's are non-existent on AirAsia.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 16):
Are the hotels cheap in BKK?

Hotels in BKK are definitely cheaper than the ones on the UAE.

Hi Lionel!!!:

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 17):
Loni... Salam and ... err... Shukran (??) for this wonderful report

3afwan!

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 17):
I believe you, me and 9MMAR are the only ones who have had the pleasure of TR-ing Air Asia X thus far with so much detail. Oops... and Airpearl too.

Well 9MMAR has yet to post his D7 TR on a.net.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 17):
If only some people took time to understand the concept of LCC travel. Not many can grasp the loss of certain frills which they have so previously taken for granted.

Its funny how no frills on the airline means more work on the passenger's part. This translates into a culture change in the Middle East region.

We like to have things done for us, which is why travel agencies will never have to worry around here for example.

So for people here to pay for tickets, meals, seats, baggage, etc etc, that is definitely something hard to digest.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 17):
In all fairness, the cradle style seats are IMO very comfortable. You know me, I NEVER fall asleep in planes but I have dozed off on such a cradle seat before on an overnight hauler to down under rather cozily.

They were indeed comfy, and i am also a fan of cradle seats.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 17):
Ok, now with this I too would have been utterly gobsmacked. Why would you, in that present state would want to be downgraded from a more comfortable ride? Was your masochistic streak in you manifesting that evening? With your nose all clogged and drippy? It sure looks like we both were sick and away from home at the same time, me in JKT and you in KL / BKK. It is indeed a shiity feeling to fly with flu.

Haha .. all for the sake of this TR my friend!  

Hi Omar:

Quoting directorguy (Reply 18):
Ahlein Roni,

Congratulations on experiencing Air Asia X's short-lived AUH-KUL run. I had initially been very excited at the thought of exotic three-day weekend breaks in Malaysia and Thailand but sadly that wasn't to be...oh well, I take consolation in the fact that life is full of surprises and unexpected opportunities. It was very saddening that Air Asia X suspended AUH that soon, after all that hype.
Glad you had a great time-and your report was as usual very comprehensive, with a great intro and excellent photographmanship (I invented that word right now).
Thanks,
Omar/DG

Thanks for reading. Too bad you didn't get a chance to fly them this time. Yalla next time akeed!

Hi Globetraveller:

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 19):
Well done, I think you have out-done yourself with the pictures this time. Really amazing quality!

Thanks!
Definitely doesn't come close to your recent EK F TR! Well done my friend!

Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 19):
I still hope we can finally meet up some time! I think I will pass through AUH soon at this rate.

Etihad Guest is waiting for you   .. We will definitely have to catch up soon!

Hi gardmoen:

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 20):
Hello, a great report up to your usual standard. I really think you should be reviewing for Business Traveller magazine or something.

Wow! That will be a dream to have that kind of job! haha

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 20):
Looks like your meals came without any "desert" - when I flew D7 I got a mars bar with my meal and water. Have D7 already cut costs with meals?

They have definitely cut back! .. I bought my own pack of m&m's on several sectors.

The funny thing is that i did not even get any free water with my meal on the first leg!

Quoting gardermoen (Reply 20):
What frustrates me about them is if you want to buy anything from the food cart they only take cash - no plastic. And any change is only given in MYR - useless if you're heading to other ports. I really think they are missing out on more revenue by not allowing credit card sales

What i did like is that i was able to pay with AED, which was good for me as i did not have any MYR on me.

Hi Bedo:

Quoting Bedo (Reply 21):
It's very unusual read a LCC trip report from you, but it's more unusual don't have a bloody mary picture!!

LOL. More Bloody Mary's to come soon! But not on LCCs for sure!  
Quoting Bedo (Reply 21):
If you a have another long transit in this airport and you want to have a little nap, there is a low cost hotel in front of the terminal, it very cheap and they rent rooms for hours.

I really was thinking about a few hours stay at the Tune Hotel, but i was way too sick to make my way over there.

Funny, i heard you have to buy your own air conditioning at that hotel, should you wish to have controlled temperature!

Hi debonair:

Quoting debonair (Reply 22):
Are PTV's AVOD for free in PREMIUM CLASS? Judging from this pictures it seems so:

I think that picture is a little misleading. There were no built-in IFE screens in the seats, and the same portable IFE screens are available for the same charge to Premium Class passengers.

Quoting debonair (Reply 22):
Well, I checked STN-KUL today -as I need to go to SEA in autumn- Economy Promo will be 84GBP PLUS Tax, their new fancy Premium Seat will be 725GBP PLUS Tax- a difference of 641GBP for only some inches more legroom. Ridiculous!

My SriLankan Business Class ticket cost only a little more than a last-minute D7 fare! Definitely not a drastic difference!

Hi Burj:

Quoting Burj (Reply 23):
-WHY does an LCC based in Malaysia have a plane painted in a scheme for an AMERICAN sports team? Am I missing something? I know you said the plane was originally an Air Canada plane...but Air Canada wouldn't have planes painted for American sports teams either!

Haha .. beats me!

Quoting Burj (Reply 23):
-Do they REALLY sell Krispy Kreme donuts? Did you notice anyone buying them? Are Krispy Kreme donuts popular in the UAE or Malaysia? Personally I find them NASTY.... Krispy Kreme donuts are one of those things in America that you either love them or hate them! In fact Krispy Kreme vs Dunkin Donuts is very much the same sort of rivalry as Coke vs. Pepsi... In the U.S. it is very geographically based...the northern parts tend to be Dunkin Donut people, and the southern part tends to be pro Krispy Kreme...oh and the western part (Settle, California, etc..) is too health conscious to eat too many donuts! I could go on and on about it....

Yes they definitely do as i saw the box on the trolley.

I am well aware of Krispy Kreme since my days living in Florida. I love it 

They recently opened in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and they are quite popular actually!

Quoting Burj (Reply 23):
-Did you really expect that the comfort kit that you paid for would have pre-used items? This brings up an interesting issue...on the full service airlines that you fly, are the blankets and pillows in sealed plastic bags, or just folded and re-used between flights?

Definitely did not expect the comfort kit to be pre-used. But i was comparing it with the laundered and pre-used blankets offered for use on a legacy airline flight.

I definitely liked the idea of a factory-fresh blanket!

In many instances on MH, when i flew from DXB to EWR, i found the blankets folded on the seats without any plastic which was a clear indication that they have been pre-used on the flight from KUL! This happens quite often on stop-over flights.

Quoting Burj (Reply 23):
-How far of a walk is it from the LCCT out to the actual aircraft? From your pictures it looked like quite a distance AND required you to go AROUND the aircraft! I've never seen this before, maybe because there is a bigger worry of lawsuits where I fly...but it is always short, and well controlled, where you can walk if you board the plane by stairs.

It depends where the aircraft is parked. But for me, it was about a 5 to 10 minute walk. Great experience!  
Quoting Burj (Reply 23):
-How was the battery life on the portable video players? I've read reviews complaining that the battery life is normally not enough to last the whole trip.

I didn't use it much on D7. I watched something, then fell asleep and it went in standby mode. By the time i woke up, it still had enough power.

However on OpenSkies, it did not last long at all.

Quoting Burj (Reply 23):
-Do you think the "self connecting" concept works well for AirAsia and AirAsia X? Do you know what their policy is if you "misconnect"? I've been told that with the LCCs in Europe, if you book your own "self connect" routing, unless you leave a REALLY long layover, like 4+ hours, than if you miss the second flight because the first is late, even if it is MX, that you are out of luck and have to pay a fee/fine to catch a different flight for your second leg. So in your case had the first flight from AUH been late...would Air Asia have charged you something to take a different flight to BKK?

You are at your own risk if you misself-connect on AirAsia. This is why they encourage at least a 4 hours transit time.

Quoting Burj (Reply 23):
-Have you flown the gulf based LCCs (FlyDubai, AirArabia, Jazeera, etc...) How do they compare to AirAsia?

I have not flown on any of the Arab LCC's yet. But especially Air Arabia is very popular. However Jazeera is trying to reposition itself as a 'regional carrier' at the moment.

Hi Econojetter:

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 24):
Roni, thank you for trying out the service and reporting. Excellent write-up.

Thanks for reading. Hoping to read more TRs from you!

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 24):
By the way, did you have a chance to track the airline's load factors over the short period of service?

Unable to give exact numbers, but loads have been quite healthy, especially during the Eid and Christmas periods.

Quoting Econojetter (Reply 24):
It's a terrible stress to add to the already poor condition you were in. But, this being Malaysia, it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out that the set-up was not actually working and was there for show.

Haha .. you think so?

I saw the monitors and they looked like they were working, but the people manning them lookd far too bored!

Hi Nicholas:

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 25):
The photos are making me want to fly the A340 more and I think I have a window of opportunity to catch 2 of them during my Easter break (AR A342/LA A343 (Yeah, A342 is probably higher in priority) and EK A345 before it goes from AKL).

Please please fly the A342  
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 25):
Interesting. Reminds me of my Business Class seats sitting right next to me although they're a bit older and don't recline quite as far as those AC ones!

I love those seats that you have!!!

Quoting NZ107 (Reply 25):
The hotel looks nice. Interesting to see that you use the domestic terminal at BKK for an international flight..

No domestic terminal at BKK, but this check-in arrangement was due to Thai AirAsia.

Hi Mark:

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 26):
Very nice TR & pictures thanks for sharing -shame you were ill whilst away, never good at all especially when away from home.

Thanks for reading! How was QR?

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 26):
Roni, this is almost long haul, you can't travel Y!

LOL. More J (and Y) flying coming soon!

Hi Ojas:

Quoting ojas (Reply 27):
Brilliant once again!!! Excellent TR and as usual good pictures.

Thanks my friend!

Quoting ojas (Reply 27):
I say that is much better than fluttering of eyes and going for those unnecessary small talks.

It can definitely be a breath of fresh air at times!

Quoting ojas (Reply 27):
I cannot believe I slept on that seat for 2 hours between BKK and SIN.

Yes, i can definitely not be able to sleep on those seats!

Quoting ojas (Reply 27):
Maafi suleimani ( or haleem) Habibi?

Haha .. fee Teh Tarik in Malaysia!

Quoting ojas (Reply 27):
That's the important part. Hopefully they do well to BOM, DEL ( as it is Air Asia X we are talking about).

If they don't do well in India then the whole airline is just wrong!

Hi C8:

Quoting C8fromONT (Reply 28):
What's up with a Raiders plane in Asia? Did I miss a memo or something?

LOL .. This is AirAsia!

Hi MorcegoA330:

Quoting MorcegoA330 (Reply 29):
Hi Roni.

Thank you for another great trip report! I really enjoyed reading it.
Congratulations!

Cheers.

Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed it.

Hi SR 103:

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 30):
As usual, fantastic trip report Roni.

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 30):
That looks like a very nice kit, even if you had to pay for it.

I loved it so much, i bought 4   one for each sector! haha.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 30):
That really does look like a small portion, especially for long haul. I got more food flying in coach this past weekend on a 3 hour domestic flight in the US!

To be honest, the snack box i once bought on a Northwest flight between JFK and MSP was more satisfying in terms of variety and quantity.

While it wasn't a main meal, it offered several different snack items that somehow just did the trick.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 30):
However when in Asia, you will never catch me in anything other than a Shangri-La!

The Island Shangri-la in HKG is great!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 30):
That looks like a very simple but tasty dish. Is that the sauce in a plastic zip lock bag in the first picture?

It was chilli sauce.

Went sooo well with the dish!

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 30):
Air Asia X looks like a very competitive product and hopefully they return to Abu Dhabi as I know how hard you guys worked to get them there in the first place.

They better return!

We are working on bringing them back.

Hi Phillip:

Quoting OA260 (Reply 31):
Those A340's have done the rounds lol... I remember flying BWIA LHR-BGI when they leased them to BW. The AC Interiors were the same as those also.

They sure have been around the block time and time again!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 31):
A nice report to read before I head to the swimming pool to get some sun

Are you in Morocco?

Hi Herbert:

Quoting thaia345 (Reply 32):
Another great set of interesting reports from u. Glad to know that you are still keeping up al lthe travels and great TR's.

Great to hear from you!

Quoting thaia345 (Reply 32):
Looking forward to meeting up with u one day.

Definitely got to meet up soon.

Quoting thaia345 (Reply 32):
Still got to make that elusive trip to Dubai huh! My silly travel season will soon begin next week, so look out for for a whole load of TR's from me soon.

Definitely got to give EY a try!

Hi tonyban:

Quoting tonyban (Reply 33):
Oh my.....I need to go take a cold shower !!! If anything, I'd fly this airline just to check out those gorgeous hostesses !

Haha .. the ones on AirAsia (as compared with AirAsia X) are the best! .. Although some crew on D7 on my way back were the great too!


Regards,
Roni
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SOBHI51
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:11 pm

Quoting ronerone (Reply 34):
I hope things are ok on your side?

Son is getting better everyday. Out of hospital but a long way for complete recovery.
Thank you very much for asking.
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:48 pm

Quoting SOBHI51 (Reply 35):
Son is getting better everyday. Out of hospital but a long way for complete recovery.
Thank you very much for asking.

Il 7amdellah.
Alf salameh w inshallah bil se77a l taammeh.
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ba319-131
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:37 am

Quoting ronerone (Reply 34):
Thanks for reading! How was QR?

- My pleasure Roni & QR are good so far, 2 more flights to go, TR's will be up in due course.

Take Care

Best Wishes from me an MrsBA319-131.

Mark
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lukeyboy95
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:19 pm

Yo Roni

A very enjoyable and thorough read - you never disappoint, though of course this did have the added interest of you reviewing a LCC and I really think you did it justice. None of the silly, persnickety gripes which others can often judge them with. You were level headed and took it for what it was - superb value while it lasted!

Also thanks for kindly explaining the introduction to this route commencing - its terribly interesting to understand the dynamic at which airlines try to establish routes -

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
But it also involved dinners at Burger King, and drinks at the seediest bars at times. This is what this airline is about, and the term %u2018down to earth%u2019 cannot describe it enough!

I could picture this perfectly! Its akin to this funny article on MOL http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/073c8d40-e9ca-11de-ae43-00144feab49a.html - these sort of casual situations that LCC henchmen find themselves in. I like it alot - it strips all the pomp away from them...

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I had no solid intentions to fly, and was under the mindset that if I couldn%u2019t make it, then so be it.

Indeed when fares are that good - I think when FR used to run 1p fare sales people did the same. I was guilty of not making a couple of flights

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
may need to reach the learning curve when it comes to pure LCC-type of operations,

It is a learning curve! I'm doing some intensive tutoring to my parents - the concept of no hold luggage doesn't rub!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Nasi Lemak looked a little on the generic side, and did not include the typical dried anchovies

I had this once on an AirAsia flight and Roni - I was almost sick. It was horrible. I think I just got a really bad batch and I was a little jaded so the smell of the dried fish.. urgh

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
At KLIA%u2019s LCCT, there is direct passenger access between the aircraft and the terminal building hence, doing away with bussing of passengers. This is an aviator%u2019s dream come true as you can see all the raw action in its purest form, right in front of your eyes.

Its a real highlight... Somehow everyone knows where they're going and its like a busy pedestrian way...

Quoting ronerone (Reply 8):
Promoting Dubai Through Abu Dhabi

It looks like a challenge from the Apprentice

Well captured report Roni. May AirAsiaX return when the dust settles - I think they have the potential to do well in AUH... The a/c looks really pleasant even in economy.

I'll wrap this up - quick question. I am due to fly IST - AUH in summer and for the same price I have a choice of Tk or Etihad - a 737 or A320. I will experience Etihad after a couple of days stopover when I fly with them to CPT... but its the first leg I can't decide... which would you recommend?

Luke
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:39 am

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 38):
Its a real highlight... Somehow everyone knows where they're going and its like a busy pedestrian way...

The trick is, they board one flight at a time so the pedestrian traffic heading towards a single particular flight heads only one way. They do sometimes go head on with arrival pedestrian traffic but no one would be silly enough to change directions and go the opposite way. It has worked thus far. However as the volume of flights increases (never say never, the growth has been exponential), I wonder if they will still be able to board the way they do now?

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 38):
I am due to fly IST - AUH in summer and for the same price I have a choice of Tk or Etihad - a 737 or A320. I will experience Etihad after a couple of days stopover when I fly with them to CPT... but its the first leg I can't decide... which would you recommend?

If you have a choice, why not do both? I have heard so much positive feedback about TK but at the same time, EY is hard to ignore.
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lukeyboy95
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:39 am

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 39):
I wonder if they will still be able to board the way they do now?

It is great the way they currently have it, but will become a handicap as they expand I reckons - does it mean they can't perform similtanious boarding? FR operate similar systems in some airports and I have been witness to minor bewilderment...

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 39):
If you have a choice, why not do both?

Alas Ryan, if only I had the luxury. I'm afraid I'm on a one way ticket to Cape Town, and will enjoy months of post-university bliss working my way up the east of Africa ( a sabatical from flying).... depending on how the Sudanesse embassy is feeling. Hopefully arriving in Alexandria or Cairo. I am swaying towards TK just on the face of variety, however I have heard that often their standards flag on 'less prominent' routes...
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
lukeyboy95
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:40 am

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 40):
standards flag on 'less prominent' routes...

Not to say that there is anything less prominent about flying to Abu Dhabi Roni!
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
ronerone
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RE: In A Blink Of An Eye: AirAsia X’s A340 At AUH

Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:25 pm

Hi Lukeboy95:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 41):
Not to say that there is anything less prominent about flying to Abu Dhabi Roni!

In fact, i want to reccomend that you not fly TK to AUH.

I have heard quite negative feedback on their narrowbody AUH flights in terms of service and cabin crew. Perhaps they were on off days during those times, but my guess is that AUH is certainly not on TK's list of flagship routes.

I would personally go for Etihad!


Otherwise, thanks a lot for your comments! Glad you have enjoyed!


Cheers,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.

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