Blogs like this usually hesitate about calling something the best, at least if they’re written honestly. However, when one airline wins the official title of “World’s Best Low-Cost Airline” from Skytrax (and Skytrax is the biggest and most respected airline review site) not just once or twice but four times, calling an airline the best is probably justified. Especially as this airline has held the title for the last three years in a row.
So what is this airline that is considered the world’s best low-cost airline? Air Asia is the proud winner of this title, and you’re going to find some excellent deals from this airline on our site (plus other good deals – we’re independent and they didn’t pay us to say that).
Air Asia was started up in Malaysia in 1993 but only really got attention from the rest of the world after 2003 when it started international flights. Before 2003, it was a local low-cost carrier doing domestic runs inside Malaysia. In 2007, Skytrax awarded Air Asia the title of “world’s best low-cost airline” for the first time, and the following year, Air Asia expanded its list of destinations and routes as interest grew. In 2010, they became the first airline in South-East Asia to have a ticketless system, according to some sources.
Air Asia is a low-cost airline, which means that it is a no-frills set-up. If you choose to fly with Air Asia, it’s not going to be super-fancy. However, this does not mean that you’re going to be flying in a bomb. Far from it: Air Asia recently upgraded its fleet of Boeing 737s for Airbus A320s, with further purchases of Airbus aircraft scheduled for the next few years. At the moment, Air Asia has a fleet of about 50 or so A320-200s, each of which can fit 180 passengers, and they are celebrating the purchase of their hundredth plane (not sure how they count this, though – probably since they went international or since they started flying). They have other Airbus aircraft, including the A330 and the A340.
As Australia is so close to Malaysia, it’s no surprise that Air Asia Airbuses regularly touch down in Darwin, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast, meaning that Australians can get to and from most countries in Asia quickly and cheaply. As well as servicing nearly every country in South-East Asia (except Papua New Guinea), Air Asia also flies to Iran, France (Paris) and the UK (Gatwick in London) – and to Christchurch, New Zealand.
Your basic booking on an Air Asia flight is no-frills, but upgrades are available if you want a bit of extra comfort or a bit of extra baggage. Air Asia’s “Hot Seats” have a bit more legroom than the standard seats – and even most of the standard seats recline so you can sleep reasonably comfortably. Upgrade from the Hot Seats and you get the Premium Seats that allow you to sleep lying flat, although these are only available in services flown by A330s and A340s. Meals and entertainment consoles can be pre-booked for an extra fee, as is the case with most no-frills or low-cost carriers, or you can just pack a nice fat novel in your carry-on luggage.