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Air Asia – Do I have the right to be upset?? – Family Travel Blog – Travelling with Kids

My Air Asia review is not as scathing as many others online when you google Air Asia. For months now I’ve been organising an upcoming trip to Japan with my mum, sister and Alannah as a celebration for Alannah finishing primary school. I want the kids to have some special memories of being with  family when they are older. 

The Situation

I booked the flights last September and we’ve all been very excited, especially me as it holds a special place for me. My high school was one of the first schools in Australia to do an exchange program with a sister school in Japan. I was obsessed and desperate to go but for various reasons it never happened. It is going to be very special to finally get there, especially with mum, my sister and my oldest daughter.

So…… once again the budget airlines have failed me. As I said, I booked our tickets last September with Air Asia. I specifically booked with them because mum hasn’t been to Kuala Lumpur and both her and my sister love to shop. I thought once I drag them around Japan for 8 days they can at least have a final little shop for all I’ll put them through.

I had diligently organised all the accommodation and planned all the places to visit. We are on tight schedule as I only have 10 days, Craig was good enough to give me a leave pass while he stays home with the other two younger kids. I feel guilty about this and hope that everything runs smoothly while I’m gone. Part of it will be school holidays but one week will be during 4th term.

The Issue

Air Asia review
Keira’s sad face about the situation!

With the time issue in mind I booked the flights tight, I had a 2hr 45 min layover in Kuala Lumpur as we were heading straight there and doing our stopover on the way back. I spoke to the ladies from Air Asia at the Melbourne Travel Expo and they said it would be tight but fine, we should make it.

I checked into the ‘My bookings’ section on Air Asia’s web site about a month ago and the Melbourne to KL flight had been brought forward by 40mins, I was chuffed as it gave us more time to make our connecting flight. We now had about 3hrs 30mins, this was great, we would romp that in as I know the airport well. I was feeling confident now as I been stressing earlier as my mum and sister are not big fans of budget airlines and I had reassured them this was a good move as Air Asia are fantastic.  Well…………….

Tuesday this week I was updating our itinerary and again checked ‘My bookings’, this time the KL to Osaka flight had been changed, 2 hours earlier! My heart sank, I instantly knew we wouldn’t make the second flight. Tears streamed down my face, I called Craig crying, why didn’t I just go with Jetstar? I wanted the shopping spree for mum and and my sister on the way home. I wanted to show mum the Petronas Towers, she getting older I’m not sure she would have another opportunity to visit KL and we love KL so much.

Resolution Process

Air Asia review
Caelan’s frustrated face!

I called Air Asia and spent almost 2 hours on the phone. They were happy to change the KL to Osaka flight to the next available which is 1am the next morning. This would mean that we would miss a whole day out of our already very tight itinerary. When I was told I couldn’t change the Melbourne to KL flight I requested to speak to a supervisor.

The supervisor was lovely, I was very emotional as I feel a strong sense of responsibility planning this whole holiday. Why this trip, we have 6 flights booked with Air Asia in 4 weeks time, why not one of them and not the one I planned on behalf of others. The lady was lovely, she really did try to assist. She escalated my request to the highest level possible, both of us hoping that Air Asia would show some leniency as I had no control over them changing my flight.

The main issue was that my original booking only allowed 2hrs 45mins and to be a guaranteed connecting flight I had to have at the very least 3hrs between flights. They would not consider the fact that they changed my first flight and it did therefore have 3hrs 30mins between flights, that was irrelevant as it was not my original booking. The lovely supervisor called yesterday to advise that my request had been rejected and my only opinion was to change my second flight and miss a night in Osaka, Japan.

This is disappointing because I have already organised for that night at a very nice 5 star hotel as a nice surprise for my mum and sister, we will miss that now and its non refundable. It shortens the very limited time we have there and instead we will spend that time in KLIA2 for 18 hours. All because they would not show any flexibility in assisting to resolve a problem caused by them.

The Result

Air Asia review
Alannah’s thinking face!

This is updated from last week after I calmed down and had a jolly good think about things. I have since called Air Asia and spoke with Beta again (if you have issues ask for Beta she really is great), I have changed the Kuala Lumpur to Osaka flights both there and back, I have lost a day in Osaka and picked up a day in Tokyo. Not a totally horrible result but the flight times are now a bit average, for example we arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6am and then fly out at 1am the following morning.

I plan to store our luggage and head into Kuala Lumpur for the day and do the Hop On, Hop Off bus (I’ve done that previously, that was the day I wanted to trade in my very spoilt ungrateful children!). We then only have 1 day in Kuala Lumpur before our flight home to Melbourne. Not ideal but certainly not as bad as first thought.

So, do I have the right to be upset?

So here’s my question for you, do I have the right to be upset? I know the rules, I’ve flown with them many times before with no issues. Half of me says, Sally you know how it works, they’re a budget airline. I knew at the time I should have booked the flight a day earlier. I was stressed already possibly the reason I kept checking the flights.

I’m intersted to hear your opinions both good and bad. I’m feeling rather zen about it now, resigned to the fact that I will miss a day in Japan and the fact that I have learnt a valuable lesson. This is also straight off the bat of my earlier issues with Jetstar when I (the common denominator here I know!) booked the wrong weekend for our trip to Queensland in March. Don’t start me on the expectation that we will now pre-purchase seats when travelling, what ever happened to receiving a seat with the people on the same booking?? Blatant money grabbing if you ask me and families are usually the ones that pay the price.

So fellow travellers, tell me do I suck it up and chalk this one up to experience or do I try somehow to escalate it further? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.

A very deflated but now not shattered, have you had problems with airlines? Please tell me about them in the comments below.

Sal & Co!




This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Jub

    I’d suck it up 🙂

    Did you book the Aussie to Japan tickets as two separate tickets? I’m guessing so…

    Also, 1h 30m….that’s enough time to get through the transfer surely (even if it’s two separate bookings no doubt you can check in for both flights right away and get baggage check through?).

    These situations suck, but as you say. It’s budget airlines/you knew the rules. You are zen about it now, so all good!

    1. Sally

      Hi Jub,

      If I wasn’t travelling with a 75 year old and an 11 year old I would have given that a nudge but it would be putting too much pressure on mum. Yes I did book them as two separate tickets which was most likely my downfall.

      It’s amazing how much difference a few days makes, I was pretty upset at the time but have come to terms with it now! I am disappointed about the hotel bookings I had made though, thats a bit disappointing as all our accommodation was sorted and now I have to rearrange all that.

      Put it down to experience.
      Thanks for your sharing your thoughts and yep all sucked up now!! LOL.


  2. Emily Kydd

    Air Asia is super cheap for a reason, but still I would be choked too. Regardless, they should still provide a baseline standard of service. I have had to run through both airports in Bangkok twice because of Air Asia’s bs policies. I found the service I got from the actual employees both in the terminals and on the planes great at helping me the best they could, but their hands were tied when it came to the policies. I wrote a scathing email to the service department, which I never do, but I never heard back. It did make me feel better though!

    1. Sally

      Hi Emily,

      Crikets……! Yep, I linked them into this post expecting a reply but so far no comment. They’re policies don’t take into considerations issues created by them. I was well aware that I had just short of 3 hours in my original booking but was happy to risk that, knowing full well that if I missed it I was up the creek without a paddle!

      I will give credit where credit is due, the lady on the phone while she was unable to show any flexibility she did try. I decided not to make any decisions until I cooled down and luckily I did as I then realised that I could move both legs of the Osaka flights which meant while I lost a day to begin with I could add a day in Tokyo, so that cooling down period worked in my favour!

      I would like to say that I won’t fly with them again but I know I will. I will just be more careful about how I book my flights and ensure I have overnight stays to ensure I don’t have issues like this again.

      Thanks for your comment, sorry to hear that your experiences have been wonderful either.


  3. Wandermust Mummy

    I think this is really difficult. We all know ‘the rules’ or at least the risks but it doesn’t make it any worse when things happen to you. I hate when these rules are used against there never seems to be recourse in the other direction

    1. Sally

      I think that’s what annoyed me the most, I totally agree, the rules suit them when it suits them but they show no flexibility in return. It would not have made any difference to them had they changed the first flight instead of forcing me to change the second one and therefore loosing a day of my holiday. I have learnt now not to book flights until closer to the dates for the smaller point to point internal asian legs.

      Thanks, Sal & Co.

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