Air Asia: Everyone can be delayed

The title is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but i’ve flown with them 3 times, and the last 2 times have been absolute disasters.

The first time i flew with AA, they were just newly formed, way back then (2003?). Just a few routes, and flying out of KLIA still. Fernandez built a start-up mentality, and, for what its worth, it worked.

Service was good, fast and smart. Planes departed and arrived on schedule, the on-board service was fresh-faced and lively, and the low-low prices made everything just perfect.

Then came a trip to Bali a year ago. Delays, both from KL->Bali, but also from Bali->KL. Uninformed ground staff who couldn’t provide a satisfactory answer for the delays, and who did nothing to soothe frayed nerves. The best they could tell me was, “The preceding flight was delayed, so all subsequent flights will be delayed too.”

Perhaps there is a reason why other airlines don’t bother trying to keep their flight turnarounds at the AA record of “25 minutes“.

AirAsia’s high frequency service
ensures guest convenience is met. The airline practices a quick
turnaround of 25 minutes, which is the fastest in the region, resulting
in high aircraft utilization, lower costs and greater airline and staff

Simply because, there is no point trying to schedule around an “impossible” number. If 25 minutes is too short to ensure your planes fly on-time, why bother making that promise?

Human beings are silly, sometimes stupid, in their pleasure for punishment. Fast forward to 5 days ago. Trip to Jakarta. Outbound from LCCT (a traffic and security nightmare if there ever was one), delayed by 3 hours. Ground staff clueless on the reasons, no answers given.

While the delay was informed via a smartly worded SMS a day prior, it did nothing to allay my displeasure. Plans had been made for relatives to meet at the airport. These plans would now need to be delayed, forcing those same relatives to wait at the airport until 3am in the morning. When i bought the ticket, it was for a 9pm flight, not a 11.55pm flight (which actually left at 12.30am).

The return flight, just as bad. Scheduled to arrive in KL at 9.10pm, the plane finally touched down at 11.55pm. Ground crew at the LCCT was a complete cock-up once again. Luggage took more than 45 minutes to arrive at the conveyor. By the time i left the airport, it was closer to 1.30am. And a hectic work schedule beckoned the next day.

When i pay for a 9pm flight arrival, i expect a 9pm flight arrival. When your advertising says, “No frills”, i don’t expect that to mean, “No clue”. When your tagline is, “Everyone gets to fly”, it shouldn’t mean, “The joke’s on you, moron”.

There was a reason why i flew with Air Asia a 2nd time. Now there is a reason why i won’t ever fly with them again. A company that makes poor promises, is just a poor company.


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