You are currently viewing AirAsia airline: Introduction

AirAsia (or airasia) is the largest ultra low-cost airline (ULCC) in Asia and operates from several countries in Southeast Asia. It often has great prices to get you around once you get there (or even to get to your destination in Asia) and is one of the highest-rated ULCCs in the world!

The current AirAsia sale with free flights pushes me to at least post this introduction quickly; we’re going to be doing ultimate guides for the major airlines so obviously we’ll have more details (and guides for Canadian airlines first of course).

But here is an introduction to AirAsia, including a preview of my experiences with their flights.

 

Overview of AirAsia

Here are the basics of AirAsia:

  • Type of airline
    • ULCC (ultra low-cost)
  • Head office
    • Sepang, Malaysia
  • Subsidiaries
    • Thai AirAsia
    • Indonesia AirAsia
    • Philippines AirAsia
    • AirAsia Cambodia
    • AirAsia X
    • Thai AirAsiaX
  • Airline code
    • AK, FD, QZ, Z2, D7, XJ
  • Official website

Here are the basics of AirAsia‘s route network:

  • Domestic flights
    • In 4 countries (soon 5)
      • Malaysia
      • Thailand
      • Indonesia
      • Philippines
      • Cambodia (2024)
  • International flights
    • Between these 4 countries and 19 other countries
  • Major hubs
    • Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
    • Bangkok (BKK)
    • Jakarta (CGK)
    • Manila (MNL)
  • Cities served in North America
    • None (unless you count Hawaii)

Here is the travel rewards angle for AirAsia:

Here are some facts to give you an idea of the size of AirAsia:

  • Passengers carried
    • 83 million (2019)
  • Destinations served
    • 165 (in 23 countries)
  • Aircraft fleet
    • 255 (average age of 8.5 years)
      • 232 narrow-body aircraft
      • 23 wide-body aircraft

 

Basics of AirAsia and the AirAsia network

AirAsia is a major pan-Asian ultra low-cost carrier. It has been the top rated low-cost airline for over 10 years in a row.

As for all your flights, you should book directly on their official website airasia.com, if the price is the same as on independent booking sites

AirAsia was founded in Malaysia, but has operation bases in 4 different countries. This means that in addition to offering domestic flights in these 4 countries, AirAsia offers flights between 19 countries and these 4 countries. That covers almost all of Southeast Asia.

Most are short-distance or medium-distance flights on narrow-body aircraft (1-aisle aircraft), but some are long-distance flights on wide-body aircraft (2-aisle aircraft). The complete list of routes is below.

Unfortunately, they do not offer any to North America (except Hawaii). Still, AirAsia can sometimes be very convenient to get from Canada to Asia for less, thanks to the self-transfer tip.

AirAsia has a particularity: the airline is officially structured in several separate entities, hence the multiple airline codes.

Here are the names of the subsidiaries (with their codes) and their countries:

  • AirAsia (AK): Malaysia
  • Thai AirAsia (FD): Thailand
  • Indonesia AirAsia (QZ): Indonesia
  • Philippines AirAsia (Z2): Philippines
  • AirAsia Cambodia: Cambodia (launching in 2024)

But that’s not all! The wide-body aircraft for their longest flights belong to 2 other separate entities (with 1 hub each):

  • AirAsia X (D7): Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (KUL)
  • Thai AirAsia X (XJ): Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)

Basically, the AirAsia name can refer to the entire group of 6 different airlines (soon to be 7) or to just the largest, the original in Malaysia.

Note that AirAsia has just sold its stake in the AirAsia India airline to the owners of Air India, who have renamed it AIX Connect. AirAsia Japan also disappeared in 2020, a victim of the pandemic of the government’s response to the pandemic.

 

Travel rewards with AirAsia

As is often the case with ultra low-cost carriers, AirAsia‘s rewards program is not great.

First, the points have a fixed value, so there’s no option to get outsized value. Airline points are usually very lucrative and the most valuable in fact, like Air Canada’s Aeroplan points.

Most importantly, the AirAsia BIG Loyalty program is not very useful for Canadians: no Canadian bank program currency is transferable to ultra low-cost carrier points and no card earns ULCC points directly either.

Like all ultra low-cost carriers, AirAsia is not part of any airline alliance either.

So if you want to get reward flights on AirAsia, you’re going to have to use simple bank points that can be applied to any travel expense.

The best offer right now — and in fact one of the best offers ever in Canada for simple points — is the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card, which gives you $925 ($825 in simple points and a $100 travel credit). To get $825 in value, the points need to be applied to any flight or hotel through their Expedia platform for TD. If not, they’re still worth $660 if you book with the airline directly.

Flytrippers opinion: One of the highest-ever offers for simple points that can be applied to almost any travel expense.
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
ends September 3rd

via TD secure application link
$ 625

Rewards: $625

Card annual fee: $0 $139

Card eligibility
min. income: $60k
OR $100k (household)

Welcome bonus eligibility
must not have activated/closed
this specific card
in the past 12 months
TD Rewards Points (more simple) + $100 credit
Bonus: 75k pts
Earn on min. spend: 30k pts (total: 105k pts)

• $525 for any travel
booked with Expedia for TD
• $420 for any travel
booked anywhere
How to unlock bonus
spend $5000 in 6 months

Interest rates:
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Cash advances: 22.99%
Cash advances (QC): 20.99%
Terms and conditions apply.
Flytrippers editorial opinion only. TD is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information. This content is not sponsored. However, this page may contain some affiliate links that allow Flytrippers to earn a commission at absolutely no cost to you. Thank you for using our links and helping us keep all our content free for everyone. This helps us fulfill our mission of helping Canadians travel for less.

 

More info to come on the travel rewards aspect; sign up for our special separate free newsletter just on travel rewards.

 

AirAsia aircraft fleet

Like most ULCCs, AirAsia‘s short-distance divisions operate just one family of aircraft, the Airbus A320 family.

AirAsia has 232 narrow-body aircraft, including these variants (with many more on order):

  • Airbus A320-200
  • Airbus A320neo
  • Airbus A321neo
AirAsia Airbus A320 (photo credit: AirAsia)

 

But what is a little more unusual for a ULCC is having long-distance subsidiaries. Not many ULCCs are able to make flights on wide-body aircraft work, but AirAsia has had them for several years now.

They have 15 Airbus A330s, so their approach and growth is quite careful and methodical on that side, one that is less proven for the ULCC business model.

AirAsia X Airbus A330 (photo credit: AirAsia)

 

AirAsia baggage policy and other info

Many more sections to come; in the meantime, you can read on their site for baggage.

 

AirAsia route network map

There are 2 tools that we use to see an airline’s route network:

I’ve included the route network maps here if you want it to be easier.

 

AirAsia (Malaysia)

Here is the route network for AirAsia (Malaysia).

AirAsia routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Here is the AirAsia (Malaysia) domestic route network for a better view.

AirAsia domestic routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

AirAsia X

This is the route network for AirAsia X.

AirAsia X routes(photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Thai AirAsia

Here is the route network for Thai AirAsia.

Thai AirAsia routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Here is Thai AirAsia‘s domestic route network for a better view.

Thai AirAsia domestic routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Thai AirAsia X

Here is the route network for Thai AirAsia X.

Thai AirAsia X routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Indonesia AirAsia

Here is the route network for Indonesia AirAsia.

Indonesia AirAsia routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Here is Indonesia AirAsia‘s domestic route network for a better view.

Indonesia AirAsia domestic routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Philippines AirAsia

Here is the route network for Philippines AirAsia.

Philippines AirAsia routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

Here is Philippines AirAsia‘s domestic route network for a better view.

AirAsia Philippines domestic routes (photo credit: FlightConnections)

 

My experiences on AirAsia

Like just about any traveler who has traveled in Southeast Asia, I have obviously flown AirAsia a few times. The experience was very good; it’s the best in the world according to the rankings after all.

While waiting for a more detailed review to come, here are some pictures I took on my AirAsia flights departing from Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore (all on A320s).

AirAsia aircraft tail (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

First, if you haven’t traveled much, welcome to boarding without jetbridges. It gives a great view of the planes, at least.

AirAsia aircraft (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

The interiors were clean and well-maintained.

AirAsia cabin (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

The seats were more comfortable than on many ultra low-cost carriers.

Seats on AirAsia (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

In short, these are jets from the popular Airbus A320 family — as I’m sure you’ve flown before — with a pretty dense configuration that is 100% economy, as are just about all ULCCs.

Aisle of an AirAsia aircraft (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

The legroom was also very typical of ULCCs (I’m 6 feet tall for context). I usually never fly in shorts, but it gets pretty hot in Southeast Asia.

Legroom on AirAsia (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

And finally, a classic view from the wingtip: that’s always beautiful no matter what airline, but AirAsia does fly to many cities that offer a great vista (in this case, it’s the awesome city-nation of Singapore).

View above the wing on AirAsia (photo credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)

 

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Learn pro tricks: Travel tips

 

Featured image: AirAsia Airbus A320neo (photo credit: AirAsia)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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