- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Low-Cost Carrier
- Year Founded:
- Riad Asmat
Last week, AirAsia reached a key point in its post-coronavirus recovery by achieving capacity levels of 60% compared to before the pandemic. To celebrate the fact that it is bouncing back, the Malaysian low-cost carrier has now launched a sale that has seen it make five million free seats available, although there is a catch.
When is free not free?
As announced by the carrier yesterday, AirAsia‘s five million free seats are available to purchase online or via its ‘Super App’ until Sunday, September 25th. They can be found in an extensive travel window, on flights between January 1st and October 28th, 2023. However, saying they are totally free might be a bit of a stretch.
Indeed, such tickets are still subjected to the fees and surcharges applied to airline fares all over the world. However, with the ‘free’ tickets still only starting at 23 Malaysian Ringgit ($5.05), they still represent good value for money. This applies to domestic fares, with ‘free’ international tickets to southeast Asian destinations starting at RM54 ($11.85). Karen Chan, the AirAsia Group’s CCO, stated:
“With the progressive re-opening of borders, and in preparation for our 21st anniversary, we wish to thank our loyal passengers who have stood by us and flown with us with the biggest ever Free Seats campaign. Not only have we resumed many of our much-loved routes, but we’re also introducing new and exciting ones for greater value and choice.”
The free tickets are still subject to the usual fees. Photo: Getty Images
The airline industry is always full of new developments! What aviation news will you check out next?
Low fares further afield
As part of the sale, which is AirAsia’s biggest ever in terms of the number of free seats available, the carrier is also offering discounted fares on longer-haul routes operated by AirAsia X and Thai AirAsia X. The destinations are Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Sydney), India (Delhi), New Zealand (Auckland), and South Korea (Seoul).
In these instances, tickets start at just RM499 ($109.50), with this figure including all the necessary taxes and surcharges. The window of availability is longer, as, while it also ends on October 28th, 2023, it starts this year on October 3rd, 2022. Business class fares have also been slashed and start at RM1,499 ($328.94).
As part of AirAsia’s ongoing post-coronavirus recovery, it is also beginning to resume operations on previously suspended routes. For example, mid-November will see it recommence operations between Kuala Lumpur and Jeddah, with fares on these flights, which will operate six times a week, starting at RM1,799 ($394.78). The Japanese destinations of Sapporo and Tokyo Haneda will also make a comeback.
While AirAsia X tickets won’t be free, discounted fares will be available. Photo: Airbus
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
A positive face amid extensive complaints
The timing of AirAsia’s sale announcement is interesting, given that, as Marketing Interactive reports, it received the most complaints of any Malaysian carrier, 42.1% of the country’s total, in the first half of the year. As such, the sale could be seen as a quick and easy way to try and get passengers back onside. Complaints were particularly high regarding rescheduling and online booking issues.
What do you make of AirAsia’s ‘free’ seat sale? Have you traveled with the Malaysian low-cost carrier in recent months? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!