Inspiration Asia Business Class Perks with an Economy Price Tag on AirAsia

Business Class Perks with an Economy Price Tag on AirAsia

May 14, 2024
The Air Asia Premium Flatbed is a great-value flight - Luxury Escapes

AirAsia's Premium Flatbed offers excellent value at a time when airfares can be the most prohibitive part of an international holiday and, with lounges back open recently, flying Premium Flatbed is business class treatment at a much lower price point.

The seat and route

Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Melbourne (MEL). Seat 2G on a widebody A330 aircraft.

From A$319 economy, Premium Flatbed from A$799.

Is there a loyalty scheme and sustainability program? 

AirAsia Rewards allows you to earn points, gift points and use them for more than just flights. The scheme is managed via the AirAsia MOVE app where guests can not only earn points but also manage and make bookings. The app effectively operates like an online travel agent where you can secure seats on planes but also tickets, hotels and events. Guests looking for ground transportation can also travel across Malaysia with AirAsia Ride, AirAsia MOVE’s ride-hailing platform. Launched in 2021, AirAsia Ride has now completed more than 9 million rides with the help of more than 50,000 registered drivers across the country and drivers and cars are more limo-like than cab-like.

How was the airport experience?

Kuala Lumpur is the home of AirAsia so expect plenty of desks for a swift check-in. But, as an added bonus for Premium Flatbed customers, you get your own dedicated check-in counter which means the whole process takes around 10 minutes and my bag is tagged priority (and is out crazy fast when I arrive in Melbourne). Security and immigration are also swift, so I am relaxing with a coffee in well under half an hour. The central airport shopping area is wide and spacious with plenty of nooks to hang out in, but things get a bit narrower and cramped on the way to the gates; hang out in the main part as long as you can. Then, when you turn up to your flight, your Premium Flatbed comes with seamless priority boarding.

Air Asia offers excellent value for their Premium Flatbed customers - Luxury Escapes

Is there lounge access?

Recently reopened after a Covid closure, the Air Asia Premium Lounge is a quiet getaway from the main terminal crowd. There are snacks, drinks and a bean-bag strewn space for a quick nap with views out onto the runway. Lounges are available in KL, Melbourne, Sydney and Hong Kong.

How was the cabin and seat? 

My Premium Flatbed cabin has 12 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration (some flights have up to 18 Premium Flatbeds). My seat in 2G is in the middle and – at 60 inches (152 centimetres) of pitch and 20 inches (51 centimetres) – it is business-class comfy immediately. There is a privacy screen, foldaway table, adjustable headrest and footrest, reading light and universal power port. The latter proves very useful as my phone is fully loaded with movies (this is not my first low-cost rodeo) and the port keeps things fully charged. After take-off, staff deliver a pillow and duvet to each flyer, perfect for when you recline your seat fully flat and drift off for most of the flight.

Air Asia offers excellent value for their Premium Flatbed customers - Luxury Escapes

How was in-flight dining and drinks?

Under low-cost rules you pay for your food and drinks, but what makes Premium Flatbed so appealing is the personal service and the fact you can simply run a tab and pay shortly before you land. There are signature cocktails like a Tipsy Coconut with coconut liqueur or a mango liqueur-based Yellow Bird; food is among the best (economy) airline food I have had with an Uncle Chin’s chicken rice invoking memories of Singapore and Pak Nasser’s nasi lemak packing all the punch of one from a KL hawker stand.

What was the in-flight service like? 

Subtle, attentive business-class-style service, the only way you know that this is a low-cost airline in the Premium Flatbed section of the plane is that you get a discreet bill at the end. Little things, like asking when you would like to receive your meal, are a lovely touch.

Why it’s worth it

This is, quite simply, a business-class experience for the cost of an economy ticket when you can’t even get economy for an economy price right now. Priority treatment, personal service, lie-flat comfort, I arrive in Melbourne rested and with the priority bag I am the first person out through customs for the first time in my flying career.

The writer was a guest of Air Asia.

About Paul Chai
Paul Chai has been a travel writer for over two decades. He has dived with great white sharks in South Australia, walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and stuffed himself with enough food and wine working on the Good Food Guide to make his GP shake his head. Chai is currently managing editor of Dream by Luxury Escapes.

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