01 Nov 2010

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London to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia

Air Asia often offers cheap flights between London and Kuala Lumpur (and KL and Australia). As part of Air Asia’s pricing model you get the tickets cheap by trading off on other things. Here’s what to expect if you fly this route with them.

Stansted

You leave London from Stansted Airport (rather than Heathrow or Gatwick).

First you have to get to Stansted, which you can do on the Stansted Express train from Liverpool St. Takes about 45 minutes. Not cheap – £19.80 adults/£10 kids. You can also get private buses I think.

When you get there it’s pretty spartan, just a big steel shed really. There’s not much there in the way of food or services. Queues to check-in are long, even just the baggage drop queues if you’ve done an online check-in.

On the plane

Our plane was fairly new and clean. Although they didn’t look much smaller I found the seats less comfortable and harder to sleep in than the ones on Singapore Airlines when we flew to London. No blankets, pillows provided unless you buy a ‘comfort pack’.

Meals aren’t provided free – you need to prebook these (which we did) or purchase on the flight. I know it’s airline food but I thought even by those standards it was pretty crap.

Inflight entertainment is not provided – no movies or audio. I think you can pay to hire a portable media player but didn’t see anyone with one.

Staff were polite but fairly abrupt.

Kuala Lumpur LCCT

Pretty much all Air Asia flights connect through the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur. LCCT is no-frills – hot, noisy, crowded, not particularly clean, terrible overpriced food.

Clearing customs and collecting baggage was OK.

We got from LCCT to Kuala Lumpur city by bus (Skybus) which took about an hour and was pretty cheap. The bus drops you at KL Sentral station.

Summary

As expected with cheap flights you get what you pay for – less creature comforts and some inconveniences.

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