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10 October 2008

Why Not Try This?

By Suresh

I am a frequent flyer of AirAsia and am a Red Alert member. I travel quite a lot and have taken numerous budget flights in Europe also. I find AirAsia about the best among all I have flown. I remember on one flight where some passengers stood up while the plane was still taxiing on the tarmac just after landing. Instead of the usual like, “Kindly sit down until the plane has stopped completely”, your staff said something along these lines, “Kindly be seated till the plane comes to a complete stop. Those who stand before that will have to clean our toilets”. I thought that was hilarious and off the cuff and so did the other passengers. Anyway, enough of compliments, here’s a suggestion.

I only have one problem with AirAsia. In Europe, passengers on budget flights who arrive late do not rush and cut queue. Here, queue-jumping at the gates have become the norm and it is very irritating. In addition, some who board first, will “reserve” a few seats for their friends behind the queue. Yes I know about Express Check-in. However, this only helps if you arrive on-time. If you arrive even 5 minutes late, you have wasted your money.

My suggestion is that instead of express check-in, why not try having reserved seating? Pay extra and reserve your seat on the website itself. There can be several scenarios here. You can even separate the seating into sections and vary the seat reservation charges. Higher prices for front row seats, lower prices for middle section seats and free seating for rear section seats. Your staff can play around with all these variables to find an optimum pricing method. You could also consider assigning seat numbers at the check-in counter for the last category of rear seating passengers.

  • Ai Leng

    Excellent suggestion which I have hoped AK would implement for a long time already, especially since they started Xpress Boarding.

    I just came back from Guilin yesterday and there was a fight for the front row seats. The guy having the Xpress Boarding boarded late as there was no announcement at the airport (whose fault was that?) and he insisted to sit on Row A where a guy has single handedly booked 6 seats for his entourage.

    Co-pilot Zephyr has to defuse the situation as the stewardess was dumb founded by the violence and !@#$%. Ended up the guy with the Xpress Boarding and many pieces of large hand carry luggages (who allowed that anyway?) have to sit at the very last rows with his family.

  • Kwong Yan

    Suresh – This is an excellent suggestion on the reserved seating. I don’t see as to why Air Asia cannot implement it since Air Asia X is already doing it from day 1. I for one don’t mind paying a bit extra to enjoy a reserved seat. It would also be great if the AA crew act stricter on goons who reserve seats for their friends. Alas saying is easy but doing it with an Asian crowd is tough!!!

  • Phoek

    hahaha…is it real the air crew said that ?
    If were this true, I will recognise the statement as a joke or resemble the humorous AirAsia crew as I known.
    Anyhow we should understand how some passenger act ridiculously
    On the international flight Solo-KL I used to fly: almost half of the plane boarded by people who fly for the first time in their life to get low-skill jobs abroad.
    Even the crew had said to all passenger to remain seated, some passengers already jump from their seat, stand, grab their belonging, and walk to the door even the plane haven’t touchhed down yet.
    Perhaps they tought they were riding bus which can stop anywhere we want to :D No wonder the crew who face this situation every day get fed up. hehe…

    For the ‘Rush Boarding’ I know this is AirAsia strategy to make the passengger boarding quickly so we can save the time, BUT I agree with your ideas of reserved seating. Since I tought this will not add operational cost, instead will add a ‘PLUS’ to AirAsia.

    IMHO,
    Phoek

  • Mulyadir Fitri

    Another very good suggestion. I know of some people who avoided AK because of the free seating policy. If assigned seating is provided, albeit with a special charge, I bet more people will consider switching to AK.

  • Robert & Anne

    I have a different story to tell about boarding queues. recently, I took a flight back from Langkawi (AK6307 on Sept 17) to KL. My family and I were waiting to board in the departure area, and since we checked in early (really early) we got to sit just where the “Queue Here” sign. Then a came a couple later and sat on the first row, ahead of the queue sign. When it was time to board, this couple stood up where they were, ahead of all other other people who had orderly queued up behind the sign.

    I was so amazed the AirAsia staff politely asked the couple to join the queue, and the couple refused. Without losing her cool at all, the AirAsia staff told the couple “Sir, you can either join the queue now, or board the plane last if you insist on waiting here”. Really, I wanted to clap!

    This is an exemplary attitude and way of handling queue jumpers. I wish everyone who handles queues do that to queue jumpers.

    I wish I had taken her name down, but AirAsia knows who was on duty at the gate that day…give a her pat on the back … well done!

  • Syed Ahmad Bashah

    Suresh – 100% agreed with your suggestion. It is very irritating to encounter and handle queue jumpers exspecially Asian people ( sorry..) The management of AirAsia should instantly look forward to implement the seat reservation charges.

  • Wai Kuang

    I fly AA quite frequently and I noticed AA doesn’t have a standard practice when it comes to passengers boarding.

    In some instances the lead time between passengers with Express boarding vs rest of the pack are longer to enable the express boarding passengers have enough time to board the plane b4 its being open to the rest. While in other instances, the lead time is non existent.

    I have also noticed that some airports actually allow passengers travelling with senior citizens and young children to board after the express boarding passengers while some do not practice this.

    It seems to me that the boarding procedure is being left to the discretion of the crew of the day!!!

    I hope AA or AAX to look into this

  • Muhammad Ghaznawi

    i totally agree with the idea of seat reservation. some passengers (including me) are very concerned about privacy. sometimes paying for express boarding does not mean comfortable as someone else could easily seat beside us even there’s a lot more other empty seats.

  • Mokhtarrudin

    Yes Totally agree with Suresh. My previous experience with AA, there are 2 ladies on push chair aboard first, both of them look tired and sick. Unfortunately once they board the flight, they can walk and block a few rows for their relatives! What an insulting experience for us who already purchased Express Boarding.

    AA definitely need to practice what Jetstar already practice by assign seat to all via internet during reservation or at the airport before departure to avoid Q cutting (not only Asian, but Mat Salleh also did the same thing on my last trip from KUL-BKI)

  • Mokhtarrudin

    My latest experience eventhough every passenger already assigned with seat number is they always tend to assume that they may sit whereever they like. I think now AA need to educate to passenger how to behave and sit where they were assigned. Eventough I’ve purchased my preffered seat, still i’m unable to seat at my choice.