Friday, August 11, 2006

Amazing AIRASIA advertisement

The full page AirAsia advertisement carried on page N22 of The Star is attention-grabbing.

A half-page red banner screamed:-

Why pay for frills
when you can fly
with amazing
low fares?

On the lower half, a bubbly girl in a red uniform carried a cheeky placard: "Easy to Book, More Frequencies".

If you have travelled on AirAsia before, you will know that they really mean it when they say, "At AirAsia, no one gets treated like a second-class citizen."

Why? Because we all get treated like third-class citizen lar!

Regardless if you are a Tan Sri, Datuk, Dr, Mr, young or old, citizens or foreigners like the Europeans, Thais, Indonesians, Banglas, Nepalese, Chinese etc ... you all have to fight to get in line when the boarding gates are opened.

And you all have to carry your bags & WALK that distance, under rain or shine, to get to the aircraft.

That's very fair and square, isn't it?

For a few Ringgit, you'll get comfy leather seat ...

Yeah, but they forgot to mention that the leather seat was kinda hard on the bottom and the legroom was virtually non-existent, so you don't exactly feel comfortable if your flight lasts more than an hour and a half. And they don't have pipe-in music to take away the boredom of a long flight. (Alright, I know this is a budget airline but how much does it cost to provide some pipe-in lounge music?)

... and a fun and friendly crew who treats you the way you like to be treated.

Uh oh kay ... their crew are certainly fun & friendly on one of my flights to Bangkok when they started doing a "pasar malam routine" selling their airline merchandise. It was funny the way the steward shouted "Mari, mari, mari, ... cukup murah ... pen cuma harga RM..." I don't know what the foreigners think though.

And one time there was a lucky draw on a flight to Chiangmai, and ten "lucky" passengers were rewarded with various AirAsia merchandise like caps, T-shirts, etc. That was also interesting and liven up the otherwise dull 3-hour flight.

But, I don't think they, in general, treat us passengers the way we like to be treated.

No, no. I don't like to start queuing up more than half an hour before boarding starts, all because it is almost the norm for seasoned travellers to do that in order to get the best seats.

I'd like to be treated with more respect even though AirAsia thinks I'm paying peanuts for my flight and that I shouldn't complain like a monkey.

And more often than not, you will find that it doesn't matter if you were one of the earliest ones to check in.

Invariably, the latecomers will be those who aggressively push their way to the front of the queue, elbowing even the old folks and kids who are supposed to be given priority in boarding.

Someone once suggested an idea in a letter published in a local newspaper. Why can't they implement a colour-coded sticker so that they can allow passengers to board in maybe blocks of 30 people at one time to prevent the ridiculous scramble each time?

And this will also be fair to those who took the trouble to check in early, as well as families with kids & old folks. And also for the sake of the poor harassed gate crew who have to control the sometimes unruly mob.

"It's so easy to book and you can even choose to sit anywhere you like!"

Yes, I agree that one of the best things about AirAsia, apart from it's really low fares, is that it is really so easy to book via the Internet. That is, if you manage to log in to their website.

But again, about having the choice to sit anywhere you like, this again depends on whether you are one of those people who manage to get in the line first.

Like I said earlier, in order to get to choose your preferred seats, you have to be aggressive to the point of offensive sometimes. You need to make sure you are in front of the queue. And boy, do you see some people who's mission in life seem to be to stand right up there in front! (Don't be surprised if you see the same people being photographed scrambling for free food during festive open houses.)

I have witnessed so many embarrassing moments when the scramble to board turned ordinarily decent people into rude and "kiasu" terrors. I have also seen a few arguments broke out when someone refused to give way quietly to those who sneakily jumped queue when the crew lost control of the crowd.

I wonder why AirAsia cannot come up with a better way to deal with this awful situation which reflect so badly on the inability of our people to behave in a civilised manner.

Tak apa lah, low cost memang low class ...

And lastly,

"It's no wonder more than 20 million guests have embraced the AirAsia experience."

It's the low fare lar, stupid!

That's why we put up with the low class treatment at LCCT. That's why despite our grumbles, we still line up in droves to board your flights. That's why you can continue to ignore good suggestions to improve your service.

Amazing AirAsia - amazingly successful despite the flaws.



Blogger Helen said...

Hee hee it's more justifiable than some airlines who charge you more and you still get lousy service. lol

Unless ur destination has no other alternative, then go for the more 'prestigious' ones lar!! lol

For me, Air Asia is not really flying very far. A handful of Asian countries maybe. The maximum time you spend on it is tolerable. So, you weigh the pros and cons, and I guess many still find it a good bargain. Serious, how many individuals are willing to fork out so much more $$ for a little more hospitality? If it's on the company account then it's a different story lar.. kiasu.

11/8/06 15:51  
Blogger Daniel Franklin Gomez said...

We get what we pay for. The only qualms I have about AirAsia is their tendency to delay flights.

11/8/06 15:56  
Blogger Wingz said...

eh Airasia do let the senior citizens and parents travelling with kids board the plane first ... that i can be sure of

11/8/06 17:27  
Blogger mindfreak said...

hehehe... i guess i'll know how it is when I depart for bali next month with air asia.. what you pay is what you get i suppose

11/8/06 17:50  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Helen: I'm notti like the monkey throwing back peanut shells after eating the peanuts for writing this! lol.

gomez: Actually I'm grateful for AirAsia - coz I've been to many places I otherwise couldn't afford to go on my budget. Like I said, this is a notti post. :-)

wingz: wah, I'm so honoured to have a celebrity guest commenting here!

hehe .. u r right la. What I mean is sometimes there is a big crowd in front and the poor old folks at the back cannot even squeeze past them to board first.

And one more thing, when old folks travel with their adult children, they don't get to sit together becoz of this policy. Do you think this is good?

mindfreak: Bali next month? Lucky you - hope you have a great holiday. And oh - read Linpeh's posting in for a guide to safe hotel stay. (hehe..)

11/8/06 18:16  
Blogger Tony P said...

I travel Airasia almost on a weekly basis (i.e., return flights weekly).

I love it for what it is :) I go Singapore via JB (direct flights are a rip off!), go HK and China via Macau, and take family for holidays all around the region using Airasia for the past how many years. And now I get to fly direct to Brunei at half the price RBA/MAS flights. Upcoming company trip will also be on Airasia :)

As for queueing, I never queue i.e., if you are a seasoned traveller, you'll ask the counter if the flight is full. If its only 2/3 full as most of the case, you'll definitely get a window or aisle seat. That means I get to read or blog for additional 20 minutes seated down while the kiasu ones scramble to queue.

And Wingz is right - the elderly and the family with kids get to cut queue, standard practice.

As for delayed flights, it happens lah. Even when I used to take SG-KL flights on MAS/SQ, I also experience some silly delays before. Anyway, the good thing is that if you book online, make sure you enter your mobile phone number. If there are scheduled delays, you will actually get an SMS way before hand.

And mindfreak, if you need a trusted driver contact in Bali, let me know. Been there 3-4 times already, and yes, with Airasia (and airmiles from SQ :)) have fun!

12/8/06 09:52  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

I only appreciate that AirAsia provides the competitive environment for MAS to buckup. But I won't travel AirAsia as it's a nuisance method of travelling; walking in the rain, rush for seats, and pasar malam sales...(I read this from u).

12/8/06 21:10  
Blogger Kenny Ng said...

Well... the flight schedule always delayed, the seats cannot recline (new air bus) it makes my neck pain during travel to Sabah. Someone who work in KLIA told me before their safety checking before departure very short and never check properly. My friend experienced that the air stewardess were very rude.

12/8/06 23:15  
Blogger desiderata said...

anak M:

I BEG to differ in small ways:

There's LOTS of leg room -- maybe yours are like Angie Dickinson's; mine are like Bruce ...ah, nahmind, Mave & Helen won't believe me anyway/s/z.

I flew to Kuching recently using AirAsia -- I didnto see any cats and rats chasing each other on board. So there was no pandimonium -- which is a blessing.

And one more thing -- booking just 2 days "late" made a diff of some RM200! So my adVICE, despuite this notti -- hey, AM, it's seprred knotty, ok! -- book for Hungry Ghost travel 4-2007 NOW!

13/8/06 12:27  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Tony P: Hi there! Guess u r a seasoned traveller indeed & your tips are handy. I shall contact u on the Bali driver recommendation soon! :) Btw, thks for dropping a comment here as an aside from your usual edu-talk .. hehe.

Mave: Shunning AirAsia?? Ah well - I guess I'm more price conscious than u. LOL

Kenny: Your suggestion that AirAsia compromises on their safety checks is rather frightening for a regular customer like me. I hope it's just rumours. Yeah - their service attendants could do with better pride in their chosen job.

Desi: My long legs can be put to good use kicking you for being disagreeable & stubborn with da Desi Code!! LOL

IT'S SUNDAY! The weather's nice & sunny - and I feel like going on a holiday. Amazing AIRASIA - thanks for opening up the world to amazing adventures for budget travellers like us!

13/8/06 15:56  
Blogger Tony P said...

Just to add to Kenny's 2 points:

1. I don't have proof that AA does or does not take sufficient safety maintenance. But readers should note that planes today have all sorts of indicators for everything which matters (or not) in the cockpit. Any of the lights switches on, you can be assured as hell that the pilot wouldn't want to be risking his own life flying the plane.

In addition, you might be interested to know that for flights to many destinations e.g., Bali, Macau, the flight engineering is actually flying amongst you. While it's a measure to save cost (AA don't have to purchase services at the other airport), you can be sure that the engineer would not want to be on a plane that has any risk of failure.

Many times when flights are delayed, it's precisely because the technicians are taking more time to ensure that the flights are completely safe.

Also, taking a longer time to "check" doesn't mean, the checking is better. It could very well just mean more coffee breaks :)

2. The seats can definitely recline on the Airbus 320. I had the opportunity to take the flight last month to Macau, and I definitely slept the bulk of my way there. The reclination is definitely less than in say, normal MAS flights, but I could live with that.

3. (ok, so there's a third comment) Leg room. Leg room actually differs from plane to plane, and hence there appear to be conflicting reports from different parties. Sometimes, it's just about right (that means I don't envy the ang mohs), while other times, it's actually pretty comfy. The airbus is pretty comfy.

And one more disclamer (before you guys start thinking otherwise), I don't own shares in Airasia. I just thank heavens that they are allowing me to go on holidays much cheaper as well as saving my company a big bundle. :)

13/8/06 22:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my first taking AA to bkk 3 weeks ago, the chinese stewardess was making announcements with really hopeless english. no, i dont expect queen's english, but really...oh. it's totally out of context and she just did not wana stop.

to counter tony p's comment, no, the legroom is just not good enuf. but good enuf for DVT.

No, i aint a fussy traveller, i backpack and do lotsa travel on a shoestring, which means i hv a high tolerance level.

but it is true, AA does enable many people to fly.


16/8/06 13:25  

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