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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!