Air Asia’s ASEAN pass – Is it really worth the deal?

It was an exciting moment for all travellers when AirAsia announce their new launch of AirAsia ASEAN Pass. It is something worth considering. Let’s share a little more insights of this latest program offer by AirAsia.

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AirAsia is not the first to introduce this program, other airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airline also offer similar program. Every airline has their own terms and conditions, differentiating from one another, so do study them carefully.

What is interesting is that this is the first Low Cost Carrier to introduce this program. AirAsia is already selling aggressively low airfares which are worth paying for although there are numerous breakdowns of fares (such as air ticket prices, tax and fuel charges, seats selections, meals selections and check in luggage options) that have to be added up but still comparatively cheaper than flying on premium carriers.

The usefulness of this travel pass is you can take numerous flights depending on the cost of the trip. This pass comes with 2 options: RM500 (S$193) with 10 credits or RM900 (S$450) for 20 credits. Each credit is worth RM50 (SGD$19.23). This current promotion does NOT include airport tax and is only valid for a month. However, you can earn BIG points which allow you to redeem free flights. Air Asia has also announced that you would be able to use the credits over 137 routes (ASEAN countries only), being priced from one credit to the maximum of eight credits ONE WAY. The 10 ASEAN countries are Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia,Vietnam and Brunei.

It seems like a brilliant idea to attract more travellers to fly with the airline especially with strong competition with other low cost carriers. Comparing Air Asia with other Low Cost Carriers, it has a massive fleet at its hubs so there would be spare aircrafts lying around just in case your aircraft has technical problem hence it should be able to reduce delays due to technical issues.

Cabin of Air Asia A320
Cabin of Air Asia A320

What to take note

If credits are not finished within a month, it is unlikely that they can be transferred to the following month.  AirAsia has not mentioned whether credits includes luggage and seat assignment fees, so keep a look out for that. The disadvantage of this is that you may be required to fly back to its hub and connect another flight to your destination, all depends on the routing. As Low Cost Carriers are point to point carriers, you may also be required to recheck-in (depending whether its a domestic or international flight) to your next flight as the airline won’t transfer your luggage to your onward flight even though you are flying on the same carrier. Only KLIA 2 and Bangkok Don Mueang International Airport has the ‘Fly-Thru’ service. What is ‘Fly-Thru’? It means you can connect flights from one flight to another without the need of collecting your bags at the transit hub. Find out more information over here.

Is AirAsia ASEAN pass worth the deal?

It may looks like a great deal but there are factors which need to be considered. Such as blackout dates (flights not available at certain dates of the year due to public holiday – usually these dates cost more than the usual air fare) and will flights on blackout dates be available for pass holders? How much are the fuel charge? Is changing of flights allowed without a fee? There are still plenty of questions which need to be filled in by the airline hence it is too soon to conclude.

Wait for the airline to release more information before deciding whether it is worth the deal. Meanwhile, Malaysia Airline and Malindo Air (highly recommended) offer pretty good deals, so it is worth checking out alternatives in case this Travel Pass by Air Asia unable to suit your needs.

It is best to spend some time reading those terms and conditions laid out by each airline before making your purchase. Do not forget after that these airlines have to maintain their operation sustainable and that is the way it goes.

Lastly, this travel pass is only beneficial to those travelling very often a month within the ASEAN network. This pass is NOT valid for travelling to non-ASEAN cities such as Hong Kong, or Toyko.

Who should consider signing up for this?

–  Passengers who do not want to pay more for air travel especially on premium carriers.

–   Passengers who do not need mileage points especially on airlines in the 3 major alliance: Star Alliance, One World and SkyTeam.

–   Passengers who fly frequently between ASEAN cities in one month.

–   Passengers who want to save on credit card charges (if applicable) when booking flights.

Do keep a look out for the next announcement which should be taking place around the middle of January 2015 for further updates.


Charles
Guest post by Charles Ryan Teo, the Travelling Dreamliner! Charles is not only a travelling enthusiast, he is also a massive commercial aviation fanatic. He enjoys flying on different airlines and aircrafts, blogging on in-flight and service at Charles Ryan’s Flying Adventure and join him in the world of aviation.

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