Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 2016. If I book a flight within Asia, chances are I’ll be flying with Air Asia. They have the widest network across the continent with a good number of flights to choose from and the biggest plus point – they’r cheap, I mean really cheap! Hit it just right and a flight down to Johor can be at the same price as a bus ticket! Even non-sale fares are pretty cheap for most destinations. Cheap of course comes with sacrifices – less luggage, no food and in-flight entertainment is non existent on most flights except to Australia and New Zealand. Having flown extensively with Air Asia since 2012 I’ve learnt to hone a few survival skills:
- I’ll try to pick a flight with a departure and arrival not too far apart from meal times however grabbing the cheapest flights doesn’t always work the way I’d like. In that case I’ll eat heavy just before the flight, I’ll grab a Starbucks coffee just before going into departures at KLIA2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2).
- On domestic sectors its quite possible to sneak on some snacks to eat covertly during the flight. In Brickfields I’ll get a few rounds of aloo paratha, have it wrapped in foil and squeezed into the corner of my backpack.
- Take an empty bottle through the security check, then fill it with water from the numerous drinking fountains in the terminal. Sometimes I don’t bother as the Starbucks will last me a few hours.
- If I do get thirsty in-flight I’ll buy a tea – its only £1.20 and quite a reasonable taste although they don’t have fresh milk to go with it.
- Download some audio or music to your phone prior to boarding. Believe or not it helps to while away the time pretty quickly, especially on an extra long flight. Some phones have a GPS built in – before flying pre-load a google map of the origin and destination on the same screen. Whilst airborne use the GPS to track the flight. Handy because the pilots don’t always say how long the flight will take!
So, by not checking in baggage, using the self check-in booths and foregoing the airline food, that budget flight really is the low cost option.I’ll try not to eat in airports but instead look to see where the bus drivers and taxi drivers are loitering – there won’t be good local and inexpensive food to far away!
My next flight in a few hours is to Taipei leaving at 10 am and arriving at 2.30 pm – 4 1/2 hours.