With airfare as low as $99, many of you have asked me about my recent experience with flying AirAsia X from Sydney to KL. So here I will answer the big question – is AirAsia X the best way to get to Malaysia?

In short, the answer is hell yes!

AirAsia X seats

Now, this wasn’t my first time flying a budget airline long haul. I flew with Jetstar to Osaka in 2010 for around $600 return, and the leg room on this AirAsia X flight was definitely more spacious! I absolutely love budget airlines and am so grateful to be living in an era where international travel is so affordable!

AirAsia X launched its Sydney to KL leg in April and I was on one of their first flights!

I learned about their launch in the morning of Jan 17. The sale was scheduled to go live at 2pm and by 1:50pm, I was furiously refreshing my browser. By 2:10pm, I was booked and a spontaneous holiday to Malaysia quickly became a reality! I mean, who can turn down $99 flights to Asia? Especially if they’re available during the Easter break?!?

Instead of looking at budget airlines as an experience which lacks the luxuries, look at it from the perspective of only paying for what you really need. I kept my airfare bare with the exception of adding on luggage. In total, I paid $258 return including up to 20kg luggage both ways and the credit card processing fee. That is, $99 one way + $25 per 20kg luggage + $5 processing fee per guest per way.

Plus I bought connecting flights from KL to Penang for just around $19 one way (excluding luggage).

Tip: Picking your own seats incur an add-on fee. Instead, web-check-in immediately after you’ve bought the tickets to be allocated seats. The seats were allocated sequentially so the four of us ended up sitting next to each other anyway. One of us even got a window seat!

AirAsia X's 100th plane at Penang International Airport

You can pre-book meals to save up to 15% but with meals like nasi lemak going for only RM6 ($2 AUD!!!), I didn’t bother.

It was pretty tasty too!

Tip: Don’t worry about bringing your own food onboard. The onboard meals are delicious and ridiculously cheap!

Nasi Lemak onboard AirAsia X

An inflight entertainment system is available for RM30 if pre-booked, or RM35 onboard, but I brought my own iPad which was pre-loaded with movies and TV shows 🙂

I got peckish half way so also had some instant noodles, curry flavour (RM6). It’s been forever since I’ve eaten instant noodles and these were surprisingly satisfying!

Maggi instant noodles hot cup kari (curry) flavour and iPad onboard AirAsia X

All in all, the whole experience didn’t feel very no-frills at all. The cabin crew and counter staff were super friendly, the flights were really pleasant, and even the transfer flight process felt quite seamless.

The only negative would be that AirAsia X lands at Malaysia LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) as opposed to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport). Thankfully, it isn’t as shabby as the Avalon tin shed airport, and it does have several restaurants to choose from, so spending a few hours there isn’t as painful.

Looking down at Malaysia onboard AirAsia X

So yes, AirAsia X totally exceeded my expectations and I would definitely fly with them again. I had the most wonderful time in Penang and KL, I can’t wait to share with you everything that I ate!

To view AirAsia flights departing from Australia, go to airasia.com/au

  • Gerald Englebretsen

    Hi Jen
    I couldn’t agree more with your summation of the Air Asia experience. I have flown maybe 50 sectors with them in the past 3 years and have never had one problem. I cannot speak highly enough of the vision of the founder and the service in the air which puts some other carriers (one starting with Jet) completely to shame.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience; I look forward to flying with them one time next year hopefully.

  • That’s awesome! That was one of my main concerns when I saw those ridiculously cheap flights. Now I know I can fight the temptation when the next sale comes along, for a random week in Asia. It’d definitely be cheaper than a 1 week holiday anywhere in Australia!

  • Im not opposed to budget. I do like the creature comforts but as long as I’m prepared, I can dig it

  • Nic

    I’ve flown to the UK with Air Asia twice now, and it saved a lot of money both times despite having to pay for flights to Melbourne and an overnight in KL. It’s great that they now fly from Sydney. My only comment was the food wasn’t sufficient for the longer leg – KL to London so I did have to supplement with my own snacks. The portions were small and additional snacks weren’t offered often enough.

  • Marcus

    Air Asia is great, I scored one of the 99 promo flights as well. As advice for potential travelers I found that there were no meals for sale on my flight – only for people that had per ordered! And also no entertainment options were available for hire. The LCC is a bit of a hassle but there are still good cheap quick ways to get to the city and it really has just about everything you need.