To be honest, I was really apprehensive on traveling via Air Asia X. I expected leather seats which hardly reclines on the plane, just as they do on the Air Asia planes which fly domestically and to other countries as well. I expected no service. In fact, I expected the worst. What I expected didn't even come close to what I encountered.
If you think that flying cattle (economy) class is bad, my dears, you haven't tried Air Asia X.
First of all, the seats are incredibly small and narrow. They're even smaller than the seats you see on an Air Asia plane! Air Asia X has an option where you can book for larger, so-called "more comfortable seats", on their XL seats. Those seats, are probably an inch or so wider than the usual economy class seats you see on normal-cost flights (frankly, I couldn't tell the difference if it was any bigger than usual economy class seats). The price of that is equivalent to an economy-class ticket on Malaysia Airlines.
Worst of all, these tiny-ass seats do not recline. They have this thing where you can extend the seat about an inch or two in front, push the headboard down, and then you slide your body down. That's their way of letting you recline. Unfortunately, this means that it cuts off two inches of the very minimal space you already have. Good luck to those with long legs. Even more to those poor fellows who are stuck in between the window and aisle seats.
Large people will find the seats most uncomfortable. I have a large bum, and I get about an inch of space on each side of the seat. Sleeping in the tiny seat was simply awful.
In order to accommodate more people on the plane, the arrangement is such that there are three rows, with three seats per row. About 60 people share two toilets. Whoop-de-freaking-doo. There's also no service with the flight, just as you'd expect on other Air Asia flights.
Honestly, I didn't think that the leather seats were at all necessary. Why not use the money on larger seats instead? By larger seats, I meant the seats used on regular Air Asia flights. That would have been a more feasible solution than cramping so many people in tiny seats in a plane.
If you are likely to suffer from deep vein thrombosis, I highly discourage you from traveling via Air Asia X. There's hardly any room for you to move about.
The food's all right. If you haven't pre-paid for your meals, I recommend the Malaysian meal, which is the nasi lemak. That was surprisingly good.
I hope the uncomfortable seats alone is enough to deter you from traveling via Air Asia X. The KL-MELB flight was the worst trip I've ever had, and I've had bad ones where I got sick and almost threw up. If not, then here are a few tips on surviving a long-haul flight on Air Asia X:
- Check in early. For international flights, Air Asia recommends you to check in three hours before you fly. And a good thing too, because the queues are simply massive. And you know how chaotic the LCCT can be.
- Bring in a bottle of water. Air Asia does not allow you to bring in outside food and drinks, but they do close an eye on bottled water. If you have pre-paid for your meals, then you'll get a main dish (e.g. nasi lemak), a bar of chocolate and a bottle of mineral water. However you should drink a lot of water on a long-haul flight, and a bottle for the 7 hours just wouldn't do. They will not supply you with free water.
- Bring a blanket/shawl/pashmina to keep you warm throughout your flight. This isn't provided. You can purchase a Comfort Kit at RM35 where you'll get a blanket, inflatable neck pillow and an eyemask. I had to get one, but not for the blanket. The blanket, which comes wrapped in a drawstring bag, was used as a makeshift pillow for my back. The neck pillow made it a lot easier to sleep with. As the seats are incredibly narrow, the chances of you slipping to the other seat whilst asleep is very high. I saw a lot of disgruntled passengers who had other passengers' heads on their shoulders.
- Pre-order your meals when you purchase your ticket. This makes it a lot easier rather than carrying a wad of small change with you when you want to get a meal. Each prepaid meal only gives you ONE meal. On a typical 7-hour flight, the flight attendants will come around twice to sell you food.
- Speaking of pre-ordering, when you purchase your ticket online, I'd suggest you to pre-book your seat allocation too. Choose an aisle seat so that you'll at least have more space.
- Eat up first before you fly. Save the pre-paid meal to two hours before landing. Or else you'll be pretty hungry when the flight attendants come again serving food. The food's overpriced on the plane, as you can tell. Oh, and don't chuck your boarding pass when you're on the plane. If you have pre-paid for your meal, there will be a sticker on your boarding pass as an indication to the flight attendants to serve you your meal.
- Bring plenty of books and a media player/laptop (fully charged) on your flight. This should keep you entertained throughout the flight if you don't want to pay to watch in-flight movies.
See, I wasn't the only one :p