This will be my report on flying on AirAsia economy class from Kuala Lumpur KUL to Senai (Johor Bahru) JHB, a short-haul domestic route within peninsular Malaysia. This report concludes my year-end trip to Bangkok BKK.
Here are the 3 parts of the trip: KUL - BKK on Malaysia's business class: Read here BKK - KUL on Malaysia's business class (+ mid-flight first class review): Read here KUL - JHB on AirAsia economy class: You are here
To start the year-end trip to Bangkok I have opted to take bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, so for the way back I decided to fly on AirAsia's economy class, which will be my first time experiencing the Kuala Lumpur KUL terminal 2 transit area. Throughout 2017 I traveled to Kuala Lumpur KUL a lot yet on all those occasions I flew out of the main terminal, so it's only right for me to try the terminal 2.
I bought the ticket at around S$45 (US$34; around S$30 for the bare ticket + S$10 checked luggage + S$4 nasi lemak), which hopefully made for the fastest nasi lemak meal in the sky (plus, I haven't had AirAsia's nasi lemak for quite a while - I took nasi Padang on my previous trip). I didn't select my own seat either, but during web check-in I was allocated seat 22A, which was fine for me.
Trip to Kuala Lumpur KUL terminal 2 and check-in
After I arrived at Kuala Lumpur KUL and got denied access to Oneworld carriers' lounges on arrival after my flight on Malaysia, I decided to head straight to terminal 2 by the free shuttle bus to spend my night.
As the terminal is mainly used by AirAsia group, it's only normal to have the phone operator arm put its promotion. What's shady, however, is that to get the free SIM you would need to buy their bundle right at the store like other operator. As some said, there's no such thing as free lunch (or SIM card).
I then went to the supermarket again to have a look at some prices.
1L fruit juice costed from just MYR5.2 (US$1.3), which is a pretty decent deal.
Water is also available at RM2.4 (US$0.6) for a 1.5L bottle, which although a bit on the more expensive side is also fair considering the location.
Potato chips' prices are highly dependent on the brand - too bad I didn't have a look at the weight.
Cup noodles were also available, and while some may be more familiar with other brands Indomie (an Indonesian brand)'s cup noodles retail at only RM2 (US$0.5) which is around the same price as in Singapore.
For those who want to avail of the free shower around the check-in area, toiletries and towel were available for sale. As I had the mini-sized toiletries from my visit to the Golden Lounge a few days before, I would just need to get a towel.
Before I entered the terminal, I decided to give the free printing service a try.
The web check-in boarding pass.
They not only promote the printer, but the back of the paper also have a full-page ad for an university.
I proceeded to the main terminal, and as it was late night there were very few flights left.
There are 2 types of self check-in machines, one by SITA (its familiar bubbles design can be also seen in some other airports' generic self check-in machines) and the other one directly by AirAsia. Both generate the same boarding pass and luggage tag and use AirAsia's own check-in flow, so it shouldn't be much of a concern.
This time, I used SITA's machine.
The boarding pass and luggage tag. You are free to print as many tags as possible as there is no limit on the number of bags and they won't bat an eye during bag drop for the excess tags.
FIDS of the evening.
As I needed power plug to work on and publish my report, I went to KFC opposite the domestic check-in row and worked from there (plus took some uncomfortable naps - I told one of my friends about my nap at KFC and she wondered how on heaven did I manage to sleep there, answer: it's in an airport).
At around 5 AM the check-in row was very crowded to the point that the queue was full so I decided to take some additional nap, but even so at 5.40 it was still crowded.
As my flight's check-in closing time is quite close (i.e. ~30 mins) the staff redirected me to the supposedly faster queue, but even so it still took me 15 minutes to clear. The check-in counters featured the long past ASEAN Games.
The crowd near the domestic departure area.
Just like before, I took a shower before entering the transit area while at the same time waiting for the security queue to decrease.
After the shower the queue was no longer an issue.
I was let through within 5 minutes after entering the queue.
Kuala Lumpur KUL transit area and departure
An escalator ride took us to the domestic departure level.
I would depart from J gate, so I went to the left side, from which it was another moving walkway ride down the slope.
Some stores were already opened.
While I appreciated the terminal being an improvement over the LCCT, it nonetheless still felt cheap and looked gloomy.
I then proceeded to my gate, where boarding pass check was done right after entering the gate.
The gate feature row of seats and nothing more.
Since this would be the plane's first flight of the day, she was already based there since early on. The plane sported Charter Prime livery, which company has partnered with the Tune Group.
Boarding was done using zones, and this time it was surprisingly orderly (in Indonesia it would be a mad rush instead) where the gate staff would open the rope one section at a time.
We then walked through the narrow corridor (is it just me or it is actually narrower than those in other airports/terminals?)
We then continued to the aerobridge.
The plane is said to offer Wi-Fi - will it live up to the expectations?
The seat pitch was tight (I am 5' 11") - I would more than love to get the emergency seat row but at the same time it would raise the ticket price too much (or call it a downgrade from fully lie flat seats?)
The table tray sported an advertisement for a theme park.
An inflight menu/catalogue was present.
Inflight magazine was also available.
There is also safety card and airsickness bag, as usual.
The cabin of the morning, which felt solemn.
We soon pushed back after some minor delays.
Land of AirAsia group?
Despite the gloomy weather, the takeoff and climb was anything but unusual.
The weather got better as we climbed further.
The cabin crew quickly sprang into action to do their sole food/beverage/merchandise sales round. As the flight was very short, both of them went together. The flight attendant seemed to forget my preordered meal that he didn't get to ask for my boarding pass - I needed to provide mine to him so I can take my boarding pass. He then asked if I would like a plastic bag, to which I said yes and he then packed my meal inside.
The meal was kept in their branded plastic bag.
As usual, the meal contained a can of carbonated drink (which this time tasted a bit off; I only drank a bit before throwing it), meal in a box, and plastic cutlery.
I know I ate the nasi lemak after arrival, but while the meal was savoury enough it turned off me as some parts were too sweet.
It's now time to check the IFE: some of AirAsia (Malaysia)'s planes are equipped with the Rokki Wi-Fi, which promised free entertainment and for-fee internet access. While I wouldn't eschew the entertainment offer, the Wi-Fi is outrageously expensive (you're looking at 3 - 4 times as expensive as Malaysia's A350 Wi-Fi)
The user interface looked basic.
A warning to use earphone/headphone was displayed before showing the music selection.
When it comes to classical music I would expected something on the range of Vivaldi or Beethoven, but while those on offer may be considered as older musics they're in no way classical. Even though classical music is challenging to get it great due to its limited appeal, it's also one of the most difficult to get wrong so I was surprised to see this.
At least some full text news was available, although it was limited and not frequently updated.
During the cruise I chatted with my seatmate, who also happened to major in the same course as me (but on a different university; the person is studying in Johor Bahru while I am studying in Singapore). I was also seated at the window seat, which made it challenging for me to do a toilet visit.
We then descended to Johor Bahru JHB, and the landing was also uneventful.
Our plane was then parked beside another AirAsia plane.
Despite the aerobridge being just nearby, as usual they opted for their own staircases instead.
One last view of the plane.
Instead of directly brought to the arrivals area, we were simply brought to the transit area after taking the staircase.
Arrival at Johor Bahru JHB and post-arrival trip
On the right side of the gate is a scanner supposedly for international arrivals.
The interstitial corridor is also there, enabling both aerobridges to be used to handle international passengers.
I then walked to the arrival area, which looked pretty sparse.
It was another escalator ride down to the arrival level.
At this point, though, it's still pretty much like before.
It took me only a couple of minutes to get my bag, and I was then off to the public area.
Someone wants some ice cream?
I proceeded to the bus ticket counter to get my ticket for the bus to JB Sentral.
Ticket of the day.
As the bus was about to depart, I proceeded out from the public area into the bus bay.
The bus which would bring me to the transport hub.
From the transport hub it was a short walk to go to the immigration checkpoint, after which I took the bus back to Singapore.
Buy on board3.5
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Senai - JHB
As much as this flight being a run-of-the-mill, very short one, I was certainly not impressed with the whole trip. Not only was the terminal uncomfortable to stay on, the flight itself was mediocre at best (tight seat is one thing, but delay (even though it's minor) on the first flight of the day and flight attendant who didn't seem to remember my preorder meal is certainly on another level). I may only have Firefly left to review, but as far as I'm concerned I would still prefer Malindo or Malaysia, both of which are at least half-decent for the route and actually offer free checked luggage.
While it's great to see Johor Bahru JHB being refreshed, it would still take some time to see the new shape of the terminal. In terms of Kuala Lumpur KUL terminal 2, while it truly served its purpose the terminal is otherwise not on my list of preferred terminals.
Some thing done well for the trip: + Free landside interterminal shuttle at Kuala Lumpur KUL + Acceptable security + Orderly boarding + Provision of free IFE
Things that can be improved: - Long check-in queue - Cheap finishes of Kuala Lumpur KUL terminal 2 - Tight seat pitch - Delay on the first flight of the day - Shady IFE and expensive internet access - Inattentive flight attendant - Meal and beverage taste
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