Using AirAsia’s Fly-Thru Service

Update – Air Asia has just updated their Fly-Thru Service, offering an extra 46 Destinations as a ersult of their recent move to KLIA2 (09/06/2014).

Over the last decade there has been a large increase in the number of low cost carriers (LCC), and for the Asian region we’ve seen the rise of Tiger Airways, Lion air and Air Asia.  The traditional airlines and flag carriers have tended to provide a full service including the ability to connect to the next flights, however for LCCs they usually will only fly from point to point.  This type of service means you can access more of their network without the worry of missing your flight without being covered by the carrier.

Why is this important?

(1) The benefit of Fly-Thru is that you are then covered by Air Asia’s terms and conditions if your ticket is under the one booking.  Meaning that they will book you onto the next flight free of charge.  AirAsia also state that they will provide food/drink and accommodation, note the comment on service recovery process!

“We will arrange and compensate for food, accommodation and transport to accommodation. This is not subject to our T&C but will be provided upon the discretion of the airline as a part of our service recovery process”

(2) In addition to this the Fly-Thru also means that you will not have to exit the departure area of the airport therefore no need for a Visa.

(3) Baggage is checked through to your destination.

Routes and the New Ones!:

It’s not available on all routes, but you can download a list of the routes from here (just look for flight transfer schedule)– I’ve also attached them here for reference:

These are the 46 New Destinations (courtesy of Business Traveller Asia-Pacific)

No

Depart from

To

1

Adelaide

Bandung

2

Melbourne

Yogyakarta

3

Gold Coast

Siem Reap

4

Perth

Yogyakarta & Chiang Mai

5

Sydney

Siem Reap & Macau

6

Hangzhou

Brunei, Rangoon, Ho Chi Minh City

7

Beijing

Bandung

8

Shanghai-Pudong

Yogyakarta

9

Osaka

Lombok & Yogyakarta

10

Tokyo (Haneda)

Ho Chi Minh City

11

Kathmandu

Siem Reap, Brunei, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Lombok, Krabi, Phuket, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City

12

Jeddah

Melbourne, Perth, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Penang, Macau, Krabi, Phuket & Ho Chi Minh City

13

Busan

Bandung

14

Colombo

Guangzhou, Bandung, Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya, Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Phuket & Ho Chi Minh City

15

Taipei-Taoyuan

Brunei, Kolkata & Yogyakarta

You can also use the AirAsia route map to find whether your departure airport does a connection to your preferred destination, you can use this link here for that:

AirAsia Route Map

AirAsia Route Map

From reading through the relevant FAQs and terms it doesn’t sound like the traditional transfer that you might be used to if you fly with the legacy carriers like Singapore Airlines.   Although your bags will be checked through (always make sure by asking!), you will need to get your ticket for your onward flight at your connection, so if you are flying from Bandung (BDO) – Kuala Lumpur – Guangzhou (CAN) then you’ll have to pick up your KUL-CAN boarding pass at Kuala Lumpur rather than it being issued at Bandung.

Fees and Catches

A “Convenience fee” is chargeable at RM6 per person, per sector. – although no evidence of this during a dummy booking.

The service needs to be booked when you book your flight and can’t be added on at a later date.

Insurance

It’s worth noting that although you are covered in the event of a flight delay it’s always worth taking out travel insurance if you are not covered currently.

Booking

Example – Booking Singapore to Osaka

AirAsia does not fly direct from Singapore to Osaka so lets see what an example booking looks like.

Booking the service is actually very simple.  If you know your departure point then you can just select that during your booking and the system will automatically bring up the destinations that you can use, this includes the fly-thru locations.  In this case as you can see I’ve selected Singapore as the departure point.  Of course if you want to research these prior then look up the routes via the methods in the route section of this review.

Fly thru booking

I looked for flights on the 28th of November (one-way), and three options came up.  The first flight departs at 1825, arrives at 1935 (KUL), then the onward flight is at 0100 to Osaka (KIX).  This is quite a long wait (nearly 6 hours), so beware the AirAsia Fly-Thru service says that stop overs can be between the minimum of 90mins and a maximum of 6 hours.  If you have kids or are looking for a shorter flight then this may not be the option for you.

Early Flight

As you can see there are three flights during the day, and they all use the one onward flight at 0100, so I selected the latest option which happened to be the same price.  The stopover is only 2 hours 10mins, which in my opinion is much more acceptable.

Late flight

If you want more information on the service provided as part of the Fly-Thru for your particular booking you can click the link where in this case it says “transfer in KUL”. This will tell you what is provided in terms of visa’s, transit and baggage.

Connecting flights information

AirAsia also provide information for the transit hub.  If you click the link under step one it’ll take you through to the relevant hub information, in this case KUL.  Although it does look quite simple!

Fly-Thru

That’s it really, I have to say AirAsia have made it quite simple and straight forward.  I didn’t find evidence of the 6RM convenience fee when booking.  The fees were labelled as an aviation levy, service fee, security fee.  Interestingly as well there were less fees for booking SIN-KIX than SIN-KUL at $S34 compared to $S40 respectively.

Launch of the Thai AirAsia Fly-Thru – via Bangkok

AirAsia service via Bangkok (Don Mueang International Airport) is now live, and offers extra options for connections using their network.  You can again use the route map for the flights, or the flight schedule.

The only slight difference is that if you are doing a domestic connection into Thailand then Don Mueang will be your port of entry.

Here is the connection information:

DM Connection information

Conclusions

The Fly-Thru service is a good development and may start to sway some passengers into switching to LCCs like AirAsia.  There are some tangible benefits here including the single booking, and the removal of the requirement for an extra Visa.

It’s also a very simple to book service, but beware of long stop-overs as it seems AirAsia has just patched together its network to make this available to customers.

Although these flights do enable you to get a transfer it might be better off going with a larger carrier for convenience and cost, so its always worth trying to check who offers the best value.  As with all budget airlines, check you are getting the best deal – have a look at out guide for recommendations: Your Guide to Booking Cheaper Flights

You can find the FAQ page here: AirAsia Fly Thru