Recently, me and my partner went on a short weekend trip to a not-so-popular-destination for Singaporeans in our neighbouring country, Kota Kinabalu, or KK in short. Tourism in KK has seen large increases from North Asian visitors, but it remains still rather unpopular with us Asean visitors. Wanting to know what is the attraction of KK, we booked our flights up to KK on AirAsia, and the initial return flight in Business Class redemption on Silkair's new additional evening service to KK. However, slightly more than a month before our travels, Silkair cancelled the evening return flight (I guess due to poor loads) and rebooked us on the next day's flight. Not wanting to pay additional for accommodation, we cancelled our Silkair tickets for a full refund, and rebooked on AK instead. In fact, AK fares were still very reasonable even with the short booking period and all the frills thrown in. So read on for my 1st trip of the year!
Check-in was done via internet and boarding passes were also printed at home. However, document verification still had to be done at the counters at Changi Terminal One 45min before departure.
Qantas group dominates Terminal One.
Brand new Jetstar A320 with winglets.
More Jetstars with a lone CX and AirAsia.
Boarding gate at C17. Boarding had started early.
17 January 2014 Air Asia AK 1792 Singapore (SIN) - Kota Kinabalu (BKI) A320 9M-AQC Budget Class
9M-AQC, one of the many AK A320s operating the flight today.
Reached out seats at 24D/F, where the seat pitch is real tiny! Luckily the middle seat remained empty for the flight.
Qantas A330-300 beside.
Boarding in progress. It was completed early, with final load of 122/180. 4 female cabin crew on this flight and all were friendly and cheerful. Good start to the flight. Flight time was announced at 2hrs.
Pushback on time.
Had a really long taxi to Rwy02C.
Only Tigers and Silkairs.
Some private jets at where the Budget Terminal used to stand.
Takeoff from Rwy02C.
Cloudy skies while climbing to 37,000ft.
Inflight mag and a Sabah magazine in seat pocket.
The inflight café menu. Prices are rather reasonable and lower than most other budget airlines. However I have already pre-ordered our meals.
About 15min after takeoff, crew started with the distribution of pre-ordered meals, followed by sales of meals/snacks/drinks and merchandise. I noticed quite a number of passengers had pre-ordered meals or purchase snacks and drinks.
Our pre-ordered meals. Each pax can order up to 2 meals, and all came with a cuplet of water.
The all-famous Pak Nasser's Nasi Lemak. Still as tasty as ever.
Kamal's Mee Goreng Mamak, a newly introduced dish. Spicy and delicious! Guess this would be a new favourite on AK flights.
Not to forget, AK's chicken satay.
Rounding up with some pancakes with maple syrup. Really a buffet on AirAsia, haha! And with the cost of each meal equivalent to prices in food courts in Singapore, guess it is value-for-money.
Not much to be done for the rest of the flight except reading the inflight mags.
Soon, the pilot announced that we would be descending into KK. Crew came around to clear remaining trash and prepare cabin for arrival.
Cabin view while crew are clearing cabin.
During descent, all the cabin crew suddenly came down the aisle and stood in the middle. The crew-in-charge made an announcement, thanking everyone for flying AirAsia, followed by all the crew giving a bow to passengers. Wow, first time I have seen this happened on AirAsia! Not sure if this is a new procedure or just done by this set of crew as the crew on my return flight did not do this. Well, it did made us passengers feel appreciated.
Descending in darkness into Kota Kinabalu.
Landing in Kota Kinabalu Airport Rwy02, with a very short taxi to the gate at Terminal 2 aka Low-cost Terminal. We arrived 10min early.
Parked at the gate.
Disembarking was done using front and rear doors via stairs, with a walk along the tarmac to the very small immigration hall.
Even with only a single international flight arriving, immigration took quite a while as only 3 desks were opened to process foreigners, with queues almost snaking out to the tarmac. Not sure what would happen if 2 international fully-laden A320s would to arrive at similar timings. Customs was no hassle and we were soon out into the small arrival/check-in hall of Terminal 2.
It was a 30RM flat rate by taxi to the city, where we stayed at Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu, right smack in the middle of the small city. Nice, newly renovated rooms at very reasonable prices (I got a great deal) even though the exterior looks dated.
Scenes of the small, quiet city of Kota Kinabalu
Trip to Sapi Island, one of the many islands off KK.
Singapore - SIN
Kota Kinabalu - BKI
Apart from the cramped seats, it was a nice flight on AirAsia, with tasty inflight meals, good service and on-time arrival.
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