Few years back, I decided to start my globetrotting journey with 13 South East Asian countries covering Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Thailand.
I crossed 12 countries in 36 days, taking 16 flights, 4 trains, 2 bus, and 1 boat. I crossed the international border by air, road, train, water, and once by walking to the border of Cambodia.
I booked all my tickets through AirAsia, Except for 1 flight (Singapore to Manila), wherein I had to take the Animal Company Flight (You Know What I mean, Google it).
But things something don’t work out as they are planned.
My flight was at 9.15 am, I woke up early in the morning and headed for the Singapore Airport, upon reaching at 6.30 am, I discovered the flight is delayed and re-scheduled to 12.30 pm. I waited relying on the departure screen, which never changed from ‘Flight Delayed’ to ‘Check-in now’ or ‘Boarding’.
Finally I approached the desk person at 12.10 pm, asking the status of the flight, she tells me “Sir, the screen doesn’t speak, you should have approached us earlier” and she turns back and points her finger to my flight and says, “There is your flight, and will leave in few minutes.
In my globetrotting journey of 47 countries so far, this was the biggest blunder I have made.
I just went blank and was not able to understand what I am supposed to do now.
After being quiet for 10 minutes, I went through my itinerary and changed the plan.
Kota Kinabalu on the Borneo Island (Malaysia) was my next destination upon arrival from Manila (Philippines), but since I missed my flight, I now wanted to reach Kota Kinabalu and spent 2 days, before I take my next AirAsia flight to Bandar Seri Begawan (Capital of Brunei).
I headed to the Air Asia desk and was able to get a ticket to the next flight to Kota Kinabalu while paying just little more. In the next 3 hours, I was on the plane.
Air Asia’s service played an important role in my journey, which I was able to complete without any hassle.
Some of the key points I would love to mention are…
Flight carriers usually never fly from a 2nd country to 3rd country, especially national carriers. For example, Air India would never fly from Sri Lanka to Dubai directly. The flight will go back to its home country first that is any city in India, and then you will be moved to the connecting flight to Dubai. But Air Asia, being a Malaysian Carrier, has flights from Bangkok to Myanmar, Jakarta to Bangkok and more. This saved my transportation cost. The only down part that time was, there were no direct flights from Singapore to Manila, or probably on that particular day. But still, AirAsia has great connectivity.
In all the 16 flights that I took in that globetrotting journey, not a single flight was delayed except for a few minutes here and there. Air-Asia never made me wait.
In-flight Service & Hospitality
It’s a low-cost airline, but still they make you comfortable and never let you feel that you are travelling in a low-cost airline. I never saw any ignoring expressions on the faces of flight attendants. They helped with everything. Since it is a low-cost airline, you have to pay for it on and off the flight.
I was on the Air-Asia website for 10 days almost for an hour every day, doing all my research, planning my itinerary, looking out for best flights to save time. The website worked flawlessly. The payment process was smooth and easy, having fewer stages before the actual payment page.
I travel with just 1 handbag ‘Petzl Bug’ (18 liters). In all the flights I booked, I opted for ‘No Check-in Luggage’, which again saved me some money, by not paying little extra for check-in luggage.
The best thing I liked about was the costing, which was always around Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3,500 Max, except for a couple of flights which went to Rs. 4400. I once received a call from my Credit Card Company asking me, “Sir would you like to have a Travel Forex Credit Card”.
AirAsia is the best carrier if you are planning your visit to any Southeast Asian countries; usually, tickets are available even before 10 days almost at the same price.
In case if you are wondering how did I cover the cities so fast, Please read my article “How to Navigate without Internet or Paper Maps”