AirAsia Airbus A320 Review

So while MAS Airlines is still debating whether to sell their building or their RM1.5 million paintings to cover their losses, AirAsia is making a proverbial killing in the Malaysian domestic flight market right now. Look at them, they’d just given out 2 million free tickets and they’re still sitting there twiddling their thumbs grinning happily.

AirAsia is doing so well in fact, that Tony Fernandes just ordered 100 of those sweet new Airbus A320s, the first of which arrived early last month. I was one of the lucky few who managed to test-ride this month-old baby during my trip from Kuching to KL last week. And I can tell ya, low-cost airlines never looked so good.

Yes, I’m fully aware that Indian uncle in front spotted me with my camera and nonchalantly struck a cool pose. πŸ˜‰

Walking into the A320 is like getting into your dad’s brand new car. The interior of the aircraft was wide and bright and the scent of leather still lingered fresh in the air. If not for the signature black leather seats and the bright red uniforms of the aircrew, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d just walked into a luxurious MAS flight.

I wonder if they have Solitaire installed in this baby.

The first thing that caught my attention during my entrance was this cool sophisticated-looking touchscreen LCD control panel. I don’t know what it does. I’m really tempted to try but I don’t think I’m ready to insert myself into my own episode of Lost. Yet.

“Ok, who stuck their pens in the toilet bowl?”

Midway through the journey, the flight attendants did a sales pitch for AirAsia merchandise. Among the few of them, there’s the usual toy aircrafts, keychains, oversized pens, and – get this – AirAsia red and black t-shirts!

Quick, get your limited edition AirAsia T-shirt for RM50!

I don’t get it. I can understand if people wanna get Manchester United jerseys, or even Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts. But why would anyone wanna buy AirAsia T-shirts? To dress up as flight attendants? Wear them to the next Halloween party? What next? T-shirts from Ah Suan Chicken Rice?

The best thing about the A320s is obviously the seats. It’s even better than the seats on Malaysia Airlines. With the old Boeing 737, there’s not a lot of room to manoeuvre your legs once plonked your ass on the crappy seats. But the seats in the new Airbus A320 are so darn spacious, even the most materialistic girlfriend in the world won’t realise her stingy bastard of a boyfriend were taking her on some cheap budget airline trip.
The seats really are THAT good.

AirAsia is experimenting their new seatbelt system, featuring a severed ghost arm

One caveat though.
I didn’t sleep too well the night before, so a few minutes later in the air I was dying for some quiet shut-eye. I looked to the left, I looked to my right. Something’s not quite right…

It’s gone! They’ve removed it! How could they?!
I ended up sleeping on the flight in tight upright position. Trust me, it’s NOT the most comfortable position to sleep in. I woke up 2 hours later with a grumpy mood and a royal pain in the neck.
The new planes are real sexy, but dammit AirAsia. Why didn’t you at least build a basic reclining feature onto your seats? πŸ™

AirAsia. Now Everyone Can Fly™, But No One Can Recline.

Congratulations to Winnie Ting from Petaling Jaya, David Martinez from Singapore and Felicity Kuek from Kuching. You’ve each won yourself a Pixart Photobook worth RM89+shipping!
To see the winning entries, click here.

107 Replies to “AirAsia Airbus A320 Review”

  1. god that sucks! how can they not have it? i won’t be able to stand traveling with a seat like that.
    and KENNY! i’m sorry but i think D.A’s blog is more happening than yours hehh. love your site still! =)

  2. wow cool, i will be flying off to penang very soon and i wonder if it will be a A320. Gosh, now that MAS has increased their price tickets, AirAsia looks even better πŸ˜›

  3. comment #1: cause to them it’s Chinese New Year all year round?
    Now Everyone Can FlyΓ’β€žΒ’, But No One Can Recline. LOL

  4. the seats look real nice. hope no one vandalise it like our public transport vehicles πŸ™‚
    the LCD looked exactly like the ones i saw on Easyjet planes, guess they run on same system. Pretty neat stuff i think.
    for the price we are paying, i think eventhough without reclining feature we are happy since our wallets get to sleep sweeter all the time πŸ˜‰
    lastly, happy new year to you.

  5. fuah! Gotta try them out now. I once doubted their credibility and services, but I’m not sure whether it’s MAS or AirAsia that I should be doubted now.
    But seriously, reclining chair is a must! especially for a 1 hour + journey from West to East Malaysia.
    I’ve sat on the last row of a MAS flight where chairs can’t be reclined, and shit, the guy next to me end up sleeping on my shoulder. Fuck that!

  6. I have given up on Airasia flights due to delays. The company leverages on customers’ time to make profits.
    Hope the domestic wing of Airasia does not do so.

  7. ooo.. stewardess’ uniform so red, reali make my eye blurry. Anyway, the MAS stewardess’ uniform oso sux. I love the western stewardess uniform~ πŸ˜›

  8. leather? LCD? leather and LCD screens and low cost don’t quite go together…. low cost airlines make profits by not having these ‘extras’ -essentially a flying bus.
    alex: I’ve flown for hours without any need for a recline, I don’t think its a must πŸ™‚

  9. I searched up and down for the recline button too… =.+”
    noticed the cold fog-like air blowing around just before landing and taking off? πŸ˜€ for a moment there I thought I’d be a block of ice after the flight.

  10. Wow, wish I took a snap of the last flight I was on (from Puerto Vallarta to Pheonix) was like a tin of sardines… Personally, I prefer Asian flight attendants =p hehe.

  11. The only time I enjoy flying is the 1st 10 minutes when you take off & the 10 minutes of landing.
    That or the inflight turbulance is why I fly.

  12. pooja, it’s ok. I don’t expect everyone to like my blog forever. It’s bound to get repitive one day and someone else is gonna be your favourite. I know, because it happens to me all the time.
    wahlau, true. we still sucker up for that. πŸ˜‰
    alexallied, hehe. your shoulders must make good pillows then.
    Sleepless in Bangkok, they are more punctual nowadays. In fact, I hate them for being too punctual. I missed my KL-KCH flight once because they didn’t delay their flight for me dammit.
    Gunesh, you need to have your own private rollercoaster.
    L, win what?

  13. A320 is a good choice over the B737s.
    Anyways… the LCD screen you saw was the FAP (Fligh Attendant Panel). It’s a standard feature on most new aircrafts right now. Among it’s features, it controls the lightings, indicates which passenger is calling them (when you depress the call button at your seat or above them), also to provide visual indications is the smoke detectors have been triggered off. (Kenny.. dun smoke in the toilets ya!). OH… you can tell if the waste tank is full of shit or if you drinking water is sufficient. Cool Stuff indeed.

  14. Reading throught some Wikipedia, the A320 is a lot lighter and more fuel efficient then the old 737. Thus while providing better cabin experience and saving cost at the same time.. πŸ™‚
    One thing I hate about Air Asia is their delays. Other then that, they’re really good for short distance and domestic trips.

  15. Like most low-cost airlines, Air Asia is supposed to have very quick turnaround times. One way to help is to do away with reclining seats – this way flight attendants or cleanup staff do not have the additional task of pushing all the chairs back in position before the next boarding. It’s the same reason they collect rubbish while still in flight. Of course, user experience shows that the reality is their actual turnaround leaves a bit to be desired..

  16. Well, they had to have leave something that says “Budget Airline”. Those non-reclining seats are the only thing keeping MAS from going down in the domestic market.

  17. There are a few reasons why people buy their t-shirts. (1) They want to chat up the stewardess. Just plain “hiau” or “chee-ko” lah, and considering that most of them are old, D.O.M. (dirty old men)! (2) They want to try and pass off as employees and get on a flight free. As if the low airfares are not low enough, those cheap skates. And btw, probably Tony doesn’t want u to recline so u will stay awake when the crew come around selling their wares. That’s why I call it AIR PETALING or AIR PASAR MALAM! The ambience is exactly the same!

  18. Already crowded enough lar… no need to recline, if can get it reclined I think those at the back might be tortured. We just can’t get the best of the whole world. There sure be some loses here and there.

  19. Speaking off selling things on AirAsia, there this one time when my boyfriend was flying back to Penang, they were selling the food and one of the girls asked my guy, whether he would like nasi lemak. He said no thank you and guess what did the girl say? If you are not gonna buy then i am gonna talk to you. Being puzzled, he just said what ever. After 15 mins or so, she came back and apologized. I got no idea, what was going thru her head.
    Yeah i have to agree that besides the delay, AirAsia has been great. Now that there’s no reclining, it’s something that a lot of ppl will look into πŸ˜€

  20. i prefer MAS stewardess than AirAsia’s.
    i dunno why. AirAsia girl dyed their hair brown and looks like a desperate japanese wannabes (note: the tone colour is darker now in Japan) plus it looks a bit messy and rosak to me. hehe.

  21. i was taking that flight fr kuching back to kl on wednesday evening… the seat are much more comfortable & the length between 2 seats (front & back) are better, the worst thing is u can’t adjust the chair lar…! luckily it is only short journey, n i able to sleep.

  22. That’s one of the ways they keep the costs down. Non reclining seats = no moving parts = less maintenance.

  23. i wonder why most of the AirAsia steward/stewardess that i saw dye their hair.Just compare their image with MAS or other airline’s steward/stewardess.

  24. LOL! That last line was funny! πŸ˜€
    But, Kenny, are you absolutely sure that you can’t recline??? Did you ask the air stewardess?
    I mean, why would they wanna design such an expensive and luxurious looking airbus but lacks one of the most essential and basic feature?

  25. aww man Kenny! you totally beat me to it although my flight was a week ago (lazyness has its price), now I have nothing to talk about no more.. Anyways I got a little souvenir too from the plane, the safety manual πŸ˜›
    But yeah, it’s kinda funny how we can’t recline the seats, but the factory smell definetly patches allll of the minuses up at the time when I went on

  26. Wahaha… Kenny you the man!
    The flight attendant in your pics happen to be my batch girl Lily.
    We share the same view… why seat pocketsbut not reclining seats?
    But then, the flights are not that long like KUL-LON or KUL-SYD,plus the fares cheap,can’t complain much. And oh,PLUS the attendants are nice! Lol…
    Glad you like our new A320!
    I’ll be mailing your post to my colleagues. Kekeke…

  27. Oh oh.. some people don’t like our colored hair.. lol.
    What does the hair color of the flt attndant got to do with thesafety of the flight? Anyway the main reason we are there is for your safety, our boss just allows us to have more fun and be whoever we wanna be when working. It really is a very different and certainly more fun environment (coming from an ex full service airline flt attndant)
    Some people complain they get “low class service”, but as far as I am concerned, I try to do my best when I go to work.
    Hope you guys have pleasant flights in future and see in onboard!

  28. haha, Stella was the stewardess on my 737 flight on the way to kuching, together with that Jezzeble fellow πŸ˜›

  29. hmmmm no recline? doesn’t sound too good for me lah.. thank god company pays for me to fly MAS to my resort in Sabah. or else i’ll just take a NICE bus somehow mwahahah!
    I took the NICE2 (dbl decker) bus from Penang – KUL on monday.. nice lah.. the lounge downstairs got plugpoint for my laptop!

  30. Stella, whoa! What a coincidence. Yea I remembered her name was Lily. I noticed her because she’s got incredible long and distracting eyelashes. Heh. Why are AirAsia flight attendants all so exotic looking?
    I reckon AirAsia girls are someone we’d like to go out at night partying with, and MAS girls are more like someone we would bring back home for mom. heh.

  31. the black leather seats and the striking red uniform will give me a feeling that its very hot in there… sunny bright sun in the plane.. >the black leather seats and the striking red uniform will give me a feeling that its very hot in there… sunny bright sun in the plane.. >

  32. hey Kenny, long time, just wanted to wish you a Happy New Year πŸ™‚ nice review man – good stuff πŸ™‚

  33. Maybe the seats are so spacious precisely because of their inability to recline? I’d rather sleep upright through the whole short journey than to have some inconsiderate fool recline into my meals/lap. I say BAN RECLINING SEATS!

  34. Actually, the seats could be reclined. Use the reclining lever instead of the button. It’s just done like what we used in car seats.

  35. got the chance to board the A320 to Kota Kinabalu and its really that good! especially if you have the stewardess by da name Amanda on board! a plus for a no-frills airline πŸ™‚

  36. I won’t bug about the recline thingy since everyone has talked bout it.
    my first and last trip from kuching to KL was with air asia and:
    1. flight delay for 4 hrs
    2. they play R&B songs in the cabin
    3. once u walk into the cabin everyone stares at you.
    4. damn noisy
    5. pick the sit at the back and beside the walkway. when take off and landing, everyone heads will turn to the window and it’s damn funny.
    6. the walkway squeak everytime someone walk by.
    that’s all!

  37. it looks nicer….wow..can’t wait to fly with the new airbus…hopefully i will get it also
    about the reclining seat…i think it is because you seat a row in front of the emergency seat…if you try other row, you will be able to recline…because this is what happen to me last time i fly with airasia

  38. Hey Kenny,about the girls in A.A looking more exotic.. we get that a lot. And actually lots of the girls here were formerly the ones you said you’d take home to show ma. We just finally got the permission to beautify the way we want usin any color as long as we don’t look like a clown,lol.
    I read a comment saying the seats can be reclined just use the lever at the side of the seat(like in the car)… I hope I won’t see broken seats when I fly the Airbus.
    Emergency rows and any other rows: The seats do not recline.
    I love our new baby and I hope it stays pretty and shiny for as long as possible. =)

  39. well, well, i wonder if AirAsia will get A380s in the near future…provided they go internationallar πŸ™‚

  40. When Tony Fernandes launched Asia’s first no-frills airline Air Asia in Malaysia in January 2002, few people imagined that in the space of 36 months, over thirty new low fare airlines would be spreading their wings in Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, China and Japan.
    While sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East are home to only a handful of budget airlines, the region spanning South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia has fast developed into the second major low cost airline battleground between Europe and Latin America.

  41. Airbus A320? until end of january AirAsia might only receive 3 of it 100 A320. And their another 30 737 still in service.

  42. i dont think AirAsia will get A380 at all..
    except the Emirates Airlines which order 40 A380 is going to sponsor AirAsia.
    A380 is for long range with 700 passenger if it is use by LCC.

  43. I’m not sure about this but i’ve just came back from singapore using the Boeing 737-400. They took out the reclining either. Probably they’ve receive lot’s of complaints…so basically i think it’s not just AirAsia that took the reclining off the seat.. cheers πŸ˜‰

  44. i’m not satisfied fly with air asia coz the staff are not friendly,didn’t have smiling face and etc…
    first time i took air asia to terengganu, i couldn’t enjoy my trip coz one of the staff. i hope you mangement have to be more alert on this…dont simply take staff with this kind of attitude…i still keep his name with me….
    Thank you.

  45. I guess the seat cannot be adjusted b’cos AirAsia is a budget airlines so the seat configuration is at the least spacious. For comfort & safety reasons for the passenger just behind you, the seat are reframe from decline.

  46. Kenny, thanks for the review of the A320. Its the first look for most of us.
    On the reclining seats, Kenny did you seat near the exits? Most, if not all planes do not have the reclining feature at seats near the (emergency)exits. Its a saftey thing.
    I cant imagine AAsia trying to save space by not having any reclining seats.The space saved, in a A320 at least is minimal.

  47. The reclining machanism has been disabled. The new airbus’s reclining button is a soft spot on the arm rest where u would normal rest yr elbow. U press with yr elbow and it is suppose to recline but in Airasia’s it has been disabled

  48. Trust me, wearing a AirAsia T-Shirt will get you some 20% discount in some *SELECTED* food outlet. I’ve tried that before.

  49. Bruder, you pay a penny for the dolar trip…pls lar expect something more economical.
    I dun think that pay economy fare and expecting a first class services like MAS.
    Bravo to Tony, that’s the way Malaysian should go. Make MAS total privatise and no gomen subsidise…i believe it will either go bankrupt or become even better than now in 5 years (hv 2 give them buffer time wan…)

  50. Air Asia was a horrible experience.
    During CNY, I was somehow told by their phone operator that I could pay for the tickets half an hour before I check in.
    This was wrong and they wanted me to pay the extra price for THEIR mistake. I took a bus home instead but that was a huge scramble.
    They compromise everything. Especially service.

  51. Flew Air Asia May/04 Kuching to JB and return. Prompt, efficient, friendly service on both legs of the trip. And bought one of the great red shirts. Better to advertise for AA than some football team. And the stewardesses are absolutely lovely – I really wish I could bring one home to Mom – all the way to Vancouver.

  52. Ah, when I saw the LCD I thought they have the seat controls on it. But I guess that’s a little overwhelming for Air Asia :p (no offense, though)

  53. Air Asia service guys are probably among the best, especially compared to the fake smile, fake boobs on our neighbourhood arlines. I like the NO FRILL, NO EXTRA FRIENDLY service when all I want to do is go to sleep once the seatbelt lights turned off. Don’t understand these people who treat airtrips like they’re on a cruise, ask for pillows & blanket on Air Asia some more. Whaddaya think ya flying on? Emirates?

  54. yeah..~!..i agree…air asia new plane cannot recline~!…arh..sick….i was so fortunate to sit on the new A320 , but being so tired have to sleep in a very uncomfortable position…

  55. Prompt, efficient, friendly service on both legs of the trip. Thanks for the review of the A320. Its the first look for most of us.
    I think eventhough without reclining feature we are happy since our wallets get to sleep sweeter all the time, lastly, Nice to meet you.
    Airasia alway on the 1st in world.

  56. Wonder if anyone ever saw the pilots? Everytime I fly, can hardly see the pilots, only the stewardess. Don’t know if they are handsome or not. Saw one of the pilots walking to the planes once. He was very friendly and I was tempted to ask for his phone number. Maybe can date?

  57. Air Asia is the worst budget airline in the world. They’re always late with the crappiest staff. I was once on a service where the newly graduated first officer did the walk around from INSIDE the cabin. That really takes the cake…
    I’ll always pay the extra fare just for the peace of mind. At least i know with a regular airline, the boss isn’t a glorified CD seller.

  58. Actually, the Airbus A320’s seat have the reclining feature coz i travelled to Alor Star before and seen my colleague doing it….but i dunno why the one you took doesn’t have… :ΓƒΕΎ

  59. Cheap airline, cant expect so much from them. Never fly with air asia before but will never and ever fly with them. I travel frequently and i use only good airline like MAS, SIA, Quantas etc. Domestic and international. Airline like Airasia should vanish, what booking dont even have a proper seat and those leather seats are a joke! No inflight entertaiment etc, and selling stuff in the middle of the flight like pasar malam. lol.

  60. Great news about reclining seats I wish it was standard on all flights under 4 hours. If everybody has the same room that fair all round.

  61. I only took Thai AirAsia b4 and the planes are as old as China Eastern Airlines. Maybe the new and better planes are kept in M’sia. The interior of the plane look like Jetstar Asia (maybe they have more leg room). Their uniform look like Cathay Pacific’s. Like ang pow.. :p They shd stick to black in your 2005 Best Airline Entry. hahaha.

  62. What can I say about Air Asia. Just reading some of these comments makes me laugh like crazy !Hahahhahahahahahahah !!! Air Asia girls look like party girls and Mas Stewardess look like what??? The girl that u want to bring back home ??? Wahahahahhahahahah !!! Ohh come onnnnnnnnn !!!!

  63. The row of your seat must be at the exit of near the exit. It is a safety feature not to have the reclining feature. You get a bit more leg room but have to give up the reclining feature. Fair enough i would said.

  64. Then just pay extra bucks for your premium airlines! You are not forced to fly AA so why complain? Just showing off that you are one class above the rest?

  65. I want to dispel the myth seats at emergency exits that do not recline..for the least Airbus 340. I flew to London in November 2009, both mine (window) reclined.
    Well flying to KK from KL tomorrow but did not pay for hot seat this time round. Just wondering if seats at emergency exits are actually more spacious (A320). When they (AirAsia) initially received their A320, all seats had same pitch (ex KUL_PEN)

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